Australian HR Award winner describes her win as a ‘fantastic experience’

by Janie Smith30 May 2014
Meeting inspirational people and being able to shine the spotlight on the issues facing the HR profession were the highlights of being named the 2013 Australian HR Director of the Year for REA Group HR director Simone Carroll.

“I met a number of really inspirational people during the nomination process, so winning it was very humbling and it’s made me work harder this year to try to make sure I’m deserving of such an award,” said Carroll.

“It was important to meet the people but also to shine a spotlight on the issues that are facing the profession. It was an opportunity to talk about things like ways of working, methodologies and philosophies that I think are going to serve HR well going forward, and the business science of HR and the art of HR going forward.”

She said some of the things she had been able to highlight included looking at the digital workplace, organisational design and development and areas of social economics, including the role of companies in the community and what employees have to do to ensure social responsibility.

Her organisation, global online real estate company REA Group, has started looking at the issue of homelessness as part of its community and sustainability management functions.

“The frontier we’re on now is thinking of ways we can take a commercial business and making sure that the purpose applies to people who may not be able to directly impact our revenue or margin.”

Carroll said REA Group had combined HR with marketing and strategy so she was now in charge of people and brand for the company.

“We also look after the organisational design and development of our business which is quite typical of an HR team, but this is one that’s really tied to new ways of working, which I spoke about last year and I think had a lot to do with my award.

“We introduced a collaborative way of working, right across the business with new work methodologies, which include agile and lean systems thinking. We’re looking at exploring holacracy, which is a way of treating the organisation as though it’s a whole being or an entity and making sure that tensions within the business are being worked out, so the individuals in the business work in harmony with the business practices.”

Carroll said her contribution to the HR profession was to share what she’d learned, to help advance HR and ultimately help the country’s economy.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the agenda and what I’m trying to do is showcase things that work.”
  • If you know someone who has what it takes to be named HR Director of the Year, nominate them for the 2014 Australian HR Awards. Nominations are free and close on June 12. Click here for more information


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