Page 1


HR on the go P.28 SOCIAL BUSINESS ISSUE 9.12

cultures that work P.32 CORPORATE WELLNESS

health coaches P.40 HUMAN CAPITAL MAGAZINE





What employees want P.16




editor’s letter

Express yourself! Got a burning issue to get off your chest? Check out the readers’ forums at

Best of the best It’s fitting that this issue of Human Capital includes features on “what employees want” alongside the winners of the 2011 Australian HR Awards. Clearly, those on the winners’ list are doing just that – giving their employees what they want – but they are not losing sight of their own business objectives. Voted on by a diverse panel of industry leaders, this list provides the benchmark by which other organisations and professionals will be ranked. As we shift our focus towards the final month of the year, with its accompanying festive activities, it’s worthwhile looking at what corporate Australia can do to ‘give back’ to the people and communities around them. Australians are notoriously generous in terms of their own personal donations to worthy causes; corporate Australia less so. This is slowly changing. Amanda Towe, HR director, Johnson & Johnson Medical, commented after her company scooped Best CSR Strategy at the awards: “The main feature is employee involvement; we’ve really transitioned our work away from company donations, to having people involved in all kinds of local community activities right through to larger programs. We work with children; we work with people who need house repairs, gardening, through to much larger activities with Mission Australia and other big organisations.” Corporate volunteering is shifting away from the traditional unskilled volunteering and donations towards skilled volunteering – that is, employees using their own skill sets to help not-for-profits improve their business operations. Hence, an HR team in a large corporate might be called upon to assist in setting up a performance management process in a not-for-profit that has never had anything formal in place. According to Natalie Howard, manager of NAB’s employee volunteering program, the benefit for the corporate is improved engagement from employees, who effectively get to work on a challenging ‘secondment’ type project and also get to use their well honed skills where they are desperately needed. The benefit for the not-for-profit is they get skills and resources they might otherwise never have the budget to fund. While there is still a whole lot more that corporate Australia can offer charities and not-for-profits, hopefully the ripple effect generated by the actions of companies like NAB and Johnson & Johnson will result in proactive action from corporates of all shapes and sizes in these uncertain times. Look out for a feature on this topic in the January issue of HC.

Iain Hopkins, editor, HC Magazine

Letters to the editor



CONTRIBUTORS Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, The Next Step, Leadership Success, EmployeeConnect


CORPORATE MANAGING DIRECTOR Mike Shipley CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER George Walmsley SALES DIRECTOR Justin Kennedy CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER Colin Chan HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER Julia Bookallil Editorial enquiries Iain Hopkins tel: +61 2 8437 4703 Advertising enquiries National commercial manager, HR products Sophie Knight tel: +61 2 8437 4733 Subscriptions tel: +61 2 8437 4731 • fax: +61 2 8437 4753 Key Media Key Media Pty Ltd, regional head office, Level 10, 1 Chandos St, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia tel: +61 2 8437 4700 fax: +61 2 9439 4599 Offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept as HC can accept no responsibility for loss.

We value your opinions and input. Human Capital would like to hear from you, so send through your comments to editor@hcamag. com. Alternatively, express your thoughts on the readers’ forums at HCAMAG.COM



contents 24

24 | The impossible dream? Human Capital talks to Naomi Simson, founder and ‘chief experience officer’ at RedBalloon, about what makes a ‘Dream Employer’ and why it’s within reach for every organisation 28 | HR goes mobile Don’t know your iPhone from your Android, or how HR might benefit from utilising apps for both? Humair Ghauri explores HR-centric mobile applications


Cover story: What employees want Most employees do give a lot to their employers: time, emotional investment, passion, even ‘discretionary effort’. What do they want in return? Human Capital investigates



38 | Financial advice as an employee benefit? Priceless Beyond the tangible benefits organisations offer employees, Geoff Pritchard suggests taking a look at something slightly more intangible but just as beneficial: financial advice

Check out the HC archive online:


28 46 | Profile: Hilton Hotels This month’s profiled HR professional is using a unique culture awareness initiative to drive customercentric behaviours, all the while tackling the HR challenges associated with rapid growth 32 | It’s a living thing Far from being like a machine, the modern business is more akin to a living organism. Mike Handes outlines why ‘social business’ is forcing HR to embrace technological change


08 | In Step: HR career experts 10 | Legal





n According to a new report based on international research, organisations are being prevented from reaching their employee relocation and business objectives by a range of factors. The survey by Brookfield Global Relocation Services, 2011 Global Relocation Trends, identified: CROSS-CULTURAL MANAGEMENT


n HR directors may be underestimating the potential business impact of foreign employees’ ability to understand and be understood in English. New research released by the London School of English found that 98% of HR directors believe that their non-native English speaking staff can communicate effectively. However, Hauke Tallon, director at the London School of English, said that HR directors were not taking into account the need for additional vocabulary training (including industry-specific jargon) or the potential for confusion where strong foreign accents are involved. More than half (52%) of surveyed HR directors said that they did not believe that English spoken with a strong foreign accent would cause confusion. And 69% said that they would not consider training to soften a strong accent, yet Tallon said a simple course could make the difference between clarity and confusion. Tallon warned that by not investing in cross-cultural, language and communications training, organisations may be risking their international growth opportunities. EMPLOYER BRANDING


n A recent global study has revealed the increasing incidence of executives taking over responsibility for employer brand strategies, with a 13% increase over the last two years. According to the 2011 Employer Branding Global Research study from Employer Brand International, the number of HR departments in charge of brand strategy has declined by 12% over the past two years. Eighty-four per cent companies believe a clearly defined strategy is the key to achieving employer branding objectives, and yet just 14% companies have a defined strategy for marketing their employer brand. Companies that invest in 4


developing their employer brand can expect an increase in employee engagement and new candidate enquiries with some 38% of companies saying they had experienced growth in these areas after expanding their brand. Perhaps the most startling statistical increase came from the 209% growth in social media usage since 2009, with a rush of companies having built up their online presence in order to recruit from and engage with their followers. Brett Minchington, CEO and Chairman at Employer Brand International, said successful brand strategies come from companies with teams combined of HR, marketing and communications professionals, with links to external specialist brand managers completing the team.

The month in numbers

$1.1m – the

amount a woman is suing IBM for failing to act after she reported being sexually harassed and bullied by a senior executive

75% – the

percentage of over 3,000 global executives surveyed by Corporate Executive Board (CEB) that questioned their successors’ readiness to move into a leadership role

500,000 – number of ‘green collar’ jobs that the Australian Conservation Foundation and ACTU anticipate will be generated as a result of the Government’s carbon tax bill

35-44 – age

bracket found to be ‘least satisfied’ with their lives and also the ‘most sleep deprived’, according to a survey of 60,000 Australians conducted by psychologist Dr Anthony Grant

The top relocation challenges: • assignment costs (15%) • finding suitable candidates (12%) • career management (12%) • compliance (9%) The top family challenges: • partner resistance (47%) • family adjustment (32%) • children’s education (29%) • location difficulties (25%) Scott Sullivan, executive vice president of Brookfield Global Relocation Services, said many of the problems that occur during international relocations arise from poorly translating priorities into employee mobility initiatives. “Sometimes this is caused by priorities that seemingly conflict with each other or by gaps in communication among business leaders, managers, employees, and even international employee mobility leaders,” Sullivan said.



n With the passing of the carbon tax by the lower house, commentators are already tipping the beginning of a new jobs boom: the green collar workforce. Green Collar Talent’s Jan Rieche expects the number of industry and research jobs in carbon offset generating projects, such as forestry and soil carbon, to increase markedly. Tim Wilson, director of the Institute of Public Affairs, added, “The new Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be given $10bn worth of funding to manage and invest in the deployment of clean energy alternatives,” Wilson said. According to John Revie from carbonjobs, a major challenge for most in-house sustainability professionals will be convincing senior management to think of climate change measures as a benefit with the potential for genuine ROI rather than a cost imposed. SUCCESSION PLANNING


n Despite more than half of HR managers expecting to expand their workforce within the next 12 months, most Australian businesses do not harness the potential of in-house mobility. Jason Blessing, executive vice president of new research from consultancy firm Taleo said poor use of talent mobility is inhibiting growth in Australian companies. Blessing said utilising talent mobility is the most efficient way to staff key initiatives and special projects. Currently the main roadblocks stopping increased mobility are poor data and inadequate systems in place to facilitate seamless mobility. “It takes a comprehensive talent management infrastructure to give decision makers the intelligence to understand where the top performers are and who has the expertise to drive strategic growth initiatives,” Blessing said. REMUNERATION

GULF BETWEEN PAY RISE EXPECTATIONS n A new survey has revealed that while 35% of employees expect their salary to rise by 6% or more in their next review, just 6% of employers intend on meeting that expectation. Source: Hays 2011 Salary Guide


% of those surveyed

40 30


43% 32%



20 10 0

6% 3% or less

Between 3% and 6%

6% or more

Pay increase by % Employee expectation

Employer expectation


forum Readers’ comments PREPAIDPLANS on 05 Jul 2011 01:39 PM Yes and yep. If the company offering the role can’t make up its mind or organise itself to hold a second interview then you do begin worrying that they might not exactly be as organised as you would expect. ROBERT RE on 11 Jul Prepaidplans on 05 Jul 2011 01:39 PM As long as it takes to get the right candidate.

Job seekers turned off by lengthy recruitment process More than three quarters of prospective employees are turned off a job/employer by a long recruitment process, according to a new survey. A survey of almost 800 professionals, conducted by Robert Walters, revealed that the two biggest influences on a job seeker’s opinion of an employer are the length of the recruitment process and the person or persons conducting the interviews. The research found that 79% of job-seekers were turned off from a job by a long recruitment process and 45% have withdrawn from a recruitment process because they didn’t like the person or persons conducting the interviews. Robert Walters’ managing director – Australia, James Nicholson, said the findings are consistent with feedback consultants regularly receive from candidates. “As we progress through 2011, skills shortages are becoming apparent across a range of industries/professions and quality candidates

often have multiple employment options to choose from,” he said. “We’ve consistently seen that the organisations that are slow to make decisions or fail to properly sell the role/employment promise find it impacts their ability to attract the best talent available. As a result, it is critical that employers examine their recruitment processes to ensure they are streamlined and clearly defined, and that the people involved in the process are best equipped to represent the organisation in a positive light.” In other findings, 77% of respondents believed that a full recruitment process (from applying for the job to receiving a written employment contract) should take less than one month; only 3% believe it should take more than two months. The majority of respondents (71%) also believe they should only have to undertake two job interviews before receiving a job offer, and 91% said they had at some stage applied for a job and never received a response.

What do you think? Leave your comments on all HC news and opinion:



TAMMY on 13 Jul 2011 11:37 PM Recruiters and companies have totally forgotten that candidates are critically assessing them, their professionalism, follow-up and decision making process just as much as they are assessing the candidate. MICHELLE on 22 Jul 2011 04:10 PM I believe lengthy initial applications with too many key selection criterias are turning time-poor quality candidates off as well. I think the whole recruitment process should take within a month and all applications should receive a response – that is just professional courtesy MEGAN on 05 Oct 2011 10:44 AM As a recruiter who receives hundreds of applications for every role posted, I am unable to respond personally to each. I’d have to hire a full time admin assistant to get through them all. It is a pity because some people put a lot of time and effort into those applications. We do have an automated response explaining this and apologising for not being able to contact every candidate individually, but I imagine for most recruiters in my industry it is the same. LAUREN on 13 Oct 2011 02:05 PM I think it depends on the role – the level of responsibility and what is expected. But I think no more than 3-4 interviews, and these don’t have to be traditional “across the desk interviews” – they could include meeting the team, completing a practical task or a psychometric test.


the big story

Top tips: Three experts give their thoughts on hiring top talent


CHRISTINE FITZHERBERT, executive director human resources, Royal Melbourne Hospital It’s a very simple challenge – finding the right people in the right role in the right place at the right time. It’s a bit of a catch phrase but I can’t describe it any better than that. That is finding the people for roles that we need filled, and also ensuring that even if they’re only 80% ready for those roles, we have in place strategies to develop their full capacity


CHERIE CURTIS, head of psychology, Onetest If we think about a candidate a little bit like an iceberg, there are some things we can see clearly above the surface, and those things we can look for in a resume or an application form. We can get a good understanding of skills and experience. But what sits below the surface? This is the bulk of the influencing aspect of an iceberg and a candidate, and it’s those elements that psychometric testing measures. These days most assessments are delivered online without the need for a psychologist. HR professionals and line managers are equipped to use these tools very practically in the recruitment process.


NAOMI SIMSON, founder, RedBalloon One of the great things we do is group interviewing because we want to see how people operate when they’re with other people. It’s only done on a first name basis, we don’t talk about anything technical about the role, but we want to make sure we get to know that person – what did you think about the values, which one related to you? What book have you read recently – all kinds of nebulous questions. But we’re watching how people interact very carefully. Often there will be a technical task – if they’re going to be in customer experience can they answer an email, what does that look like? Then they get to meet the team and their manager.




