5 Strategies for Attracting, Engaging and Retaining Talent


For most companies, it has become a strategic imperative to transform traditional HR methods to adapt with the changing times and needs of the new generation of talent. Let’s look at the innovative HR practices in 5 areas of talent management to help you nurture and grow your organisation’s best asset. 

1. Performance Evaluation

 Employees perform different functions, engage in varying projects and workstreams. They operate on different timelines to achieve the same company goals. So it only makes sense to view performance from an agile perspective. The one-size-fits-all approach to performance evaluation is best left in the industrial age where people are assessed as part of an assembly line of workers. 

It may be time to think about designing appraisal methods that are custom fit for various employee groups. For example, hard metrics are useful for assessing rote workers while customer-facing teams are appraised on qualitative feedback. 

2. Coaching 

Companies who prioritise culture and value formation are investing in the training of would-be supervisors and managers on how to become effective coaches. We also see significant emphasis on communication and feedback training (the giving and the receiving) in an informal way from their peers and senior management. The idea is to fill the pool of future leaders in-house through self-paced learning. 

3. Compensation 

The approach to compensation and benefits is changing as well. In retail for example, spot bonuses are awarded as soon as a sales goal is achieved. Studies have shown that compensation is the best motivator when it is immediately awarded after the desired outcome. Instant reward and feedback can work wonders in driving performance, while projecting for an annual bonus is less effective because too much time goes by. 

In some companies, salary increases are not dependent on annual performance reviews. For example, increases are only given to employees who put their hand up for difficult projects or go above and beyond their current role to solve big, hairy problems. 

4. Recruitment 

Recruitment is no longer an exclusive function of the HR department. These days, the fight for talent is so aggressive that companies need to harness teams across all functions to get positions filled with the right people, fast! 

Companies are also relying on tech solutions to hunt and track candidates online who are best matched for their requirements.  

5. Learning and Development 

The challenge for L&D, just like recruitment, is to bring new modules for teams to learn and perform new skills, fast! While there are online learning tools for employees to access on-demand, the question remains whether a digital learning platform is enough to keep your best talent in the company. 

L&D needs to pay close attention in the actual “development” part by institutionalising mentorship as an essential component to growing and retaining talent.  


infograph- 5 strategies to innovating HR


Lead innovation in all areas of your business and navigate change to survive disruption by reserving your spot for The Executive Leadership Summit. 

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ELIZA BROWN – The CEO Made of Pretty Tough Stuff

Eliza Brown - The CEO made of pretty tough stuff

Eliza Brown is not your typical CEO. For a start she’s winemaking royalty; she’s a Brown of the Brown Brothers, and she’s the fourth generation of the Brown winemaking legacy. She also didn’t want to be a CEO.


Starting on “the bossy suit side” of advertising, as she puts it, rather than the creative side, she worked for top advertising agencies before her dad called her out of the blue and asked if she wanted to join his stand-alone business venture, All Saints Wines.


Her father, an artful winemaker, bought All Saints off the Brown Brothers suite to go it alone. Wine he could do, marketing he could not. Eliza covered “a maternity leave” position that ended in her staying for four years.


She may have been happy working alongside her dad in marketing at All Saints, but an accident changed the course of her life forever. On an ordinary Sunday afternoon, her father was knocked from his motorcycle by a car and killed.


Her world was shattered. One minute she was working in the business, expecting her first child, her life is moving along smoothly, and the next she has lost her mentor, her father and the business she helped build was without its leader.


Her brother was studying winemaking in Adelaide, her sister running a graphic design business in Melbourne, living their lives unaware that tragedy was about to hit.


Eliza recounts, “That was a Sunday, and then we have to take over the business on Monday. I didn’t really have any experience in running a business, even though I had been working with dad for four years, he didn’t give me any insight into financials or anything like that.”


She pauses and continues, “When the bank manager turned up the next day asking me to sign personal guarantees that I didn’t understand anything about, and I did just that (signed the papers). There were so many little things. And then we had a court case at the same time, and it was messy. I look back on it now, and I think that how I got through it, but women don’t just end up just doing it. I didn’t ask enough questions when dad was alive.”


