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Fuel Your Workforce

Everyone is talkin' internal talent mobility and workforce agility these days ... and for good reason. Empowering your current talent pool to fill the opportunities of the future is an incredibly powerful tool for blowing up the bottom line. That's why we had Jo Mills, Chief Experience Officer at Fuel50, to help us make sense of the topic and explore ways companies can take better advantage of this exceptional opportunity. If you're looking to make the most out of your current workforce - and who isn't? - this interview from UNLEASH in Paris is a must-listen.


INTRO (1s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (21s):

Oh yeah. What's up everybody? You know where we are? Unleash World, Paris, France. The Chad and Cheese podcast is what you're listening to. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman. Joined as always Chad. So Washington today we welcome Jo Mills, co-founder and Chief Experience Officer at Fuel50, and also a Kiwi?

Jo (41s):

Yeah that's right.

Joel (42s):

New Zealand. Very nice. I think our first New Zealander?

Chad (44s):

So do you go by CXO? Because they're all the C-suites? Is that what it is?

Jo (51s):

Yeah, so basically I'm responsible for the experience our customers have with our product. So post-sale, they come into my hands and my team do all of the onboarding, all of the consulting work and basically care take them from there as well.

Chad (1m 4s):

So customer success on the Chief level?

Jo (1m 6s):

Yes, correct.

Chad (1m 7s):

Okay. I mean cuz that says something about the organization.

Jo (1m 9s):


Chad (1m 10s):

That from a retention standpoint they care. You don't see most companies take it up that far. You might have a VP of Customer Success, but you never have somebody in the C-suite.

Joel (1m 20s):


Chad (1m 21s):

Focused on retention, customer success, those types of things.

Joel (1m 24s):

Agreed. So a lot of our listeners don't know Fuel50. Give us the quick elevator pitch.

Jo (1m 28s):

Sure. So we're an HR talent management talent marketplace software. So what we do is we help people figure out what they're good at, their skills at work and then we help them to match that to opportunities within the organization. So gigs, mentors, roles, journeys, et cetera. And then at the HR lens, they're able to mine that data to fulfill talent vacancies, et cetera.

Joel (1m 49s):


Jo (1m 49s):


Joel (1m 49s):

All the kids are doing it.

Chad (1m 51s):

Data. Well it upskilling, you can use the data for just about anything within an organization, right?

Jo (1m 56s):


Chad (1m 56s):

Depending on where you want to go. Whether it's spot on, upward mobility, all that other fun stuff. So question is, everybody's talking about skills.

Jo (2m 7s):


Chad (2m 7s):

Skills. Skills. It seems to be the new AI this year, right? So tell us about skills. How do you guys actually ingest skills so that, you know, because I mean to me it seems like if you look at somebody's resume, how can you actually absorb skills out of it? Do you have like a certain questionnaire? Do you have a chatbot? How do you actually absorb that data?

Jo (2m 27s):

Yeah, it's a really good question and you've hit the nail on the head talking about AI as the buzzword of the last few years ago. And now everyone is talking about skills for a very good reason cuz what is fueling your AI but data and if you've got really rubbish data around skills

Chad (2m 41s):


Jo (2m 41s):

Basically your AI is meaningless. So organizations are now looking to what's under the hood? What's behind the surface, and what skills are fueling that marketplace and that data experience. So what we do really differently is we fuel the AI with a really robust data source. We have a team of IO psychologists outta South Africa who basically research and understand what's happening in the world of work. They look at today and tomorrow. We of course leverage big data as well, but we apply a level of human intelligence, which means that the skills data that people are assessing themselves against, that they're looking at for learning as a really robust foundational skills data.

Chad (3m 21s):


Jo (3m 21s):

That means that the data you're getting is useful for the organization.

Chad (3m 23s):

You said the human layer, what's the human layer? Those IO psychologists in South Africa? Is that what you're talking about?

Joel (3m 29s):

Human league? I love that band.

Chad (3m 31s):

The Human league. Yes. They're fueled by human league.

