International HR Day 2024: Celebrating HR around the world


To mark this year’s International HR Day, HRM spoke with HR leaders from four different countries about the pressing challenges they are facing and their strategies to navigate the current world of work. 

Many of the issues faced by today’s HR practitioners in Australia are being dealt with by HR teams the world over, from managing changing employee expectations to keeping up with digitisation. What insights can Australian HR teams take from their global peers to enhance their own HR strategies? 

In celebration of International HR Day 2024, HRM interviewed four international HR leaders to learn more about the most pressing issues facing HR in their respective countries and how they are helping their organisations navigate the modern world of work. 

How HR practitioners in New Zealand are building culturally inclusive workplaces

The unique cultural landscape in New Zealand means that a nuanced approach to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is essential, says Nick McKissack, Chief Executive Officer at Human Resources New Zealand (HRNZ). 

“The landscape of DEI has expanded over recent years, with greater attention being given to a wider range of communities,” he says. “For example, the needs of the Rainbow community and neurodiverse [employees] have been receiving far greater efforts by organisations committed to fully utilising their talent and creating positive workplace cultures.”

Support for Indigenous people and culture has been a top priority for some time, he says, and increased recognition of the unique needs and challenges of this cohort has been a welcome development.

 Nick McKissack, Chief Executive Officer at Human Resources New Zealand
Nick McKissack, CEO, Human Resources New Zealand

“Employers are increasingly reflecting a commitment to te tiriti o Waitangi [the Treaty of Waitangi] and Māori cultural values in their diversity and inclusion programs.  

“It is predicted that one in five working age adults in the [New Zealand] workforce will be of Māori descent within 20 years. There’s a recognition that there are a range of systemic issues that work against Māori succeeding and achieving their potential in the workplace. Tackling these systemic issues takes a high priority in many organisations and is seen to improve equity more generally.

“The combination of shifting generational perspectives and Te Ao Māori values mean that organisations with a strong purpose and an authentic commitment to their people will be best positioned for future success and sustainability. HR professionals can play a critical role in helping their organisations to achieve this.”

“It’s a disorientating time for organisations, with changes in technology overlapping with broader societal changes and shifts in the world of work. The profession will be at the heart of the response and drive for better.” – David D’Souza, Director of Profession, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Innovative approaches to employee wellbeing in Canada

According to Anthony Ariganello, Chief Executive Officer at Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Canada, managing employee wellbeing effectively requires HR practitioners to take a holistic approach which acknowledges the various facets of the employee experience which impact mental and physical health.

HR practitioners have a responsibility to assist teams in finding meaning in their work and ensuring they feel valued and worthy, he says. This includes helping employees recognise the tangible impact of their contributions, foster harmonious relationships with their peers and team members, guide their personal and collective growth and support them in maintaining work-life balance.

“HR professionals need to find incentives and get creative on what strategies will work for their respective organisations. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s important to ensure that whatever is introduced to support employee wellbeing is reflective of that organisation’s culture and modus operandi.”

Headshot of Anthony Ariganello, Chief Executive Officer at Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Canada
Anthony Ariganello, CEO, Chartered Professionals in Human Resources, Canada

Many Canadian organisations are experimenting with new ways to support employee wellbeing in a way that acknowledges the diverse needs of their workforces, he says.

“A few examples we have heard of are organisations introducing flex health spending accounts,  which allows employees to pay for healthcare costs with pretax dollars.

“Employees choose the contribution amounts made to an FSA, which are then deducted from their gross pay and, hence, reduce their taxable income for that year. Since the employee doesn’t pay taxes on this money, they save an amount equal to the taxes they would have paid on the money they set aside.

“Employers may make contributions to a FSA, but they aren’t required to.”

Ariganello says it’s also common for organisations to introduce health-based rewards to help employees achieve their wellbeing goals.

“To ensure its not cookie-cutter, [organisations] offer employees a customised wellness plan that could include overcoming challenges, access to webinars and health consultations and creating a way of sustaining those efforts through a cadence of events, or via an Intranet, specific portal or App with ongoing updates to employees.

