A New Direction in HR

April 1st, 2002 Features, Tech

The last 12 months have been spent repositioning the Department of Training as a recognised trader in knowledge management, and in line with their new focus, they’ve taken some innovative steps to align people skills with the direction of the organisation.

‘We needed a shift in the culture to one of innovation, collaboration, ongoing learning and high achievement,’ says Stan Toohey, Director, Workforce Management. ‘The focus of our recruitment was always assessing someone’s background to judge their merit. We didn’t pay much attention to their potential or fit with our cultural values.’

Part of the process undertaken by the Workforce Management Team was a major review of the Department’s recruitment and selection practices, and local recruitment wunderkind Price Advertising & Consulting produced results that have also been adopted by the Office of Equal Opportunity in their publication ‘Innovative Recruitment’.

Price’s recommendations provided the opportunity to align the Department’s new recruitment selection strategies with their new direction, according to Toohey. ‘One of the reviews key recommendations was for selection criteria to reflect our needs and values more broadly,’ he explains, ‘rather than just specific job requirements.’

John Hales, Manager of the Workforce Management Team, said the review also revealed more and more organisations are placing equal importance on both job fit and culture fit. ‘If we’re going to be successful matching people’s skills and values with our culture and direction, we had to make sure staff and candidates knew what attributes we were after.’ Hales says.

And so the team (over the course of several workshops and thrashed out by over 100 people from every professional level) developed four key personal attributes that are now required for every position in the Department. They are; relating to people & teamwork, willingness to learn, innovation & creation and outcome focus.

Hales says involving staff in the development of the four attributes has helped everyone. ‘We all understand what’s expected of us now and in future,’ he says, ‘It also helps identify areas people might need to develop. We’re reviewing some performance processes at the moment and the new attributes and behaviours will be part of them’.

The new HR strategies have also provided tangible links between workforce planning and strategic direction, according to Hales. ‘Rather than concentrating on a specific job when we recruit, we now look for the personal qualities that reflect our culture and future needs,’ he explains, ‘It makes us all more adaptable to a broader range of jobs or projects.’

Another change because of the new approach is that candidates are now treated like customers, which Workforce Management Director Toohey believes is a plus. ‘If applicants have a positive selection experience, then you’ll be seen as an employer of choice.’ He says.

And Training themselves aren’t the only ones impressed with their new strategy. From outside their doors (along with the likes of Bankwest and Burswood Casino), they’ve been accredited by the ‘Investors in People’ Quality Standard, and inside, things are changing fast — for the better.


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