Home' HR Monthly : March 2019 Contents 42
BRONWYN WOODS CPHR
Bronwyn Woods, organisational development
manager at Bega Cheese, took a circuitous
route to becoming an HR professional. She
provides insight and tips for those who are
getting their start in the profession.
Find out how you can achieve HR certification:
Ever y month we profile an HR professional to
find out how they got where they are and what
lessons they learned along the way.
Where are you based?
In Tatura, in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley but I
work in Melbourne two days a week.
What’s your academic background?
I started off with a bachelor of arts, majoring
in geography and history, and later completed
a graduate certificate in HR, and I recently
completed my masters in HR management.
How did you get into HR?
I was working in operations management
for a large insurer. The company was going
through tremendous growth and recruitment,
and I liked the people part of my role more
than the operational side of it. I left the
insurance industry after the birth of my first
child, and while my second child was still
small I completed a certificate in training and
assessment to work as a workplace trainer.
Then I studied the graduate certificate in HR
We moved to the Bega Valley when the
children were young and I landed a role at Bega
Cheese, initially working as a training and
development coordinator. Over the past nine
years I’ve moved roles within the company as
HR specialist, safety manager, HR manager
and just recently organisational development
manager for the Bega Group.
What are some of the HR challenges
in the dairy industry?
Operations frequently wants someone with
20 years of technical experience. While that’s
understandable, it tends to bring in people who
approach issues the same way, which narrows
the potential for diverse candidates. So a real
challenge is encouraging hiring managers to
take that leap and pick a candidate who has all
the prerequisites and attitude, but who doesn’t
necessarily have the experience yet.
Does your background in training
inform your role?
I find training is a great way to understand a
business – being in the training function is a
privilege. It’s an excellent way to assist people to
grow and contribute.
What are the best lessons you’ve
learned in your career?
Treat other people with dignity, compassion
and respect, and you can’t go wrong. The
Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you
feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and
you feed him for a lifetime” is one I use often.
If I was to give an HR graduate advice, I’d
say test a number of different paths, not just
straight from university to HR.
Also, understand the service from the other
side because that helps you to do a better job.
When I first started at Bega, I had a long
hands-on induction which gave me exposu re
on-site. I think a few of the operators were
amused by my poor manual dex terity! But I
think it’s important for H R to understand the
core functions of a business.
Why did you decide to undergo HR
I don’t know where my next career step is going
to take me, and AHRI’s certification is a global
qualification, which means it’s something that
would be recognised everywhere. Having done
it, it’s been useful because it actually makes me
feel like I have a benchmark for my knowledge
How do you achieve work-life balance?
I take time out to exercise every morning. It’s
‘my time’ and I feel it lets me warm up mentally
for the day.
to hire a person
Lower staff turnover rate
A person with a vision impairment
is more likely to show loyalty to
an employer, giving you a lower
turnover rate and a lower overall
cost of employment.
Due to the access challenges they
face every day, people with vision
impairment tend to be great
problem-solvers, flexible and
Less workplace incidents
People with a disability are far less
likely to have an accident at work
than their peers.
More days at work
People with a disability have lower
levels of absenteeism and use less
sick leave than their colleagues.
Diversity = good business
A more diverse workforce will
effectiveness. It will lift morale and
enhance productivity. In short,
diversity is good for business.
An untapped workforce
You are looking to recruit a new
employee for your business, but what if an
applicant is blind or vision impaired?
Understandably, you may initially question
how they can possibly do the job that you
advertised for – how would they read emails
or find their way to work?
You may also think, “What about
the extra costs and the changes
that I will have to make to my
To alleviate your concerns,
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has
developed a handy guide to
highlight the benefits of employing
someone who is blind or vision impaired,
and provide solutions to common concerns.
These job-seekers are loyal, great
problem-solvers and can provide an
inspiration to your workforce.
All they need is an opportunity!
To download our free Employers’ guide for hiring
people who are blind or vision impaired please
21/2/19 2:06 pm
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