The Dave Ulrich HR Leader Award Winner at the 2016 AHRI Awards, Clare Murphy FCPHR talks about her proudest moments.
Tell us about how you began work in HR
I actually started out at 19 working in hospitality and then did a variety of management roles. At one hotel the HR manager went on parental leave and I took over. After that I decided that it was what I wanted to do, so I started studying. I started out with one of AHRI’s foundational courses and then did a Masters.
Tell us about your current role
I’ve been at St Michael’s Grammar School for seven years now and the strategic aim of my team is attracting, retaining and sustaining the highest quality staff. When I first started there the thing I got asked a lot was ‘so what does HR actually do?’ One thing we’ve been successful at is making visible what it is we do and how that impacts the staff. A strong communication strategy has been key to that – explaining the purpose.
What has been your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud of the complete restructure of the teaching and learning side of the school that we did. We shifted to a K-12 model, and cut out duplications in roles. Two thirds of the staff were affected by this change – and 70 leaders. And we did it with only one redundancy. We worked through this with staff in a very collaborative and consultative way. It has taken a much bigger investment in time, but people were on board with it.
How did it feel to win the Dave Ulrich HR leader award in 2016?
Winning an AHRI award was just overwhelming. The next day when my CEO told everyone – I got emails from staff across all levels saying ‘you deserve it’ and that was probably what I’m most proud of.
Winning that award and being at an organisation the size of St Michael’s was a really good example to show that you don’t have to be at a large organisation doing projects that affect thousands of people to be recognised for great HR. Good HR is just as important for SMEs as it is for large organisations. It shows that you can do really amazing and innovative things even if you don’t have a significant budget.
What do you think about AHRI’s drive for certification of the profession?
I’m 100 per cent behind it. I was one of the first to go through the process. Great HR is equally as important to an organisation achieving its objectives as having a good finance or accounting team. If we want a CHRO to be equal with a CFO, we need to raise the bar – particularly senior leaders. We all need to be setting the standard by setting an example and leading the profession.
Applications for AHRI Awards 2017 are now open. Click here to register and find out more.