Amanda Woodard

Editor of HRM Online

Amanda Woodard

"Having knowledge, empathy, and good communication skills are important but increasingly HR is expected to have numerical and financial literacy. Learn about all aspects of your business, not just your own area of expertise, so that you earn your seat at the boardroom table."

Amanda Woodard is a London-born, Sydney-based journalist and editor. She worked for The Guardian newspaper for 12 years before moving to Australia to work for Fairfax Media as Deputy Editor of Sunday Life magazine.

Currently a full-time editor at Mahlab Media, Amanda also writes for the BBC Online, Virgin's inflight magazine Voyeur, Business Knowledge at the Australian School of Business, and Australian Art Collector, among other titles. Since 2011 she has worked freelance, writing and editing for various newspapers, contract publishers, and newsstand magazines.

1 What is the Australian HR industry like, how is it unique?

HR covers a wide range of different roles whether it be in small or large business, public or in the private sector. HR roles can be broken down into generalist, specialist, or external roles. Generalist roles address all aspects of the employment lifecycle such as planning and recruitment, performance management to termination. Specialist roles require HR to focus on a particular area of people management such as change management, workplace health and safety, industrial relations.

2 What are some of the upcoming trends in HR?

There is a big push towards ensuring HR plays a more strategic role in organisations. Big data (or people analytics) is part of this, as it can provide the tools to HR to gather, analyse, and apply information that can solve the problems faced by organisations and add value to what they do. Also the battle for talent is increasing and so the ability to have policies and procedures in place that accurately identify the right people for the business, and then keep them engaged, is hugely important. Millennials will be the dominant demographic in the workforce in the near future. They have quite specific expectations at work: they value transparency, flexibility, and involvement in decision-making as well as an alignment with their own values in the organisations that they work for.

3 What are the top three things employers are looking for in a HR professional?

1. Strategic thinking.
2. Knowledge of HR issues.
3. Communication and presentation skills.

4 What advice would you offer students looking to get into the HR industry?

Having knowledge, empathy, and good communication skills are important but increasingly HR is expected to have numerical and financial literacy. Learn about all aspects of your business, not just your own area of expertise, so that you earn your seat at the boardroom table.

5 What's the secret to staying relevant in the HR industry?

Keeping informed of the issues and best practice in HR through continuous learning and development.

6 Anything else you would like to add?

The Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI ) is spearheading a campaign to set the bar for the HR profession by defining what is good HR through professional certification. It aims to distinguish those professionals who are practising effective and business-savvy HR, and demonstrate to the wider market that your knowledge and skills are at an expert level. The certification will be independently verified and its value promoted to employers by AHRI.

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