What do you do?
My role has enterprise accountability for remuneration and benefits, performance, recruitment and transitions.
You’ve been at Australia Post for 10 years. What has kept you there this long and how have you ensured that you remain engaged in your roles and with the company?
The two factors that have kept me engaged, and hence with the company for this long, have been the people and the variety of work. I’ve had a number of roles during that period of time, ranging from generalist business partner roles, functional specialist roles and more recently strategic HR roles. Throughout the whole period the people I have had the pleasure and privilege to work with have made the whole experience one that I feel very lucky to have had.
When you moved into your current position last year, what was your biggest challenge and how did you tackle it?
The biggest challenge was delivering solutions the business required to support a major renewal program while building a new function within the overall HR restructure that was taking place.
The key to this was engagement with the senior leadership, understanding their immediate needs, sharing with them the vision for the new HR operating model and the benefits it would deliver to them in the long term.
Reaching agreement on the prioritisation of their needs and delivering against that provided the room to be able to lay the foundation for the future strategic direction while still meeting the immediate needs of the business.
As head of HR operations you have spearheaded a remuneration strategy that has moved Australia Post from a public service culture to a market competitive and benchmarked approach. What did you have to do to achieve this?
Our new remuneration framework is based on a total remuneration value concept, which is a significant step away from the previous “Base Salary plus” approach. It also, for the first time, brings in a genuine at risk performance-based component to the total remuneration offer and provides direct links between performance and remuneration reviews.
This required a complete re-benchmarking of every role against the market. To do this we introduced a new position classification system that provided the structure for the new remuneration and incentive levels and a completely new Performance Management framework.
Some of our biggest hurdles, however, were structural – particularly in relation to superannuation. For this reason the introduction of the new approach was phased over a two-year period to allow time to both change the underpinning institutional barriers and to educate managers and employees about the changes. We tackled the performance management issues in year one with some small, but symbolic, changes to the remuneration framework and in year two we embedded performance management and introduced the more far-reaching remuneration changes.
Australia Post has been through a number of change programs in the past few years – what are your tips for other HR leaders on how to manage change?
Managing change is not a linear process and we need to be prepared to revisit earlier conversations and interventions while individuals process what is happening to and around them. I think the key for our recent experience was in helping people understand that how we operated and what we did in the past was no longer sustainable. The challenge was doing this without undermining all the good things that had been in place, so identifying those things that would continue was just as important.