ST.GEORGE BANK took out four awards at the recent Australian HR Awards 2007, including the highly sought after Davidson Trahaire Corpsych Award for Employer of Choice (more than 1,000 employees).
Held on Friday 21 September at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, the awards recognise excellence across the entire spectrum of HR, with organisations from around the country competing in 16 categories.
Sponsored by Aon Consulting and organised by leading HR industry magazine Human Resources, Coates Hire CEO Malcolm Jackman presented the keynote speech for the awards, which was attended by more than 500 guests.
St.George Bank also won The Next Step Award for Best HR Team and The LINK Recruitment Award for Innovation in Recruitment and Retention, while the bank’s group executive of human resources, Brett Wright, picked up The HR Partners Award for Best HR Leader.
The bank has devised a program that attracts and retains the best the industry has to offer, which in turn helps it provide superior customer service,according to Wright.
“St.George employs a wide range of people holding a variety of skills from a broad culturalbackground and work experiences. While our people bring vibrancies and perspectives thatenrich our workplace, they also have family interests, responsibilities and lifestyle considerations,” he said.
“We have worked with staff to understand their changing needs and have implemented thefirst two stages of a program we’ll continually review and improve, ensuring our ongoingposition as one of Australia’s leading employers.”
As head judge of the large employer of choice category, Ed Davis, dean of economic and financial studies at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, said St.George Bank has established an outstanding reputation for valuing its people. “Its staff are its competitive advantage in a very tough and challenging market. The focus of the bank has been on attracting, retaining and rewarding people who deliver high levels of performance,” he said.
“Leaders and managers throughout St.George are focused on strategies to promote staff engagement, and the effectiveness of HR strategies is carefully monitored and measured. St.George is widely acclaimed for its enlightened approach to managing people.”
Robert Orth, HR director for IBM Australia/New Zealand and head judge for the best HR leader award, said Brett Wright’s achievements at St.George demonstrated a comprehensive, systematic and “big thinking”approach, which has resulted in a real competitive advantage through people. “Brett is clearly closely linked to the executive team, his CEO and the board,”Orth said, who also noted that Wright’s clarity and authority in communicating to all stakeholders demonstrated the value add from HR.
Another big winner on the night was Main Roads WA, which won The Solterbeck Award for Employer of Choice (public sector), The SEEK Learning Award for Best HR Strategic Plan and The 2discover Award for Best Graduate Intake Program.
Franco Gandolfi, head judge for the public sector employer of choice category and MBA program director, school of leadership and entrepreneurship, Regent University, VirginiaUSA, said Main Roads WA demonstrated a superior positive service-oriented culture. “Main Roads WA stands out as an exemplary organisational entity due to its proactive approach to the creation of value, its broad scope of organisational activities, and its firm commitment to the attraction, development, and retention of its key assets in a high-growth context,” he said.
“Main Roads WA has shown itself to be a clear leader in its pursuit of employer of choice. This has been admirably achieved through excellent broad-based personal and professional career and development opportunities.”
Another winner included TNT Australia, which took out The Michael Page Human Resources Award for Corporate Citizenship as well as The Full Circle Feedback Award for Best Learning & Development Strategy.
As head judge for the corporate citizenship category, Duncan Paterson, CEO, Centre for Australian Ethical Research, said TNT Australia benefits from the existence of global systems and policies on a range of issues relating to corporate social responsibility.
“The company has gone further in their local operations, however, with a number of positive initiatives in the areas of community involvement, two-way communication with their neighbours and recognition of the positive impacts of environmental, social and governance criteria on their bottom line,” he said.
Another winner on the night was HBA Health Insurance, which took out The Aframe e-ffective Learning Award for Employer of Choice (fewer than 1,000 employees) in addition to The Talent2 Award for Best Talent Management, while Deloitte took out The Adcorp Award for Best Employer Branding Strategy.
Raymond Harbridge, head judge for the employer branding category and dean of La Trobe University’s Faculty of Law and Management, commended Deloitte for its employer branding, which was closely aligned to the corporate brand, and successfully delivering on its employee value proposition. Harbridge also noted an impressive reduction in costs due to a high number of employee referrals, while there was a similar increase in productivity which was attributed to referrals being better performers.
Other Australian HR Award winners included Brisbane City Council, which took out The SageCo Award for Best Mature Age Workforce Implementation, while EDS Australia picked up The Employee Connect Award for Best Overall use of Technology, Greenslopes Private Hospital won The Weight Watchers Award for Best Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Vodafone Australia’s CEO Russ Hewitt took out The Neller HR Champion Award.
Andy Lambert, managing director of Fuji Xerox and head judge for the HR champion category, said Hewitt demonstrated clear leadership in championing a values-based culture within Vodafone, with excellent sponsorship of many innovative HR initiatives.
“The workforce of Vodafone are clearly highly engaged which is helping to deliver improved business results,” he said. “HR is clearly involved strategically in the business with CEO actively involved in HR planning and strategy sessions. Strong business results and turnaround from loss to profit were clearly helped via a strong focus on a “value of people culture”.