Attracting and Developing Talent

We recognise the importance of having a talented and committed workforce at all levels. Identifying critical roles, successions planning and building talent pipelines are key strategies to ensuring long term business success.

Succession planning is conducted annually, identifying short, medium and long term candidates for key roles. During this process, leaders within each of our businesses and functions identify employees with high potential. The identification process uses both a set of criteria and data from the annual performance management process. Action plans are implemented, with the aim of developing those capabilities required for future advancement.

Targeted training programs are also in place to nurture the next generation of talent, including our Australian Manufacturing Graduate Program.

Working and being mentored at an IPL manufacturing site is the ultimate opportunity to gain exposure to both the mining and manufacturing industries as an engineer. During our two-year program, graduates receive hands-on engineering experience through a combination of site-based rotations and a formal development plan. Graduates focus on their technical, professional and personal development and are supported by an experienced manager for the duration of the program. The learning structure is tailored to their discipline and individual needs. In addition, graduates are mentored by leaders in the company.

The graduate program ‘Onboarding’ week is undertaken by all first year graduates to learn about our business, culture, values, BEx and safety standards and processes. The learning and development component of the graduate program includes sessions on expectations, performance management, development, communication and self-awareness. Currently, 80 percent of our graduates are female. The success of the program is demonstrated by the employment outcomes: we are pleased to have offered roles within IPL to 100% of the graduates who have completed our program in the last 4 years. While we retained all of our current graduates during the recent restructure necessitated by our challenging markets, we are not currently recruiting for new graduates in 2017. 

In our Americas business, the explosives manufacturing plant in Cheyenne, Wyoming continued a partnership with Laramie County Community College.

The partnership assists the college in their efforts to secure Workforce Development Training Funds to support individuals enrolling in a Process Technology training program at the college. Recognising a need for well-trained individuals in all areas of our industry, most particularly with strong workplace safety knowledge, the team at Cheyenne has guaranteed interviews to program graduates and is assisting the College in the development of the course curriculum.

Our Asia Pacific business is also associated with several industry and related organisations, including the Skills DMC, the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE, the Queensland Resource Council, Australian Mines and Metals Association, Diversity Council Australia, National Association of Women in Operations, and Reconciliation Australia.

Our performance management framework aims for consistency, fairness, equity and reward for performance.

It is a process for establishing a shared understanding of 

‘what’ is to be achieved, and ‘how’ it is to be achieved. It is 

a collaborative process and requires both manager and employee to participate equally. Online tools provide a consistent process and a central repository for performance management information. All employees, except those 

whose collective bargaining agreement precludes them, 

are required to set goals for their performance and development each year, and have a formal performance 

review at six monthly intervals. This year, the percent of employees across the Group who participated in the performance review decreased slightly to 55.6 percent, 

which was primarily due to the impact of the 2016 

restructure. We aim to increase this percentage in 2017.

In order to ensure individual goals and performance are 

linked to the key objectives and performance of the 

business, our Short Term Incentive (STI) plan includes 

safety goals in support of our Zero Harm strategy and 

explicit links between STI payments and the performance 

of the business. During 2016, employees were assessed against their individual goals as well as leadership competencies, a set of expected capabilities against which 

our leaders were measured for development and 

performance as part of the performance management cycle.

 These competencies incorporated the leadership skills 

required to deliver BEx, such as holding people accountable, driving improvement and the capacity to influence and develop others. During 2017, we will be introducing our Values into the performance management assessment.

Workforce Planning

During 2016 our workforce planning was focused on shaping our organisation and our workforce to meet customer requirements whilst addressing challenging market conditions. We restructured our operations 

into three components: two customer facing 

businesses in Asia Pacific and the Americas, which share a common nitrogen core through an upstream business - Global Manufacturing. All businesses 

now serve three sectors: Explosives, Industrial Chemicals, and Fertilisers. This has resulted in a 

more fully integrated and streamlined organisation which is well placed to build sustainable value into 

the future. As we implemented our restructure, we maximised the opportunities to retain our high 

potential talent and provide role based development opportunities for our employees. Over 50 percent 

of senior employees have experienced a 

broadening of their role, a role promotion, or other 

role responsibility change during 2016. We also recognised that the change process associated with the restructure meant that many employees, team leaders and middle managers needed to learn new skills and work practices. Read about how we are building our employees capabilities in Learning and Development.


Although our focus has been on organisational wide review of all roles and functions during 2016, we will continue to remain competitive in recruiting talented people for any key positions which arise in 2017 through:

• Continuing to provide market competitive remuneration, alongside merit-based performance management;

• Our new social media strategy, which was implemented last year to raise our profile amongst prospective new candidates;

• Continued use of innovative sourcing strategies to identify talent for future critical talent groups; and

• Consistently reviewing our recruitment process to ensure it is best practice and builds diversity through leveraging new forms of assessment and new technology where appropriate.


Our Talent Metrics


As part of our focused improvements last year, we expanded our range of key talent management metrics. In addition to our retention statistics, these metrics have been utilised in 2016 to inform and assess our effectiveness in talent retention, to identify our development needs and to assist in making appropriate appointments to ensure that our high potential employees and key talents were given development opportunities as a result of the restructure of our business. These metrics remain explicitly linked to our goals, objectives and strategies and will allow us to track and measure our progress in managing our talent into the future. They include the following:


Our Social Return on Investment Metrics

More than ever, people want to know how the work they are doing on a daily basis is contributing to the world. At IPL, we recognise that in addition to creating economic value, the social value that we create as a company is also important, particularly when attracting new talent and engaging our employees. During 2016 we engaged a third party to assist us in the development of Social Return on Investment (SROI) metrics to help us quantify and communicate the value of our social contributions relative to our financial investment in areas such as food production, safety training and employment, and to relate these to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. SROI is a principles-based method for measuring the extra-financial value created by companies. The metrics will become part of the IPL employee value proposition going forward, as they will assist us in communicating to our prospective and current employees how their work at IPL contributes value to the communities in which we operate.