DAY ONE: Wednesday 19 July 2017


Registration opens


Opening remarks from the Chairperson

Kerrie Field
Executive Director, People and Culture

Government and Corporate Services Department of Finance, Services and Innovation


Welcome from the Event Partner

9:15am CASE STUDY Survivor story: Leading disruptive change at Australia Post

Organisations today need to reposition and restructure themselves continuously to keep up with the rapid business-model innovation of their competitors.  Australia Post has successfully reinvented and repositioned itself and survived in a competitive and rapidly-changing business environment.  

  • Against all odds: How Australia Post survived massive industry disruption
  • Examining an organisation’s competitive environment
  • How HR leaders successfully partnered with divisional heads to drive change  
  • Identifying and managing change-resistant behaviours
  • How HR can encourage established leaders to challenge old  management orthodoxies
  • What the HR department needs to do to support the organisation through rapid and unexpected changes

Chris Blake
Executive General Manager, Group Services
Australia Post


10:00am CASE STUDY  How Coca-Cola is leveraging data and experimentation to drive innovation and cultural change

Innovative organisations are harnessing data from a range of internal and external sources to make insightful business decisions.

  • What’s the difference between operational reporting and predictive analytics?
  • Dissecting data from performance management tools.
  • Using big data to assess leadership pipelines and employee engagement
  • Using data to drive innovation and culture change
  • Using experimentation to move to more agile organisation

Anjanette Murfet

HR Director
Coca-Cola South Pacific


Morning refreshment & networking break

11:15am PANEL DISCUSSION What is the right balance between commercialism and integrity?

As HR leaders increasingly focus on commercial priorities and business performance, are we neglecting long-term morale and ethical considerations? What is the right balance between hard-headed commercialism and empathising with employees?

  • Are we too focused on short-term business goals, to the detriment of long-term morale and engagement?
  • Are the so-called 'soft skills' sometimes lost in the quest to achieve budgets and objectives?
  • How to balance being able to demonstrate commercial acumen with acting as a moral compass

Sandra Blackburn
Hanes Brands Australasia

Tina Dimitriadis
General Manager – People and Facility Services
Family Planning Victoria

Lyndsey Jack
Director of Human Resources
Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Geoffrey Woodcroft
A/Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources
Peabody Energy

Michelle Gibbings
Founder and Managing Director
Change Meridian


Real people, real connection: What do candidates really want today?

An Employer Value Proposition has the potential to create meaningful connection throughout the attraction, engagement and retention phases. But how well this happens hinges on how well you know your audience, and what they really want.  In an insightful and interactive session, Caroline North, SEEK’s Client Insights & Market Research Manager, will share a preview of SEEK’s soon-to-be-launched research program, Laws of Attraction to look at the critical role of data and insight to understand what jobseekers really want today. Laws of Attraction is an industry-leading research project that unearths the key drivers of candidate motivation at the attraction phase of recruitment. Caroline will also delve into the emerging themes around diversity and show you how Laws of Attraction can provide practical support and inform an exceptional candidate experience.

Caroline North
Client Insights & Market Research Manager


Networking lunch 

1:45pm LEGAL UPDATE Best-practice guide to mental health in the disciplinary process  

When dealing with workplace mental health issues, employers have legal obligations relating to discrimination, privacy, adverse action and health and safety. HR professionals should tread very carefully to avoid legal risks when mental health is a factor.

  • Overview of section 351(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986
  • Impact of Salazar v John Holland Pty Ltd[2014] relating to mental health as a contributing factor in misconduct
  • To what degree should an employer take a psychiatric disorder (anxiety and depression) into account when considering the employee’s ability to communicate within the workplace?
  • At what point is it pragmatic to cease disciplinary processes and come to a settlement with an employee who suffers from mental illness?

Nick Ruskin
K&L Gates

2:30pm   HR SPOTLIGHT: Australia's biggest talent quest

The recently introduced changes to the 457 Skilled Migrant visas have concerned business owners and professionals. But will these changes impact our ability to retain and attract the world’s best talent and what can we do about it?

  • Why are these changes occurring?
  • How are they being implemented?
  • Who will they affect and what steps do HR professionals need to take?

Petra Playfair


CASE STUDY: Diversity and inclusion programs at Westpac

Most executive teams now recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion programs on corporate reputation, employee brand, employee wellbeing and innovation. What does an award-winning diversity program look like?

