HR in the hot seat: Kate McCormack of Mercy Health

by Victoria Bruce01 Feb 2016
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have
 
What challenges do you think HR will face over the next 10 years?
Embracing diversity in the workplace and finding solutions to gender, religion, race and disability which are sustainable in a competitive employment market
 
What is the favourite part of your job?
Quite simply, the people I work with
 
Can you share with us one of the most challenging moments in your career?
When joining, Mercy Health had financial challenges, high turnover and a lack of any brand awareness – being a part of the transition has been a key learning
 
What do you feel is your biggest professional achievement to date?
I was awarded the Diversity Leader for the Advancement of Women in 2010 through the Equal Opportunity Workplace Agency (EOWA).
 
What attracted you to a career in HR?
To be honest I fell into HR. The reason I’ve stayed in HR is the ability it provides to work directly with the CEO and Executive to influence change.
 
What are some of the HR challenges particular to Mercy Health?
Our business primarily consists of hands-on carers working across Health Services, Residential Aged Care, Home & Community Care and Support Services. ‘One size doesn’t fit all’ and each workforce has different needs. Whether it’s recruitment, performance management or any other HR function, they all need to be developed differently, especially when working with a diverse workforce operating 24/7 and representing over 70 countries and more than 50 languages.
 
Which areas of HR are you most passionate about?
Without a doubt, the diversity agenda. It is a core strategy which has delivered a return on investment and I am proud of that!
 
You have played a key role in developing Mercy Health’s Employer of Choice Strategy. Can you give our readers a quick summary of this strategy and why it has been so important to you?
For the ninth consecutive year Mercy Health has been recognised as an Employer of Choice. The citation recognises our active commitment to achieving gender equality while being a leader in driving positive change for an inclusive workplace. Mercy Health is proud to provide a satisfying workplace while supporting our employees to reach their fullest potential each and every day. I have overseen the implementation of a range of initiatives to support our Employer of Choice strategy, from school holiday programs and purchased leave options to training and development opportunities. 82% of our workforce access some form of flexible work arrangement and with less than 2% monthly turnover, our Employer of Choice Strategy has been a significant factor in achieving this. By differentiating ourselves in these and many other respects it has led to a degree of competitive advantage in an industry experiencing challenging labour shortages.
 
Please complete this sentence: If you weren’t working in HR, you would be doing…
Living down the west coast working as a fashion illustrator. Most likely very happy and very poor!
 

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