David Grant is the Director of The Next Step’s Sydney office. For additional information call (02) 8256 2500 or email dgrant@ Website:

Have you bought a ticket in the talent stakes? I attended HC magazine’s HR Awards on Friday 28 October and it was encouraging to see a number of award categories recognising the great work being done by some companies in Australia to establish an effective employer brand (EB). Some companies are really ‘getting’ the importance of developing EBs and these not just being advertising ‘spin’, but playing an integral role in these companies’ broader employee lifecycle management. For those of you currently struggling to get buy-in from your senior business leaders to commit the necessary resources to establishing an EB, there is significant supporting evidence to help your cause. Kellie Tomney of STAND OUT ADVantage has worked with various blue chip Australian companies such as Westpac and St.George Bank, and was on the judging panel for the Employer Branding categories at the HR Awards. Kellie’s research into EB has identified some metrics that provide sound evidence of the benefits of implementing an EB, such as: • Providing access to up to 20% more of the talent market • Improving new hires commitment level by up to 29% and maintaining that level a year later Source: CLC, Attracting & Retaining Critical Talent Segments 2006

Kellie’s research is further supported by a survey conducted by Hewitt focused on ‘Emerging trends in Employee Branding’. The survey results are presented in the graph above. As external recruiters, we get a lens into a multitude of organisations and it is apparent that there is still a huge opportunity for organisations to gain competitive advantage through proactively developing, managing and living their EB. While the GFC served up a temporary spike in talent supply, which enabled employers to secure suitable talent regardless of the quality and efficiency of their recruitment, assessment and on-boarding 8


Benefits of Employer Brand Development Retains Current Employees


Increases Employee Engagement or Satisfaction


Attracts Job Candidates


Motivates Employees in Their Work Leads to Improved Business Results

79% 71%

Other (e.g., Unique Culture)


Do NOT believe there are significant benefits (n = 228)

1% 0%


40% 60% 80% Percent of Respondents that have experienced improvement


Source: Hewitt’s Survey on “Emerging Trends in Employee Branding”

processes, the pendulum has since swung well and truly in favour of candidates who are now typically considering two or three job opportunities concurrently. So the window that employers create to their organisations will be a key determinant of whether high calibre talent selects your firm or your competitor’s. So, while having a 360 degree EB in place is the holy grail to both attracting and retaining top talent, there are some simple disciplines that you can implement at little to no cost, to at least create a positive image in the attraction and on-boarding stages of what could in time be a more comprehensive EB proposition. 1. Prepare a full and proper job brief, including technical and behavioural requirements, challenges associated with the role and expected deliverables in the first 3–6 months (ie probation period). 2. Have the Line Manager provide a detailed briefing to the recruitment consultant who will be managing the assignment. It is far more ‘powerful’ getting a brief from the person the role will be reporting to than a third party representative. 3. Agree a mini project plan with your recruitment consultant and internal stakeholders that incorporates scheduled dates for your internal interviews. This will ensure you have times booked in the diaries of other internal stakeholders well in advance to ensure you keep the process

moving, in order to maximise your chances of being able to secure your preferred candidate. 4. Get all your relevant business stakeholders on the same page, not just in terms of the technical skills required to fill a vacancy, but the values and behavioural attributes of the desired candidate. 5. Ensure that in your internal interviews you have a balanced focus on assessing candidates’ suitability, as well as dedicating time to discussing some of the benefits of working for your organisation, whether related to remuneration and benefits, learning and development or career development opportunities. 6. Provide detailed feedback on unsuccessful candidates promptly. They may not be right for the job, but may be suitable for future opportunities and/or may even be customers/ consumers of your organisation, so maintaining a positive brand image in their minds is important. Remember ‘word of mouth’ is a powerful medium. 7. Generate your Letter of Offer and issue it to your preferred candidate promptly (preferably within 48 hours). This gives candidates confidence that the offer is ‘real’ and minimises the likelihood of candidates withdrawing after verbal acceptances or accepting counter offers. 8. Develop a comprehensive induction program and put a scheduled on-boarding plan in place which includes pre-agreed times to catch up to discuss their progress and address any concerns or challenges they may be experiencing. With an ageing workforce, the increasing momentum of globalisation and the (hopeful) rebound of the global economy, the ability to attract desired talent is going to become increasingly challenging. Those companies not giving EB considerable consideration will soon find themselves out of the race in securing these increasingly scarcer resources and consequentially place their organisation’s profitability and future at risk.



Recent HR Market Moves Kimberley Clark has appointed Richard Wait as their HR Manager for Ingleburn, Albury and the Supply Chain groups. Richard previously enjoyed a successful career with George Weston Foods in which he held both HR management and business management roles. Sandra Ventre has joined Qantas as their Head of Organisational Development. Prior to joining Qantas Sandra spent six years with Reckitt Benckiser in HR Director roles in both Sydney and London and was most recently the Regional HR Director ANZ. She was previously with leading UK FMCG business United Biscuits. Singtel Group has appointed Cara Reil into the role of Vice President Talent Management & Development based in Singapore. Cara brings extensive experience within the Australian, Asian and US markets and was most recently the Director of Talent & Leadership with AMP. Her prior experience spans AXA General Insurance, PDM International, Royal Bank of Scotland and United Technologies Corporation. Belinda Christie has joined the Garvan Institute as their HR Manager. Prior to being appointed to this role, Belinda had a successful career with Primary Healthcare in HR, training and business management roles. Mercer has appointed Samantha Berry as their Recruitment Leader for Australia & New Zealand. Samantha brings strong experience from Ernst & Young, where she was most recently the ACPAC Recruitment Process Lead. Prior to this she held the

role of Recruitment Specialist with Computershare. Jane Pickett has accepted the role of Senior HR Manager, Shared Services at Holden where she will specialise in the remuneration and benefits space. Prior to joining Holden, Jane held specialist remuneration and benefits roles with Suncorp and Aviva. Most recently Jane has held the role of Performance & Rewards Manager with nab. AMP has appointed Olivia Rodrigo to the role of Organisational Change & Delivery Manager which will see her focus on the continuing integration of the AXA business into AMP. Olivia joins AMP after a long and diverse career with ANZ most recently working in their global HR consulting division. Victoria University has appointed Paul LeFebvre to the role of Vice President, People & Culture. Prior to joining VU Paul had a significant career with GSK both here and overseas. Most recently Paul held the role of Head of Human Resources, Global Manufacturing & Supply. Fiona Shields has accepted the role of National Resourcing Manager with Blake Dawson. Fiona brings significant experience in the resourcing and talent acquisition space having worked for leading organisations such as Optus, Telstra and Spotless.

Hay Group has appointed Sec Maljanek to the role of HR Manager for the Pacific region. Prior to joining Hay Group, Sec was employed by Crown Melbourne where she held a wide range of roles across the business. Djad Trenerry has joined Adecco as their Employee Relations and Organisational Development Manager based in Melbourne. Djad joins Adecco after a successful career in both HR and operations with Sensis and most recently Gapbuster Worldwide. Ilana Gold has been appointed to the role of HR Business Partner with ADP. Ilana joins ADP having previously worked for Village Roadshow and before that Tattersalls. Most recently Ilana undertook a contract opportunity with Aurecon.

By supplying Market Moves, The Next Step is not implying placement involvement in any way.





Helen-Anne MacAlister is an Associate at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, Employment & Industrial Relations Group (02) 9291 7100

Restraints of trade: they aren’t enforceable, are they? It is increasingly common for contracts of employment to contain a restraint of trade clause preventing an employee from working in competition with their former employer after exiting the business. However, a significant proportion of employees still believe that restraints are unenforceable and that there’s no need to abide by them when accepting a new position. The recent decision in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Red Bull Australia Pty Limited v Stacey [2011] NSWSC 1212 helps focus our minds on the fact that the courts are willing to support employers and enforce restraints if they consider that they are reasonable. In this interlocutory decision, two senior executives of Red Bull Australia Pty Limited (“Red Bull”) were forced to resign from their new positions with their new employer, Calidris 28 Australia & New Zealand Pty Limited (“Calidris”). The ultimate holding company, based in Luxembourg, is Calidris 28 Group. Calidris manufactures drinks that are described as “a new generation of energy drinks”. Mr Stacey was the General Manager of Red Bull. Mr Graebner was the Marketing Director. Both employees had signed contracts of employment with Red Bull stating that they wouldn’t directly or indirectly be involved in any business in competition with or in a similar nature to the business being carried on by Red Bull at their termination date “including but not limited to any business concerned with the development, sale, supply, manufacture or research relating to alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages either containing taurine, caffeine or guarana, or beverages which are marketed as an energy drink …”. Both employees were terminated on 30 November 2010, Mr Stacey was subject to six months’ notice and a further six month 10


The Supreme Court of NSW decision highlights the fact that courts are willing to support employers and enforce restraints if they consider them reasonable restraint. Mr Graebner was terminated with notice and a 12-month restraint. Both restraints were to end on 30 November 2011. Red Bull claimed that both men were in breach of their contracts and that neither of the restraint periods was unreasonable in scope or duration, particularly in regard to the senior positions that both men held within Red Bull. Mr Stacey and Mr Graebner argued the restraints were not enforceable as:1. the Deed of Release signed on termination was expressed to be the “entire agreement between the parties” including (as far as they were concerned) the alleged restraints contained in their much earlierdated contracts of employment; 2. representations were made to each of them that the restraint clause would not be acted on; and 3. Calidris was targeting a different segment of the market from Red Bull and

any competition would be miniscule. Ultimately, none of these arguments succeeded. While Mr Stacey and Mr Graebner maintained the restraints were not enforceable, they nevertheless offered a number of undertakings including that they would not be involved with any energy drink brands in competition with, or similar to, the Red Bull energy drink in the Australian market. Justice Rein found that the men were effectively running the Calidris business in Australia and that Red Bull had a strong argument that Calidris was a competitor. He found that Red Bull was entitled to reject the men’s undertakings as one of the purposes of the restraint was to prevent any potential conflict between the demands of the new employer’s business and that of the previous employer. As a result, Justice Rein granted the interlocutory injunctive relief sought by Red Bull, namely that the men could not be employed by Calidris during the restraint period. Both men had to resign their positions. The general principles underlying restraint clauses are these: for a restraint to be enforceable, it must be reasonable, it must protect a legitimate interest of the employer and the extent of the restriction must be no wider than is necessary to protect the employer’s business (including geographical restriction and duration). As a result of this decision, employees, particularly executives, must be aware that if they sign a contract with a new employer that breaches a pre-existing restraint, they place themselves at risk of a court order requiring them to quit their new jobs. Carroll and O’Dea frequently provides advice regarding the drafting and enforcement of restraint of trade provisions. As with most legal complexities, “the devil is in the detail”.


my brilliant career


love animals From a fun pets-at-work policy through to more serious advice for HR professionals looking to move up the corporate ladder, Human Capital profiles the career of Sylvia Burbery, general manager of Mars Petcare Australia Human Capital: You moved into an HR role after some time in other areas of business at Mars. What drew you to an HR role initially? Sylvia Burbery: I’ve always been interested in people, particularly in supporting their development to achieve their full potential. Mars provides great opportunities for its Associates – that’s what we call ‘employees’ at Mars – to move cross-functionally as they develop their careers, and I was excited about the opportunity to work in this area. The people & organisation area also piqued my interest because it seemed that it was a function that had the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of the business. HC: What do you think it takes to succeed in HR? SB: Firstly, I think it’s critical to be able to effectively balance being an Associate advocate and also be a business advocate. Successful HR people are able to walk



the tight-rope between what’s best for the business and what’s best for its people. I also think successful HR operators need perspective, broad business acumen, strategic agility and a genuine desire to engage and develop people. You also need to be a sound judge of talent, have the ability to see the potential in people and then work collaboratively to draw out the best in them. HC: How has your HR experience helped you in your current role as GM of Mars Petcare Australia? SB: Mars has a very people-centred philosophy, based on our Five Principles of Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom. I see my role primarily as creating the conditions that enable people to succeed. My HR experience helps me better understand what drives people, and how to tap into those passions to drive real engagement and empowerment. For me it’s all about setting direction and strategy, then giving others the

Successful HR people are able to walk the tight-rope between what’s best for the business and what’s best for its people” – SYLVIA BURBERY

FAST FACTS: MARS AUSTRALIA Mars Australia was established in 1954 with the launch of the now iconic MARS Bar Australia is one of Mars Inc’s top 10 markets based on net sales in 2010. Globally net sales were more than $30bn Mars Petcare is the largest business segment in Australia Mars Australia is a significant employer and manufacturer in rural Australia HCAMAG.COM 13

Perks, benefits and more wellness of employees which has had some lifesaving results Mars Inc prides itself on having a great culture, some examples include: Pets at work policy – employees are encouraged to bring their pets to work. It’s not uncommon to share your desk with a cat, says Sylvia Burbery The Mars Volunteer program is an initiative that allows all employees to take one paid day off each year to volunteer – traditionally October is the volunteer month in Australia The Wrigley Believe program – a program designed to support worklife balance

responsibility and freedom to decide how they’re going to make it happen.

Mars Inc will be carbon neutral by 2040 Already, Mars Australia has made excellent progress to achieving this, eg, through actively reducing its carbon emissions across all its sites since 2006 A range of sustainability initiatives are already in place – eg, Mars Petcare’s Wacol, Queensland plant reduced CO2 emissions by 46% and has more than halved the amount of waste that is sent to landfill over the last five years

Mars Petcare Wellness program – a program designed to support

HC: Any advice to other HR professionals looking to move up the corporate ladder – perhaps to CEO or GM roles? SB: I would encourage people to stay broad – getting experience outside of the HR function early in their careers is helpful. The important thing is to develop strong commercial acumen and focus on creating value across the full spectrum of HR – from administration to associate relations, and change agent to business partner. Taking opportunities to participate in and/or lead business-wide, cross-functional activities is always helpful as it gives you a real sense of what makes the business tick. HC: You’ve worked in New Zealand and the US – has that international experience helped your career? SB: Absolutely – one of the great things about working for a company like Mars is the opportunity to gain a wide range of experiences across multiple functions, business units and geographies. New Zealand gave me the chance to really get to know the breadth of – and the details that made up – the Mars business, as well as developing a very diverse set of skills. Mars’ US operation is a much larger, more complex organisation where I gained huge perspective on scale, as well as being given the opportunity to dive in and focus on specific areas in far greater detail. HC: What do you consider to be your biggest career achievement to date? SB: I’m extremely proud of the achievements of the New Zealand business while I was general manager there. We underwent a significant turnaround, recording a massive improvement in business performance and – more importantly – a major cultural shift. One of our greatest achievements was being awarded the JRA Best Place to Work in NZ (medium size enterprise) in 2008. I’m

Career timeline: Sylvia Burbery 1986–1988

Early career Clerical and vision/ hearing testing, New Zealand Health Dept Sales roles, office equipment companies


Variety of sales roles, Enza Products (now



known as Frucor), then sales manager for Taupo South


Sales roles across Petcare and Operations businesses, then national petcare business manager, Mars New Zealand


First job in HR P&O manager, Mars New Zealand: Key areas of focus included improving performance management and starting the Wanganui factory pouch facility, a sizeable recruitment task


P&O manager, Mars USA, Mars Chocolate factory, Cleveland TN: focus on L&D for 800-strong team of associates Senior P&O manager, Mars USA, Petcare factory, Colombus OH: Worked with the


Getting experience outside of the HR function early in your career is helpful – SYLVIA BURBERY

particularly pleased about the legacy that I left behind when I moved on to my current role in Australia, as the NZ team went on to win overall Best Place to Work in the 2010 JRA Best Place to Work Awards – a fantastic result! HC: Describe yourself in a few key words? SB: I’m definitely driven and achievement-oriented, but mostly I think I’m just a pretty normal human being – a Mum with adult kids who loves to travel and enjoys a bit of scrap-booking, going to the gym and being involved in my local church. I’ve been told I never forget anything – not only by my kids! – and I’m deeply committed to seeing people reach their full potential. HC: Do you have any role models professionally or personally? SB: I like to learn from all sorts of different people at all stages in their careers and from all different backgrounds. I’m constantly looking for new things that I can learn from others. I am a big fan of Ernest Shackleton and love his style of leadership but I honestly believe that there’s something to be learned from every person I meet.

