Home' HR Monthly : April 2015 Contents 18
“IT’S COMMITMENT TO
A CAUSE AND PASSION
TO DELIVER THAT
MAKES STAFF GO ABOVE
AND BEYOND AND IMPROVE
TRACEY GAVEGAN, GROUP EXECUTIVE, HR
employees are the fi rst to criticize them and say, ‘It’s not quite right’.
That’s really broken down some of those layers of management. People
used to be very fearful to speak out, but that’s slowly going away. I
think it’s been a tool that has allowed us to change the culture in a way
that I never expected.
PW: What role does HR have in helping transform companies fit for
the modern age?
TG: I used to work in the pharmaceutical industry and helped
facilitate mergers that consolidated my experience in and around
transformation and culture change. There’s a lot of innovation in
this area. Predictive analytics, those sorts of tools and methodologies
that can border on what you’re doing in business is really important
in enhancing the effectiveness of an organization. If you can do that,
then you’re contributing to the outcome of the strategy.
DT: One thing that is so important to Telstra is this constant desire
to reinvent while still delivering to your customers – being externally
focused. The market moves rapidly so how do you respond and not
allow bureaucracy to prevent decisions from being made quickly?
PW: How has leadership changed in recent times?
DT: L eadership is very different to 10 years ago, and it’s the one area
where we are not seeing enough improvement. You have to create an
environ ment for people to fulfil who they are in a job and really make a
difference. I can’t decide what is the right decision for a person serving
a customer in Wagga Wagga, but I can tell them the type of company
we are and what we stand for and what our values are. And one of the
values we espouse is: ‘Trust each other to deliver’, which is exactly the
opposite of being accountable but accountability comes out of it.
Take expense accounts. We now have no approval process for
expense accounts inside Telstra. You can travel to Melbou rne and you
don’t have to get approval. We trust you to know what our standards
are. We still have a process of course – if someone isn’t adhering to our
standards, then we say: ‘Look you might not be right for this company’.
But it’s values-led rather than rules-led.
PW: Telstra has a good record on inclusion and diversity.
How could that be improved in the next five years?
DT: The decision to make all roles flexible was a big psychological
change for us. We felt it was important to say that we wanted an
environment of inclusion. It’s equally advantageous for men as well
as women and although it wasn’t a gender thing, we’ve had more
women applying for roles and promotion.
TG: We come from a position that our business will be better
with a more diverse balance in the company. That’s what drives
us. Then there is the moral position – we don’t just believe in
equity as a business outcome.
PW: What must Telstra be doing to make itself prepared and
resilient in the 21st century?
DT: A company like Telstra needs to continue to reinvent itself,
and as we become more international we can offer opportunities
to our people to build those regional and global skills. The
reason why many Australian companies have not succeeded in
Asia, is that despite having great people, they haven’t developed
the leadership capability and what it is to work in a multi-
cultural, multi-national area.
TG: Organising and being ready for growth and all that that
brings will help us prepare. Building up the talent orientation
involves multiple jobs in multiple different areas, from
technology through to back-of-house functions. Meanwhile,
the global market is getting tighter, but hopefully we are better
positioned in terms of attractiveness as an employer. We’ve
invested a lot in making Telstra a great place to work.
There is a global mindset that Telstra will need to develop,
and we’re spending more time in Asia. It’s also preparing the
organisation to evolve as technology evolves, and being more
agile. It’s probably not how you would have described Telstra
10, 15, 20 years ago, but that’s the sort of company it needs
to be. It’s multi-dimensional for HR to assist parts of the
organisation in transforming.
PW: What advice would you give to someone aspiring to a
top HR job?
TG: It’s easy to say you’ve got to know the business, but you
really have to immerse yourself in it. Be at the front line,
listening to the organisation so that your solutions are always
pragmatic. I am definitely a person that has a plan. I look
five and 10 years out at what we need to be doing and what
capabilities we are going to need to suppor t company strategy.
I’m always reading and scanning the market and seeing how
labour dynamics are changing globally.
so you can focus...
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