HR in the hot seat: Margie Hill, general manager of people & culture, AustralianSuper

Margie Hill chats about working for a rapidly growing firm, becoming a digital organisation and stepping into a greenfields role

What is your job title and what brought you into this role?
I’m the general manager of people & culture. When I was presented with the opportunity to join AustralianSuper, it was into what was essentially a greenfields role. The role provided a chance to work for a rapidly growing and highly-regarded organisation, and help shape the way it operates. That’s not an opportunity that many people are offered, especially not with an organisation that is so committed to providing the best outcome for our members and has built its success on staying true to its values, so I accepted.

What motivates or excites you the most about your current position?
At the moment, I’m really excited about working with my team and the business to deliver an ambitious five-year people and culture strategy that was recently approved by the board. A key differentiator for AustralianSuper is our members-first culture and one of our strategic goals is to ensure this culture – and our values – remain firmly embedded across the fund as it continues to grow in size and complexity. This is a critical and exciting challenge for the team and we’re really motivated about delivering on it.

What is unique about HR at AustralianSuper?
AustralianSuper is a relatively young organisation (10 years old this year) with some 500 employees. It has experienced rapid growth against many measures and is successful. This presents endless opportunities for HR in supporting the business to grow, change and mature. Unlike in very large organisations, I love the fact that your contribution and impact can be very immediate and evident and it’s possible to keep things simple.

What will your biggest HR challenges be for the coming year?
One of our challenges will be to support AustralianSuper as it becomes a digital organisation – to understand what this really means for our ways of working, leadership and staff capabilities, and to bring this to life. We will also need to think about what this means for the HR function itself – what skills and services will we need to support a digital business? And with the immense size and growth of superannuation and pension funds globally, there is the challenge of attracting and retaining the best talent domestically and from around the world.

What has been the strangest HR scenario you’ve ever experienced?
The really strange ones are not printable!

If there’s one piece of HR-related advice you could give, what would it be?
Really understand and listen to your customers and be sure to provide them with simple, value-adding solutions.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of HR?
When I have time, I love to read. Crime fiction is my favourite. I also read lots of magazines, journals and newspapers. I also enjoy movies, architecture, travelling, and long walks with the pooch on weekends.

Where’s the best place to go for dinner/drinks in Melbourne? Why?
My current favourite is Embla Wine Bar on Russell St, Melbourne. It has a wonderful wine list and great selection of food and cheeses.

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