  • Key industry metrics and benchmarks on diversity and inclusion
  • Securing leadership buy-in for diversity programs
  • Diagnosing, addressing and eliminating the gender pay gap
  • Addressing bias in recruitment, selection and reward and recognition
  • Embedding the principals of inclusion throughout the whole employee lifecycle

Samantha Turner
Head of Inclusion & Diversity
Westpac Group


Afternoon refreshment & networking break 

4:00pm Learning and development programs that engage millennials

Technological advances and demographic shifts are disrupting the learning and development landscape. Organisations are increasingly trying to compress training into shorter, sharper interventions to engage young employees who have grown up in a digitally-saturated culture. What is the ideal blend for an L&D program?

  • How to incorporate massive open online courses (MOOCs) into a training program
  • M-learning and E-learning formats that keep learners engaged
  • Social learning and micro-learning - How quick is too quick when delivering training?
  • Engaging without sacrificing quality and depth of learning
  • Experiential training, including simulations, case studies, and flipped classrooms
  • Shifting from an internally focused, corporate-centric learning universe to a learner-centric one

Leila Wearing
Head of Learning & Development



Day One concludes


DAY TWO: Thursday 20 July 2017


Registration opens

9:00am KEYNOTE How Foxtel reinvented performance management 

Many organisations are replacing their bureaucratic, annual, formal performance management systems with systems of continual learning.

  • Problems with ratings and traditional performance methods
  • Streamlining processes of evaluations, consensus meetings and final ratings
  • Cultivating the art of meaningful conversations amongst your line managers
  • How to manage and monitor a system of informal, ongoing and open feedback conversations
  • Individualised forward-looking action plans that determine rewards

Simone Shugg
Executive Director - People & Culture


9:45am PANEL DISCUSSION People and technology today – What role should HR play?

Digital technology is disrupting business models and radically changing the way we work. With automation increasingly disrupting the workforce, what will this mean for the future role of HR departments?

  • The opportunities and challenges presented by mobile, cloud, big data and social technologies 
  • How can we help employees shift to a ‘digital mindset’?
  • How will HR itself revolutionise its own systems and ways of delivering HR services?
  • Will technological advances give HR professionals more time to focus on high-value tasks?
  • What does the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ really mean for the HR profession?


Sarah Crowley
HR Director

James Law
General Manager & Director

Fiona McLean
HR Director
Russell Investments

Helen Perkins
HR Director
Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies


Andrew Fletcher
Learning Commercial Leader 



Refreshments & networking break

11:15am CASE STUDY Strategic workplace planning at Northern Health

Upon review of workforce data, Northern Health projected future growth hinged on recruiting skilled workers to deal with the demand of an increasing aging population.

Understand the workforce challenges faced by this leading health employer and their mission to strategically plan to overcome future workforce obstacles.

Michelle Fenwick

Executive Director, People & Culture
Northern Health

12:00pm HRX Seven practices of highly influential people leaders

Wesley Payne McClendon

Executive Director, McClendon Research Group, Inc.
Professor, Human Capital Management, Melbourne Business School


CASE STUDY  Leading a remote, mobile workforce at XERO

HR directors today need to lead, collaborate and build alliances across different cultures, geographies and time zones, while engaging a workforce that is increasingly dispersed.

  • Keeping employees engaged in a virtual world
  • Dealing with an increasingly ‘nomadic’ workforce
  • The increasing role of freelancers (and how to keep them engaged) 
  • Cultivating a team culture in the absence of physical proximity
  • Creating a cohesive culture across time zones, functions and regions
  • How much face-time is really necessary with a virtual workforce?

Chris Regan
Head of People Experience


Networking lunch


Prize draw


CASE STUDY Best-practice guide to flexible work arrangements at Arcadis

Today’s employees are increasingly demanding and expecting flexible schedules and limited supervision – but such flexibility can only exist when balanced with the right systems, processes and culture, along with a strong focus on results.

  • Is the idea of working nine-to-five now an outdated concept?
  • Coaching managers to shift the way they manage their teams
  • Designing processes for individually-focused work, collaborative work and team discussion
  • How to manage the growing cohort of ‘office nomads’

Jacob Grech
HR Director - Australia Pacific

2:45pm PANEL DISCUSSION Managing constant change in your organisation

As the pace of change in the economy accelerates, CEOs are increasingly requiring their organisations and HR teams to be more agile. How are employees handling such incessant organisational change? In this interactive session, participants will hone their skills in change management and change leadership.

  • Igniting an appetite for change amongst employees who are suffering ‘change fatigue’
  • Creating an agile culture that can quickly adapt to changes
  • Bedding-down change through the stages of a business lifecycle
  • Dealing with change resistant-employees


Dan Cook
General Manager, People & Culture
Dexus Property Group

Sarah Fair
Head of Human Resources
Australian Football League

Galia Jenshel
Director, People & Organisation Consulting

Donna Price
General Manager People & Culture
Melbourne Cricket Club


Nadine Castle
The Culture Group

3:45pm Conference concludes




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