I became CEO the next day. I didn’t have much of a choice. 


Fortitude, I feel is an understatement when describing Eliza Brown. She shrugs off this enormous tragedy as if surviving of a loss of this magnitude personally and professionally was not an amazing feat.


“I remember someone saying to me, ‘this possibly won’t be the worst thing that will ever happen to you…’ and you have to put things into perspective, and I had my brother and sister, my mum as support. I’d find her to have a bit of a cry with and I had them as backup. I think that trying to do something like that by yourself is bloody difficult.”


Grieving and stunned by the sudden loss, Eliza and her siblings had to make a choice. “There were three options. Sell up. Get someone in to manage it for us. Or do it ourselves.”


With her sibling’s support, Eliza took the helm of All Saints as it’s CEO. Today, her sister Angela runs their marketing, and her brother Nicholas is the winemaker. When they sat down to discuss what to do with the business, they made a pact, “we sat down the day after and said, what should we do? Should we sell, we get a manager in, or we do it ourselves. And we all decided that we do it ourselves. But we also decided that when we started to hate each other, we sell because our relationship is more important than a business.”


Despite her siblings backing, Eliza felt hideously under prepared and uninformed about the financial and strategic side of the business. “I didn’t really have any experience in running a business even though I had been working with dad for four years, but he didn’t give me any insight into financials or anything like that.” I wonder how long it took her to overcome that feeling, to start feeling empowered and capable in her role.


It was a massive learning curve. A lot of people left. They really didn’t know whether I was up to the job. 


“I think at that stage I didn’t feel very empowered because I didn’t have the knowledge that I do now… when you’ve got the knowledge and a confidence in your decisions, that’s when you feel empowered. It made me work really hard to build my knowledge around every part of the business and ask questions.”


“One of the biggest hurdles was to trust my own decisions. I think that’s been the biggest hurdle because you constantly doubt yourself. Then I realised after I spend a lot of time with men on boards that they don’t doubt themselves at all. They look in the mirror completely convinced of their decision-making process, even if they hadn’t done the background work, and I thought, well, I’m still doing all the background work, and I’m still feeling nervous about my decision, and I shouldn’t just trust what I know and what I’ve learnt? And that’s taken quite a long time. But I think that’s better than being arrogant about your decisions in the early days.”


Echoing the sentiments of other CEOs I have interviewed throughout the year, Eliza believes that a little bit of fear, a little lack of confidence can help you stay motivated and pressed to do even better, “I don’t ever feel completely competent, and I think that if you do, that’s when things start to fall away. You’ve always got to be a little bit scared or a little bit hungry.”


With her surprising and refreshing frankness, Eliza is open about her awareness that others in the tight-knit wine-growing community may have viewed her stewardship of the vineyard as an inheritance rather than something she either earned and deserved to take. She also felt that most people backed her to fail and some, more selfishly, worried about what her failure would mean for the wider community.


The biggest hurdle is to trust your own decisions because you’re constantly doubting yourself. 


To prove them wrong she knew she would have to work harder than she knew she was capable of, “people have an expectation of you because of your last name and if I worked harder and did put my hand up for a lot of… I would be seen as somebody that is going to give 150%. If I sat back and didn’t put my hand up for a lot of those things, I don’t think I would be as respected.”


But Brown didn’t do it alone; she is the first to admit she got help and got it fast. She was out of her depth with the financial side of the business, and she needed strategic advice. So, she got it. She set up a board to help govern the winery and provide advice on the broader market. She had some young people that she trusted but also knew she needed experience, “a bit of grey hair” to ensure she had the right advice.


“You won’t have to do it all yourself, that’s why you need good people around you to help.”  


She recounts her lack of financial acumen as her biggest weakness and the area she needed the most support, “I remember Dom (the accountant) coming to see us when dad died on the Sunday, he came and sat with us on that on Monday says, “Look, you’ve got a big leaky bucket, you’ve got eight holes just leaking money and you need to work out how you’re going to plug all those holes and I’m going to come back next week and you’ll give me a solution.”