More industry profiles at:

USA & Canada Petcare Supply Team and the US Engineering Team on a range of graduate recruitment, organisational enablement and team building programs Organisational development & talent

management director, Mars USA (based in Hackettstown NJ): Worked on management strategy development, team development, performance management and

aligned model to the current segment model


central recruitment function initiatives; facilitated and led the transition of the Mars business from a country-

General manager, Mars New Zealand: Oversaw the NZ crosssegment sales and marketing team; led a cultural change and business turnaround

that not only saw business results significantly improve, but won the Best Medium Sized Business in the JRA Best Place to Work Awards in 2008; proud of building a sustainable business and culture


General manager, Mars Petcare Australia: Leads Mars’ largest segment in Australia, spanning four manufacturing sites, two sales offices and 14 market-leading brands, including Whiskas and Pedigree HCAMAG.COM 13

HR strategy

On target Most employees do give a lot to their employers: time, emotional investment, passion, even ‘discretionary effort’. What do they want in return? Human Capital investigates




what employees want The theories underpinning the concept of employee engagement have for several years been diluted and clouded behind management double-talk and the assurance that without the complexity, consultants would struggle to remain in business. However, it need not be that way. In an overly complex world, sometimes it pays to strip the layers back to basics. Assessing engagement drivers and “what employees want” – and then delivering on those – will always be a challenging balancing act for business. However, at root much of it is commonsense. Jack Wiley, executive director of the Kenexa High Performance Institute, has surveyed over 200,000 employees around the world over the past 30 years. The results are published in annual WorkTrends reports, but Wiley’s conclusion is simple: there are seven things that employees really want from their managers and their organisations (refer to graph 1). Speaking with Human Capital about the 2011 results, Wiley says those seven fundamental needs are the same across different countries, different industries and different job roles. “The real story from our research, however, is the impact on engagement, productivity, customer service and the bottom line when organisations meet these needs. Their employee engagement level is 117% higher; their operational performance is 64% higher; their customer satisfaction level is significantly greater and their ‘return on assets’ is up to 10 times higher.” Wiley explains that business leaders should care about what employees want for two reasons. “When we looked at the correlations, even we were surprised by just how strongly related the elements of RESPECT are to employee engagement, operational performance, customer satisfaction, and different financial outcome measures,” he says. “Our research indicates that those organisations that create more RESPECTful work environments are also delivering superior results.” The second reason has to do with values: “This is absolutely fundamental and it goes back to the most basic of exchanges; treat people the way you would want to be treated and you’ll have loyal, committed followers and advocates. These are the conditions under which organisations can achieve and exceed their goals,” he says. Wiley notes two key surprises from the 2011 results. The first is that the fair compensation category only captured 25% globally of what employees want (19% in Australia) – Wiley says he anticipated that this figure would be higher. The second surprise was the percentage of employees who identify employment security as their most important want. “Organisations don’t talk about employment security much these days, but the global WorkTrends survey results clearly indicate that this is still top of mind for employees and something that they earnestly seek,” he says. Wiley talks more in-depth about the results over the following pages.

Australian results: What employees really want 21% 10%


16% 7%


Graph 1

Recognition – 21% Exciting work – 6% Security – 21% Pay – 19% Education and career growth – 7% Conditions – 16%


Truth – 10%

Building RESPECT RECOGNITION – close the gap between employee actions and when they are recognised EXCITING WORK – expand employee skills by providing more work variety SECURITY – support employees by investing in them PAY – create an annual compensation and benefits revue EDUCATION AND CAREER GROWTH – cross-train employees CONDITIONS – be clear about team and individual roles and objectives TRUTH – tell the truth when things are bad; lying undermines credibility

We were surprised how strongly related the elements of RESPECT are to engagement, performance, customer satisfaction, and financial outcomes – JACK WILEY



what employees want Recognition (21%)

A pat on the back from managers and the organisation at large “Recognition when we do a good job – right now it’s all about getting chewed up when we mess up”

“More respect from senior management”

Recognition formed a significant chunk of ‘what employees want’ (20% globally; 21% in Australia) yet many companies seemingly still get this wrong. Wiley outlines his concerns: “There is nothing wrong with high profile, high visibility recognition programs. Unfortunately, they tend to recognise a select number of individuals. What our research clearly reveals is that recognition is a fundamental human need for all employees at all levels. All employees want is that pat on the back, a thank you, an ‘at a boy’ or ‘at a girl’ for the contributions they make on an ongoing basis that help their companies achieve success. It’s not a cost issue; it’s an issue of acknowledgement,” he says.

% rating their immediate manager favorably

“I want to be respected and recognised as a valuable team member”

100 80

Recognition and managerial performance 78%






40 20 0




24% 16%

Task People Keeps management management commitments Employees satisfied with recognition

Outstanding Builds Outstanding leader confidence leader

Employees dissatisfied with recognition

Exciting work (6%)

A job that’s interesting, challenging and fun “I would like to broaden the scope of the work that I do, be a little more creative”

“To know that I make a difference”

Exciting work – a job that’s interesting, challenging and fun – was desired by 7% of employees globally (6% in Australia). It doesn’t sound difficult, but again employers frequently get it wrong. Wiley says that for employers to provide ‘excitement’ at work, the first and most important thing is for managers to ask their direct reports what elements of their work they find most exciting and engaging. While there may be limits to what a manager can do about job redesign, they should be matching interests and abilities with the tasks that need to be completed. “They need to do all that in a way that generates the most excitement among employees for their work,” he says. “As a general note, we find that employees find work more exciting when they have more autonomy and where it’s clear that management trusts them to make the best decisions.”

% indicating excitement about work

“Opportunities to excel and be challenged by the work I do”


Creating work excitement

80 60


68% 52%




40 20 0

Cross-trained Learning Yes



R&D Pioneering


Remote work Outstanding Autonomyleader

Security (21%)

You may not want to talk about this but employees do

Job security drivers LEADERSHIP ATTRIBUTE


Competence (52%)

Motivating vision


Well-led organisation


Work excitement


Opportunity to develop skills


Opportunity for development


Career goal achievement


Work-life balance support


Safety is a priority


Contribution is valued


CSR improves satisfaction


Benevolence (55%)

Ethics (53%)


“Steady work”

“A permanent job”


As previously mentioned, Wiley was initially surprised at the high percentage of employees desiring job security (18% globally; 21% in Australia). However, on reflection he says that fair compensation and employment security form the “fundamental quid pro quo” between employers and employees. “At a basic level we all need our income streams to support ourselves and our families, to meet our basic goals in life. Employers may not be able to promise a ‘job for life’ but they can create employment experiences that help develop workers and make them more appealing to other employers – in effect allowing them to secure ‘jobs for life’,” he explains. When Kenexa probed deeper into the topic of job security, it was found that employees were much more likely to feel secure in their employment if they viewed the organisation as well led, pursuing a motivating vision and where there was an opportunity for them to develop their skills. “This skill development piece ties back to the notion that even if my current organisation can’t provide job security, at least I’m becoming a more capable employee and therefore my skills are more marketable to my next employer,” Wiley says.



what employees want Pay (19%)

“Compensation that is fair and respectful”

Fair compensation for a day’s work It’s long been established that using pay as a retention tool is flawed, but clearly employees (25% globally; 19% in Australia) still desire fair and equitable remuneration, and expect their employers to come to the party. “Pay is important,” says Wiley. “What our deeper research has clearly revealed across all major economies in the world is that employees are more likely to feel they are paid fairly when they understand how their compensation is determined. This means understanding how they can maximise their income and knowing how their performance relates to their pay. Therefore, organisations who create more transparency around their compensation practices will gain enhanced employee commitment.”

“Unfreeze pay”

Most valued compensation components (Australia)

Opportunities to develop skills and a career

Conditions (16%)

Comfortable physical and social working conditions Conditions – including the physical and social aspect of working conditions – were cited by 11% of employees globally (16% locally) as their most important concern. Wiley says it’s especially noteworthy that four out of five comments in this area dealt with the social aspect of working conditions, rather than physical aspect. In order to foster favourable working conditions, Wiley suggests that organisations need to be clear about the value system in place at all levels of the organisation. While some organisations claim clarity in this area, they nevertheless tolerate abuses of those values by lower level managers. A situation like that requires some tough corrective action. 20


Bonuses or incentives 11%

Pay – 82%

Education and career growth (7%) 80

Percent favourable

Despite the continuing global economic uncertainty, lessons from the GFC have hopefully not been forgotten: employers that slashed L&D opportunities were left in a perilous state once conditions improved, simply because their employees had fallen behind. In the Kenexa study, education & career growth was valued by 9% of employees surveyed globally (7% locally). Of particular interest, Wiley notes, was that education and career growth was of concern to first line supervisors. “These people are carrying out managerial responsibilities for the first time, so they may have anxieties about that and are likely to have a strong desire to be better and have more confidence in what they do,” he says. “On the other hand education and career growth was notably less important for production and service workers; they were more interested in fair compensation and job security.”

“Good pay for a hard day’s work”


“A chance to improve and advance”

“Clear development path”

Benefits 7%

“Fair career opportunities”

Development opportunities by generation 70%


61% 62%


55% 52%


50% 47%

20 0

Trained to perform current job effectively

Current employer provides opportunity to improve skills

Millennials (%)

“Healthy and safe work environment”

Can achieve career goals at current employer

Generation X (%)

Boomers (%)

Creating positive working conditions (global average) 56%


“To work in an environment that is free of any type of discrimination”

“To be taken seriously when I go forward with a concern”

Social conditions (56%) Physical conditions (62%)

Frank, honest and transparent leaders

The Kenexa study revealed that 10% of employees globally (and locally) value frank, honest and transparent leaders. A stark reality, says Wiley, is that worldwide only around 50% of employees feel that when managers say something they can believe that it’s true. “This is a huge credibility problem,” he says. “It’s important because the views of senior leadership have a huge impact on employee engagement. In fact, working for leaders who inspire confidence in the future is one of four major pillars of employee engagement and we know employee engagement is associated with higher levels of customer satisfaction as well as stronger financial performance. For all of these reasons, it is imperative that senior leaders work in a way that generates trust and confidence. If they don’t, they are failing to capture the full energy and engagement of their workforce. This is true regardless of the size of organisation.”

Percent who believe what managment says to be true

Truth (10%)

“For management to say what they mean and to mean what they say”

70 60

“Feedback – good or bad; a person needs to know if they are doing their job properly and in what areas they can improve”

“To value the workers’ ideas and to keep us informed on all work matters”

Percent who believe what management says to be true 63%








30 20 10 0

Upper/middle management


Supervisors Professional/ Clerical technical workers

Service/ Outstanding production leader workers



what employees want

Case study:

OMD Australia Human Capital talks to Carolyn Maloney, people & development director at acknowledged ‘dream employer’ OMD Australia about what her company does to keep employees happy and engaged Human Capital: OMD placed seventh on RedBalloon’s ‘Dream Employer’ list two years running. What makes a dream employer and why do you think OMD came through strongly? Carolyn Maloney: At OMD, our staff define us. They are the biggest investment in our future and are fundamental to our success. We were the first media agency to advocate a single minded emphasis on our people in terms of culture, career development, and support. Five years in the making, this approach has well and truly paid off. According to the latest independent industry survey Media i, OMD have the happiest staff of any national media network in Australia. We are the only Agency to rank in the top 50 BRW Best Places to Work for three consecutive years, 2011, 2010 & 2009. How are we delivering such fantastic results? By a consistent focus that hasn’t wavered over time. And you only get out what you put in, and we invest heavily to attract and retain the best in market talent. At OMD, we believe that demonstrating a culture where work-life balance is embraced and staff are adequately resourced to deliver the best work is fundamental to enticing the best talent. HC: Do you know what your employees expect from OMD as an employer? How? CM: Yes and they tell us through our annual survey, which we have run since 2006. The results speak for themselves but keep us on track if any scores dip or we receive comments on areas we need to refocus our attention to. Taking part in the BRW Great Place to Work study for the last three years also benchmarks us against other industries for best people and culture practice. HC: In the RedBalloon survey, when asked which factors employees like about working for their current employer, pay, benefits and conditions was cited by 33%. What are your thoughts – how much of 22


a retention driver is the pay packet? Does the novelty of this wear off over time? CM: Pay becomes more of an issue once engagement starts to wane. Keep employees happy, inspired, motivated and developed with a clear career path and timely feedback that is also positive and constructive, and money and benefits tend not to hold as much importance. But get any of these out of alignment and pay becomes more of a focus. HC: What do you do in terms of employee reward & recognition at OMD? CM: Our monthly staff meetings, OMD Live, celebrate the everyday contribution of individuals and teams. Since launching our Own My Dream reward and recognition program OMD has given $91,000 in RedBalloon points for anniversaries, promotions, for doing great work, and embodying the OMD values and principles. Other benefits include: • Staggered loyalty leave reaching an additional five days after five years with OMD • An extra 1.5 days leave over Summer • Reduced-cost health cover through our client BUPA • We give OMDers a day off every year to spend on their own charity endeavours = 2,700+ man hours on charity work. • Health & wellbeing – Twice yearly OMD run a massively popular eight-week boxing program allowing staff to train with professionals. Other events include JP Morgan Chase, BRW Triathlon, and Blackmore’s Running Festival. Fun really, really matters – Our staff love contributing to the unique, infectious culture that defines OMD. Our four OMD Houses (like when you were at school) were born from the staff survey to get OMDers socialising outside their immediate teams. Fun events like Trivia, Lawn Bowls and Summer Olympics earn team prizes and points towards the coveted OMD House Cup.

