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Why you want to be piloting L&D and career mobility projects

By Shandel McAuliffe | |6 minute read
Why you want to be piloting L&D and career mobility projects

Piloting new HR technology or projects can be a great way to get initial buy-in, and results to measure future success from. LHH’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, James Mcilvena illustrated the benefits for The HR Leader in a recent podcast in partnership with LHH.

Shandel McAuliffe asked Mr Mcilvena about using pilots for learning and career mobility projects. Mr Mcilvena shared various ways a pilot can be useful.



Using a pilot approach means a business can garner support to help with a more wholistic rollout down the track. Mr Mcilvena stated: “Pilots are a great way to upfront, do a bit of an assessment on whether you have some areas that are likely to be evangelists? Do you have an area that’s been crying out for this type of support? Start in an area that’s going to be favourable to this type of initiative internally. And if you start with an area thats favourable, you can actually learn. And then you build those success stories. And that becomes a really key part of your ‘why’ to maybe some of the areas that are a little bit more dubious.”


Mr Mcilvena commented on how a pilot can be useful in terms of project metrics: “Have some parameters that you want to test with the pilot. So what are you testing? What are your objectives? What are the outcomes?”

“Pre-agree productivity metrics or measures that youre going to test with the pilot. Go ahead and implement it. And then youve actually got your case study. Youre creating effectively a mini- case study to then be able to take back and say, ‘Right, this was our theory, this is what we did, these were the outcomes. Not every pilot case study is going to be a roaring success, but its test-and-learn. And thats why often test-and-learn and fail-fast and all these things we hear about, which are best practice, can be brought to life through pilots without actually going so far into an initiative,” Mr Mcilvena said.

Managing expectations

The managing director explained that using a pilot is also a good way of potentially avoiding having to cancel a project thats been rolled out to a wide team later on, sidestepping the disappointment that would cause. He stated: “Something like this is not the type of initiative that you want to be rolling out and have fall flat because a lot of people, as weve talked about previously, get really excited about the prospects of doing more and having an opportunity for better fulfilment in their roles.

“You cant go halfway with this stuff and then take it away. Because its almost like building up peoples expectations and ripping it away again.”  

Starting small

Mr Mcilvena highlighted the benefits of using a pilot as: “A great way to start with a small sample size. Because often the idea of introducing something for an entire business unit or an entire organisation is, A, a little bit overwhelming, and B, its a big jump for something thats untested. So pilots are amazing.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full podcast conversation with James Mcilvena, click below:


Please note that you can find the recent webcast with HR Leader and in partnership with LHH at: Career and talent mobility simplified.

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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