got a chance to talk with Peter Hartnett, head of people and culture at Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing, who picked up the coveted Australian HR Director of the Year award, sponsored by Davidson.
“I’m actually speechless,” he said. “The quality of the nominations was amazing and for me to come away with this, it’s unexpected, it’s a thrill, and a privilege. Really, I do accept it on behalf of my team. Without them, it just doesn’t happen.”
Hartnett’s skills and experience in the HR space were first nurtured in his early career within the police force.
“You learn heaps about people – in very tense situations where there’s conflict. And I think in the police force, there are a lot of the older sergeants and officers who have some amazing skills and you learn a lot in terms of being able to calm situations and read situations really well.”
Since then, he has grown his HR career, working first at Sydney Water and then moving to Sanitarium in 2009. He has helped the firm win multiple accolades including the Best Learning & Development Program at last Friday’s awards.
When describing his personal approach to leadership, Hartnett said he was ultimately very collaborative. To make the most of his team and help them succeed, he let them make their own decisions and take the lead.
“It’s very much a team effort,” he said, again bringing the conversation back to the contribution of his HR team members.
He credited his nomination and the outcomes that had been achieved to his team’s dedication, their desire to make a difference and their willingness to try different things.
Finally, he expressed his passion for fostering a work environment where staff were allowed to flourish and grow, so they could feel valued and know they were making a difference.
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