HC: One of the key findings of the RedBalloon survey was that employees of dream employers have a clear sense of purpose. How do you instil that feeling at OMD? CM: Communicating the Company Vision& Clear Values and Principles. In March we took everyone off to Ettalong for a national conference to connect, communicate our BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) we want to meet by 2013, and to remind ourselves what makes OMD so special. It also helps that we have a CEO and senior management team that are open, honest and down to earth, and ‘walk the talk’. Our values and principles also keep us aligned. These have been in place since 2007 and are as relevant today as the day they were launched again at our national conference. The performance review process is aligned with our values and principles reminding ourselves of what’s important in everyone’s day to day role. HC: In other ‘best employer’ type surveys, having frank, honest and transparent leadership always comes through strongly. How does OMD foster trust in leadership?

CM: This isn’t an easy one to answer as it’s a cultural thing vs a specific strategy or tactic, but we do use an online 360 feedback process that’s been in place for five years. This keeps managers on track in regard to how their manager, peers, direct reports and external partners see them with ratings against key questions and open commentary. This is an important component of the annual review process for leaders to be aware of their strengths and areas that may require improvement. The annual survey also probes leadership and management aspects for the leaders nationally to stay aligned and aware of any issues. And when people do choose to leave the business, exit interviews are another way to feedback anything key to the business that leaders need to be made aware of.

Carolyn Maloney: Making staff the biggest investment



dream employers



DREAM? Human Capital talks to Naomi Simson, founder and ‘chief experience officer’ at RedBalloon, about what makes a ‘Dream Employer’ and why it’s within reach of every organisation



In September RedBalloon/Insync Surveys announced a list of ‘Dream Employers’. This second annual survey canvassed the opinions of more than 7,000 Australians, and as the title suggests, its intention was to uncover both specific organisations as well as sectors that the workforce considers to provide ‘dream’ working conditions. The results provided a fascinating insight into ‘what employees want’ – and what they don’t want. The research revealed that just 40% of all employees are satisfied with their job, 45% are planning to look for another role within the next 12 months and just onethird (33%) were willing to recommend their employer. When asked which factors employees like about working for their current employer, the top retention drivers were work-life balance (46%); culture (39%); and pay, benefits and conditions (33%). When asked what employees want to improve about their workplace, the top gripes were systems and processes (41%); communication (39%); and rewards and recognition (38%).

Heading the list for the second time in a row was Google, followed by self-employment, Virgin Group, Qantas and Apple. When asked if there were any surprises in the 2011 results, Naomi Simson, founder and ‘chief experience officer’ at RedBalloon, says she was struck by the variation between the two years. “I was surprised to see there was such a move between the two years. We’ve only done the survey in 2010 and 2011 but the Dream Employer looks at how people are talking about an organisation. I was surprised to see entries such as the police force and I was also interested to see there were a number of mining companies, which we hadn’t seen before.”


Indeed, while the ‘average Joe’ is still carefully considering their financial security and the employers likely to supply that, Simson says increasingly people are looking at entities that have a sense of purpose – hence the votes for the defence force or police force with their clear sense of purpose and public responsibility. The perpetual winner of these types of surveys, Google, remains a force to be reckoned with. Simson explains why: “One of these days Google won’t be on top of the list and people will say, ‘what’s wrong?’ Google is there because they have such a clear sense of purpose and it’s well articulated. Everyone who works there knows why they are there: they are documenting the world’s information. Along with that come all sorts of other great experiences that come from being part of something that is revolutionary. People do want to see that they contribute to something bigger than themselves.” She adds that the people who work for Google have a great sense of pride in their company; something she feels is integral to being branded a Dream Employer. Size is also not as great an issue as one might expect. “The Dream Employer is not about big business vs small business – in fact we were delighted to see some smaller brands right up there in the top 50. It was very interesting: these people are passionate about what they’re doing. Also, interestingly, people want to work for themselves. That came right at the top of the list. So they think they might be a better boss. This indicates

When an employee speaks poorly about an employer it resonates loudly because an employee knows what an organisation is like to work for – NAOMI SIMSON they may want autonomy and flexibility, and we want to be valued – we want our work to be valued.” Simson speaks from her own experience. Before she started her own business she was a veteran of corporate life for a number of years. Simson says she “could not find” an employer prepared to offer her the flexibility she needed. “I wanted to be a great mum and I wanted to have a great career. I didn’t want to compromise either of those. So I started my own business. And I’m sure there are many people that say the same sort of thing.”

TIME FOR ACTION: EMPLOYEE EXODUS Recent research has revealed that just 40% of all employees are satisfied with their job


45% are planning to look for another role within the next 12 months


and just onethird (33%) were willing to recommend their employer.





Recognition has long been regarded as an important engagement driver, but Simson feels it’s important to get the basics right as well. “Recognition is one of the key elements, but if you don’t get the other things right, such as being paid regularly, benefits, job descriptions, career paths, and all of those things, that’s just expected in any business in Australia. So what can we do that is special and unique to your culture? That’s where recognition comes in.” Simson is keen to bust some myths about recognition. The first is that it needs to be expensive in order to be effective. Not true, she says; it just needs to be consistent and authentic. “It’s as simple as making sure that people notice what somebody else did in a day,” she says. “And the reason we talk so much about sustainable recognition programs as opposed to ‘Oh come on mate, just say thank you and everything will be alright’, is people forget. Managers forget to recognise, and employees forget that they did get recognised.” How about perks and benefits? Simson does not believe the term ‘perks’ is a magic bullet for engagement, but she notes that cutting the perks during tough times can do untold damage (see box). Perks and benefits also need to be worthwhile. She cites one company that was quite proud of themselves because they provided their employees with muesli bars. “People really make a discretionary effort because of a muesli bar!” RedBalloon has looked at the fundamental areas of any human being’s well-being and developed five elements that are applied in the business. 1. People need to belong. 2. People want to keep learning. 3. People want to be physically looked after. RedBalloon has a fitness program that includes the Global Corporate Challenge, a yoga club and nutrition education.

Cut the Tim Tams? Think again… “During the GFC we had a theme called ‘Cheap and Cheerful’. People in each team got a budget of $50 and had to host a party for the whole company. That is, for 50 people, so $1 a head. People got very creative. What could they beg, borrow or steal? Glorious and great fun. And people get really engaged. There’s no doubt that businesses are in tough times. Those people who are going to help you the most are the people at the front line, so don’t tell them that you’re cutting their



Tim Tams. Instead say, ‘we need to take a percentage of our costs out over here, what do you suggest?’ And they might say ‘you can cut out Tim Tams’, or they might come up with some amazing ideas. Making sure people are heard, listened to and appreciated goes a long way towards engagement.”

4. People want to be truly present in the moment: fair recognition, recognising others and celebrating their successes. 5. People want to give. “We as an organisation allow people the capacity to truly give,” says Simson. “Giving doesn’t just mean giving a gift, but in terms of volunteering and connecting with a community.” Simson also warns against going too far the other way, relying too heavily on financial remuneration to appease disgruntled workers. “At some point it becomes uncommercial to be in a bidding war to get talent,” she says. Ultimately, she adds, if someone is only with an organisation for the money it’s only a matter of time before someone else gives them another two cents and they’ll be out the door. The key to long-term engagement is to capture the hearts and minds. Simson says a key question is for employees to ask “do I believe in the organisation?” “I read a statistic that said 35% of employees believe that their direct supervisor has done something illegal in the last 12 months. [It’s] very hard to be engaged and believe in what you’re doing if you think your manager is corrupt and doing something wrong. Again, it comes back to the leadership. What are the values of the organisation? Do they apply for me? What is the purpose? Why are we here? Why do I do what I do? It’s very important to get those things right.”


So why should employers care what their employees – and the average person on the street – are saying about them? Simson says ‘badvocacy’ is widespread, and it’s doing untold damage to the brand experience. “When an employee speaks poorly about an employer it resonates more loudly than any customer experience because an employee knows day in day out what an organisation is like to work for. And this is not something that can be controlled. Large corporations are putting out social media policies and all sorts of things trying to control the conversation of what their people are thinking. But you cannot control the conversation. Social media is a listening tool and I urge any employer to use it as that, to listen to their customers and their employees.” Further, Simson adds the only way to get people talking well about an organisation is to be “fabulous” – and that comes from leadership. “Employers should get to the core of the issue: Do we respect our people, are we nurturing them, growing them, providing them with a flexible workplace, do we understand that they have a life beyond the workplace. Then you have people speaking wonderfully about your workplace.”



mobile HR

HR goes

MOBILE Don’t know your iPhone from your Android – or how HR might benefit from utilising apps for both? Humair Ghauri explores HR-centric mobile applications

We all remember our first mobile device. The anticipation of getting this little device made us giddy with excitement with the mere thought of how it would make our lives easier and more productive by allowing us to be continuously connected and reachable. It made that $599 price tag or $299 with a two-year contract with your mobile provider appear cheap. There is little doubt that in the past couple of years these devices have finally delivered on the value we expected. The popularity of smartphones and the re-invention of the tablet, which now have enough computing power to rival your standard laptop of five years past, means the question is no longer a matter of whether HR should capitalise on this medium to better support the workforce, but rather how HR can do so.


Before seriously pursuing a mobile HR initiative, organisations need the following questions answered: • Does your organisation support mobile devices? Does your organisation already have corporate accounts with mobile device providers?



MOBILE DEVICE FACTS Gartner has determined that consumers bought 1.6 billion mobile devices in 2010, of which, 304 million, or 19%, were smart phones

Forester projects that tablets will overtake desktop sales by 2015

Have they decided which mobile devices to standardise on (eg Apple iPhone and iPad vs HTC Android and Motorola Xoom)? and are all these programs accessible to your targeted workers? • Can your organisation support mobile devices? Emailing and calendaring support will now be just one facet of your mobile strategy, not your entire mobile strategy. Some things like support processes can be leveraged but mobile applications will require new capabilities and possibly the hiring of new people to maintain them. Also, for your major work centres, you need to make sure you have enough 3G/4G towers nearby and local Wi-Fi infrastructure to support the increased bandwidth demand. • Can your organisation afford mobile devices? Emailing and calendaring for a worker on a mobile device is relatively low data usage and costs the organisation only a few dollars per month. If you add applications to this, a worker’s data usage and costs could jump through the roof. One large enterprise organisation in Europe did a pilot program on HCM Analytics/Apps and the data costs jumped from a few Euros to over 100 Euros per month per worker. The US is lucky to have cheaper ‘all you can eat’ smartphone data plans, which on average costs US$49 per month domestically or US$69 per month globally. If you are going to support tablets, get the Wi-Fi version for the non-road warriors. Data plans for tablets do not support the ‘all you can eat’ usage plans and they charge by the gigabit. • Are your mobile devices secure and compliant? With mobile applications you are forced to potentially publish and locally store worker and organisational data such as headcount, compensation, performance ratings, etc on the mobile device itself (if you want offline capabilities). Not only will you need

Statcounter tells us that more people in the US browse the web from an iPad (around for just one year) than from Linuxbased desktop operating systems (around for 20 years)

to deploy a multi-level security scheme (eg password upon entry, VPN, encryption of local data, if device lost-recovery or remote wipe capabilities), but you will also have to ensure you are compliant with federal and local regulatory rules (for example, if locally stored data on employees travels outside the corporate domain in a mobile device and/or across international borders will this data be compliant with laws on privacy?) • Do you know which workers need mobile applications? Not all workers should be provided with a mobile device, let alone access to mobile HCM Analytics. The standard workers who need mobile applications are executives, road warriors, sales, potential new hires, and workers always in the field (eg geologist looking for oil deposits, on-site project managers at a construction site, or consultants). This roughly means only about 20% of your total workforce needs them immediately and even then, they will all probably need different applications. If your organisation answered ‘no’ to any of the five questions, you should wait until there is a yes to all.  If all were answered with a ‘yes’, then you probably already have mobile applications deployed to some extent, and rolling out HR mobile applications just became a whole lot easier.


To get a sense of what and how people are using mobile devices let’s take a look at what applications people are using and how they are using the devices. (see chart 1 + graph 1) What’s noteworthy about this is not the fact that people seem to play a lot of games, but that people are not using applications that require any substantial typing. Ever tried filling out a form on a smart phone or a tablet?



mobile HR Chart 1: Top grossing applications on smart phones TOP GROSSING IPHONE APP



Texas Poker

Paradise Island


Zynga Poker

Bakery Store



Documents to Go



Tap Zoo



Angry Birds

Restaurant Story Source: iPhone app store

Not a fun experience. For the 21% of the time spent on an iPad ‘communicating’, they are at most either sending a quick one-to-two line response to an email, writing a 160-character tweet and maybe a one-line comment or update on Facebook. This is due to the fact that the form and function of a smartphone or tablet is significantly different from a laptop or desktop. This may seem obvious, but people are not interacting with their mobile devices through a mouse and keyboard. They are primarily interacting through their hands (specifically their thumbs) and probably doing a hundred other things at the same time. Because of this, most existing HR applications won’t be a good fit for being used in a mobile device. However, apps that fit the profile below would be a good fit: No need for a portal: Most of our HR application mindset centres on connecting transactions, analytics and information to some sort of role-based HR Portal. You don’t need to worry about that in a smartphone and the smartphone’s ‘desktop’ should be the portal for an organisation’s workers. The icons on the desktop replace the links on the portal. Some smart phones allow for widgets on the desktop and content, such as alerts, can be pushed to the device. Mobile application vs. mobile browser: The easiest and fastest way to get applications mobile is to make the existing ones accessible through a mobile browser. As stated earlier, most HCM applications won’t be a good fit for mobile devices but certain ones, such as an employee directory, may be a better fit. There are a lot of benefits to this approach – an organisation can leverage existing skillsets, and support processes, and will not have to support two code lines (HCM web-based application and HCM mobile-based application) and your workers won’t have to learn a new application. There are certainly some downsides to browser based mobile applications. The screen size is significantly smaller whether you are using a smart phone or tablet and this will make navigating and filling out information more difficult for users. It will also take longer for users to complete actions. Mobile applications take fewer thumb presses to get to, they are faster to load, faster to get from one page to the next and are geared for completing actions with your thumbs. 30


End-to-end actions: The reality is that a worker, 95% of the time, will only go to an HCM mobile application if they need to take action on a single item, like a vacation request, looking up a co-worker’s information, etc. A more complex example could be: a manager is trying to retain a worker while travelling. He or she would go into a mobile HCM application to review the salary of their team, then look at their department’s salary budget to determine if there is room in the budget to allow a salary increase.  Completed in two minutes or less: HR needs to take a page from Facebook’s exceptionally easy-to-use mobile application. A quick glance at an analytic, one or two thumb presses to take an action or at most one or two thumb presses followed by a quick one-line write-up of a note or justification. Since workers have a hard time writing long emails on the iPhone or a BlackBerry, would you really want them to fill out a performance review on one of those devices? A tablet, like the iPad, is a bit better but it still takes two to three times as long as it would on a laptop or desktop.   ‘Mashed’ with other functional areas: For ease of use and adoption, HCM mobile applications should be ‘mashed’ with other functional areas like Sales. Other than the employee directory, HCM-only mobile initiatives generally have a hard time getting off the ground and teaming them up with other functional areas that gives them a much better chance of being funded and to be able to provide a complete offering to workers.


