2016 - Will Spensley Finalist Submissions





Cotton On

"Making graduate offers innovative"

Being accepted into a Graduate Program is an exciting experience for any candidate, and here at the Cotton On Group we want to be part of their celebration, even after we’ve phoned to let them know their application was successful.  After contacting our graduates to give them the good news, we told them that their official offer was in the mail. 

Instead of receiving their expected Contract, instead we sent each candidate one of our Typo light boxes and asked them to use the letters enclosed to write a message on the light box, showing how they felt about being accepted into our program.  We asked them to take a ‘selfie’ holding their light box message and send it back to us, while encouraging them to share this photo with their friends on social media.  Not only was this a fun way to connect with our graduates before starting with us, it provided the opportunity to share an insight into our culture here at the Cotton On Group with their wider networks.  Our people are at the heart of what we do, and we are always looking for new and engaging ways to connect with them, right from the start of their journey with us.

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"Game-Based Psychometric Assessment"

Deloitte has long been committed to creating a differentiated and meaningful candidate experience in order to attract the best graduate talent. In 2016, we launched the next evolution with a leading edge game-based psychometric test that immerses the candidate in a realistic on-the-job experience.

Developed in partnership with leading assessment provider Talegent, this next-generation assessment tasks candidates with finding solutions to client-specific scenarios that are unique to the Deloitte experience. At the same time, it provides scientifically-validated measures of cognitive ability and learning agility—both competencies that are proven to correlate with high job performance.

Now used to screen each and every candidate in Deloitte’s graduate recruitment process, this game-based test allows candidates to get a feel for the uniqueness of Deloitte’s culture and the work they may undertake while also providing recruiters with predictive assessment data of their suitability for a role. But more than that, it provides a fun, entertaining and engaging experience for a new generation of grads who have grown up with games. Typical candidate comments include:

“Overall, compared to other assessments I've completed over the years, this one was definitely one of the most interesting and satisfying to complete.”

“Just completed and had a lot of fun in the testing, prefer this to any other type of testing.”

The test employs video to help bring the Deloitte brand to life. A Deloitte team member welcomes candidates to the recruitment process and provides an introduction to our unique culture via an introductory video, and also reappears via video at the conclusion of the test to thank them for their interest and time and instruct them on next steps.

Close collaboration between Deloitte and Talegent was critical in delivering a cutting-edge, tailored assessment experience which has resulted in exceptional candidate feedback and a markedly improved ability to gauge candidate suitability.

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"Innovation at scale - Doubling our graduate intake in 2016"

This year we upped our game and on-boarded 81 graduates, up from 39 the previous year and 18 the year prior! We managed to do this whilst providing a unique and personal experience unlike any other graduate program out there. We evolved from our humble beach house inductions to taking over a CBD hotel for a week!

We started with HackHouse, a fun-filled week which comprised of Atlassian workshops, team building exercises, and embodied our unique culture and values. The week culminated in a long held Atlassian tradition—ShipIt—a 24 hour innovation challenge.

During ShipIt, the grads were let loose to explore the Atlassian code base, incorporating learnings from the weeks tech talks, with the opportunity to hone skills on actual code. The grads formed teams and developed innovative ideas with their fresh perspectives. The HackHouse finale involved the graduates presenting their ground-breaking team projects to the whole company!

After the intensity of HackHouse it didn’t stop there – the graduates jumped into 2 weeks of bootcamp where their learning continued. At these sessions the graduates learnt about the principles, practices and disciplines that they will use to build awesome products and services. After 3 weeks, team challenges completed, senior leaders met, themed events and mountains of pizza devoured the graduates on-boarding came to a close. Grads then joined their teams to constantly innovate, improve and add value to our products and to our customers.

The graduate onboarding process was scaled up in 2016 yet still delivered on the Atlassian values. Friendships were formed that will last a lifetime and Atlassian grads (or Gradlassians as we call them) are set up for success!

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Commonwealth Bank

"Our Virtual Workplace"

The Problem

Commbank continues to be a leading employer in the market, however recruitment has seen a shift from commerce roles to digital and data roles, a new market for us. We’ve found that it is becoming more difficult to attract this graduate STEM talent we need.

We needed to find an engaging way to demonstrate CommBank’s innovation culture and technology leadership to candidates to build better awareness. 

The Innovation

Our team worked with the Innovation Lab to develop a storyboard and prototype a Careers Virtual Reality experience using Oculus Rift technology. It was developed within 5 weeks and first launched at a Sydney University Careers Fair in August 2015.

In the experience, candidates are guided through a 3D replica of our Innovation Lab and face a series of challenges based on our 5 values. The experience enables us to showcase how we use agile methodology to innovate for our customers, highlights key roles that we are looking to hire and enables candidates to understand our values.

After rapidly testing and prototyping the Oculus Rift experience, we developed a mobile app version to allow candidates experience the virtual workplace in their own homes, enabling us to reach a broader talent pool. We send branded Google Cardboard goggles to key talent both locally and internationally, encouraging them to download the app and experience our innovative culture for themselves. 

