The pre-life, early life and in-life stages of the employee experience – Interview with Jo Taylor


Share on LinkedIn

Happy smiley people

Today’s interview is with Jo Taylor, former Director of Talent Management at Talk Talk, a provider of pay TV, telecoms, internet access mobile services to businesses and consumers in the UK. Jo joins me today to talk about what it takes to build a dynamic, responsive and evolving culture.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Building a better place to work helps develop long term customer relationships – Interview with Sebastian Henkes and Claire Clifford of Sabio – and is number 149 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to their customers.

Highlights of my interview with Jo:

  • Jo has had an eclectic career, which started as a journalist at the BBC.
  • Prior to TalkTalk she was Head of Learning & 4Talent at Channel 4.
  • The common thread that runs through her career is storytelling, whether that is to make TV programmes or to develop a corporate story to help with the attraction, engagement and development of talent.
  • There are lots of articles being written around culture at the moment. They tend to refer to culture as a thing.
  • However, Jo doesn’t think culture is a thing but rather it is a mindset.
  • A mindset is driven by everyone and is not just driven from the top.
  • Strategy is set from the top i.e. what the business goes after. But, culture does not necessarily invibe what you are delivering.
  • Culture is driven more by a mindset around the values of the organisation i.e. it’s not just what you do, it is how you do it.
  • Jo refers to an article by Josh Bersin of Deloitte: The Five Elements Of A ’Simply Irresistible’ Organisation as being a great starting point for building a high-performing culture.The 5 elements are:
    • 1. Meaningful work.
    • 2. Great management.
    • 3. Growth opportunities.
    • 4. An inclusive, flexible, fun environment.
    • 5. Leadership we can trust.
  • Colleagues now want an experience. And, reward (which is not just about money) and recognition is a really key way of driving this and allowing a high touch culture to develop.
  • Driving a culture is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. If you have these five components you then need to decide how they rank and how much emphasis you place on each.
  • This all links to a company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The EVP pulls the what and the how together.
  • Companies need to remember that they are selling to two groups: their customers and their employees.
  • Jo mentions that Innocent and Lego do this very well.
  • Many companies miss a trick when they outsource their job application sites to third parties and save money by not branding the third party site.
  • Applying for jobs should be a one-click process.
  • Back to the five elements of culture, Jo says that she agrees with them but often rewords them and would, personally, place more emphasis on leadership and talent/career development than any of the others.
  • What makes a really great place to work is the people and how you unlock the potential that exists within those people
  • Everyone in the organisation has the keys and opportunity to contribute to that goal.
  • However, many firms focus too much on the top 100 in their firm and how they manage the business. In the process, they neglect the majority where most of the work, culture and customer contact takes place.
  • An organisational constitution (a la Chris Edmonds) is a good way to start building and knitting together your what and how.
  • An idea from Reid Hoffman’s book: The Alliance is that companies invest in the market cap of their employees and those employees are investing in the market cap of their employers. However, if these are running at two different speeds then there will be a disconnect.
  • If companies are open and honest about the nature of the transactional nature of the relationships they have with their employees then the sweet spot is the alliance or alignment of those two.
  • Many tech and ecommerce firms are leading the way on experimenting with all of this, particularly around transparency, but Jo would like to see more established and traditional firms being more open, progressive and transparent.
  • Jo explains that she has a People/Talent strategy philosophy where employee experience should mirror what happens when a company launches a new product or service and should have three stages: pre-life, early life and in-life experience.
  • Like designing a new customer experience we should be designing an employee experience and should focus on how we can make that experience as good as possible such that the employee is engaged, sure that they have made the right choice and is committed to doing a good job.
  • Many companies spend a lot of money in the in-life experience and very little in the pre-life stage.
  • This maps very closely to stages in a relationship marketing cycle.
  • Imagine a business that is completely referral based for finding new employees and customers.
  • Building a high performing culture starts from the business priorities.
  • Three words from Jo : bravery, brilliance and boldness.

About Jo

Jo TaylorJo is an experienced & innovative Leader and Manager in the creative & technology sector.

She believes that talent drives businesses, that by throwing away conventional scripts we can create environments that deliver behavioural innovation for business, the UK and the wider world. She wants to create legacies for businesses that deliver commercial, cultural and behavioural change. Jo is former Director of Talent Management for TalkTalk Group. While there she was responsible for driving an ambitious, innovative talent strategy Her ambition was to empower people to take responsibility for their learning to make TalkTalk a brighter place to work for everyone. Prior to TalkTalk she was Head of Learning & 4Talent at Channel 4 and started her career at the BBC where she worked for the Documentaries and Contemporary Factual Department across arrange of roles from Production Manger to Managing Editor.

You can connect with Jo on LinkedIn here and say Hi to her on Twitter @jotalkstalent

Photo Credit: Mait Jüriado via Compfight cc

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here