Home' HR Monthly : HRM HRM06 DecJan 2015 Contents 58
Q. DURING YOUR 14 YEARS WITH MERCY HEALTH, WHAT
CHANGES TO THE HR FUNCTION HAVE YOU WITNESSED?
I started on a three-month contract and had no
intention of staying. Fourteen years later, I can safely
say the HR function has grown and transformed to
support the evolution of the business. Mercy Health
has expanded to the point where it can care for
communities from birth to death, and the HR function
supports our staff in the same way. We now have HR
business par tners and, as a model, this works well.
Q. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE HEALTH INDUSTRY THAT HAS
RETAINED YOUR INTEREST FOR SO LONG?
Health is a 24/7 business and it’s constantly changing.
The reason we exist and the reason we remain inspired
is ou r people – the carers, patients, families and support
staff who make up the Mercy Health community. The
diversity of my role also keeps things interesting. I have
responsibility across HR , learning, communications,
media, and OHS/WHS.
Q. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS AT AN ALL-TIME LOW.
WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE, AND HOW CAN
ORGANISATIONS TURN THIS NEGATIVE TREND AROUND?
Employee engagement is largely about culture. You
can have the most talented, motivated people in your
organisation, but if they don’t feel valued they will
eventually disengage. It is critical to constantly listen
and communicate to your people. Our CEO, Stephen
Cornelissen, is approachable and transparent, and I
think people value that in an organisation.
Q. YOU HAVE BEEN RECOGNISED AS A DIVERSITY
AND INCLUSION CHAMPION. WHAT ARE THE GREATEST
POINTS OF RESISTANCE IN ACHIEVING RESULTS IN
Middle management is the one group that is constantly
overloaded. Trying to influence them as they juggle
their own teams, workloads and reporting lines can be
a big challenge.
Q. WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE ON ACHIEVING MANAGEMENT
BUY-IN FOR HR INITIATIVES?
Resilience! Start with the CEO, get them on board and
work down the line.
Q. WHAT’S THE ONE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT IN YOUR
CAREER THAT YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN AS A GRADUATE?
It’s okay to make a mistake.
Q. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE INCREASED FOCUS
AREAS FOR THE HR PROFESSION IN 2015?
We constantly have to justify our ex istence, and that
won’t change. Now and into the future, we must
demonstrate that we understand the business and are
aligned to its objectives.
Mercy Health’s executive director of people, learning and culture reflects
on a successful HR career in the health sector.
Ever y day I promise myself
I will go to the gym, and
every day I find an excuse
I’ll be pinning for hours at
night. I have a Pinterest
obsession that ranges
from mild to worrying,
depending on the day.
3. READ HEALTH-
Ever y day I’ll read endless
health/aged care articles
to stay on top of industry
news. Sources may or may
not include Instagram,
Facebook and mummy
blogs, which we all
know are the bastions of
accuracy and truth.
4. RECEIVE FASHION
I’m always taking on
fashion advice and bold
truths from my teenage
It’s a daily ritual to drink my
cof fee through a straw –
THINGS THAT I
DO EVERY DAY
More inter views with
leaders of the HR
profession can be found
on HRM online.
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19/11/14 5:04 PM
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