Financial acumen, she now believes, is the number one skill we should be teaching young women. “it’s just so important to have those financial skills. And I wish I had done accounting at school now. Even though it’s possibly the most boring thing in the world. I was told from an early age that I was terrible at maths and that I wouldn’t need it and I think this is why I struggled. Now I love financials, and I love seeing how we are going each month.”


She also believes we should be filling girls with self-confidence is first and foremost skill we should be instilling in girls. “I remember someone saying to me, “Get up in the morning and look in the mirror and be happy with who you see in the mirror every day.” And I think that’s important. Oh and financial skills.”


Despite all the pressure and the trauma of those first few years, Brown has definitely proven everyone wrong. Her winery has a five-star Halliday rating, and the winery’s restaurant has held the “one chef hat” rating consistently for the last six years. Added to this list of achievements (which she quietly did not mention) is the Future Leader of the Australian Wine Industry award from the Winemakers Federation of Australia and her participation as the sole Victorian representative on a 10-member agricultural advisory committee, set up by then Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.


As a side project, because there wasn’t already enough on her plate, she and her two siblings =have recently completed a renovation of a nearby property they purchased to produce a niche boutique accommodation space and together they purchased and made profitable a second vineyard, St Leonards Vineyard.


She had offers to make this project into a reality TV series which they did not take up because as Eliza says, “we were too nice to each other, there was not enough drama.” But the financial pressure of these ventures was both overwhelming and motivating.


What drives us is having that little bit of pressure. Being a little bit scared all the time. 


“I quite like the feeling of having a bank manager behind me because that drives me. When you see his number coming up on the phone and feeling the fear. But it’s having that accountability and making sure that things work and working hard to the end. Yeah and I think that’s what drives us. Having that little bit of pressure. Be a little bit scared all the time.”


I am astounded she can stand up to that pressure and has the time and inclination to maintain the various business and the same time as raising two children. She says she is able to balance both by tying to be organised.


At the same time as telling me this sincerely, she laughingly tells me she sent her daughter to school with two pairs of underpants. She does, however, cite choosing the wrong partner early in life one of her greatest mistakes and maintaining her current partnership with her husband one of the biggest success factors in keeping her life running smoothly.


The teamwork involved in the domestic side is vital to achieving and maintaining success. “I’ve had a home life that’s not supportive, and that’s an absolute disaster. Not being supported was what I experienced when my dad died, and we parted ways. That was a disaster. Absolute disaster. I said to myself that if I’ve ever met another person that we need to work together as a team.”


A team seems to be what she has found with husband Dennis, a Melbourne restaurateur who provides support and advice behind the scenes and of course there’s her two siblings, with whom she is ridiculously close. “The three of us have a very, very similar sense of humour. I think that helps. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. And if we start taking ourselves too seriously one of us want to kill each other. But despite that, we enjoy our life together.”


While she is supported, both within her marriage and from her siblings, I have no doubts that Eliza Brown would have been a powerhouse with or without them. But this story of pain, triumph, support is atypical from many of the stories I hear in the female leadership space. Brown is not your typical story of knifing your way to the top, crashing through a glass ceiling and fighting to stay at the top.


Her leadership was thrust upon her, and she rose to the occasion. Her self-deprecation is more than just modesty; it’s an understanding that while her success is important, being happy and content with her life and celebrating each day is just as important and I hang up the phone not just wanting Eliza to be my friend but also wishing to be welcomed into her world.

Reserve your spot for The Empowered Woman 2020 and hear from inspiring business women like Eliza to ignite your passion and acquire the skills to achieve your dream career. 

The Importance of Values

Values. The word is now such a part of the work vernacular that it’s almost hard to recall a time without it being at the top of the list as a question (what are your values?), a characteristic (are values important to you?), and a demonstrated quality (will you be bringing your values to your role?) when employees look to hire quality, key people for their company.