Workers would greatly benefit from the ability to access certain HR applications at any time. The greatest benefit would be in areas where information is needed or an action must be completed at a moment’s notice. Learning: Mobile learning applications for tablets will have the greatest impact and benefit for workers. I am not talking about traditional full blown web based training classes but imagine The Wall Street Journal or The Daily. Instead of news, organisations would provide highly interactive searchable content, videos, surveys, multiple-choice test and the ability for other workers to comment on or share material with other. Worker directory: If there is only one mobile application an HR organisation is able to deploy, it should be an employee directory. Most HCM vendors are beginning to provide this in their latest releases and the basic smart phone version will have abilities such as search by name, title, location, etc. Tablet versions will have significantly more robust functionality and should be viewed as a light weight ERP. Along with the standard smartphone features, they will have organisational charts, full worker profiles, social networking and the ability to complete simple employee actions such as small job changes, updating of a goal, etc.

About the author: Humair Ghauri is senior director, HCM strategy for Oracle

Graph 1: What percentage of your iPad-usage do you spend… 40 35 30 25

Nov 10


May 11

34.7 285k

% 20


21.7 17.2

15 10






5 0

Web browsing

Using email, Facebook, Twitter and/or other communication

Watching video

Workforce communications: Intranet portals, e-mail and twitter make up the bulk of formal workforce communications. For workers who are always on the road, they may not have seen the employee portal for some time and e-mails that don’t concern them typically don’t get read. However, they are always on their mobile device. Publishing important workforce communications through a mobile RSS type feed may get them to notice that an acquisition happened or that an employee stock purchase program is about to start. Workforce analytics: All of the major business intelligence vendors provide mobile applications today and there are several mobile-only providers who can build mobile dashboards off information coming from data sources like Excel. All this makes getting workforce analytics out to your workers practical, relatively inexpensive and possible to be deployed in a week or two. Recruiting: Whether candidates are new college grads or seasoned pros, a recruiting mobile application is a great way to keep them engaged while making it through the sometimes tedious hiring process. It’s a great medium in which to inform candidates of upcoming interview schedules, provide background on the organisation, the people they are interviewing with, sharing of recruiting collateral like videos, and if an offer is extended, you can provide an updateable list of pre-boarding activities.


Not all HR applications should go mobile right away. Usually the ones that would be the coolest looking are unfortunately the ones you probably want to wait on. Other HR applications are just too time intensive for workers or just too complex to have on a mobile device. Major areas to wait on are:

Playing games

Using other apps Source: Business Insider

Performance reviews or anything requiring lots of typing: Approval of performance reviews – definitely. A worker typing one out, a manager responding to the workers’ review, or co-workers providing a 360 should not be a mobile application. Not only is typing difficult – but do you really want a manager or co-worker providing feedback on a worker’s performance while walking from the car to the office building, walking the dog, or while grocery shopping? Other areas to wait on for are: New hire paperwork, termination paperwork and entry of a resume. Compensation planning or any complex transactions: Mobile applications are great for taking one to two actions, such as an approval and adding a comment to that approval. They don’t do as well when you have to take multiple actions. Compensation planning would make a great demo on an iPad and would probably make sense if that was the only way you allowed workers to give compensation increases. For the time being though, it isn’t and organisations should stay away from replicating large pieces of functionality on different mediums because it is very cost and time prohibitive.


The facts speak for themselves – mobile devices and applications are in your workers’ everyday lives and HR has a great opportunity to improve the engagement and productivity of workers by providing targeted, actionpacked mobile applications. The challenge now is whether HR will be able to deliver mobile applications in the near term to meet the demand. If they don’t, workers will do what they usually do – develop what they need on their own, and when HR ultimately delivers, it will be difficult to displace what’s already been adopted. HCAMAG.COM 31


social business

It’s a

living thing

Far from being like a machine, a modern business is akin to a living organism. The connections between employees, the cells of the organism, determine its health. Mike Handes outlines why social media forces HR to prioritise technology The more things change, the more they stay the same. As the internet, and in particular, social media technologies become increasingly prevalent and pervasive, we have become comfortable creating and sharing content in new and seemingly unpredictable ways. For businesses seeking to thrive in this increasingly social environment, adapting to technological and socio-cultural changes may seem to be a daunting task. What appears to be at first complex becomes clearer, however, when we realise that the human values that underpin our use of social media – community, reciprocity, a desire for meaningful relationships – are fundamental drivers of human behaviour. If HR professionals are to maximise the human potential of the employees, they must look to refine their business model to embody these core values. These core human values of connectedness is what is driving the underlying trend that has driven the rise of social networking and internet cultures, and it is one that HR professionals must apply to the businesses they manage. HR professionals are in a position to influence both the structure and culture of their organisations. Whether they believe this to be an operational or



strategic matter is up to the individual – but regardless of the approach taken, technology must be recognised as primarily for human needs, and secondarily about wires and circuits. The current hierarchical models of business are built around principles from the previous centuries, particularly those of the Industrial Revolution. Company structures and their operational models are like machines, designed for efficiency to meet specific objectives. Employees are divided up into silos or ‘black box’ units that don’t communicate with one another, because according to traditional economic philosophy this helps them function more efficiently. While these rigid structures are efficient they don’t allow much flexibility. In an increasingly dynamic business landscape, flexibility and agility is a necessity, not an optional extra. Historical, rigid organisational structures will not have the flexibility to thrive or even survive in the future.


We should think of how we can build social businesses, working cultures that can transform how employees work and interact with each other to drive better

Mike Handes is the social business innovation lead at IBM Australia and New Zealand

business outcomes. If we look at current technology trends and the core human values discussed earlier, we can gain insight into how best to proceed. The success of social media technologies like Facebook and Twitter suggest that humans crave interpersonal connection; we want to be part of something larger, which is why we use such technologies to share content, engage in dialogue, and develop new relationships. Professional networking tools such as LinkedIn, and the potential value and abilities of Facebook and Twitter in critical disaster events provide examples of how these platforms and activites centred around them are not simply frivolous – they can be harnessed by the business world and reap great benefits for those involved. A social business, then, is a community rather than a factory or a machine. It brings employees together in clusters rather than separating them into silos. By encouraging collaboration and co-operation, it gives employees the freedom and means to work in the manner and with the people best suited to them – not according to the rigid procedures enforced in traditional top-down business models. While this may seem a terrifying prospect to managers, they need to understand that the most productive outcomes arise when employees know their actions matter, not only to their personal performance ratings, but also to the broader business community of which they’re a part. In a social business, information flows more freely. Having the wrong information or taking too long to find it can not only dishearten the individuals who make up any business, but also slow down overall operations or in some cases derail them entirely. It may appear somewhat counterintuitive, but replacing linear bureaucratic processes with loose networks of information sharing allows information to be transferred between individuals much more efficiently. It means that the people who need information can get in touch with the people who have it, faster and more intuitively than before. Finally, social businesses dissipate the rigid hierarchies that characterised earlier models. In the internet-mediated communities of today, everyone has an equal voice and an equal chance to be heard. Value judgements about this aside, we are living in an age where being able to speak up and be heard is considered one of our inalienable rights – and if organisations are not going to embrace it, their employees will find recourse in social media and online. This has implications for everything from corporate image and branding to the hiring and procurement processes: as the emphasis on transparent and flexible working environments grows, it will become increasingly important for HR executives to be able to demonstrate such attributes to potential employees and job-seekers.

The success of social media technologies like Facebook and Twitter suggest that humans crave interpersonal connection USERS IN CONTROL

Most of us already know this at some level; but there is some apprehension when it comes to restructuring. First of all, restructuring an organisation is an immense task, one which can take up significant resources and time across the board. Continuous attempts at restructuring are not only prone to failure, they can generate even more inefficiencies due to policy discrepancies and general employee fatigue. However, the problem with this model of restructuring is deeper than just time and effort. In reference to the earlier analogy of a machine, restructuring is like taking the machine apart to perform a different function, but finding after the machine has been rebuilt that the requirements have shifted and another restructure is required. If we are to build social businesses, we must recognise that cohesive social networks and relationships are not instituted from the top down. Rather, they are created by the users or employees themselves. What HR professionals can do is open the internal communication channels for such networks. They can work alongside IT executives to make available to the business the technological tools and channels that are already changing how we relate to our friends and families. They can also advise the C-Suite on the tangible benefits – adaptability, productivity, employee retention – of social business, and help fashion sustainable strategies to ensure the longevity of such ventures. Finally, they can communicate directly with their employees to ascertain what measures are in fact most likely to succeed. We now understand businesses to be less like machines and more like living organisms. It is the connections between employees, the cells of the organisms, which determine whether it thrives or perishes. If we give our employees the tools to develop these channels of information and expertise, we stand the best chance of success for the future.



Moving beyond


The way people communicate is changing, and increasingly this is impacting on the way people are looking for jobs. As job seekers embrace social media, employers too are catching on. Rebeccah Elley reports Social media strategist Mariah Gillespie says that social media is a “hot” topic right now. “I can’t tell you how busy I’ve been in the past few months, particularly with LinkedIn hitting over 100 million[users], Facebook on 700 million and social media being scattered all over the news. You really can’t escape it, everyone’s really eager to get involved,” she says.


One company that has jumped head first into the social media sphere to attract graduates and younger candidates is global consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser. While the organisation’s portfolio includes some pretty impressive brands, there is a low awareness of their brand amongst their target group (graduates, and those in the early stages of their career). Deborah Yates, regional HR director, Australia New Zealand at Reckitt Benckiser, says that the company has a new focus to market their corporate brand in the social media space. Yates explains: “Reckitt Benckiser has enjoyed tremendous growth and huge success in recent years and as a result our business requires more graduates than ever before. As it’s a competitive environment, we want to make sure we attract the best talent.”



In the past Reckitt Benckiser has relied on more traditional methods of recruitment, such as online job search engines. However, Yates emphasises that they are not a traditional company. “We now want to reflect our unique and dynamic culture and make sure that the Reckitt Benckiser brand is as well known as our power brands like Durex, Dettol, Nurofen, Airwick, Vanish and Finish,” she says. Gillespie believes that companies can be “absolutely” unique within this virtual space, as every brand is unique and every brand has its different target audience. “Just put a little personal flair on it. At the end of the day it’s social media, so it should be social,” she suggests. “Post photos of your company having a staff luncheon, or rewards you give to your staff. Everyone’s different; everyone should have a unique strategy.”


Reckitt Benckiser has two online initiatives aimed at improving their brand awareness amongst students and graduates. Yates says the Facebook strategies are a way of providing potential employees with a taste of the company’s culture, while at the same time experiencing challenges they will never forget.

social media The Experience of a Lifetime initiative attempts to reflect the personality of the company in an online space. The initiative gives young Australians the opportunity to enter a challenge and win one of six possible charity adventures: to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, trek the Great Wall of China, cycle from London to Paris, cycle on the slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily, hike the Inca Trail or cross the Sinai Desert. Indeed, it’s Reckitt Benckiser’s very own version of The Amazing Race attracting both the young and the fit. Participants enter the challenge competition on the Reckitt Benckiser Facebook page, where they can select their favourite experience, explain why they want to take part in the competition and have their friends and colleagues vote for their entry. The company covers the costs and donates funds to ‘Save the Children’ (their charity partner). Yates explains that philanthropic activities are reflective of the culture within Reckitt Benckiser. “We are committed to fostering a culture of giving back to the community and so we have a relationship with ‘Save the Children’ where we have raised more than £4m [A$6.2m] globally since 2006,” she says. Another online Facebook strategy is the tuRBo Racer game, which is aimed at increasing brand awareness with University students and early professionals. The game tests the player’s racing skills, as they navigate a kite through a student’s home. On the track they steer their way at high speed around Reckitt Benckiser Powerbrands like Durex, Veet and Finish, jumping over books and avoiding “tricky” situations. The game aims to reflect the fast-paced environment of working at Reckitt Benckiser. Yates adds, “Our graduate program is about attracting future leaders and investing in their development. Irrespective of their generation, the people who thrive in the Reckitt Benckiser environment are natural leaders, enjoy challenge, thrive in a fast-paced environment, drive hard for results and are prepared to take risks.”


Although Reckitt Benckiser has found success in this area, the prospect of hiring through social media remains daunting for many companies. “I do understand a company’s hesitation in getting involved in social media, but the primary reason for it is a lack of understanding,” Gillespie explains. “For those HR professionals who aren’t familiar with social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, it’s another thing they have to learn and it’s another thing they have to do every day.” Gillespie advises that to get over those fears simple media training is required, such as showing the HR team all the steps of what’s involved in a social media strategy. “They need to get to know social media, and just have a play with it,” she says.


