Last word: Q&A with Kellie Warta; fun facts; and more

by 02 Nov 2011
5 minutes with...
Kellie Warta, Head of human resources, Hilti
What’s the greatest HR lesson you’ve learned so far?
HR practitioners need to get to know the commercial side of the business so their HR strategies are aligned to the business needs and priorities.
What is your view on diversity, and specifically the current focus on gender diversity?
Companies won’t be competitive if they don’t foster gender diversity in their workforce. Hilti is in mining and construction, two very blokey industries. The gender mix is shifting in the academic and commercial world. One-quarter of our executive team is female and we are developing a strong pipeline of women in middle management and our engineering team.  

 You won the Aon Hewitt Best of the Best Employers Award this year. Congratulations! How did that come about? Employee engagement is a key focus for hilti. We are a family buisness and have been tracking employee engagement annually in an internal global staff survey. Our 2015 vision included being awarded the Best of the Best so we are excited to have achieved 80% engagement and the award in 2011. Now the challenge is to continue fostering strong engagement and strive to win the award again.

What are your favourite people-management tips?To be flexible in your approach with people. Leaders need to balance being firm and fair, depending on the situation. We also have to be willing to develop our people as the core element of our business growth.

What career advice would you give ambitious HR professionals? 
HR covers a broad spectrum of business-critical topics. Before moving into HR leadership, obtain solid operational experience in generalist HR. This allows you to add greater value to the business. Also, only work with business leaders who appreciate and invest in their people.
What is the main challenge facing the HR industry right now and how can they overcome it?
Attracting talented candidates in a tight labour market is a challenge. HR practitioners need to think outside the square to source talent. HR practitioners in this market are under pressure to retain good talent. Retention strategies start with leadership focus and support to gain ownership and commitment.


Fast facts

  • **The challenge of cultural diversity is exacerbated when we consider that in Australia, 200 languages are spoken, only one of which is English. (Source:Australian Government)
  • **In its recent report of engagement levels tracked quarterly since 2008 in 900 global organisations, Hewitt reported a significant drop in engagement amongst 46% of the organisationsmeasured (Source: Hewitt Associates)
  • **Employee productivity contributes to bottom line. In a survey of 585 people, Hays found productivity is highest in the morning and begins to fall after seven hours. if wokring more than 8 hours per day, 41% of employees say thay start making errors. (Source: Hays) 


Can you believe it?

Billy Connelly takes a humorous look at what employees want in order to engage. Warning: a few bleeps.


Quote of the month

"Life, like a mirror, never gives back more than we put into it" - Anonymous


Compiled by Suzanne Mercier