You may have even come across a survey on values, designed to uncover what makes you tick, what drives you, where and how you see the delineation between personal and work worlds, and quite simply: what makes you happy in all areas of your life based on your core belief systems.

And here’s the thing: values are based on your personal beliefs about what’s important in a workplace, and the varying degrees of what makes you tick is what you’ll then demonstrate in your role.

Values can include: a strong work ethic, how adaptable you are, your loyalty level, your honesty and integrity, how self-motivated you are, your professionalism, and your willingness to learn, and your positivity levels.

It’s little wonder then that core values are as important as your education and where you’ve worked, because values are what keep you churning through your workday with clarity and enthusiasm and energy.

We truly believe uncovering your value system is best done in discussion, or at least in an environment which requires introspection.

The Executive Leadership Summit 2019 lays the perfect foundation to have that conversation with yourself.

Back for its second year, the Summit will focus on the core learnings of an MBA with practical, experience-based keynotes and case studies from the leaders of Australia’s most successful companies.

Core values are front and centre too, and this Summit will help you discover what that means to you.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 — Sign up for Intensive Executive Workshops on 17 & 20 March

A key factor that drives the success of any organisation is its leadership. What makes leadership most impactful is the leaders’ attitude to serve, support and nurture their people. This creates a culture of high performance, which contributes to the growth of the organisation and its people.  

Announcing Authentic Leadership Summit 2020’s highly interactive deep-dive sessions with premier executive coaches. 

The Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 (17-20 March, Sydney) is a 4-Day gathering of Australia’s top CEOs and MDs who will help you develop authenticity, openness, and trust to lead successfully. 

Get the full information on Authentic Leadership Summit 2020. 



After becoming one of QANTAS’s youngest female marketing executives, Ellenor spent 20+ years as an Emmy and AACTA award-winning film producer, and CEO-Founder of her production company. She delivers coaching sessions on management up-skilling, career progression, and communication mastery. 


In this half-day workshop, Ellenor will guide you along a simple but in-depth path to identify your values, lead with a higher purpose, and build high-performing teams. By the end of this workshop, you will learn how to — 


  1. Identify the organisational values of environments where you thrive 
  2. Act on your values and use them to make difficult decisions as a leader 
  3. Determine the links between your greatest career milestones and job satisfaction 



Author of the Amazon best-seller A Servant’s Heart- Leadership That Inspires and recipient of the 100 Top Training and Development Minds Global Award, Arpan is on a mission to inspire and empower 20,000 or more leaders by 2020 so that they create a culture of innovation, excellence and collaboration. 


Arpan’s session is about how to institute the values of Servant Leadership to address problems such as lack of engagement, low productivity, customer dissatisfaction and staff turnover. Learn the proven strategies to — 


  1. Boost your credibility as a leader to become a trusted advisor  
  2. Remove blind spots that hinder your effectiveness as a leader 
  3. Apply the servant leadership principles to everyday scenarios  



Oliver brings 20 years of research experience from prior roles at AMR (Australia) and Harris Interactive (New York and Sydney). One of Australia’s leading experts in reputation measurement and managementOliver is a member of the Australian Market and Social Research Society and has served the Board of Moriah College.  


The Reputation Institute has recently published research showing that while previously leaders were judged by the community on their capability, there has been a shift to the public regarding a successful leader as one that shows good character. In this half-day workshop, you will learn how you can steer the reputation of your organisation  by — 


  1. Understanding key reputation drivers and trends in the Australian and global markets 
  2. Defining Reputation Measurement and KPIs and how companies are using those  
  3. Building reputation for B2B companies and the link to social license


After a successful career leading high-performance teams in the investment industry, Phil set up his own business, guiding people, projects, and partnerships through collaborative challenges. He has worked the big stages and boardrooms, including basketball courts and the back of Bourke (literally). So be warned, you are in for a highly interactive and engaging session with Phil. 