Social strategies: Deborah Yates

US-based company ACI Specialty Benefits has utilised social media for reasons outside the box. For ACI, these have included: Advising employees and clients on Twitter during a recent blackout (via smartphone) Teaching members of the sales team to connect with potential clients through LinkedIn Communicating employee benefits of the employer brand on Twitter and Facebook Using company Facebook page to highlight and recognise employee accomplishments Collaborating with HR professionals, sharing best practices and discussing a variety of challenging employee and workplace situations

Many social media initiatives fail because people forget to update their social media pages. Gillespie believes proper training is essential; once the HR team knows what they’re doing it’s going to be easy for them to post on Facebook, or Twitter. “Get someone to post two or three times on Facebook and tweet at a certain time. This will create brand awareness and attract future employees.” Yates says that Reckitt Benckiser’s the Experience of a Lifetime initiative has by far been their most successful initiative. “We’ve had a tremendously enthusiastic reception because the opportunity is a ‘money can’t buy experience’. It’s a global competition and Australia is currently sitting in the top five countries.” The most important aspect of social media, according to Gillespie, is making yourself accessible on every sort of platform available: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and apps for mobile phones etc. “You have to be in every space, not necessarily throwing yourself at candidates or potential clients saying, ‘We have a job! We have a job!’ but just being there and interacting with them.” Gillesphie advises that if you follow this advice, people will think of you when they do need a job. “Job seekers are beginning to turn to online media and their mobile phone in the hunt for a job. Whether they’re on the train or mucking around in class, people will be browsing through jobs, clicking on what’s available. I think social media is definitely the future for recruitment,” concludes Gillespie. Only the future will tell if social media becomes an integral part of the HR process. Tweet and post away...



top tips

Ari Kopoulos is the national sales & marketing manager at EmployeeConnect. For further information visit

The rise of the tablet From the bedroom, to the boardroom, to the highest office in government, the tablet is radically changing our relationship with technology and how we consume information. Characterised by its flick-of-the-finger ease-of-use, arresting visuals, and eternal connectivity, this device is rapidly becoming the preferred tool for absorbing, presenting and communicating; but more importantly, it is facilitating the liberation of staff from their desks, with the ability to work effectively and securely, wherever they are. According to survey results released by iPass, 75% of the mobile workforce will be equipped with a tablet by the end of 2011. This agile workforce is more likely to respond outside of traditional office hours and work on average 240 hours more per year. To the business, that means improvements in customer satisfaction, staff retention and productivity.


Going beyond portability and connectivity, the tablet has redefined the user experience. That moment, where the fingertip meets the screen, creates a level of intimacy and control lacking in a keyboard or mouse. You can actually feel and interact with the content, digging deeper into the layers of information. This action is so natural; the user focuses on outcomes rather than process. It’s engaging, empowering, slightly addictive, and will be expected to be integrated into every function of the workplace by the next generation of workers who live and breathe technology. This in itself poses a challenge to software vendors in that it requires not only a rethink of the way information is presented, but also in that it needs to be designed for the user, rather than the task. For most executives, the tablet is part of daily life. Armed with dashboards, customer details and content, they can enter conversations about products and services, and be strategic decision makers wherever 36


Going beyond portability and connectivity the tablet has redefined the user experience they are. From a back office perspective, they have access to their travel and leave requests, payslips as well as a workflow interface to approve incoming requests.


On many levels, the tablet is set to revolutionise the command and control nature of learning. This is perhaps the tablet’s greatest value proposition. It’s native to the social applications that facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing. Online conversations are a vital part of learning and a significant source of new ideas and enrichment of the corporate knowledge base. In this regard, tablets offer an almost instantaneous exchange wherever you are. If we look towards education systems both here and abroad, there is an expectation that tablets will replace computers and textbooks within the next 5–10 years. The use of tablets in the classroom results in a more user centric learning experience and ultimately a better outcome. In fact, studies with tablet vs. textbook equipped students demonstrate that students who learn with tablets performed better, collaborated more and were more engaged.

As such, the way learning content is presented in the corporate environment is set to change. We are becoming less tolerant of complexity, long texts and delay in searching. The tablet offers a more immediate, richer learning experience. It gives us the choice to blend options such as media, gamification (using the principles of gaming design in other technology applications) and access to thought leaders and mentors, addressing our personal learning styles and preference. For all its strengths, the tablet does have a few challenges it needs to address. Perhaps the biggest is that it’s not an ideal platform for creating content from scratch. Originally designed for consumers, there are security concerns about using tablets in a corporate environment. To truly flourish, they need to embed a more robust enterprise wide security layer. Tablets are set to play a significant role in personal productivity. Corporations are starting to equip their mobile workforce with tablets, and in some cases the complete switch from laptops. It’s a significant trend, potentially threatening the entire IT industry, but for those concerned with employee development, performance and productivity, it’s one they cannot ignore.


top tips

Is time management an issue for your

middle managers? Doing more with less is one of the biggest issues for all managers. Those in leadership positions are increasingly under pressure to complete more and more tasks in the same amount of time. If not managed well this can lead to long hours, no work/life balance, frustrations and burn out. Instead of criticising the time management skills of those who report to them, executive managers should be offering guidance and coaching using their skills and experience. The following are five tips that can be offered to middle managers to assist them to improve their management of the limited time available to them:




Ask them to analyse how they are currently spending their time by keeping a time log. This time log should be divided into very small time segments – no larger than 15 minute intervals. They should record everything they do for every second during those time slots, no matter how insignificant it may seem. They should do this for at least three normal work days and the days don’t need to be consecutive. Following this, they need to assess every activity on their time log and highlight all of the tasks/ actions they carried out that do not meet the expectations of their role. This assessment should take place using documents available to them such as their position description, key result areas (KRAs), or key performance indicators (KPIs). From here, they should analyse everything they have highlighted. They need to ask themselves: Why am I doing that? Am I choosing to do it? If so, what is the benefit in me doing it? For example, is it building networks? If there is no benefit or reason for undertaking that task or action, they need to eliminate it from their day–to–day activities.

Managers need to delegate as many tasks as possible. Managers should view delegation as a development opportunity for their team members, rather than just getting someone else to do their work. With this change in thinking comes a responsibility for managers to delegate tasks to their team members that will help them to gain valuable experience as well as develop skills to assist them on their career path.

2. ELIMINATE OR CONTROL TIME WASTERS Leonie CurtisKempnich Director Training and Course Development, Leadership Success (02) 80690370 www.

Managers should identify their key time wasters using their time log. For example, continuous people interruptions, attending meetings without goals, dealing with unnecessary emails, phone calls and doing work that others could do. They then need to work out how they can eliminate or at least control these time wasters.

Managers must prioritise tasks for the day. Managers should take the time to make a list of every task that needs to be done that day. This list can be prepared before they make a start in the morning or before leaving work in preparation for the following day. Once the list is prepared, managers should then analyse and cut it down using what they learnt from the time log. This list needs to use a system to prioritise the tasks. This may be numbering in order or assigning ABC to each task depending on its priority e.g. A = must do today.

5. USE THE PARETO PRINCIPLE The Pareto principle (80:20) can be a great way to challenge current thinking. Knowing that 20% of tasks produce 80% of the results challenges the way we currently prioritise. Managers need to work out exactly what tasks fall into that critical 20% and then focus on and prioritise those tasks. One way to do this is for them to think about their next performance review and the accomplishments they intend to list. This will not only assist them to prioritise their ‘To Do’ list each day, but it will allow them to focus their attention on the critical 20%. Focusing on the results they want to achieve is a much more effective way to manage tasks. So the challenge for HR and L&D professionals alike is to assist executive managers to see that time management is a skill: one that middle managers will be able to develop and improve if the executive managers are willing to play their part and provide the right coaching and guidance. HCAMAG.COM 37


create wealth

Financial advice as an employee benefit? Priceless Beyond the tangible benefits many organisations offer employees, Geoff Pritchard suggests taking a look at something slightly more intangible but just as beneficial: financial advice



Financial advice as an employee benefit is now recognised by many employers as an integral component of the HR value proposition. Management’s reasoning is founded in psychology: for many individuals the three most important aspects of life are family, work, and wealth. If the concern about wealth can be addressed, experts hypothesise that the focus at work and the contentment with family increases substantially. Research confirms this reasoning. Amongst Fortune 500 companies, 62% of US firms believe their responsibility (to employees) includes taking an interest in whether they are tracking towards a comfortable retirement, and 42% of companies with over 500 staff meet that responsibility by providing financial planning services (ie, individual investment advice). Interestingly, the performance outcomes of the largest organisations reflect the benefits of this trend. In a global HR survey¹ called Creating People Advantage 2010, 5,561 firms in 109 countries were grouped into performance quartiles from high performance to low performance based on revenue and profit over three years, with industry differences factored in. The stark difference between the top and bottom groups showed that high-performing companies ranked performance management and rewards as the second most important capability to have, whereas lowperforming companies ranked it only ninth. These leading companies are winning the talent war by taking a strategic approach to the design of their performance and rewards programs. Yet, introducing these programs must be managed strategically and carefully. CEOs and HRMs can see very clearly the benefit for their organisation in having their employees’ personal wealth being managed strategically using independent advice, but how should it be introduced to the organisation to maximise the benefits? The first step is the selection of executives and other staff. Which levels within the organisation are the most critical for the company’s performance? Which are most critical in regards to retaining the organisation’s IP? We’ve found that employees generally fall into three major areas in regard to the financial advice benefit: the executive team, the leadership group, and nonmanagement staff. Each group has different levels of financial advice appropriate for their situation, from a full service arrangement, to a core advice service with the option of additional financial services, to a finance education benefit. The second step is selection of service providers. Given the importance of advice in this area, most companies undertake a careful review of available options. There are five types of service providers in Australia – but only two offer advice that is not linked to in-house product. And of those two, only independent, full-service strategic advice

Geoff Pritchard is CEO of Finovia, a strategic wealth management advice firm. For further information visit

Who does what – a guide to financial service offerings AREA OF STOCKBROKING FINANCIAL ADVICE FIRMS





Long-term cash flow plans

Some firms


Entity structuring

Some firms


Tax aspects

SMSF accounting

Some firms

Retirement planning



Personal insurance

Debt strategy

Estate planning

Tax aspects

Some firms

Some firms

Aged care


Tax aspects

• Product driven model (direct shares)

• Advice based but limited service range

• Product driven model

• Product driven model

• No holistic oversight

• Focus on tax efficiency – less on strategic goal setting

• % fee based

• % fee based

• No advice in nonrevenue generating areas

• Few strategically focused firms


• No strategic goal setting • No strategic efficiency

• No holistic oversight • No strategic goal setting • No strategic efficiency

firms deliver full-service solutions that address the full range of clients’ financial complexities (see table). The third step is employee engagement. We find rapid take-up from employees with ‘burning issues’ that need resolution, but engagement beyond this group can be patchy. There are generally three reasons – some may already have advisors, or they assume that advice is a veneer to shift in-house products, or they assume that advice is limited to investments (and they have nothing to invest). Many leading firms address this issue in two ways: 1. They establish an effective communication program – when employees understand the value of independent strategic advice focused on all aspects of financial well-being they find most of their concerns are addressed 2. They engage the spouse in the financial discussion

• Part-time investment advisors • Limited tax advice • No holistic/strategic efficiency

• Advice based model • Full service CFO • Strategic goal setting • Strategic efficiency • Consultants not product distributors • Fees linked to complexity (not funds)

– not only does this additional perspective add depth of understanding when talking about what money means to a particular couple by identifying personal financial goals of both parties, it also brings the employee’s spouse closer to the company and significantly elevates its reputation. The outcome is take-up rates that are very high. With financial advice benefits in place, HR managers can further align the interests of the company with the employee by treating financial well-being as one would a general health check – ensuring the employee formally reviews the financial strategy once a year goes a long way to providing a measure of relief that in this crucial aspect of a person’s life, a long term plan is in place and progress towards financial goals is being measured. Source: 1.BCG/WFPMA Creating People Advantage 2010



intervention At what point should employers intervene in employee health? Iain Hopkins asks the experts how they are handling chronic health issues in the workplace


managing high risk health As the line between ‘work’ and ‘life’ becomes hazier with each passing year, a comment recently made to Human Capital by a contact in the legal profession bears repeating. The legal profession is notoriously high pressured; employees work long hours and client expectations are extremely high. This HC contact mentioned that in his firm, he could cite two recent examples where initiatives by the employer had potentially saved lives. In the first instance, as part of standard executive health checks, a senior partner was undergoing standard checks, including blood pressure monitoring. Asked whether he had any history of blood pressure problems, the employee said no. Upon checking, the blood pressure result was so high that medics – despite protests from the employee – strongly recommended he go straight to hospital. In the second instance, also as part of a standard health check, a woman was found to have an abnormality on her breast; investigation revealed the early stages of breast cancer. While in both cases it would be hoped the individuals concerned would have detected a problem and sought assistance, there is no way to tell. It’s just possible that the actions of the employer saved lives. It raises an important question: at what point should employers intervene when it comes to the health of their employees? Clearly it is not viable for all employees in all workplaces to undergo the rigorous health checks outlined above. Are there other proactive steps employers can take?


Firstly, the question of whether employers have any right to intervene at all. Brad McDougall, managing director of Springboard Health & Performance, says it is “a tricky one”. “On face value many would argue that health is the responsibility of the individual. However, with research demonstrating that those in poor health are up to 42% less effective in their roles, 3.1 times more absent and eight times less satisfied at work, there is a clear incentive for employers to support employees to improve – and/or manage – their health.” This is supported by recruitment firm Peoplebank, which conducted its own internal research into how and to what extent its 200+ employees wanted company involvement in areas previously deemed ‘private’. One of the key findings suggested that even while looking for more work-life balance, employees weren’t looking to distance themselves from the company. Rather, they were interested in Peoplebank becoming more engaged in their life and leisure activities.

“We’ve got a large Gen Y component in our workforce and clearly they want work to be part of their lifestyle,” says Michelle Cooper, national people and performance manager at Peoplebank. “They don’t want to come to work to just work. They want it to be part of what they do – it’s not clock in, clock out and then live my life; it’s realising that life is part of the time at work.” Although initially conceived as a way to provide greater insight into the work-life demands for its employees, Peoplebank has used its employee research as a launch pad for a range of initiatives covering off both the physical and psychological health of employees, as Cooper explains: “When we look at the health and wellbeing of our people we try to understand firstly what the actual needs of our employees are; we seek to find that out via employee surveys around how we can better support them, both in terms of flexibility and in terms of benefits. “A lot of what we find is people want to stay healthy by going to the gym and would like flexibility to do that. What we do is let people know that firstly we want them to go to the gym, throughout work hours, and we [then] make it ok for that to happen. They might step out at 3pm and then come back to work, because that works better for them.”


