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A Talupp case study

The talent and leadership work that’s ahead of the market

Informa is a leading international events, digital services and academic knowledge group. A member of FTSE 100 with 11,000 colleagues working in more than 30 countries, it undertakes extensive HR activities. 

In late 2022, Informa started working with Talupp. Initially, the work focused on a talent management model and then expanded to include a leadership framework. In this case study, Petra Edwards, Head of Talent, Leadership and Inclusion at Informa, outlines what prompted the engagement with Talupp and explains the transformative impact the new approaches have had.

The challenge

From outdated 9 Box Grid to inclusive 4 Career Stages Framework
 

Like many organisations, Informa had been using a 9 Box Grid to segment employees. The nine boxes are based on two dimensions – performance and potential. However, it did not quite meet Informa’s needs.
 

“The 9 Box Grid wasn’t quite working for us,” explained Petra Edwards. “Our company had been using it on and off, but the process we applied proved cumbersome in the collection and difficult in calibration. As a result, it was difficult to scale and we only applied it to the top one to five per cent of our people. Even then, we didn’t seem to have sufficient time to calibrate the data so ended up staying away from using it for insights or succession planning, rendering the approach dysfunctional in use. 
 

“In addition to the obvious issues with mitigating bias, I was looking for an approach that was inclusive and captured all of our colleagues and involved them and their needs and perspectives from the start.”
 

Another element that Petra was looking to address was career progression. “Feedback from employees through monthly and annual engagement surveys made it clear that while our colleagues love being here, we can do a better job on career progression and, as part of this, create better visibility of career paths and roles that may be relevant for them.”
 

In addition, in a world that is moving towards skills-based deployment and away from pure role-based recruitment, Petra was looking for an approach that supported and accelerated the agile deployment of their colleagues across various roles.  
 

It was clear that a new approach was required. Just as Petra was starting to explore solutions, she received a Talupp blog, suggesting an intriguing alternative to the outdated 9 Box Grid.
 

“I read the Talupp blog and related white paper and then sent it on to my HR Director,” continued Petra. “She agreed that what Talupp had created sounded very promising.”
 

Fast forward a couple of months and Informa commissioned Talupp to develop a new talent management model – the 4 Career Stages Framework – that was inclusive, skills-based and fit for a modern organisation. 
 

 

The solution

 

Talupp’s 4 Career Stages Framework
  

Instead of categorising talent according to their potential and performance. Talupp’s approach focuses on the concept of a journey with four stages. This avoids boxing people in and enables them to grow and move.
 

For each client, Talupp adapts the model to client needs, and undertakes co-design workshops and a review of existing HR and talent processes to adapt its framework to ensure it fits that client organisation perfectly. In Informa’s case, this included integration with existing performance management and promotion processes.


The talent journey model is simple and emphasises the dynamic nature of employee performance and motivation. The focus is firmly on the action we want to take next rather than the box that person is placed into.  
 

With the accurate definition of each stage, tailored to fit an organisation’s needs, culture and established HR processes, Talupp is able to help managers and their reports establish their current career stage. That knowledge then informs what is likely to happen next in their careers and what type of development might be right for them. 
 

 

Four-stage framework implementation

 

The project to move from the 9 Box Grid to the Talupp 4 Career Stages Framework started in one division of Informa – Informa Connect. At the time, 1,200 colleagues were the initial targets for the new approach. Since then, the division has expanded and 2,000 people will be privy to this new approach, as the early adopters. 

With the help of Petra’s internal showcasing efforts, most of the other divisions of this 12,000 people strong global business have now signed up to roll out this approach over the next 1-2 years and Informa Group is using the career stages as part of its annual 1% top leadership assessment. 

 

“Although we were starting the rollout in Informa Connect, we always planned for the new process to be adaptable across the whole of Informa,” explained Petra. “The impact is much bigger on internal mobility if we can spread that approach across everyone. To that end, we kept all other HRDs in the business fully informed of the process.
 

“We also briefed and kept in the loop our CEO and his senior leadership team, who loved the four stages. His commitment meant we had that important senior-level sponsorship right from the start.” 

It was important for Informa that the 4 Career Stages Framework was put into their language and reflected their culture. 
 

“Our project group worked with Talupp and our HR cohort to get the language and the approach right,” said Petra, “We made it our own and thought carefully about how it would land. We worked out how to implement it effectively and how to embed it in our existing performance management platform to enable us to track and report on data. This bit took some work and we were lucky to have a cooperating partner in our platform provider.”  
 

With the 4 Career Stages Framework embedded into existing Informa platforms, measurement, calibration and checks and balances could be applied. 
 

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I think we are on to something big here, declared Petra ‘I feel that Ines Wichert, Talupp’s founder and managing director, is two years ahead of where the market is; offering exactly what organisations need and can’t solve for themselves.

The Result

New framework has been a huge success

The initial rollout of the new four-stage framework to the Informa Connect division caught the interest of other divisions across the business. It is landing so well that some decided to adopt it straight away while others are considering adoption.
 

According to Petra Edwards, the initial programme has been a huge success: “It’s not just the framework that’s working for many Informa’s colleagues, it’s also the career conversations that inform it. One of the purposes of this work was to improve the quality of the career conversations our managers were having. Our commitment to our colleagues was to uplift our resources – like the new framework – and provide transparency and more. In return, this has uplifted the managers’ skill sets to create much richer career conversations.”

Workshops and upskilling
 

The 4 Career Stages Framework is being rolled out via workshops and supported by a handbook. Talupp created the guide and the workshop materials for the client to input and make their own. 
 
Talupp ran pilot workshops on how to have those effective career conversations within the context of the new 4 Career Stages Framework. Following that, the Informa team continued with the rollout themselves. 

 

To date, 700 people have been introduced to the new framework at Informa. The framework has been embedded into the existing Informa tech stack, to enable easy reporting and monitoring of the career conversations. 

“People are really positive about the whole process,” said Petra. “They’re excited about having the career conversations and we’re looking forward to having the data from those conversations.” 
 

The new framework has also helped people who might be happy at their current career stage and not yet ready for a move. “Lots of colleagues talk about career progression,” explained Petra. “But that can make a lot of people feel overwhelmed. It sounds like we expect them to continuously outperform. In fact, they’re doing really well, but just don’t want to move up the career ladder. Now we can say to those people – that’s great, we don’t expect you to want to do anything else. All stages are equally valid. People who are in the ‘Thrive’ category are equally important. They’re our engine and if they continue to learn and stay in ‘Thrive’ that’s great.”
 

We need to be inclusive while tackling the career progression problem that is prevalent everywhere. We know that 63% of people say they will stay with a company if they have a career advancement route. Talupp has the answer to that.

I was the Master of Ceremony at a conference in Amsterdam recently and the moderator asked a panel of experts: how can we make sure we are inclusive but also meritocratic? That is the big question in talent today and the Talupp approach provides an answer here. It allows everyone progressing at the rate they are comfortable with, and you can see who is ready to move on now and deploy them accordingly.

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