Home' HR Monthly : September 2015 Contents LIFE IN
"Over time, we've seen HR grow commercial acumen and become business
advisors. What HR is now able to do with data and analytics
I don't think we were even thinking about 10 years ago.
"For example, we've been looking at our employee perception sur vey
results and linking it to operational and productivity outcomes. From that,
we know that it's at sites where we have better inclusion that we're better
at leading change and have stronger engagement. We also have better
safety results, more stable production, lower cost and lower turnover.
"So it enables you to draw insight around where you focus your effort
and what's going to make a difference."
September 2015 HRMonthly 27
DRAWING WISDOM FROM ANALYTICS
"They are very real inside our organisation and guide how we
work day to day, how we make decisions, the behaviours we expect of
everyone whether you're in HR, drive a truck or in corporate affairs.
They're central to how we create a common bond."
Another important factor has been work over the past eight years
on reshaping HR to have standard global systems and processes,
rather than each business unit doing a lot of things in its own way.
"So an HR business partner at our Escondida mine in northern
Chile has the same role and accountabilities as an HR business
partner at our potash project in Saskatoon, Canada, or the Pilbara in
our WA iron ore business."
Managing reporting and accountability across a large organisation
can be challenging, but Williams says BHP is very clear on that.
"I don't have all of the HR function report to me. I have the
corporate centre and the specialist HR functions report to me. The
HR vice-presidents who sit in each of our businesses have a hard line
to their presidents and a functional line to me," she says, adding that,
of the company's 850 HR employees, only about 10 per cent are in the
Another challenge for large companies operating in several
countries is attaining a consistent culture, if indeed this is desirable.
Williams says the charter values and core HR processes give BHP
a common organisational language that helps connect the global
One example is inclusion. "That helps with our diversity agenda,
but it also means creating an environment where everybody feels
valued, safe to speak up and contribute their ideas.
"That core value of inclusion goes across the organisation, but I
think it looks different in different places."
For example, in Singapore it might be about opportunities
for people who don't speak English as their first language. In South
America, it might be about recording CEO messages in Spanish as
well as English and conducting town hall forums in both languages.
Core values aside, BHP doesn't want a single dominant culture
across the organisation, says Williams. "We have people from many
different backgrounds, we operate mines in a variety of geographical
locations, we have offshore oil platforms, we have our shale gas fields,
and we're aware of the diversity those cultures bring, and we value
that. We don't see it as a hindrance. We see those different cultures
and perspectives bringing more richness to our organisation."
Over the past two years, BHP has ramped up an ambitious culture
and engagement agenda called Step Up. It's about enabling everyone
to feel they can share suggestions, feel valued and understand how
their work contributes to business priorities, as well as developing
skills in leaders to engender this environment. She says the company
is making good progress, and its internal staff surveys show
improvements in most areas.
Looking ahead to life post de-merger, Williams says the smaller
geographical footprint and fewer businesses will enable HR to focus
on driving productivity. She's hoping to remove duplication by shifting
some specialist HR functions out of businesses into regional or global
centres, and increasing the size of the company's shared services
centre in Kuala Lumpur for organisational processing, such as payroll.
It's also about simplifying HR's communications with staff, such as
sending out a two-page update on an initiative rather than a 15-page
Despite all the demerger disruption and cost-cutting necessitated by
the faltering Australian mining boom and plunging iron ore prices,
Williams is relishing her new role.
"Increasingly, HR is filling a coaching role around helping our
leaders to communicate change more transparently than we've done
previously. We have to ensure that, as we navigate change, we're doing
it with people front and centre, so changes are effective and we're also
showing that we care about people in the process."
"I try to keep my weekends for my family
whenever I'm in town. My daughters have
school sport on a Saturday morning, so without
fail, my husband and I will go and watch their
game. On Sunday morning my daughters and
I always go for a long walk and find somewhere
to have breakfast. We catch up on the week.
"When I'm travelling, my daughters are great at
keeping in touch via email, FaceTime and texting,
so I feel like I know what's going on in their lives.
"Also, I started studying photography which is
a passion I'll go back to more seriously one day."
Shannon Morris Photography
Links Archive August 2015 October 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page