Ciaran Foley talk to Qantas' award-winning HR team

In August 2015, Frazer Jones sponsored and attended the annual Australian HR Awards.

The Australian HR Awards brings together industry leaders to celebrate excellence in the HR profession, recognising individuals, teams and companies for their outstanding achievements in people management.

This year, Frazer Jones were the proud sponsor Australian HR Team of The Year which was awarded to Qantas - widely regarded as the world's leading long distance airline and one of the largest employers in the country.

Over the past year, Qantas has experienced one of largest turnarounds in Australian corporate history. The HR team played a critical role in this turnaround, supporting the delivery of significant transformation, while maintaining employee engagement and increasing customer satisfaction.

To deliver this transformation, HR adopted a new approach where HR Business Partners were allocated to assignments based on business priority, individual capability and aspirations. This enabled greater utilisation of its people, and a more agile and flexible model. It also allowed for greater diversity of experience and accelerated development, in turn creating a highly capable, engaged and valued HR team.

At the awards, Ciaran Foley, Head of Frazer Jones Australia caught up with James Allen, Chief HR Officer – Qantas International, Freight & Catering to learn more about the challenges and strengths of the award-winning HR Team:

To what extent have you observed a shift in your business’ expectation in terms of what is expected from HR?

“I think that’s happened a lot over the last seven or eight years as we’ve changed as an organisation. There’s a much bigger expectation, there’s much more we have to do and there’s much more of a strategic role that we play.”

What area of HR has been the most challenging to deliver on in your business in recent times?

“I believe a big challenge was how do you take cost out of the business whilst improving the customer experience and what role do we [the HR Team] play within that. So that’s a really tricky equation, but I think we’ve delivered on it through a range of initiatives. That’s been the most challenging part and the most rewarding part.”

Finally, what do you believe is the key to a great HR team?

“I think it’s many things, it’s obviously great leadership, but it is also the culture that you build, selecting the right people treat them in the right way and communicating at all times and I think largely we’ve got that right over the last couple of years so we’re very proud.”

Frazer Jones offer Qantas and all the winners of the Australian HR Awards 2015 our sincere congratulations.

  • Australian HR Awards 2015