The Case for Talent Mobility

18 September 2018 | Rajiv Khemlani | About a 7 minute read
Tags: Culture, Internal Mobility, Secondments, Talent Growth, Talent Mobility, Through the Keyhole

In December 2016, we interviewed our CEO, Paramjit Uppal, in our Through the Keyhole blog series. In the Q&A, we asked him what he thought was the secret formula for AND Digital’s rapid growth – going from 0 to 150 ANDis in a short time. His response was clear. It takes:


  1. Belief AND focus
  2. Simple AND scalable internal structure;
  3. Agile AND enterprise mindset.


As AND Digital comes close to celebrating its fifth anniversary, and now numbering close to 300 ANDis, this approach towards our growth is as true in 2018 as it was two years ago – if not more so. After all, in technology, finding and retaining top talent is a big challenge for any people team.

With our aspiration to grow the company even more – to approximately 600 people by the end of 2019 – this challenge is especially relevant. So, at AND, we are putting into place the right tools that offer ANDis an Agile, multi-directional career development programme over the long-term. Adopting a well-defined talent mobility programme is critical to this approach, ensuring the success of each individual ANDi, along with that of AND Digital as a whole.


Transfers, Transitions and Secondments

The Transfers and Transition (T&T) Programme is AND Digital’s proactive talent mobility solution. The aim of the programme is to align AND Digital’s dynamic talent needs with our ANDis’ individual development and career aspirations. Our approach to talent mobility has three levels:


Overview diagram of AND's talent mobility programme


  1. Transfer: when an ANDi moves laterally to another Club, in the same capacity.
  2. Transition: this happens when an ANDi moves from one career path to a different one. This can either be in the same line of business, or a different one. It could be an upward move with increases in their responsibilities and seniority, or a lateral move to follow an alternative career path.
  3. Secondments: these time-bound transfers enable ANDis to move to a different Club or part of the business – without the bigger commitment of a transfer. The ultimate goal is usually to deliver a specific  and achievable operational result that is mutually beneficial for all.


By providing our ANDis these three levels of internal opportunity,  we are able to go beyond a simple change in job title or seniority. As new Clubs and geographies open, well-designed internal mobility (upwards or lateral) can provide our people with a holistic view of their career, our business and open up new opportunities to grow new skills and position themselves for future leadership opportunities.


Secondments: A Q&A with ANDis

Whilst all three talent mobility streams  offer their distinct advantage, we view secondments as a particularly powerful  catalyst for continuity and expansion. It provides the Secondee with all the aforementioned benefits, whilst really giving them the opportunity to take on an added responsibility beyond the scope of their role.

An example of this is the opening of a new Club in a different geography where an  ANDi gets the opportunity to seed our unique AND culture into a new ‘blank canvas’ environment. When we opened our first Club in the North (Club Kilburn in Manchester) we were able to second Jamie Sims and Lucy Peyton to do just that.

We had a chance to sit with them to get their insights on their secondment.


Q: Why did you want to apply for a secondment?

Jamie: When I joined AND Digital – I was the last Squad onboarded into my Club (Dekker).  As a result, I got a particular experience: that of joining a Club that was already fully formed and was refining how they did things. I wanted to experience the other side of the coin, and join a brand new Club. This would give me the chance to play a bigger part, helping to embed the AND culture and build it from scratch. Going to Manchester to help Kilburn get up and running seemed like an ideal opportunity.

I’ve also always wanted to live and work abroad, but being quite risk averse, I thought working in a different city would be a good way to test myself.

Lucy: Similar to Jamie, when I was recruited into AND Digital, I joined a Club that was well-established and ran smoothly. I thought the secondment would offer me the opportunity of working in a new Club and be part of their growth. Also, I’m from Bolton and I know Manchester reasonably well, so I thought it would be a nice opportunity to live near family for a few months.


Q: What research did you do, or who did you speak to to make the decision to go ahead?

Jamie: I was the first ANDi ever to take a secondment – so I wasn’t able to speak to anyone from the newly built host Club (Kilburn),  given the circumstances! Fortunately, I was based on-site with a client in Halifax and was able to visit Manchester whenever I needed. Even looking for accomodation was relatively straightforward to organise.

Lucy: “I mainly spoke to my Development Coach to understand if a secondment made sense for me at that stage of my career. I was able to visit Club Kilburn  in Manchester for a couple of days, which I found really useful. One of the Squad Leads from Manchester went through the various opportunities available in Manchester, and what their growth plans were. By visiting I was able to speak to people in the Club, see what their day-to-day was like, and if I could imagine myself doing it for 6 months.


Q: What did you particularly enjoy about your secondment, from a work and personal aspect?

Jamie: From a work aspect, I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to break down what makes a new Club, then tackling how we make it happen – all whilst trying to balance the client commitments. We learned a lot and had a few hiccups along the way, but it was great to see the Club come to life!

From a personal aspect – it was great to test myself and push outside of my comfort zone. Bar university, I’ve never lived outside of the South East so it was great to experience a new part of England.

Lucy: I enjoyed being able to contribute to a growing Club and implement things I’d seen work in other Clubs. It was good to be able to be a link between Manchester and London.  Personally, I enjoyed meeting new people from AND and building that rapport with them. This was great, because often our day-to-day roles sit within a single Club, so it was nice to interact with other parts of the business and expand my network.


Q: What new experiences and exposure did you gain whilst on secondment?

Jamie: I got exposure to a lot of different things whilst on secondment. I got to see how the Club operates from a commercial aspect, and got exposure to the work done by the Service Delivery team. Equally, the social side of building a new Club was great!

Lucy: The main new experience over my secondment was being able to really contribute to the Club.  This meant getting involved with recruitment, events, and the general running of Kilburn. I also got to be a People Champion for them, which meant working with our Culture & Wellbeing Specialist and other People Champions to increase engagement within the Club.


Q: Looking back, do you think the experience enriched your personal and professional growth?

Jamie: From a professional standpoint, I learnt a huge amount about the commercial side of running the business, and I also got valuable exposure to Client Acquisition, which was really insightful.

From a personal growth perspective. I learned a lot about myself during the six months – I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

Lucy: I definitely got the chance to grow in my role as a Product Analyst, as I was given the opportunity to work alone on a client – so I was solely responsible for the success of the project. Not only this, but I was also able to contribute towards the account management of the client, including identifying and organising training and events.


Q: Finally,  do you have any tips for a successful secondment role?

Jamie: Based on my experience I’ve got two bits of advice that I think would be helpful. First,  If you are joining a newly set up Club – or office, thinking beyond AND – or alternatively a different line of business, carve out the time to help build it beyond the day job. It’s a great way to meet people, learn some new skills and give you a bit of variety at work. Make time for it so you can get stuck in! Secondly, build in time to explore  – if you’re moving to a new city, take the time to make the most of your new stomping ground. I realised this quite late on, and wished I had spent more time exploring around Manchester!

Lucy: I think knowing what you want to get out of a secondment before you go definitely helps, as you have something to measure success against.  Also, as there’s the risk that client roles don’t always turn out how you expect them to, make a plan of what additional experiences you might want to get internally as part of a fast-growing Club or new office.  This way, you know your secondment is delivering value to the company as well as its clients.


Want to learn more about our T&T Programme? Get in touch with me, Raj Khemlani, here.

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