> Explore our Virtual Workplace by downloading the App here

> Read an interview discussing the innovation here

The Impact  

The virtual workplace has enabled potential stem graduate candidates to get a real understanding of the culture and opportunities at CommBank.

> See the virtual reality experience in action here

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Australian Government Department of Human Services

"Outbound Journey"

The Department of Human Services’ National Graduate Program has a range of development opportunities to inspire, motivate and expand the minds of our leaders of the future. One opportunity in the program is the Outbound Journey.

This year, the Outbound Journey was redesigned to provide a new and innovative approach which provides graduates the opportunity to directly contribute to providing services that assist in the lives of all Australians including multicultural and Indigenous customers. Graduates experience firsthand the Customer Service Centre environment assisting our frontline staff during one of the peak processing periods for the Department. The five-day Outbound Journey has graduates undertaking front of house duties such as assisting customers with self-service options and performing a Customer Liaison Officer role. The journey also gives graduates experience in a call centre environment, dual-head setting with staff in a Smart Centre to listen to enquires from the public.

This year 75 graduates assisted in 37 Customer Service Centres from Ipswich to Dandenong. To equip graduates in delivering high quality services to customers, a range of specialised training was provided prior to commencing placements. Additionally, relationships with local staff and graduates were formed prior to their placements to build relationships and provide local knowledge and insight.

The Outbound Journey benefits the Department’s customers through the provision of dedicated team members assisting, supporting and empowering customers to become more familiar with the self-service products and transition to online services. Most importantly this journey assists in building capacity for experienced and specialised staff to process payments and provide services. The benefits to graduates includes the unique experience gained in having exposure to the significant work that the Department accomplishes during peak periods, and highlights how their role in the corporate environment works to support the Department in providing services to all Australians.


Australia Post

 "Victorian students step out of classroom into the real world" 

  • 2nd year Graduate Development Program 

  • Corporate Immersion experience run by Australia Post graduates, for high school students 

  • In partnership with ABCN and Elisabeth Murdoch College and Maffra Secondary College

Maffra and Langwarrin high school students have stepped out of the classroom and into the practical world of big business as part of a unique workforce partnership program between Australia Post, Maffra Secondary College and Elisabeth Murdoch College.

This unique partnership pairs Year 9 to 12 students from both schools with Australia Post graduates, over a six month period, to share the development of their own professional capabilities and encourage students to expand their career aspirations through being involved in a real business project.

The second year graduate project has been designed to mimic the wider Innovation/Hack day process at Australia Post, with the graduates forming project teams and the students acting as junior team members whilst being mentored by the graduates. The teams participate in a 24 hour hack day with the top ideas moving onto a Shark Tank style pitch to senior leaders, with the winning team of grads joining our intrapreneurship program (an innovative product accelerator process).  

The project involves graduates travelling out to the schools to meet the students and start working on project plans, and then the students travel into the Australia Post CBD headquarters for two days of ‘hacking’ which will help to build their organisation, time management, creative thinking and interpersonal skills.

The students are exposed to a variety of people across the business, from marketers to tech developers, opening their eyes to future job prospects. The project is also a great opportunity for graduates to develop their leadership skills and improve their community engagement experience.

The graduates driving the program are really effective mentors, as they are not much older than the students participating.  These graduates are developing personal and professional competencies which are similar to the employability skills students will require when job seeking, so it’s a unique learning opportunity for all parties involved.

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Queensland Government Chief Information Office

We are living in the digital age, a fast paced world of change. Our Queensland Government IT graduate program was living in the past—caught up in the paper world of fuss and time. Our IT graduates were using text books, paper surveys and delivered talk fest workshops that bored them to death. 

To inject innovation into our program, we have fully digitised the program. We have swapped text books for tablets with interactive electronic workbooks that can be taken anywhere. We have swapped tiresome paper surveys for interactive voting surveys that can give us pre and post workshop readings of a graduate’s built knowledge.  We have swapped boring talk fest workshops for interactive, fast paced training days that really deliver innovation, hands on learning and guest speakers.

The introduction of ‘slack’, an interactive social networking tool continues the training experience, post workshop and brings the social element to the interaction.  Our IT graduates now have more opportunities to interact and improve their profile via targeted events including; speed networking, government conferences and lunch box sessions as part of their graduate experience. 

The innovative changes extend to the stakeholders too, with the program model having a revamp to change program delivery. The training schedule is now delivered 80% in the first year and 20% in the second year.  This improvement means that graduates get the majority of their training in their first year leaving the second year open for specific role training and or rotations. Our innovative changes have improved our overall satisfaction from 80% in 2015 to 97% satisfaction in 2016. 

We believe the changes we have made to the program brings our program into the digital age and supports our IT graduates to learn, interact and profile themselves better, positioning themselves as leading graduates in the Queensland Government.