Learn how to create a culture of collaboration in your workplace by shifting mindsets, building a positive and psychologically safe environment, and connecting your people’s work with tangible outcomes. Other learning outcomes from this session — 


  1. Shift from hierarchical to collaboration-based structures 
  2. Unpack and resolve the challenges of working together 
  3. Adopt a 7-step process for maximising group success 


Check out the Authentic Leadership Summit’s Key Speaker Lineup for March 18 and March 19 

RESERVE YOUR SPOT for Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 Workshop Sessions.

Change your company’s mindset to re-shape your business

Leadership comes from the top, but what if you’re still examining your own leadership style?

There’s a reason the business mantra of “leadership starting from within” is accurate and relevant, and that is because in order for a team to truly work, a leader needs to begin by looking inwards. That’s the kind of ‘lean in’ that is more relevant than any business buzzword.

Start by looking at how you operate, how you think, and what kind of impression you give to staff. If you don’t know what your employees think about you… Ask them!

Create a forum where it is completely comfortable and acceptable for staff to speak up about what makes them happy and what makes them not look forward to coming to work so much. The results of these sometimes uncomfortable conversations will form the basis of the reshaping of your company’s mindset. You have to go into these conversations with an open mind – you can’t be defensive or aggressive if you don’t like what’s being said, the idea is to listen with an open mind, think about what is said and then decide whether or not to take action.

In doing this it shows that you care about what is important to your staff.

If, when and how you implement changes based on staff feedback, it is demonstrating genuine commitment to positivity in the workplace, showing their happiness is important and in turn boosting morale and no doubt increasing productivity.

I still remember the day I changed my own company’s mindset to reshape our business. It started with a news article which quoted David Hurley (former Chief of the Defence Force) “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” and it resonated with me. It crystallised the concept of complete ownership for the behaviour of my staff. It made me have the above conversation with our staff, about what behaviour was and was not OK and why. What came out surprised me. It was small things, like the women being asked to get petty cash items from the supermarket or just the men being asked to carry heavy boxes, or comments around casual racism or isms in general. We implemented changes to fix that to make it clear what is and is not OK, and now if I see a behaviour that is not OK, I call it out. Because it starts and stops with me.

Our credo is: what got you here, won’t get you there.

That is, to get there, you need not just the tools but the mindset to constantly change and improve.

Enter the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020.

Back for its fifth year, the Summit will focus on teaching you how to lead with greater purpose in the contemporary business climate.

In this 4-day program, you’ll learn how you can employ its principles in your organisation to drive better business outcomes and make our world a better place at the same time.

Core values, authenticity, strength, innovation and disruption are the key drivers for a successful business, and this Summit will help extrapolate what that means.

In short, you need to discover your true purpose and values as a leader, and the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 will get you there. Check out more information here.

Develop your executive toolkit

Having an executive toolkit under your shiny corporate belt is seemingly top of the list as ammunition to succeed in the competitive corporate world, and having your team work and create to the best of their ability.

When I started Konnect Learning, at the core of my thinking was that I could create something different ‘out there’.

Seeing as one of my core focuses is to ensure that every single product that is delivered from my company reflects my values, it’s also super important for me to have takeaway tips you can use in your work life – immediately and easily. I don’t mean ‘takeaway’ in the context of UberEats, although Mr Crackles = Winning. I mean tips you can apply immediately.

Hello, the executive toolkit.

An executive toolkit equips leaders and teams with knowledge, capabilities and tools to drive strategy, organisation and processes to lead to a better and more efficient framework for work life.

So how do you create an executive toolkit?

Start with what drives you, what you deem a ‘win’ in your work life, and what you see as a ‘win’ for those you manage. More importantly, what motivates you? And what do you see motivates them?

Motivation – the extent to which people look forward to going to work, and are enthusiastic about the task at hand and are committed to their to do list – is an important part of keeping your team engaged.

In leading a team, a leadership toolkit gives you a way to measure yourself against some of the qualities of an ‘ideal leader’. And it assists your team in measuring themselves in a positive way, which essentially leads them to feel valued, and as a by-product, even more motivated.

