Wednesday, 28 October 2020 Sydney

HR in Australia; How will this impact your Investment?::

While Australia has been impacted by the global financial crisis, it seems we are poised to emerge from the other side of these challenging times with well structured and significantly leaner organisations. This has left Australian HR professionals in two corners: either helping the businesses make strategic organisational change to help them navigate these tough times; or on the other side of these changes having been made redundant by the business.

As an International company looking to develop organizational and human resource strategies across numerous borders, it isn’t simply an issue of adapting an international model to the Australian domestic market. This is a unique market that has to deal with substantial geographical barriers, a diverse multicultural society and a relatively small population of just fewer than twenty two million people.

One of the benefits for international businesses looking to enter Australia and take full advantage of the downturn, is they will be entering a market that has highly talented HR professionals and a business environment with similar HR laws and practices to various parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. However, Australia does have its own idiosyncrasies and nuances, including its own complicated award system, covering hundreds of award structures.

Therefore as a global business entering Australia, it is essential to partner with a company or individual that can offer sound local HR knowledge as well as accounting and legal advice. A strong HR professional can make a significant difference and provide an immediate impact on the business especially in the early stages. These professionals can be engaged either on a project or permanent basis and is determined by the size and scope of the going concern. It is important to note that these functions should not and cannot be managed remotely to be in any way effective.

HR issues that are essential for the growing international business entering Australia, include employment policies; selecting the right candidates with an appropriate mix of local experience versus international experience; managing the expat or local leadership team; managing international policies that may or may not work in the Australian environment; training; management development; salary packaging; and current Australian labour laws.

Despite the current market trend, we are still experiencing a quantity vs quality resource environment and finding good talent is still a challenge. Whilst there have been significant restructures and redundancies across the market, candidates in employment have remained cautious and unwilling to move. The common mantra that has resonated market is ‘better the devil you know’ and ‘the grass isn’t necessarily greener’. As and when the global market upswing happens, we will once again see more aggressive movement between companies as those passive candidates become active ones once more.

This makes the HR professional role more complex and difficult as they are expected to help guide business leaders who are managing an array of difficult decisions that may include reducing staff numbers and keeping existing staff motivated as they are expected to do more for less.

If you are looking to invest in Australia, it is essential that you bring your global branding and ideas, whilst ensuring you do not discount the differences and challenges that the Australian market brings. It is only through understanding the Australian landscape and having an open mindset on HR structures that will give you every chance to succeed. This is why having a local HR professional on your team is an essential driver to both your initial set up and medium to long term success. Human Resources policies and procedures are the cornerstone to any successful organisation as they provide a clear and structured plan for both cultural and contractual obligations. They instil the values of equal opportunity and expected ethical behaviour as well as create a contractual framework within which employers and the employee can operate.