Meet Ross Miller, one of the winners of the 2012 AHRI Awards – the HR industry’s night of nights – and learn about their journeys and the keys to their success.
What inspired you to start working in HR?
I originally worked in commercial roles and actually stumbled into a human resources opportunity. I was surprised by the influence I could have on driving commercial outcomes across the organisation.
What do you like most about your job?
I have the best job in Australia. I am in the industry I love – retail and business banking – and I have the support of an exceptional team. It’s about knowing the business as if it were my own, owning the big issues, knowing the people and working with business leaders to deliver for our customers.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Cultural change is the biggest challenge we are facing in Australia, which has seen a significant shift since the GFC. And with our close proximity to Asia it is vital for us to adapt to the evolving needs of our workforce. Additionally, the aging population creates the demand for developing unique people strategies that are aligned to drive business growth.
What advice would you give someone starting out in your field?
To school leavers, if you have an interest in human resources, I highly encourage you to combine your studies with economics or a similar discipline. It’s important to have an understanding of the business you are supporting. I have always found the most successful HR practitioners have sound commercial acumen. For those aspiring to change roles, never underestimate the value of business experience and how that knowledge can contribute to a successful HR team.
What does winning this award mean to you personally and to your organisation?
Supporting a business to manage a workforce of 37,000 in a culture that is almost 200 years old brings its share of challenges and opportunities. But the courage and vision of the leaders I have worked with to lead the way in areas such as diversity and wellbeing has been really remarkable. My team and I have been able to redefine the role of HR as a truly commercial team, which in turn has helped define who we are as an organisation. It’s an honour to be recognised by AHRI as a leader and an influential figure among the HR community. Winning the HR Leader of the Year award validated the great success my team and I have achieved over the past few years.
What do you believe is the single biggest issue for HR practitioners today?
HR practitioners today must be more resilient than ever. We must develop strong business relationships and demonstrate a high level of business acumen.