HR in the hot seat: David Klages, group HR manager, Domino’s Pizza

David Klages chats about working in a global role, dealing with different cultures and conducting HR in an earthquake

What is your job title and what brought you into this role?
My job title is group human resources manager at Domino’s Pizza. My role has responsibility for executive remuneration, talent management and variety of other strategic HR matters across our markets. I was very interested in joining Domino’s given the company’s impressive growth and geographic footprint. I knew a lot about the brand and was excited by the opportunity, particularly given Domino’s international presence across the seven different markets – Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Germany.

What motivates or excites you the most about your current position?
I love the fact that Domino’s is such a diverse organisation. I am working across different cultures between the seven markets that we operate in which makes my job very interesting.

What is unique about HR at Domino’s?
The group HR role was new to Domino’s as previously all HR was managed within the line.  Establishing HR frameworks in a greenfield environment has been both exciting and challenging.

What will your biggest HR challenges be for the coming year?
The rapid growth of the business, together with operating across different cultures and time-zones, brings together a unique set of challenges. Ensuring that Domino’s has a strong value proposition to new and existing employees is paramount to the success of the business. The strong focus on innovation and technology means that we are constantly looking for talent both within and external to our business. 

What has been the strangest HR scenario you’ve ever experienced?
I was working for a previous organisation in Japan during the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. We had a very large workforce that operated across Japan and in the affected regions of Tohoku and around Tokyo. We quickly had to account for all staff, calling upon business expertise outside of Japan to locate and check that all staff were safe. We were extremely fortunate that all staff (and families) were safe and accounted for, despite some having to be removed from roof-tops by helicopter in the disaster areas. Dealing with disaster recovery and getting the business back to business as usual was extremely challenging and life changing.

If there’s one piece of HR-related advice you could give, what would it be?
Challenge your thinking, continue to develop yourself and take ownership of your own growth and progression.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of HR?
I like travelling, 4WDing, fishing and going to festivals and cultural activities such as the Brisbane Festival.

Where’s the best place to go for dinner/drinks in Brisbane? Why?
Bird’s Nest Restaurant in West End because they do fantastic yakitori.

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