Engaging employees around their health, particularly those at high risk, is a sensitive issue and one which employers should consider very carefully. ‘High risk’ or chronic health risks refer to any disease or health concern that lasts for an extended period of time. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and the like. However, a poorly considered (direct) approach may lead to the employee feeling alienated or threatened, not to mention the risk of discrimination. McDougall says that best practice suggests all employees should be engaged equally in issues surrounding their health, with clear communication provided around the availability of further support for employees at high risk. “Access to this support can be facilitated via an ‘opt-in’ model, where employees take personal responsibility to initiate access themselves. Alternatively, a highly successful ‘opt-out’ model can be applied whereby the employee is contacted by a third party and informed of their automatic enrolment into a support program with the ability to decline at their discretion,” he explains. Cooper echoes this ‘open to all’ approach. Peoplebank sends out information about health, and top tips for staying fit. Information and support is

Chronic diseases at a glance >70% Chronic diseases account for more than 70% of Australia’s overall disease burden


Just over 7 million people have at least one chronic condition1


33% of working-age Australians reported that they suffered from at least one chronic disease


People with a chronic disease had, on average, 0.48 days off work in the previous fortnight*

On-the-job productivity losses could account for up to 61% of the cost borne by the employer due to staff suffering from chronic disease Sources: 1 AIHW analysis of the 2004-05 National Health Survey *AIHW 2009. Chronic disease and participation in work. Cat. no. PHE 109. Canberra: AIHW ^Econtech Pty Ltd for Medibank Private 2007, Economic Modelling of the Cost of Presenteeism in Australia, 1 July 2011


lasting change What’s the key to making sustainable change in the way an individual handles their health & wellness habits? According to Brad McDougall, it’s a threefold process: 1# Ensure they have a clear picture of where they want to be, and set meaningful and achievable goals 2# Assess from time to time: a) Their readiness to change b) The importance they place on making the change c) Their confidence in embarking on change. If any of these elements are low then attention must be given to improving these prior to attempting change, whether it be upfront initially or downstream, as these can significantly sabotage success and consequently act as de-motivators. For example, if a smoker is not ready to change or if quitting is not of high importance to them then they are unlikely to succeed in a Quit Smoking program. 3# When faced with temptation it is helpful to reflect on the reason they want to change, and focus on the emotional reason why change has been initiated.

also provided around serious illness through partnering with the Cancer Council and similar organisations. “I think education comes first because we want to help employees. We can offer the corporate plans and the free week deals, and we’ve had Fitness First come out on site. But it’s all about education; once we offer these programs we want employees to actually use it. It’s two-pronged: education and providing benefits they will actually use,” Cooper says. Just as important, Cooper adds, is how comfortable an employee feels about talking to managers or colleagues about sensitive information. “A lot of it is about creating the environment to talk about it. How comfortable are employees about talking to their managers? We do the Hewitt Best Employer survey and one of the questions is how much do people trust their managers – we came back at around 79%.”


Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have been offered by employers for several years – Peoplebank has had one for 10 years; so what’s new in third party employer offerings to employees in need? Coaching has crept into just about all areas of corporate life – from executive coaching to cross-cultural coaching. It’s no surprise that the coaching concept is now being carried into the corporate health and wellness space. McDougall says health coaching is being used worldwide as an evidencebased intervention to positively modify health behaviours and manage chronic disease. Unlike traditional approaches, health coaching avoids the prescriptive approach of ‘telling’ the individual what they need to do to improve their health. Instead health coaching centres around empowering the individual to take control. Ultimately it is the individual who is the subject matter expert – not the coach, as they know the 42


most about their own health, their goals, work pressures, and obstacles. “They control the knowledge, but as is often the case, may not control the process. Consequently the coach plays an active support role as a facilitator and change agent, guiding the individual to develop their own personalised action plans,” McDougall says. Healthcare specialist Medtronic has used this health coaching approach for its 38,000 global employees, using Springboard for its 400 local employees. Jane Wagstaff, OHS manager, Medtronic, says that globally the company wanted a program whereby it could assess the health and wellness of employees and implement strategies that could address any issues that arose as a result of those risk assessments. During the first phase of the program, Medtronic launched an online health risk assessment program to employees, which tied all the company’s health benefits together on one website. “We implemented it here about three months ago as part of our Total Health Program. When users click on the Total Health Website they are directed to a V-Life [Springboard] sponsored Medtronic website and that’s where the risk assessment is,” Wagstaff explains. Employees are invited to complete an online lifestyle risk questionnaire focusing on weight, medical health, nutrition, stress, sleep, activity, lifestyle and job satisfaction. Using the questionnaire results, employees are stratified according to their level of health risk. Employees were then offered the opportunity to participate in The Medtronic Health Coaching Program – an evidence based coaching program that focuses on delivering positive health change outcomes. The program is delivered via telephonic health coaching sessions from professionally trained health coaches who work directly with the employees. Employees with high health risks were invited to participate in a 12-week personal telephonic health coaching program. The program focuses on supporting the employee ‘where they are at’ in terms of their health concerns, goals and readiness to change. Employees scheduled sessions at times convenient to them with a focus on creating sustainable changes for positive health in the future. “A number of employees have been contacted and 46 at the moment are in the health coaching program,” says Wagstaff. “The one-on-one coaching identifies unhealthy behaviours and the coach and the employee work together to develop an action plan and set appropriate goals. I’ve received anecdotal evidence indicating that employees are really excited about the strategy. It’s very proactive. We’ve got a lot of employees who travel regularly for work and it’s tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you’re jetlagged.” Wagstaff notes that the process is completely


managing high risk health anonymous, with Medtronic only receiving general information such as how many people are using the program. She concedes that broaching the topic of health with employees is “tricky” and is instead keen on targeting people through general awareness programs. “What’s good about Medtronic is we’ve made the investment and once you start you can build on that, and there are so many other strategies you can put in place to build on what you’ve already done. Once they’ve done the health risk assessment and you’ve gotten their attention, they are more engaged than they were before.” As an added enticement to focus on health, Medtronic now offers employees $400 to spend on anything health related: ballroom dancing lessons, tennis rackets, Zumba classes. “We had a benefit in place where we offered subsidised gym memberships, and you get a percentage of people that take that up. But the feedback was that a lot of people don’t want to go to the gym. When we expanded it to $400 to spend however people wanted – the uptake has been remarkable.” The key, she adds, is to engage employees with the process. “One of the key benefits is it’s helped to engage our employees. You’re busy; resources are at a premium – so a strategy that engages your employees has so many

Many argue that health is the responsibility of the individual. However, there is an incentive for employers to support employees to manage their health – BRAD MCDOUGALL benefits, not just for the individual but for the organisation as well. And because not everybody does it, it can actually differentiate you as an employer,” she says. While Wagstaff concedes that it’s “just a small thing” to offer employees, she believes this kind of support is becoming increasingly common in Australia. “Employers in the US and other countries must pay for medical costs as part of employment, so clearly they are further ahead than we are. However, I believe organisations that take an interest in employee health really see the benefits of doing so,” she concludes.



lifelong reference learning checking

Looking for

TROUBLE Gary Taylor questions the relevance of the sudden urge to check candidate profiles on social media during the reference checking process

One of the hot buttons in policy making these days is whether employers can or should reference-check candidates by accessing their social media profiles – commonly LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Sadly, most of the debate on the topic is about the legal issues. What legislation might we be contravening? Privacy concerns, legal challenges, will they find out? How do we ‘friend’ a candidate, so that we can ‘build a comprehensive profile’ on them? Some employers just sidestep the legal risks by verbally encouraging their placement companies to do it for them – ethically, this is like the cosmetics companies buying their animal testing results from independent laboratories, so that they can claim not to test their products on animals themselves. It appears that the practice is more widespread than most of us admit, and several employers now have policies that declare their intent to access social media. Setting aside the legal arguments for now, let’s rather look at the fundamentals of why we conduct reference checks, and see whether social media snooping will help the employer make a selection decision. In my view, I want to conduct a reference check firstly to see that the CV and interview stories match. Traditionally, many employers use specialist ‘verification’ companies to do the factual background checks that we think are necessary. Good thinking to confirm that they have the qualifications they say they have, and so on. To be fair, checking out their LinkedIn profile would possibly highlight discrepancies, but then wouldn’t a crooked candidate have falsified both their application, CV and 44


Gary Taylor has worked in HR for 25 years, in National Mutual of Australasia and Unilever, then as HR director at South Africa’s Medscheme for 14 years, followed by three years at Wits University. Two years ago, he was appointed to start up HR for a University in Saudi Arabia.

LinkedIn profile equally? A proper verification and previous employer reference is still necessary. But surely the real reason for the reference check is to get evidence from previous employers to substantiate whether the individual has demonstrated behaviours in the past, which indicate that they match the competencies you are looking for. Does the candidate demonstrate the work-related experiences or potential that you will need in the person you hire? So, if I am looking for a risk-taker, will a Facebook picture of the candidate bungee jumping prove how they will react at work? Do lots of party pictures mean that they have good interpersonal skills? Does having no profile picture lead you to deduce that they are shy in a business setting? I have worked with brilliant Actuaries who at work can mentally calculate numbers to six decimal points, but at home cannot remember their car registration number. So what! All I need to know is whether I have a person whose work behaviour in the past suggests (as well as such extrapolations are reliable) that they will be a good fit in this particular job with this particular employer. Why go out of your way to look for extraneous hints from their personal life, when it is the business context you should spend your time exploring? This is about as scientific as judging character from a handshake. Alright – let’s give the other argument a hearing. Some people say that the list of a person’s social media friends should be checked against their quoted reference givers, just to see whether you are being given a genuinely objective referee’s name, or in fact an old mate. Fair point, but good reference-takers have for years been able to get past the ‘soft’ referees, and find out who the person’s boss really was. Many employers or search firms will seek out names of another former boss, colleague, subordinate, or even a client to get more objective views of the candidate. Surely you want to spend as much time as you have available by getting useful work information, rather than sitting on a social network site, trying to read the tea-leaves. The point is that a good reference is not an FBI check to discover embarrassing secrets. The days of employers inviting the candidate and his (sic) wife to dinner, and then inferring work-related traits from his salt-pouring habits must surely be a thing of the past, one would hope. What would people infer about Richard Branson from his social behaviour? Is it not reasonable to accept that people at work are not necessarily the same as they are at home or on the sports field? That does not make them schizophrenic, just that we experience only one aspect to a person’s complex persona at work, and that’s OK. Surely, all we need to know is what that work persona is likely to be, based on consistent past evidence in a work context. Most good HR people don’t even bother with written references, mostly because a quality reference

Advice for employers asked to be a referee: ■ Provide factual and truthful information and avoid disclosing personal details about the candidate’s details that may hinder their chances of securing a role ■ Don’t talk up a poor performer for the sake of placing them elsewhere ■ If you can’t answer the questions honestly, or you don’t want to be negative, don’t answer the questions ■ Instead of providing a character reference, this could be handled by saying “I know Sharon in a professional capacity and to my knowledge she did her job properly”. Source: Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Advice for hiring managers and recruiters: ■ Treat feedback received about any potential employee as only a component of the assessment process and ensure that you verify factual information such as education qualifications ■ Resist the urge to ask around about a potential employee – this could be seen as an invasion of their privacy ■ Ensure you have the candidate’s approval before proceeding with reference checking Source: Harmers Workplace Lawyers

is gained from well structured and probing interaction with the referee. Smart reference takers learn how to side-step the “we don’t give references” company line, so why on earth would we even bother to read a ‘recommendation’ on LinkedIn? Where is the interaction and probing questions when you are pondering how the candidate’s like of Lady Gaga will affect their decision-making at work. Sure, the social media might reveal some political, racist or sexist remarks that are cause for concern, but surely it must still be their ‘at-work’ proof of the pudding which is most reliable. The final point that some social media advocates are making is worth considering; namely to share with the candidate any negative information you have discovered during your background-checking process, and allow them to comment. Of course, this applies to normal reference-checking too, but putting negative findings on the table is a very useful (although sensitive) process in evaluating ‘evidence’ before we judge its relevance. We will inevitably pick up negative elements, but sometimes it is from a biased source, or there is a context we do not understand. For example, most of us would avoid a candidate with a criminal record, but we think that Nelson Mandela is a hero despite 27 years in jail. The difference? Context. Let’s think carefully before we assume cyber-sleuthing is the way to go. LOL HCAMAG.COM 45


hr at hilton

Bed, board and breakfast This month’s profiled HR professional is using a unique culture awareness initiative to drive customer-centric behaviours, all the while tackling the HR challenges associated with rapid growth Australian consumers are complaining in ever increasing numbers about lacklustre customer service. The latest American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, which surveyed thousands of people across 10 countries, revealed that Australians are among the most vocal complainers in the world. And perhaps they have a point. What can HR professionals do to improve the situation? A great deal, says Richard Todd, regional director of human resources for Hilton Australasia. “It’s so high on the HR agenda [at Hilton],” says Todd. “We need to be publicly recognising stories of team members going above and beyond, because the expectations of the customers are increasing, and meeting those expectations is so important. Unless HR is driving that process through operations, it’s not going to change at all.” To that end, the company has rolled out a global cultural integration program called Blue Energy. On one level this is a Facebook-styled company intranet platform that allows employees to build their own profiles and communicate about what they are doing at work. However, the initiative is more than a communication channel. The overarching purpose of the site is to share stories of teams living the brand pillars using images, film and the written word. “The pillars are about the



customer experience: the room, the food, their expectations, the respect and value we show them,” says Todd. “HR is recognising, through this Blue Energy program, what good customer service looks like, and sharing that so everyone can see what makes a difference to the guest, and how we can continue to do those things. What it’s doing is driving our customer culture.” Todd can log on to the site before he visits any hotel property and print off the stories that have been shared about that particular hotel. He then reinforces those pillars by meeting with the employees and letting them know there’s a higher level of visibility: right up to the company president. Team members are also rewarded with cash vouchers and prizes for living these values. Todd cites a recent example. A guest arrived at the Hilton Sydney for a corporate function, only to discover he had left his work shoes at home. He asked a hotel concierge if shops were open but being early Monday morning, none were. The concierge asked the shoe size and offered his own shoes after he realised they were the same size. “It’s all about demonstrating how we go above and beyond,” Todd adds.

