Tag Archives: AHRI

Fair Work Education Programs

Recently Julia Gillard (Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) announced that funding offers have now been made for Fair Work Education and Information program.

Essentially the Government is working to ensure that all everyone understands the new workplace relations system and a total of $12.9m has been offered in grants to the organisations below.

workplace-relations

ACT Chamber of Commerce
Aged and Community Services Australia
Australian Mines and Metals Association
Australian Chamber Alliance
Australian Council of Trade Unions
Australian Hotels Association
Australian Human Resources Institute
Australian Industry Group
Australian Retailers Association
Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation
Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia
Job Watch
Master Builders Association
Master Grocers Association
National Farmers’ Federation
National Retail Association
Recruitment and Consulting Services Association Ltd
Restaurant and Catering Australia
Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

These organisations will provide information and education services to employees, employers and small business operators about the Fair Work Act and how it will affect them.

For more information on these education programs you can visit the Fair Work Act website.

You may have noticed that AHRI have been provided with funding in the above allocation, and as a HR Professional you might like to check their services out.

AHRI has teamed up with Holding Redlich lawyers to develop a Fair Work Assist Resource Centre.

Resources provided by AHRI include:

• A free and interactive website
• Online fact sheets
• Online discussion forum
• ‘Ask the expert’ (and receive a response within three days)
• Phone hotline (to speak to an industrial relations expert)
• 45 information seminars
• AHRI e-learning module (available later in the year).

Get a head start and visit the website today which is http://www.fairworkaustralia.ahri.com.au/

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Has the GFC affected the way you attract talent?

AHRI has recently released “EXECpulse” ;a research report which aims to determine the direct impact within businesses of the global financial crisis. Earlier this year, AHRI conducted an online survey of a limited sample number of executive-level respondents on the ramifications within Australian business. A total of 122 executives responded to the survey.

GFC

A key key insights include:

• Approximately six out of 10 respondents (61.48%) report their organisations have downsized or are planning to do so.
• Of the downsizing organisations, more than three quarters (75.67%) report having reduced headcount up to 10%, and 8.11% of respondents more than 20%.
• Two thirds of respondents from downsizing organisations report the decision was made following careful analysis.
• Nearly nine out of 10 respondents (88%) from downsizing organisations believe downsizing was necessary.
• Respondents are evenly divided on whether the GFC will fundamentally change how business is conducted in the future, with a similar response to the question as to whether greater market regulation will prevent another GFC.
• Nearly two thirds of respondents (64.48%) believe that organisations will more actively pursue CSR and ethics policies in the wake of the GFC.

However, one of the most interesting things that I read in this report were the comments from the Execs on whether they thought the GFC would change the HR function. I’ve spoken recently on the ‘war for talent’ that has consumed many HR strategy documents for the last few years. Here is what one Exec had to say regarding the impact of the GFC on talent management:

“Less focus on recruiting scarce talent, more on clear identification of top talent and retention of them. Employee focus to shift from demanding entitlements to being grateful for non-financial benefits which represent the companies care and loyalty to employees”

They make a fantastic point. In the past, much emphasis has been placed on FINDING that talent in the ‘war’, because talent was scarce and individuals were able to freely pick and choose what companies they would like to work for. This normally meant that companies were willing and able to throw the talent great remuneration packages to join the organisation.

With the impact of the GFC, this means that companies have had to cut back and downsize, which means unemployment rates have raised tremendously; meaning there are more people in the labour market. Organisations are less able to offer huge salaries to staff and individuals are in less of a position to demand large salaries. However, it is important to remember that the top talent will always have somewhere to go to and if you can’t offer them a massive salary- what can you offer?

From a HR perspective, this means we really need to promote and sell all the benefits of working at our respective organisation- it’s no longer just about money. Examples of benefits that may be a key factor for prospective employees might include:

• Flexible working hours
• Generous paid maternity leave provisions
• Flex time
• On-site gym or discounts
• Massages or company wellness programs
• Free flu vaccinations
• Study assistance
• Child care facilities
• Subsidised transport
• Ability to work from home
• Increased superannuation payments
• Free onsite parking
• Fresh fruit delivery to work
• Volunteer Day (day of leave for purpose of assisting a charity)
• Staff referral programs
• Corporate rates for private health cover

I’d be really interested to hear from other HR professionals- what benefits are you promoting as a result of the GFC to attract and retain your talent?