Jo (3m 33s):

Yeah. It's a level of human intelligence over big data. So they curate the data and we also apply a DE and I review so all of our skills data goes to a third party and they look at it to make sure it's not got biased language, it's not really dated skills language, and that it is gonna serve the company well when they're helping people to focus in on those skills for their own careers.

Chad (3m 55s):


Joel (3m 55s):

If I'm a company that's looking to get into this, leveraging my current workforce to the best of my ability, what are some things that I should be doing? What questions should I be asking? How do I sell this to upper management? What are the numbers around the benefits? Like just get me started on how to get involved with this.

Jo (4m 13s):

Yeah, and I think that's a really important question of how do you sell it to upper management? But the answer is really around what are we thinking of in terms of our future organization? What are the pain points that are stopping us as a business being successful? And the number one pain point is obviously talent retention and talent acquisition. So you really wanna make sure that you're understanding the workplace and the workforce that you've got today.

Chad (4m 34s):


Jo (4m 35s):

What are the skills that you need that are your unique selling point? What's gonna differentiate you in the market? And then make sure that you're developing people for those particular skill sets. You don't want a generic list of skills, you don't wanna a list of skills that your competitors have in identical. You really wanna make sure you're focusing in on what makes you different and growing people for that differentiator.

Joel (4m 56s):

Any numbers on that? I mean, bottom line stuff. Here's what kind of numbers we're gonna expect with retention and recruitment. Have you guys done that research?

Jo (5m 5s):

Yeah. So employees that use Fuel50 more than five times have a 60% higher chance of retaining, staying with the business. We also have

Joel (5m 13s):

Six zero. Yeah, that's a big number Chad.

Jo (5m 15s):

That's significant. And you think about it like you're tapping into what's important to people. You're helping them to focus and have that clarity. But where they can go.

Chad (5m 22s):


Jo (5m 23s):

Why wouldn't they stay?

Joel (5m 24s):


Chad (5m 24s):

That's a good question. But one of the biggest problems we've seen in the industry is that who's in charge of retention? Is it talent acquisition? Is it HR? Is it the actual departments themselves? That's been the pain in the ass for most organizations. Like our retention sucks. Who's responsible? I have no clue who's responsible. So you being the organization that you're trying to get penetration into these organizations to preach and teach, who do you talk to?

Jo (5m 50s):

Yeah, so we have a number of different buyers. So historically it has been the talent management team who are looking to really support internal mobility within their organization. Increasingly talent acquisition are part of that process and for good reason. One of the challenges that our TA clients are coming to us with is that they don't know the skill sets of people in their business and they're embarrassed because they know there's talent out there, but they've got no way of tapping into it.

Chad (6m 17s):


Jo (6m 17s):

And when they do tap into that talent, the information they have is really dated. So what they're looking for from us is up to date employee profiles and the ability to mine all of those folk that they didn't even know about.

Chad (6m 30s):

There's upward mobility.

Jo (6m 31s):


Chad (6m 32s):

Which means retention.

Jo (6m 33s):


Chad (6m 33s):

Right. Okay. What else? Because there's more.

Joel (6m 36s):

But wait, there's more.

Chad (6m 38s):

Do you help employees understand the skills that they might need to be able to go to different departments, to different positions and those types of things?

Jo (6m 44s):

Yeah. So employees are really crying out for an understanding of what they should focus on. So they've got masses of tools at their disposal.

Chad (6m 52s):


Jo (6m 52s):

Whether it's learning or gigs or mentoring that they, they've got all these things they can use, but they dunno where to focus their attention. Right? So what we do is we provide a curated experience which surfaces up these opportunities in a really targeted way and gives them options because at the end of the day, that's what employees are looking for. They wanna know that as the world changes, they've developed the skills they need to have options for their own future. And to feel confident that no matter what the world throws at them, you know, we've seen so much turmoil over the last few years. Employees want that confidence that they've got the skills they need to protect themselves and to have choices.

