No longer out of sight, out of mind: HR at Medibank Health Solutions

by 31 Oct 2011
A transformed company

In addition to challenges around the remote workforce, Moore has had to handle significant change in the past two years. The private health insurance division is the original organisation and over the past two years it has acquired a number of different organisations.

Moore says the HR challenge has been pulling it all together. Not only have a number of different corporate cultures come together, but also different policies and procedures. “There’s a whole myriad of terms and conditions, different employee collective agreements and so on. My team has had to grow dramatically, since we put all this together, which is only back in November 2010.”

Medibank Health Solutions as a discrete division really came together in its current form last November, so it’s been a matter of building the team – around 30 HR professionals now work across functional streams: a business partner stream, partnering directly with the lines of business; a recruitment team; an organisation development team; a workplace relations team; and a remuneration & benefits team. “We also work very closely with the group people and culture team, rolling out those programs across Medibank,” Moore says.

Moore has concentrated on the elements that cause the biggest pain for the organisation; she gives the example of performance management. At one point managers within a team may have been running four different performance management remuneration systems. Although some of the other significant issues, such as the terms and conditions integration, can’t happen until there is consolidation of the employee collective agreements, Moore says the master plan is moving full-steam ahead.

“Bringing together disparate cultures would have to be the most significant and that is going to take time. The first piece is understanding what those disparate cultures are. What we’re trying to do is not get too airy fairy about this but actually try and translate it into real things; ‘this is the way we do things’.

“We’re spending a lot of time communicating what we’re doing, where we’re going and how we want to go about it, and I think that’s making a difference. But it’s slow; you don’t turn the Queen Mary around quickly mid-stream. I’m fairly confident that next year when we do an employee engagement survey we’ll start to see some significant shifts.”

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