Rose Clements from Microsoft took home the prestigious HR Director of the Year title at last year’s Australian HR Awards. We caught up with Rose to find out why she thinks getting a seat at the table is no longer relevant.
It took a while to sink in, I really looked at the calibre of the people who were up for the award and I just never imagined it was going to be me. I felt completely overwhelmed, it was incredible and I am very proud.
In terms of your company culture, what are some specific things that are different compared to other organisations where you’ve worked?
At Microsoft we believe that work is something that you do, not a place that you go to – and we create a very flexible work environment that enables people to work when and where and how they want to.
We trust people, genuinely trust them – we know that people get out of bed in the morning to have a great day and then we make sure that comes true for them. We empower them to achieve the outcomes they aspire to and ensure these outcomes align to what the company is trying to achieve. And we help people to hold themselves accountable for the quality of outcomes in the work that they do.
How do you see your HR team’s relationship with the C-suite?
We’re part and parcel of the business strategy, and it’s very difficult to distinguish the people strategy from the business strategy – and so when I hear phrases like ‘HR getting a seat at the table’, to me, that is so out of date. That is so wrong to even be referencing those kinds of phrases anymore because we have really been inviting other parts of the business to really have a seat at the people strategy table instead.
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Did you enjoy the Australian HR Awards?
It was great fun – we had a really excellent table of people and it was a lot of fun.
So much of what we do in HR is actually about being the silent heroes, letting the managers and the leaders of the business and other employees in the business really feel good about what they do. But we’re in the background orchestrating it and it’s great to have a night like the Australian HR Awards where we can frock up and really celebrate the work that we do and the things that I know we do really well.
Moving forward, what would you like to see happen to HR as a profession?
As I mentioned before – the phrase about HR having a seat at the table – I’d love to see that eradicated from our language. There’s also a number of other outdated clichés around people being an organisation’s greatest assets – people are not a resource, they’re people, and I’d like to see organisations really recognise that they have to continually, day by day, earn the trust and respect of the people that dedicate their energy, their passion and their capabilities.
Online nominations for the 2013 Australian HR Awards are now open. Visit www.hrawards.com.au for more information and to submit your entries.