Ron Pettit: Spotlight on an Australian HR Award winner

by HCA27 May 2013

Spotlight on an Australian HR Award winner

Ron Pettit of Hatch Associates took home the title of HR Manager of the Year at last year’s Australian HR Awards. HC catches up with him to find out more about his HR Awards journey and where HR is heading.

How did it feel to win the HR Manager of the Year award in 2012?

Fantastic. When I found out I was a finalist I sort of dismissed the possibility of actually winning. So then to be at the event with a group of my colleagues and some of the leaders of the business to share the moment with was fantastic.

What parts of your HR strategy do you think sets your team apart from other organisations?

I think one of the biggest things that has contributed to our success is getting the HR team out working really closely with other leaders of the business – we call it business partnering, and that’s been a huge success. It’s meant that they get to know more about the business, get to know who the other leaders are, what their key issues are, and they’re able to take to them solutions and information – so that’s been a really big success, this strong connection between the HR professionals and the guys that are running the business.

Moving forward into the next decade, where would you like to see HR going as a profession?

If you think about what’s happening to businesses, over the last 5 years we’ve been through a downturn, and upswings, and now a mini downturn – I think the HR function has got to get much more flexible and much more nimble in terms of being able to support the business because businesses are going to go through cycles much more quickly than perhaps what they have done in the past.

We have to be able to support the business to ramp up quickly, change shape and change directions quickly, so I think that tends to lead us to being much more connected to the business and being very broad in our focus in terms of what HR is.

I think the days of running a HR function that is just about the management of people are long gone. We really need, as a function, to be much more strategic, much closer to the business and actually help the business shape and move into markets. At Hatch we’re really in the business of selling people’s expertise and time so you just have to be flexible, adaptable, and help the business attract and keep the best people and make sure they’re applying their skills and experience as best as possible.

Did you enjoy attending the Australian HR Awards last year?

The event was excellent, I was blown away by the size and the professionalism, it was just fantastic.

Online nominations for the 2013 Australian HR Awards are now open. Visit for more information and to submit your entries.


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