One last comment from an Exec in the report:
“HR functions that add value will survive. So HR has to stand up and be counted or perish”

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Are you fulfilling the role of the credible activist?

Just recently, in attending the AHRI National Convention I heard about the AHRI National Awards. I was thinking about entering these, and came across the criteria for the HR Leadership awards. These awards recognize leading HR practitioners whose contribution to the achievement of the business outcomes through HR practices is worthy of recognition.

If you are considering nominating yourself or someone else you’ll need to apply today as it’s the last day, but even if you aren’t you might want to evaluate yourself and see how you rate as a HR practitioner. You might even want to use this as a bit of a checklist or goal for the year ahead instead of how you want to be seen by your business.

woman with megaphone

Criteria:

1. Achievement: The applicant has been recognised for excellence in an academic or career capacity

2. Impact: The applicant has made a tangible contribution to the organisation

3. Progression: The applicant’s career demonstrates an upwards trajectory beyond the expected

4. Leadership: The applicant has demonstrated a capacity for leadership

5. Commitment: The applicant has demonstrated a passion for HR through service to the profession

6. Innovation: the applicant is ahead of the field in ideas and/or practices

7. Credible activism: the applicant demonstrates personal credibility but also a point of view about the business

8. Strategic architect: the applicant demonstrates an understanding of strategy and how HR will deliver strategy.

A few of these are pretty self explanatory but a few I found to be terms that I don’t think you hear a lot of- but hopefully it will be something we HR professionals refer to a lot more in the future. With regards to leadership, I guess it depends on how you define it.

Personally, I interpret it according to Zimmerman’s (2001) definition which is that leaders must play the role of a visionary, a collaborator, a salesperson and a negotiator. I’m sure reading this; you will agree that we play all these roles at some point as a HR professional.

The one that really sticks out for me is the ‘credible activism’ which comes from David Ulrich. It’s about being trusted, respected, admired and listened to, and most importantly holding a firm standpoint about the business.

Ulrich said in a press release, “HR professionals who are credible, but not activists, are admired but do not have much impact. Those who are activists but not credible may have ideas but will not be listened to,” he added.

It really made me think about my role here and will challenge me for the next year to make a serious impact upon the business. What are your goals for the next six months?

Read more from the Society of Human Resource Management on this, or click here to read an interview with David Ulrich.

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Banking on People: David Morgan

David Morgan is the former chief executive officer of Westpac Banking Corporation (1999-2008). Prior to Westpac, Dr Morgan worked at the International Monetary Fund in Washington and the Federal Treasury as the senior deputy secretary. In 2009, Dr Morgan was named a member of the Order of Australia for service to the finance sector as a leader in the development of policies affecting the regulation of financial institutions, corporate social responsibility, and economic reform.

I really enjoyed David’s talk because although he touched on the GFC, unemployment and what his thoughts were on the situation; his overwhelming message was that your frontline people are your brand and that you need to look after them because not only are you nothing without them, but it makes good business sense. Customers don’t trust companies; they trust people- that is why your staff are so important. He also noted that when you have employees whose values align with the organisation, they’ll essentially manage themselves. He appeared to be a great leader during his time as CEO at Westpac and listening to him made part of me wished I had been there to experience that journey as well.

AUSTRALIA-BANKING-COMPANY-EARNINGS-WESTPAC

For instance, as CEO he went around Australia with all the DECISION MAKERS in the company, visiting ALL their sites, TWICE a year and spoke to ALL the frontline leaders at Westpac. Why? Because this was the best vehicle to communicate the vision and get feedback from the frontline. He also had a company hotline, where at certain periods of the day anyone could call and talk to the CEO, because he didn’t want to be divorced from the frontline staff. Finally he said that out of all the executives, he spent most of his time with the HR director, and that their offices were always next to each other. In how many companies do you know of where HR has such a prominent seat at the table- let alone right next to the CEO?