For me personally, my executive toolkit includes:

  1. Making tough calls is hard, but clear is kind
  2. Take risks because fear can be motivating
  3. Stay true to your values
  4. Let people see who you are, be vulnerable and honest
  5. Listen more than you speak

If you feel you need some help in getting your executive toolkit in order, then I suggest you join us for our Executive Leadership Summit. Keynote speakers include Mark Bouris, Todd Sampson, Suzy Nicoletti and Marnie Baker to name a few. Tickets are available here.

What is the difference between a manager and a leader


Many of us think we are leaders but are we really just managers, juggling a million balls at once?


Managing a team, family or even your circle of friends can be a challenge in itself, however, leading them is a totally different story. A great leader is also a coach, a mentor and a sponsor, and as they say it doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right training and skills it will happen.


Ask yourself these questions…


Do you feel that you regularly share your knowledge and expertise with your staff and peers?

Do you think the people around you feel empowered by you?

Are you the go-to when there is a problem or tricky situation?


If you answered yes to all of the above, then I’m pretty sure you’re already leading your own tribe without knowing it. By taking your leadership qualities and approach from an informal relationship to a more formal approach, you will not only take your own career to the next level but will also inspire those around you to climb the corporate ladder with you.


So, what’s the difference between coaching, mentoring and sponsorship you ask?


Coaching is bespoke and generally a one-on-one tailored program developed for an individual for a defined period of time, with specific business goals in mind.


Mentoring can be both informal and formal. It’s flexible in the fact that as the needs of the mentee changes, so can the guidance and knowledge provided. In short, it’s a supportive relationship designed to develop the mentee to their fullest potential.


Sponsorship on the other hand, is using one’s power to influence others and in turn support the growth of the employee or individuals in situations where a little weight is needed.

  1. Create a space where ideas and input are valued; if you had all the answers to all the questions you would be god and not a good leader. Input is essential.
  2. Don’t tell. Ask questions, ask for input about why someone is executing a task a certain way and what they hope to achieve – most of the time they know the answer they just need confirmation;
  3. Be open about the vision and bring your team along with you; often I am surprised that they team are just as excited to reach goals as I am. There’s no I in team but there is in win.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your leadership journey and empower others to do the same, then join us in Sydney this month at the Women in Leadership Summit with Nell Wilson, from Nell Wilson Executive Coaching, for our workshop on Mentoring, Coaching and Sponsoring Women. Tickets available here.




What is gravitas and why do you need it in your life?


According to the Cambridge University, the definition of gravitas is seriousness and importance of manner, causing feelings of respect and trust in others.


So why is it so important in business today?


I believe as a leader, you need gravitas to make an impact and actually be heard. As a woman in this technology driven business world, today it’s not just the suits in the room we’re up against, but a combination of information overload and a time poor society. Whoever shouts louder or “fakes it till they make it” seem to win out.


Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we should fake our experience to win a battle or a seat on the board, for me it’s about having the quiet confidence to take you beyond your qualifications and expertise. By creating your own inner gravitas, it will take you further in the boardroom, attract a tribe to follow your lead and help form future leaders.


Think of gravitas as a mindset that gets you out of your comfort zone, but also out from behind that “invisible coat” we all like to hide under from time to time.


To change your mindset and move to the next stage of your career, I recommend you:

  1. Create your own personalised gravitas plan
  2. Undertake a speaking/presenting course to learn to project your authority
  3. Always act with integrity and know your boundaries
  4. Expand your circle of influence by supporting others to do the same
  5. Look the part – presentation is important no matter who the audience is!


“My number one thing to remember when you need to bring your gravitas to the table is that it’s not about being arrogant to get what you want. Use it to influence with intelligence and grace.”


If you need help with creating your personalised gravitas plan, join us for our ‘What Women Need to Know to Build their Gravitas’ workshop with Amanda MacLean from The Gravitas Project at the Women In Leadership Summit. The one-day workshop will be held on Tuesday, 24th September 2019 at Sydney’s Seymour Centre. Tickets available here.