The Last Word: Q&A with Amy Mulligan; fun facts; and more

by 25 Nov 2011

5 minutes with...

Amy Mulligan, Empowerer and HRM, Medland Metropolis

What is the greatest HR lesson you’ve learned so far?

Finding the balance between the business and our people. When I started in HR, it was more about the people. As you become more experienced, it evolves to balancing people and the business, making the right decisions for all parties involved. 

How does HR function within Medlands Metropolis?

Medland Metropolis is a boutique Visionary Engineering Design Firm. Our flat structure means close relationships with the key stakeholders are critical in order to support and drive their vision. In a business this size, HR is much closer to the pulse of the business. 

What is your view on diversity, and specifically the current hot issue of gender diversity?

Engineering has been a male dominated industry. We are definitely seeing a big shift with more qualified experienced female engineers joining our business. We now have a team of strong, intelligent women who are passionate about what they do. Our equal opportunity policies make it easier for women to be part of the business. And we provide men with paternity leave and flexible hours to help with childcare 

What is your favourite people-management tip?

Passion and communication! Our leaders are strong and passionate which flows to the staff. We communicate regularly and honestly, letting staff know our issues and concerns, what we’re doing to drive positive results and how important they are to the business. We recruit people who share our values and our Vision. We encourage them to figure out what they’re passionate about personally and professionally and how we can fuel that passion.  

What career advice would you give ambitious HR professionals?

Find out why you want to be in HR and what areas your skills suit best. You need to love what you do and be passionate about making a difference because sometimes there are hard choices and difficult conversations to be had. You need to ensure you back yourself and your decisions.

What is the main challenge facing the HR industry right now and how can they overcome it?

The GFC has impacted business everywhere. Retaining younger staff has become more challenging when projects aren’t as exciting as they would like. We work to keep employees motivated, inspired, empowered, ensuring them it’s not all doom and gloom. 

Fast facts

  • In a research simulation by University of Idaho, job candidates who jokingly asked for ridiculously high salaries received a 9% higher wage than the candidates who didn’t (source: Initiating Salary Discussions with an Extreme Request: Anchoring Effects on Initial Salary Offers)
  • In a study of 1,000 Australian employees, employees today feel more engaged and satisfied with many aspects of their jobs, yet 40% (up from 25% in 2003) are seriously considering leaving (Source: Mercer “What’s Working)
  • For knowledge-intensive industries, peoples’ talent, expertise and ingenuity are essential for business success. A controversial and contentious issue being raised is whether organisations should test the cognitive function of employees to ensure their capability to deliver premium priced knowledge-intensive services. (Source: Michael Schrage, Harvard Business Review)

Can you believe it?

Diversity by photoshop: An HR business partner wanted to represent the diversity of their team. When presented with the photograph, she objected on the grounds it wasn’t diverse enough, insisting on greater diversity being added into the image via photoshop. (Source: HR School)



Quote of the month

“It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself” – Latin Proverb

Compiled by Suzanne Mercier