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Top HR Trends in Australia

The business landscape in Australia has never been more complex, and there’s no doubt that great HR Leaders are the backbone of many of the most successful organisations. Facing challenges such as transformation, managing a multi-generational workforce, rigorous employee relations laws, and the increased need to demonstrate return on any HR investment, HR Leaders in Australia are using tenacity and creativity to deliver positive results. Here are six of the top trends we’ve identified in 2014 to date:

1. Relocation of HR Functions to Asia

Over the last five years, we’ve witnessed the relocation of many senior executive HR roles from Australia to various locations in Asia. Many HR Leaders have moved to Asia to follow the roles, and those who have remained in Australia are facing a competitive market as they seek the next step in their career journey. However, it seems that the tide may be turning. According to Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey, Sydney has dropped from 9th to 26th position, and this, combined with the Australian dollar falling to U.S. 94.06 cents, means the expat dollar will go further in Australia today, than it has over the last five years.

2. Technological Transformation

The digital economy and Cloud based technology, in addition to economic challenges, have triggered major organisation-wide transformations. This has meant that today, HR is focusing on capability uplift, increasing engagement, and improving organisational performance, whilst ‘doing more with less.’ Many businesses are already using, or are currently implementing, integrated Human Resource management systems, such as Workday, so that line managers can handle much of the tactical, process-oriented HR work through web kiosks. The well documented examples of social media platforms, as acquisition and branding tools, are on the rise and we’ve been interested to see one company in particular using gamification to assess and screen candidates online. There has also been an increase in the use of internal social networking software, such as Yammer, to foster greater collaboration on projects across large organisations.

3. Commercial and Financial Focus

The spend on employee remuneration and benefits is one of the largest, if not the largest, cost to many businesses. With many Australian businesses under margin pressure, extracting maximum ROI on employee spend is a major focus for HR Leaders. Increasing the ‘bang for buck’ from their Talent Management strategies, with the aim of uplifting capability and ultimately increasing organisational performance is top of the agenda.

4. “Outside In” Thinking

HR Leaders are now putting themselves in the shoes of the external customer, and they are designing HR strategies that enable the organisation to truly meet and exceed customer needs. These HR Leaders may be attending client meetings with their sales colleagues, or tapping into ‘voice of customer’ research to direct their work. As a result, many organisations are reshaping talent acquisition, development, rewards, engagement and culture strategies, with a mindset that continually asks, “What do our customers want from our people?”

5. Understanding the Talent

As part of the Talent Management strategy, all business leaders — not just HR – are recognising the importance of knowing the individual employee from a holistic perspective. Understanding their drivers, motivations, life outside work, and health and fitness ambitions, provides key information on how to lift engagement, retention and productivity.

6. Results-Oriented Work Environments

Companies, such as highly successful Australian software company Atlassian, have developed a flexible, results-oriented workplace. These organisations appreciate that autonomy, job mastery and the link to fulfilling one’s purpose are the key factors in employee motivation — it’s not all about remuneration. As long as employees are delivering the results and outputs required, the company is flexible on when, where and how outcomes are achieved.

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Key Contributors:

Fiona Jury

Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence

Consulting Team
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Consulting Team

Fiona Jury

Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence

Fiona Jury is the Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence at ChapmanCG. She is passionate about excellence in search delivery and leads ChapmanCG’s global research and market intelligence team in identifying top-quality HR talent.

Fiona’s executive search and recruitment career spans over 20 years, working across multiple markets including Asia Pacific, the United States, the Middle East and Australia/New Zealand. A search consultant at heart, Fiona understands the unique needs of clients. During her time with ChapmanCG, Fiona has delivered on CHRO, Global HR Director, Regional HR Director, Global Talent Head, Global Head of Reward and many other high impact searches.

Prior to joining ChapmanCG, Fiona held a variety of leadership and senior consulting roles at Talent2 and at Morgan & Banks/TMP. She possesses broad industry experience across pharmaceuticals, FMCG, financial services, media, professional services and IT & Telecommunications.

Fiona originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant and spent her early career with Coopers & Lybrand. She holds a Bachelor of Economics (Accounting) from Monash University in Melbourne. Outside of work, Fiona enjoys spending time with family and her three children. She enjoys all sports and is fascinated by human ingenuity and positive psychology.

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