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Annabel Dolphin

Director at Miles Dolphin Consulting Group

Annabel Dolphin

"Be clear on your purpose as to what you want to achieve and ensure that you pick the right business and industry that will help fulfil your purpose."

Annabel Dolphin is passionate about creating high performing workplaces, teams, and individuals. After putting a successful corporate career behind her, Annabel made the choice to start her own business in 2010. She saw a need in the Mackay region to be able to provide strategic human resources advice and independent consulting services. Since then she hasn't looked back, and sees the new joint venture as a great way to provide more integrated and value-adding services to her clients.

1 In a couple of short sentences, tell us about your career path and how it has evolved over time.

After completing my degree in business management, the first 10 years of my career was working in various human resources generalist and specialist roles for larger corporations in the resource sector. About five years ago I decided to branch out into management consultancy to work with small and mid-size enterprises and take a 'whole-of-business' approach, focused not just on people but also on finances, marketing, strategy, and execution. This has seen me also take on independent non-executive board roles and be a member on business advisory boards.

2 What are the biggest challenges you face in your daily work and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is getting people to see the real value in strategic human resource management and translating that into bottom line results. The financial results in a business are just the outcome of everything that happens. Everything that happens is either done with or through people and is dependent on strong and effective relationships between all stakeholders (e.g. employees, suppliers, customers etc.)

The way to overcome this challenge is to ensure that people are a pillar in your business strategy and that the initiatives or interventions proposed by human resources relate to helping the business achieve its strategy or plan.

The other challenge is getting business leaders to invest in workforce planning. The purpose of a human resources workforce plan is to secure continuity of people resources in order to deliver the business plan or strategy. A detailed workforce plan with the right analytics means that you are able to identify the critical skills or competencies gaps in your business, and to proactively develop talent or training initiatives to ensure the continuity of the business.

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

My advice to anyone considering a role in human resources is be clear on your purpose as to what you want to achieve and ensure that you pick the right business and industry that will help fulfil your purpose. Both experience and professional qualifications or development are essential for you to effectively lead and influence the people discussions within the business.

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

The key to staying relevant in the HR industry is to make sure that you develop yourself both as a HR professional and as a business professional. Every decision you make in the people space has a financial impact. Ensure you take a 'whole-of-business' approach to your recommendations and advice.

It is also important to continue to invest in your learning. I know that even doing a degree 15 years ago, how much the science and technology has changed what best practice looks like in the human resources areas, for example in the neuroscience of leadership.

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

Employers are looking for HR professionals who:
1. Understand the key drivers of the business and can translate HR initiatives into bottom line results.
2. Are abreast of contemporary HR practices and are able to tailor them to suit the business.
3. Have a genuine love of people and know how to engage, motivate, and build their capability.

6 Anything else you would like to add?

I am so thankful for the early career advice to look into HR when I left school and cannot believe the opportunities it has afforded me. I have driven a coal hauler truck with more than 360-tonne capacity, worked and lived in a remote community in the North West Territories of Canada, helped a mid-size business double in revenue, and also sit at the board level influencing strategy.

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