Adviser, strategic workforce planning and development, Northern Territory Government and AHRI’s Dave Ulrich HR Rising Star of the Year, Reanna Brown discusses her role:
I wear quite a few hats. Essentially I provide policy advice, leadership on sector-wide workforce planning; and development initiatives across the Northern Territory Public Sector (NTPS).
Since joining the NTPS, you have been a strong advocate for knowledge sharing. Do you think HR has a role to play in this space?
I’m a self-confessed knowledge-sharing evangelist. I genuinely believe that HR has an important role to play in facilitating the sharing of knowledge, especially the knowledge of our gold collared workers and teams. We need to challenge the current paradigm where knowledge is power and move to a place where knowledge is opportunity.
Should HR professionals be using web 2.0?
The very essence of web 2.0 technologies is people-centric. This technology has enormous potential to change the way people interact and work. Sure, HR plays a role in mitigating risk, and there’s no denying our historical roots in risk avoidance, but we also cultivate corporate culture. I think there is a risk in underestimating the power of social media and the likes in shaping future workplaces. Those who fully embrace these tools will find themselves at the forefront of change – exactly where HR should be.
What are your views on employee volunteering opportunities within a business framework?
To most people, corporate volunteer programs are often viewed as a peripheral activity (a nice-to-have perk for employees) rather than a strategic business initiative.
However, corporate social responsibility matters – to our workforce, our community and the organisation. It especially matters to the Gen Yers who are often described as the most civic-minded generation. Organisations that view volunteer programs as a strategic asset may have a distinct advantage when it comes to engaging the Gen Ys. In fact, should I ever be faced with the dilemma of choosing between two potential jobs with similar responsibilities and remuneration, a corporate volunteering program would be a deal-breaker.
How do you translate your sporting lessons into your role in HR?
The sea change from coaching and playing sport to working in HR was a surprisingly easy one. I have a natural enthusiasm for human motivation, engagement and high performance.
The parallels in my HR role are striking. Both roles are complex, unpredictable, reliant on the performance of people and dependent on training that accompanies performance.
The most profound difference between the two is the way in which sport provides a model for peak performance. When we are attempting to sustain high performance in our athletes we consider a more holistic approach to training and development (support for the body, the mind and the spirit). Failure to address any one of these may ultimately compromise performance. This is a simple yet often overlooked lesson and perhaps something for HR professionals to ponder.