“Another example is offering annual monetary mental health benefits to every employee and their dependents. The plan could cover access to psychologists, registered social workers, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, clinical counsellors, and marriage or family therapists.”

How HR is shaping flexible work in the UK

The landscape of flexible work in Australia has evolved drastically over the post-pandemic period. According to David D’Souza, Director of Profession at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), as HR professionals in the UK manage a similar shift, the narrative around flexible working is becoming increasingly complex.

“There is growing appreciation that we need to be more flexible when thinking about flexibility,” he says. “Whether it’s thinking about how roles are crafted or how flexible we can be with the working week, it makes sense to be open to different ways of attracting and enabling talent to flourish.

David D'Souza, Director of Profession at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
David D’Souza, Director of Profession, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK

“We are also starting to see employers feel that the social and psychological contracts may have been stretched too far. It’s important to acknowledge that the expectation and reality of that flexibility varies by role and sector, often creating situations where remote or hybrid work may be possible for some within an organisation, but not others. 

“It’s important the principle of flexibility is applied in a broad and inclusive way across economies, with a focus on good work and outcomes for organisations.”

Organisations in the UK who are less equipped to offer hybrid and remote working options are developing their offerings to ensure they can remain competitive in a challenging talent landscape, he says. 

“It’s important to think about how to help people flex their careers and development. If you can’t pay upper quartile you can still concentrate on upper quartile levels of care and support for people’s careers.”

The evolution of flexible work in conjunction with a range of other pressing challenges means that the HR function is more critical to UK organisations than ever before – and HR professionals must rise to the occasion. 

“The profession needs to continue to work in partnership across a range of functional areas to drive ever better outcomes for people and organisations. 

“It’s a disorientating time for organisations, with changes in technology overlapping with broader societal changes and shifts in the world of work. The profession will be at the heart of the response and drive for better. It will be challenging, but exciting too.”

How recruiters in Singapore are navigating a challenging talent landscape

Alvin Aloysius Goh, Executive Director, Singapore Human Resources Institute

Recruitment professionals in Singapore are grappling with similar complex skills challenges to those faced in Australia and worldwide, says Alvin Aloysius Goh, Executive Director of the Singapore Human Resources Institute. 

“Although recruitment has always been about finding the right people, the definition of ‘right’ has evolved significantly in recent years,” he says.

“The challenge is that it’s no longer enough to simply ensure a candidate meets the technical requirements on a job description. Companies need to seek candidates with a strong combination of competencies, attitude, knowledge and experience (CAKE).”

As skills needs grow in complexity, the talent market in Singapore continues to shift from an employer-centric model to one that favours candidates with the right skills, he says.

“These candidates have more options and can negotiate for better salaries, benefits, and work-life balance.

“While competitive compensation and benefits are still important, companies in Singapore are recognising that today’s top talent seeks a more holistic work experience. This has led to a surge in innovative recruitment strategies that go beyond traditional job postings.”

Recruiters are not only diversifying the platforms they use to reach candidates, but also adapting the content of their postings to attract discerning talent, he explains.

“We are seeing more companies using social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to create engaging content that showcases their company culture and commitment to social responsibility. 

“They also leverage engaged employees to share positive experiences on these platforms, attracting others who might resonate with the company’s values.”

Through strategic employee attraction, retention and support, HR can strengthen and protect their organisations through the changes that lie ahead, he says.

“Not only will HR need to be strategic, it will also have to be adaptable to respond to these changes quickly. This includes embracing new technologies, adapting to various work models (such as flexible work arrangements), and continuously refining our people strategies to ensure short-term gains whilst building long-term value.”

Looking to expand your HR network? AHRI members can connect with peers, access community support and enjoy exclusive member resources by joining AHRI’s LinkedIn Lounge.

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Brisbane
Brisbane
26 days ago

The article explores diversity, but it would be interesting to hear from interviewees of different races, genders, or professional backgrounds

Marie
Marie
25 days ago

Would have been savvy to also interview a female CEO or HR leader so it wasn’t male dominated like so many things still are.