He also spoke a lot about ethics and corporate responsibility, arguing that they are demonstrably important to business. Moreover, he articulated that corporate social responsibility is a value adding strategy. Check out the Westpac website for some info.

Finally, he argued the importance of looking after your top 10% of talent. It’s important to do this during a boom because of the scarcity of talent but also in an economic downturn because your top 10% of talent will still have the options to go somewhere else. This is why he also said companies should avoid knee jerk reactions with regards to compensation and that the top 10% of talent should be exempt from hiring and pay freezes.

Overall David was fantastic to listen to because it was really proof of what is possible with the right leadership.

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Beyond the creatives: managing all your talent in a time of uncertainty

Sir Ken Robinson
Internationally-renowned expert in the development of human potential in business and education

This was an amazing start to the conference. Ken was an incredibly engaging speaker, really funny and he even managed to bust out a Perth joke in his opening address. I’ll admit whilst I was laughing at his jokes I did think he slightly resembled Austin Powers father with his English charm!

On a more serious note, Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognised leader in the development of creativity, innovation, education and HR through his work with international governments, Fortune 500 companies, not-for-profit corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organisations.

sir-ken-robinson1

The biggest take out for me was about being creative and reaching your potential. I think in HR sometimes we are too busy putting out the fires and we forget that the real basic aim is to help people perform at their best, and this involves them being creative and reaching their full potential whether they work in marketing, sales, engineering, finance or IT. Our culture has certain presumptions about creativity (about who is creative and who isn’t) – but Sir Ken argued that everyone is and has the capacity to be creative; it’s just that some people have discovered their natural creative abilities and some haven’t. There is a lot you can do to be more creative everyday. Anything can be creative whether it’s a process, product or system.

He made us think about the world and how it changes constantly. For example, kids who start school this year will retire in about 2070- what will the world look like in this time? The thing is we don’t know and the point is- we can’t keep using the same ideas and assumptions about HR today to use in the future. Everyone in the organisation in fact needs to think differently in the future and that’s the reason why creativity is so important. With the turbulence of the market and the rate of technological change we need to make innovation and creativity systemic in what we do.

So what is creativity? Sir Ken argues that imagination is the roof of human consciousness and that creativity means putting your imagination to work. Being creative is a practical activity. It’s the process of having original ideas that add value. It’s about fresh thinking and adding value to what you do. Innovation is putting good ideas into practice.

He then spoke about how in the past HR has been seen as primarily a service function but now more than ever needs to be seen as strategic, and that we need to challenge what has been taken advantage of in the past- the things that are commonsense and habitual because this is precisely what kills creativity.

It made me really think about what I am doing every day in my role, and that I need to be constantly thinking how we can be doing things differently. We can’t always be saying ‘that’s the way it’s always been done’ and we need to be open minded about new ideas.

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AHRI National Convention 2009

I’m extremely excited to be attending the AHRI (Australian Human Resources Institute) National Convention next week which is being held at the Sydney Convention Exhibition Centre.

AHRI National Convention

It launches this Sunday at 5pm with the Cocktail Reception, and the actual Convention is on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th June.

Check out the program here .

I’m probably most excited to hear Lee Hopkins speak on the secret business of social networking and Peter Sheahan, who is an author and expert in workforce trends and generational change.

Can’t get to the main conference? Then check out the exhibition for the latest HR and people management solutions. It’s free, but you must register here.

HR products and services on show:
• Learning and development
• HR/IR publications
• International HR management
• Organisational design and development
• Employer branding
• Employee relocation
• Attraction and retention
• Corporate health providers
• HR software solutions
• Performance and reward
• Occupational health and safety
• Recruitment and assessment

There are also meet and greet dinner’s being organised for delegates after the Cocktail evening on Sunday night. I think I’m going to head to the Blackbird Cafe so let me know if you are heading there too.

Of course if you can’t get to these events I’ll be tweeting as much as possible (follow the hashtag #AHRI09) and blogging when I have time!

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