Lessons from HR leaders and CEOs

by Janie Smith05 Jun 2014
If you’ve ever wondered how senior HR and organisational development leaders work at the highest levels, now is your chance to find out.
The Executive Leadership Forum, held in Sydney from 18-19 June, features a stellar lineup of Australia’s top HR directors and CEOs from a range of major businesses, talking about everything from change management and finance to predictive analytics and executive succession.
Here are some words of wisdom from a selection of the forum’s speakers. 
Dharma Chandran, chief HR and corporate services officer, Leighton Holdings
Chandran has helped to drive massive organisational change at Leighton Holdings, during a time when the company nearly quadrupled in size through growth and acquisition.
But when it comes to looking forward, he said it was important for executives not to give up their down time in their dedication to working on the organisational change.
“It’s detrimental to themselves and to their organisation because they burn out. To avoid fatigue you need to find ways to rejuvenate yourself.”
Michael Gabriel, CFO, and Lucinda Gemmell, HR director, Diageo
Having the right people in the right roles to deliver performance is a key focus for Diageo, according to Gabriel.
“Our business is driven around leadership and culture that delivers performance. You can’t deliver that agenda unless you have the right people and the right best practices to develop people. That takes up a large portion of our time and headspace to drive that agenda.”
Gemmell said that although the company had strong employee engagement, it was something that required constant work to maintain.
“We make sure we’re living by the way we want to lead in this organisation and doing the right thing by our people.”
Janette Coulton, deputy director of human resources, Raytheon
When it comes to businesses’ plans for the future, predictive analytics can play a key role, according to Coulton.
She said that many organisations had three or five year plans and a picture of where they wanted to be at the end of that time frame.
“In HR, you need to be able to tell the organisation whether it will have the skills in that timeframe as well, whether you can talk about trigger points for turnover. Predictive analytics can help an organisation weather the storm and navigate around some retention problem areas and trigger points.”


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