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International HR Day 2024: Celebrating HR around the world


To mark this year’s International HR Day, HRM spoke with HR leaders from four different countries about the pressing challenges they are facing and their strategies to navigate the current world of work. 

Many of the issues faced by today’s HR practitioners in Australia are being dealt with by HR teams the world over, from managing changing employee expectations to keeping up with digitisation. What insights can Australian HR teams take from their global peers to enhance their own HR strategies? 

In celebration of International HR Day 2024, HRM interviewed four international HR leaders to learn more about the most pressing issues facing HR in their respective countries and how they are helping their organisations navigate the modern world of work. 

How HR practitioners in New Zealand are building culturally inclusive workplaces

The unique cultural landscape in New Zealand means that a nuanced approach to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is essential, says Nick McKissack, Chief Executive Officer at Human Resources New Zealand (HRNZ). 

“The landscape of DEI has expanded over recent years, with greater attention being given to a wider range of communities,” he says. “For example, the needs of the Rainbow community and neurodiverse [employees] have been receiving far greater efforts by organisations committed to fully utilising their talent and creating positive workplace cultures.”

Support for Indigenous people and culture has been a top priority for some time, he says, and increased recognition of the unique needs and challenges of this cohort has been a welcome development.

 Nick McKissack, Chief Executive Officer at Human Resources New Zealand
Nick McKissack, CEO, Human Resources New Zealand

“Employers are increasingly reflecting a commitment to te tiriti o Waitangi [the Treaty of Waitangi] and Māori cultural values in their diversity and inclusion programs.  

“It is predicted that one in five working age adults in the [New Zealand] workforce will be of Māori descent within 20 years. There’s a recognition that there are a range of systemic issues that work against Māori succeeding and achieving their potential in the workplace. Tackling these systemic issues takes a high priority in many organisations and is seen to improve equity more generally.

“The combination of shifting generational perspectives and Te Ao Māori values mean that organisations with a strong purpose and an authentic commitment to their people will be best positioned for future success and sustainability. HR professionals can play a critical role in helping their organisations to achieve this.”

“It’s a disorientating time for organisations, with changes in technology overlapping with broader societal changes and shifts in the world of work. The profession will be at the heart of the response and drive for better.” – David D’Souza, Director of Profession, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Innovative approaches to employee wellbeing in Canada

According to Anthony Ariganello, Chief Executive Officer at Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Canada, managing employee wellbeing effectively requires HR practitioners to take a holistic approach which acknowledges the various facets of the employee experience which impact mental and physical health.

HR practitioners have a responsibility to assist teams in finding meaning in their work and ensuring they feel valued and worthy, he says. This includes helping employees recognise the tangible impact of their contributions, foster harmonious relationships with their peers and team members, guide their personal and collective growth and support them in maintaining work-life balance.

“HR professionals need to find incentives and get creative on what strategies will work for their respective organisations. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s important to ensure that whatever is introduced to support employee wellbeing is reflective of that organisation’s culture and modus operandi.”

Headshot of Anthony Ariganello, Chief Executive Officer at Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Canada
Anthony Ariganello, CEO, Chartered Professionals in Human Resources, Canada

Many Canadian organisations are experimenting with new ways to support employee wellbeing in a way that acknowledges the diverse needs of their workforces, he says.

“A few examples we have heard of are organisations introducing flex health spending accounts,  which allows employees to pay for healthcare costs with pretax dollars.

“Employees choose the contribution amounts made to an FSA, which are then deducted from their gross pay and, hence, reduce their taxable income for that year. Since the employee doesn’t pay taxes on this money, they save an amount equal to the taxes they would have paid on the money they set aside.

“Employers may make contributions to a FSA, but they aren’t required to.”

Ariganello says it’s also common for organisations to introduce health-based rewards to help employees achieve their wellbeing goals.

“To ensure its not cookie-cutter, [organisations] offer employees a customised wellness plan that could include overcoming challenges, access to webinars and health consultations and creating a way of sustaining those efforts through a cadence of events, or via an Intranet, specific portal or App with ongoing updates to employees.