RAPID GROWTH CHALLENGES Hilton is undergoing rapid growth in the Asia-Pacific region. China especially is booming: there are plans to

Thilo Pulch,

The number of people required just to fill the roles in China over the next 2–3 years is huge. 122 GMs, 122 HRDs, and it cascades down – RICHARD TODD


Personal file: Richard Todd Family: Single with a wonderful group of very close family and friends. Favourite sports: Fitness is one of my passions. I run everyday around Mrs Macquarie’s chair to the Opera House, followed by a swim. I also do weight training three times a week with a personal trainer. Favourite movie or TV:  I love a good laugh! If I get time on the couch Modern Family is my choice. It’s hilarious. Best advice ever received:  My mentor, Trevor Burton, gave me the best advice that I use daily: “Trust but verify”. Self-described:  Making a difference gets me out of bed in the morning. I’m goalorientated, results-focused and self-motivated, a very quick adapter and lead by example. Hobbies:  Even though I’m an inner-city dweller I love bushwalking and the outdoors. Also anything that involves water – lakes, rivers and the beach! First job and/or worst job:  My very first job was in a fruit shop stacking/ unstacking fruit, polishing apples and sweeping the floor. After the first day, I got paid with a granny smith apple! I never went back, and it helped develop my belief in the ideology that a fair day’s work is worth a fair day’s pay! If not in HR: HR is the only corporate gig for me. If I wasn’t working in HR and ever had the courage to walk away from corporate life, I would probably become a Buddhist monk or a scuba diving instructor!



open 122 additional Hilton hotels in China by the end of 2014; such growth requires significant input from HR. Todd, who is a key business partner for the Hilton Australasian regional team, reports directly to the vice president of HR, based in Singapore. Todd works closely with an HR admin assistant across the 12 Hilton hotels in Australasia, each of which has their own HRD, training manager and other HR support roles for recruitment, development, etc. To support the growth strategy, the HR focus is on identification and growth of talent. Todd engages the GMs and HRDs of each business on a monthly basis (previously these conferences would occur quarterly or biannually) to discuss people issues: identifying talent and the skills gaps to grow talent – whether through internal cross-training, L&D activities, or short-term secondments. “The number of people required just to fill the roles in China over the next 2–3 years is huge,” says Todd. “122 GMs, 122 HRDs, and it cascades down. What we’re also doing is strategically partnering with hotel schools throughout the Asia-Pacific region – something we’ve not done previously – and arranging specific Hilton-exclusive classes in some of those universities.”

LOOKING OUTSIDE While Hilton has one of the world’s most recognised brands – Todd says nine out of 10 people globally have heard of or stayed at a Hilton Hotel – the Asia-Pacific boom means the company needs to attract a high volume of hospitality professionals to help with the expansion plans. Todd says the company has been “very humble” in selling its uniqueness to external candidates in the past because the HR function has been so well equipped for developing people within the company up to senior ranks; it has therefore had limited need to go to the external market for talent. “If you look on any recruitment sites or trade journals it’s rare you’ll see a Hilton management position,” he says. “Our challenge is now going more to market in regards to our brand and what’s available at Hilton. From my perspective, prior to joining, I really didn’t know much about Hilton. I’d worked in hospitality for almost 20 years and worked with most of the big players, and Hilton wasn’t one I’d considered. I didn’t know anything about them, but that’s based solely on the stability of the internal mechanisms to grow talent.” A new Hilton Worldwide careers site is also playing an attraction role and will form the centrepiece in Todd’s mandate to shift the focus from internal recruitment processes to external recruitment processes. He will be steering the implementation of a new candidate management system across Australasia – a key part of what Todd refers to as “streamlining the process”. “In terms of where HR is heading, this is important. From the hospitality perspective, HR has traditionally

HR is shifting in towards true business partnering – RICHARD TODD


hr at hilton been a very administration-based process. Now it’s about systemising a lot of that, particularly for recruitment and onboarding.”

RETENTION Although there is notoriously high staff turnover in hospitality companies (industry average is in excess of 39%), at Hilton it’s 28.9%. The reason, Todd says, is due to their efforts in recruiting from those hotel schools to fill part-time and casual roles, and then converting them to full-time. Crucial to that conversion rate is the focus on learning – a topic that is evidently close to Todd’s heart. Early in his career, as restaurant manager at the Renaissance Hotel Sydney (now Sydney Harbour Marriott), Todd recognised a disconnect between what was being delivered to frontline staff in terms of skills development, and what the reality on the job required. He also found a lot of confusion in any team sent for in-house, face-toface training and their ability to apply the knowledge in the business. He says he became something of a “control freak” during this period, and became heavily involved in training and development. It planted a seed of interest in people management and being able to develop capability in business. The Hilton Online University contains over 2,000 individual learning programs suitable for positions at all levels of the organisation, and a blended learning approach includes classroom training, mentoring and online. Todd says the learning approach is “very focused”, with new employees required to complete three online courses within their first three months of employment. “The online component is usually followed up by face-to-face, classroom-based learning to share those experiences with others,” he explains. “It’s rigorously audited. We have internal auditors checking that each team member is up to date. It’s just to encourage people to grow with the organisation.”

HR’S EVOLUTION The importance of the HR function, too, is growing in companies like Hilton as the hospitality sector starts to shift away from viewing HR as administrators or ‘personnel’. “I think now it’s shifting in towards true business partnering,” says Todd. “Moving forward, I can see that in companies like Hilton the decisions are based around sound knowledge and information in regards to the capability of people. HR will drive the process heavily in change management and project-based discussions. I think there will be a lot more putting together of ROI and business cases in relation to what we’ll need to invest in order to build the capability of our people.” More industry profiles at:


Following an indepth research process to verify nominations and identify the most deserving in the industry, a record crowd of over 650 HR practitioners attended the industry’s night of nights to celebrate best practice and innovation in the profession. The black-tie event, hosted by popular television personality Shelley Craft, applauded the efforts of HR practitioners across the nation. See who won over the following pages 

2discover Australian HR Director of the Year WINNER: Alec Bashinsky, national partner, people and performance, Deloitte

WINNER: FOXTEL Accepting the award: Emma Hogan, director of people and culture

How does it feel to win?

How does it feel to win?

“As I said in my acceptance speech, it’s the organisation: I have a very passionate CEO, very focused on people. I’m very lucky, I have a fabulous team and it’s the way we go out and energise our broader leaders in our business, and the way we engage, that really makes my job a hell of a lot easier.” 50


AIM Screening Group of Companies Australian HR Team of the Year

“Awesome, I’m really, really pleased. We’ve been together for about four-and-half years and we’ve just come off the back of a two-day conference where I’ve been blessed to have my national team together, which rarely happens; so to have everybody in the room tonight and win, it’s been really special.”


winners revealed for HR accolades Deloitte Australian HR Champion (CEO)

HR3 Australian HR Manager of the Year WINNER: Paul Hitchcock, CEO, Corporate Express

WINNER: Sharon Tan, global head of recruitment, onboarding and recruitment services, ANZ

What sort of relationship do you have with your HR team? “A very close relationship; they’re my business partners, I expect them to be the change agents in our business and help drive the change we need to deliver the results. They’re a key part of our team.”

Australian HR Rising Star of the Year WINNER: Felicity Poe, Employee Relations and Performance Manager, Hamilton Island Enterprises How does it feel to win? “It’s amazing, I feel honoured to be receiving this award tonight. It’s a privilege to be recognised within the industry that I absolutely love to be working in.”

Frontier Software Employer of Choice (<1,000) WINNER: Pandora Australia Accepting the award: Mhairi Holway, vice president HR How does that feel to be named an employer of choice? “It feels incredible really, given that we’ve only been in Australia for seven years and the business started from my boss’ garage and it’s just gone from there. To win an award like this is just amazing. We’ve really built it up from having zero contracts of employment, zero staff through to the 300 strong workforce that we have today. This is fantastic recognition.”


Employee Management Solutions

How does it feel to win? “It feels fantastic. I have a really great team, always supportive, it makes my life easy – it makes my job really easy. So [this is] fantastic.”

Accumulate Employer of Choice (>1,000) WINNER: FedEx Australasia Accepting the award: Kim Garner, managing director What makes FedEx an employer of choice? “I think with FedEx it’s our culture, FedEx is a service company, it’s our people rather than our aircraft, vehicles, technology, that deliver the customer service that people expect and deserve.”

Employer of Choice (public sector and NFP) WINNER: Break Thru People Solutions Accepting the award: Anita Le Lay, executive manager, people and culture How does it feel to be an employer of choice? “In the not-for-profit sector it feels amazing. As a NFP we have limited funds to play with, we need to be creative and innovative and we need to be attracting and engaging employees to choose us. We’ve done lots of things over the last five or six years that we really think have put us at the forefront, and I suppose this is recognition for that.”


MASTERTEK Best HR Strategic Plan

POWER2MOTIVATE Best Employee Value Proposition WINNER: Firstfolio Ltd Accepting the award: Linda Cooper, general manager, HR What are the key components of your strategic HR plan?

“It was a strategy called ‘connect, share, thrive’, which was about defining the culture of the business, the key points for staff within the business. So, through acquisitions, we went from a large number of staff that weren’t clear about what the business stood for, to a highly engaged and focused staff within 12 months.”

Most Innovative Recruitment Campaign WINNER: ANZ Accepting the award: Linnea Reddie, manager, graduate programs Tell us about the recruitment campaign? “We went out to the student population and we asked them: ‘what do you want to hear from us?’ And they said, ‘we want the facts, we want it simple, we don’t want to be sold to’ – so we made it a very simple campaign about ‘here’s the facts’. The feedback has been really positive. We didn’t try to sell them or ram things down their throat, we just told them as it was.”

Best Employer Branding

What does this win mean to you? “It’s really vindication of the close relationships we’ve got with our people and our CEO John Borghetti has said a lot of times, it’s the people that make Virgin Australia. Over the last 15 months as we’ve started to strive towards being the airline of choice in Australia, they’ve been the key, every single one of them.”


Why do you think you’ve won this award? Julian Griffith: “I think we’ve won this award because Cochlear is a really unique company, with a really unique value proposition. We make a difference to people around the world who have suffered hearing loss, and our people love doing that work.”

Human Capital Most Innovative New Media Recruitment Campaign WINNER: Accenture Australia Ltd Accepting the award: Kylie Alexander, HR manager How have you enjoyed the evening? “It’s been a great evening. 670 HR professionals in the room is pretty inspiring actually; so a lot of good people to meet and a lot of great stories out there, so it’s great.”

Best Change Management Strategy WINNER: Virgin Australia Group of Airlines Accepting the award: Ian McCallum, manager, recruitment


WINNER: Cochlear Ltd Accepting the award: Julian Griffith, talent and acquisition manager; Anne-Marie Leslie, senior vice president, HR

WINNER: PMP Limited Accepting the award: Penny Mabbutt, group general manager, people and culture Change management is difficult – what has your company done? Penny Mabbutt: “We introduced a change management program that built on a transformation plan the CEO introduced some two-and-a-half years ag. We needed to look inside to find out what levers we needed to pull and what HR strategies right across the business we needed to start to leverage.”


winners revealed for HR accolades Best Workplace Diversity Strategy WINNER: Telstra Corporation Ltd Accepting the award: Cathy Callaghan, director, HR, and Troy Roderick, head of diversity and inclusion Why do you believe Telstra has won this award? Troy Roderick: “We believe it’s recognition of the fact that being a diverse and inclusive workplace is actually part of who we are. It’s an incredibly important part of providing great customer service to our diverse customer base and to being an integral part of all the communities that we operate in.”

SABA Best Learning & Development Strategy

EmployeeConnect Best Use of Technology WINNER: Brookfield Multiplex Accepting the award: Kristen Madigan, general manager, HR What sort of technology did you win for? “The technology that we’re using is a new onboarding system to onboard new starters to the business. So it’s to streamline the process, to make it easier, to remove all the manual processes, automating everything, going completely sustainable with what we’re doing. It feels really good to have made a difference in our organisation, to win such a successful award – so it’s great.”

Peak Health Management Best Health & Wellbeing Strategy WINNER: McAfee Australia Accepting the award: John Françoise, HR director Asia Pacific How does it feel to win? “Absolute privilege, a lot of work went into this and looking at the other nominees, it’s just a great honour.”

WINNER: Monash University Accepting the award: Bryley Sadler, wellbeing at Monash coordinator What does this award mean to you? “It’s a fantastic achievement not just for the team but for Monash as well, that we’re recognised as an employer that supports and encourages health and wellbeing at Monash.”

Human Group Best CSR Strategy WINNER: Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd Accepting the award: Anthony Bishop, area vice president; Amanda Towe, HR Director Tell us about your program? Amanda Towe: “We’ve transitioned from company donations to getting involved in community activities right through to larger programs. We work with children; we work with people who need house repairs and gardening, through to much larger activities.”





last word

Compiled by Suzanne Mercier


Empowerer and HRM, Medland Metropolis What is the greatest HR lesson you’ve learned so far? Finding the balance between the business and our people. When I started in HR, it was more about the people. As you become more experienced, it evolves to balancing people and the business, making the right decisions for all parties involved. How does HR function within Medlands Metropolis? Medland Metropolis is a boutique Visionary Engineering Design Firm. Our flat structure means close relationships with the key stakeholders are critical in order to support and drive their vision. In a business this size, HR is much closer to the pulse of the business. What is your view on diversity, and specifically gender diversity? Engineering has been a male dominated industry. We are seeing a big shift with more qualified


experienced female engineers joining our business. We now have a team of intelligent women who are passionate about what they do. Our equal opportunity policies make it easier for women to be part of the business. What is your favourite peoplemanagement tip? Passion and communication. Our leaders are strong and passionate which flows to the staff. We communicate regularly and honestly, letting staff know our issues and concerns. We recruit people who share our values and our Vision. What career advice would you give ambitious HR professionals? Find out why you want to be in HR and what areas your skills suit best. You need to love what you do. What is the main challenge facing the HR industry right now? The GFC has impacted business everywhere. Retaining younger staff has become more challenging when projects aren’t as exciting as they would like.

Diversity by photoshop: An HR business partner wanted to represent the diversity of their team. When presented with the photograph, she objected that it wasn’t diverse enough, insisting on greater diversity being added into the image via photoshop. (HR School)



of respondents in a research project said they received a higher wage because they jokingly asked for ridiculously high salaries. The study by the University of Idaho found that candidates who asked for higher wages received more than those who didn’t (Initiating Salary Discussions with an Extreme Request: Anchoring Effects on Initial Salary Offers)


of employees who took part in a survey of 1,000 Australian emploees say they are considering leaving their jobs. These same employees also say they feel more engaged and satisfied in their jobs (Mercer “What’s Working”)


It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself – LATIN PROVERB


Human Capital magazine issue 9.12  
Human Capital magazine issue 9.12  

The magazine for people who manage people