Dianne McNamara works in real estate and was a recent finalist in the David Ulrich Practitioner of the Year Award at the 2015 AHRI Awards. HRM spoke with her about how HR can keep up with an industry that’s always on the move.
Can you describe the particular challenges of working in HR in the real estate sector?
The real estate sector moves very quickly. HR is fast paced, and to keep up I have to be flexible and be prepared to adapt to any situation. In real estate, there are so many different opportunities for HR to contribute. From business development through to transition, you need to be ready to change direction and support the business quickly.
What strategic initiatives have you used at CBRE to drive business performance?
I have been the driving force behind the introduction of the workplace behaviour policy and workplace compliance activities.
What would you consider your greatest career achievement(s)?
I’m proud of my progress over a 13-year career moving from a generalist HR role to a senior HR practitioner and a trusted advisor. I would say being a finalist in the 2012 Australian HR Awards and finalist in the 2015 Dave Ulrich Practitioner of the Year Award are celebrated achievements for me.
What advice would you give to anyone entering the profession today?
I am a strong believer in continuous improvement and mentoring. Attend learning sessions outside of your workplace, keep on top of current case studies. Establish a good mentoring relationship at every stage in your career. Having a sounding board and someone you can learn from has really helped me to progress.
What are the key skills needed in HR today?
You need to have a good understanding of what your business does and understand the role that HR plays in its success. HR need to be approachable and have strong relationships across the business at every level. You need to have a strong understanding of employment law and how it relates to processes and policy. Each HR role I have had is different, but the essential key skills have never changed.
What do you think if AHRI’s new certification framework?
It’s very important that we work towards a standard best practice approach to bring more credibility to HR and improve the profile of our industry.
This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the March 2016 issue of HRMonthly magazine as “Meet … Dianne McNamara”. AHRI members receive HRMonthly 11 times per year as part of their membership. Find out more about AHRI membership here.