“Another example is offering annual monetary mental health benefits to every employee and their dependents. The plan could cover access to psychologists, registered social workers, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, clinical counsellors, and marriage or family therapists.”

How HR is shaping flexible work in the UK

The landscape of flexible work in Australia has evolved drastically over the post-pandemic period. According to David D’Souza, Director of Profession at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), as HR professionals in the UK manage a similar shift, the narrative around flexible working is becoming increasingly complex.

“There is growing appreciation that we need to be more flexible when thinking about flexibility,” he says. “Whether it’s thinking about how roles are crafted or how flexible we can be with the working week, it makes sense to be open to different ways of attracting and enabling talent to flourish.

David D'Souza, Director of Profession at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
David D’Souza, Director of Profession, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK

“We are also starting to see employers feel that the social and psychological contracts may have been stretched too far. It’s important to acknowledge that the expectation and reality of that flexibility varies by role and sector, often creating situations where remote or hybrid work may be possible for some within an organisation, but not others. 

“It’s important the principle of flexibility is applied in a broad and inclusive way across economies, with a focus on good work and outcomes for organisations.”

Organisations in the UK who are less equipped to offer hybrid and remote working options are developing their offerings to ensure they can remain competitive in a challenging talent landscape, he says. 

“It’s important to think about how to help people flex their careers and development. If you can’t pay upper quartile you can still concentrate on upper quartile levels of care and support for people’s careers.”

The evolution of flexible work in conjunction with a range of other pressing challenges means that the HR function is more critical to UK organisations than ever before – and HR professionals must rise to the occasion. 

“The profession needs to continue to work in partnership across a range of functional areas to drive ever better outcomes for people and organisations. 

“It’s a disorientating time for organisations, with changes in technology overlapping with broader societal changes and shifts in the world of work. The profession will be at the heart of the response and drive for better. It will be challenging, but exciting too.”

How recruiters in Singapore are navigating a challenging talent landscape

Alvin Aloysius Goh, Executive Director, Singapore Human Resources Institute

Recruitment professionals in Singapore are grappling with similar complex skills challenges to those faced in Australia and worldwide, says Alvin Aloysius Goh, Executive Director of the Singapore Human Resources Institute. 

“Although recruitment has always been about finding the right people, the definition of ‘right’ has evolved significantly in recent years,” he says.

“The challenge is that it’s no longer enough to simply ensure a candidate meets the technical requirements on a job description. Companies need to seek candidates with a strong combination of competencies, attitude, knowledge and experience (CAKE).”

As skills needs grow in complexity, the talent market in Singapore continues to shift from an employer-centric model to one that favours candidates with the right skills, he says.

“These candidates have more options and can negotiate for better salaries, benefits, and work-life balance.

“While competitive compensation and benefits are still important, companies in Singapore are recognising that today’s top talent seeks a more holistic work experience. This has led to a surge in innovative recruitment strategies that go beyond traditional job postings.”

Recruiters are not only diversifying the platforms they use to reach candidates, but also adapting the content of their postings to attract discerning talent, he explains.

“We are seeing more companies using social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to create engaging content that showcases their company culture and commitment to social responsibility. 

“They also leverage engaged employees to share positive experiences on these platforms, attracting others who might resonate with the company’s values.”

Through strategic employee attraction, retention and support, HR can strengthen and protect their organisations through the changes that lie ahead, he says.

“Not only will HR need to be strategic, it will also have to be adaptable to respond to these changes quickly. This includes embracing new technologies, adapting to various work models (such as flexible work arrangements), and continuously refining our people strategies to ensure short-term gains whilst building long-term value.”

Looking to expand your HR network? AHRI members can connect with peers, access community support and enjoy exclusive member resources by joining AHRI’s LinkedIn Lounge.

Subscribe to receive comments
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5 Comments
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Brisbane
Brisbane
26 days ago

The article explores diversity, but it would be interesting to hear from interviewees of different races, genders, or professional backgrounds

Marie
Marie
25 days ago

Would have been savvy to also interview a female CEO or HR leader so it wasn’t male dominated like so many things still are.

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.
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