Joel (7m 25s):

Let's talk about that for a second. So the world has changed for sure the last couple years with the pandemic. We're more work from home than ever before. We're more remote and companies are struggling with engagement. How do we engage with employees that aren't in an office, you know, five days a week? How has Fuel50's view products evolved over that time to help companies find that engagement and create that mobilization, that retention and recruiting benefit?

Jo (7m 52s):

It's actually really interesting. So our original product was really focused around career engages, like, what's important to you at work? What gets you outta bed in the morning? So that was our foundational product. And that's the product that's really coming to life right now. Because what's important to employees is feeling that purpose and being heard by their leaders. And so Fuel50 allows leaders to have meaningful conversations about what drives me at work, what's important to me, where am I satisfied right now and not satisfied. And as a leader, how can you facilitate micro-changes in my working environment to make me feel more satisfied? And so it's those conversations that are becoming more and more important now as people work from home.

Jo (8m 32s):

You know, we need to facilitate moments where leaders can really deeply understand their people and hear them and respond in a way that helps them to get what they need from their current role.

Chad (8m 43s):

So why did you and Ann start this company? What was the major reason? Was there a lot of research and development or did you just have an experience that was like, this is bullshit, we need to change this?

Jo (8m 56s):


Joel (8m 57s):

Female co-founders.

Jo (8m 57s):

Yeah. A bit of both. A bit of both. So Anne's probably got a slightly different origin story than I do.

Chad (9m 3s):

Okay, good.

Jo (9m 4s):

But basically we were working together post the GFC crisis and we were doing a lot of work with people whose roles had been disestablished or made redundant. And the people I was working with, were really shocked and surprised by the fact that they were out of a job. And it really resonated with me because when I was a young girl, my father had his role restructured and he was also shocked and distressed.

Chad (9m 29s):


Jo (9m 29s):

And we sat down and it felt like there must be a better way. We were like the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. But if we'd helped people understand their skills, grow their capability so that they had options when change happened.

Chad (9m 42s):


Jo (9m 42s):

They would be in a much better state. And so the technology has really just enabled us to do that on mass. So as opposed to coaching individuals and helping them grow their careers, we're now coaching millions of people across the globe through the technology.

Chad (9m 57s):


Jo (9m 57s):


Chad (9m 57s):

Scale. Did you think that you would get to this kind of scale when you started? Cause that's massive.

Jo (10m 2s):

Yeah. I mean we always had such a big vision and dream and our purpose is really around how do we help people have a better workplace experience? And enterprise organizations is where we have the most impact because there's more people.

Chad (10m 14s):


Jo (10m 14s):

So scale was always part of our journey. But yeah, I'm amazed. Every day I wake up and I'm like, I can't believe we're working with these incredible companies that share our vision, that are getting these results for their people.

Joel (10m 25s):

More and more companies now are having their own events, their own in person conferences, if you will. And, you guys are no stranger to that. You have a conference called Fuel X that's coming up in November.

Chad (10m 37s):

What a great name!

Joel (10m 38s):

What can attendees expect? Where can they learn more? Talk about Fuel X.

Jo (10m 42s):

Yeah. Well definitely we have a Fuel X conference every year. The current one in November the 11th is in London. Go to our website to register and learn more. It's gonna be really cool. But what we find is the most benefit for attendees is that they just work a walk away with such amazing networks. Our clients love to collaborate with each other. They really love to support each other in terms of learning and growth and ideas. And every conference I have our clients coming back to me and saying, you know, I loved it, I love the speakers, but gosh, I met some amazing people who now I can tap into to help me with my job.

Joel (11m 15s):

That is Jo Mills everybody. Co-founder and Chief Experience Officer at Fuel50. Jo, if our listeners want to learn more about Fuel50 or Fuel X, where do you send them?

Jo (11m 25s):

Come to our website, We've got lots of thought leadership, white papers, lovely case studies to learn more. And also you can register for Fuel X.

Joel (11m 33s):

Thanks for joining us, Chad. Another one is in the can.

Chad and Cheese (11m 38s):

We out.

Outro (12m 30s):

Thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of Shout Outs of people, you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese, not one cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Any hoo be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. Is so weird. We out.


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