HR in the hot seat: Megan Townsend of Buslink Vivo

Megan Townsend talks employee engagement, succession planning and the great outdoors in Darwin

HR in the hot seat: Megan Townsend of Buslink Vivo
What is your current role and what brought you into it?

I am an HR and industrial relations manager for a large transport organisation in Darwin. Not being originally from Darwin, it was the opportunities that exist in this ever-growing and developing capital city that drew my partner and I to move here. I believe Darwin is a sleeping giant, which fosters tremendous growth opportunities for people of all ages and various stages of their career.
What are some of your current HR challenges?

Some of my current HR challenges involve managing employee engagement. Employee engagement is influenced by many factors, such as career and training opportunities. In my role, I am able to work closely with each department to promote succession planning and training opportunities for current employees which can promote engagement and motivation.

However, what is difficult is the ability to manage how people perceive how they feel they are treated by their immediate manager and/or supervisor. 

Engagement cannot adapt a one-size-fits-all approach, rather it needs to be flexible and adaptable. Whilst investment is made into the capability of the leadership team to promote employee engagement, ensuring they adapt these principles into their everyday practice is very challenging.

What is the favourite part of your job?

I am involved in the strategic development of our training programs, succession planning, policies and procedures. Having the ability to positively influence the wider workforce is so rewarding and is the reason I am motivated to tackle the challenges faced each day. One of my favourite aspects of my role, is guiding a very capable team of HR professionals, and watching them all grow and develop into successful, strategic and influential business partners.

What attracted you to a career in HR?

I have always had an innate passion to understand why people behave the way they do. At a very young age, whilst studying Event Management, I was encouraged to consider a career in HR. As a naïve teenager I began to research HR and was immediately engaged in readings on Human Resources Development and knew immediately this was the direction I wanted to pursue.

What’s one piece of HR related advice you would offer?

It is human nature to compare ourselves to others. We have all heard the buzz word, ‘authenticity’. Whilst it may sound cliché, one of my mentors has encouraged me to benchmark myself to others, rather than compare myself to others. Like many, we strive to be the best we can be, though at times we get lost in trying to be like someone we perceive to be successful and capable. 

The best advice I could give to others is to be authentic, because when we are practicing authenticity I find I we are the most effective.
What hobbies and interests do you have outside of HR?

I am passionate about embracing a healthy, organic and sustainable lifestyle. My partner and I love the outdoors and traveling. Our life motto is to, ‘live a story’. One of our quirks is finding new ways to live with less and minimise clutter.
Please complete this sentence: If you weren’t working in HR, you would be…

...I would be working in the field of natural medicine.

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