For me, the most interesting part of my role is going out there and interacting with people on a daily basis. Normally, I do a lot of site visits. I walk the floor and ask employees ask how they’re doing and what I can do for them, then connect with managers to say what’s going well and what can be improved.
Each one of these relationships is important. People need to know they have a confidential voice, and managers want to know how they can improve. And if everyone knows they’re appreciated, they go that extra mile – you get better commitment, confidence and communication from every direction. And people stay with the business a long time.
An employee-first business
Other companies, especially when it comes to HR, stick to the script – things are very black and white. But here, I’m not an office-based, traditional HR Manager. I’m free to have one-on-one meetings with people; run focus groups; and get involved in health & safety.
One focus group we did recently got different departments – managers to cleaners and forklift drivers – to give us their perspective of APL Logistics. We learnt that people wanted to build a community outside of work, so we started holding employee events, like bowling and BBQs.\
Bringing people together
And guess what: people who otherwise wouldn’t have socialized together are getting to know each other – and they’re bringing that closeness to the office. It’s not about ‘me’ it’s about ‘we’: that’s what we’re trying to grow.
This is one of the closest HR teams I’ve been involved with too. Usually, you’re given a HR playbook and told to work it out. Here, people reached out to me, walked me through the role and helped me understand the culture.
Even now, after all these years, I’m still learning. Only the other month, I took an online class on unconscious biases – in terms of interviews, hiring practices, and how we view things differently. It really helped me understand how to manage behaviors – mine and my colleagues’.
Between the training and the work itself, I’m putting together a road map for my career, as well as for the people I help to develop. I’d love to move more into diversity and inclusion, or employee engagement – and raise the bar even higher.