John Davis is the Human Resources Director (Pacific) at Rentokil Initial.
How would you sum up HR professionals in three words?
Coach and Gatekeeper.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Keep everything in perspective.
What are some of the biggest challenges that HR deals with?
Balancing what is right by the people with what is best for the business. These two priorities can at times clash but neither will survive for long without the other. They are completely co-dependent.
How do you see the role of HR changing in the future?
Whilst I see a constant wish for HR to further embrace the ‘digital age’, we cannot forget that in the end we are dealing with people – and in my experience no app can replace a face-to-face discussion where genuine empathy is shown. Those of us in HR leadership positions must ensure we do not lose the ‘human touch’ to what both we and our managers do on a daily basis.
What’s your favoured style of coffee?
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Nelson Mandela, as I believe him to be one of the most inspirational individuals to have ever lived. Lao TZU, the Chinese Philosopher who lived 600BC and wrote the Tao Te Ching – The Way and its Power
, so that I could better understand his teachings recorded some 2,500 years ago. Finally, Jack Welsh, who I view as one of the founders of current management theory and practice, once again to better understand his thoughts on same.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in HR I’d be…
Probably still be in the NSW Police Force where I spent the first 16 years of my working life.