As Australia’s first bank, established in 1817, Westpac has seen a full spectrum of challenges. Shenaz Khan, the bank’s general manager HR, tells Carolin Wun how it is embracing the gender equality debate
Human Capital: What drew you to an HR role initially?
Shenaz Khan: I’ve always been passionate about the people agenda because, ultimately, business performance is all about the people – and ensuring we have the right people in the right roles. Having led teams for many years now, I really enjoy developing teams and driving a highly engaged workforce. Being in an HR role, I have the ability to put in place the systems and processes to support our leaders and our people to achieve great business outcomes.
HC: What is your current role and how did it come about?
SK: I’m currently the general manager HR for Westpac Group Services, and I lead the HR function for IT, Investments & Business Partnering, Operations, Group Counsel, Risk and Finance, as well as providing end-to-end accountability for the Westpac Group functions Health & Safety, Internal communications, Strategy, Metrics and Employee Advocacy.
I was promoted to the role in November last year as part of organisational changes at Westpac Group which involved the creation of two new divisions, Australian Financial Services and Group Services.
HC: Your current employer, Westpac, was a major sponsor for this year’s International Women’s Day. Does Westpac have a special interest in supporting women?
SK: We have over 23,000 female employees, which is approximately 61% of our workforce [Source: Employee Metrics] so this is a key focus for Westpac. We are committed to helping lead the gender equality debate both nationally and internationally and have a long and proud history of taking action to make a positive difference for women.
I’m very proud of Westpac’s partnership with UN Women Australia as a major sponsor of International Women's Day. This is an extremely important day in the Westpac calendar and we held a number of activities during the month of March that promoted diversity and flexibility across our teams to support women. This included education workshops, seminars, discussion forums and events that recognise and celebrate the success of current and emerging female leaders in the Westpac Group.