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Leadership and HR: Learnings from 2022 AHRI National Convention

Growth Faculty’s team join with 2000 registrants and exhibitors to learn latest HR tools


Learning and leadership development are great tools for CEOs and HR leaders to drive recruitment and retention. This was one key takeaway for the 2000 registrants and exhibitors at Revolutionise, the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) National Convention & Exhibition 2022.

More than 50 local and international speakers, authors, academics, and business executives took to the stage to discuss the changed landscape for HR, its widening role, and the importance of developing people. We were kept busy meeting people on our Growth Faculty Leadership Pass exhibition stand, but jotted some notes a few of the many talks that we’d thought we’d share with you.

Free Download: 10 Leadership Qualities That Will Help Solve Challenges in 2022

Liz Wiseman  

A key highlight was a masterclass on Impact Players from New York Times bestselling author, researcher, executive advisor, and speaker Liz Wiseman, CEO of the Wiseman Group. Some of her recent clients include Apple, AT&T, Disney, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Salesforce, Tesla, and Twitter. Liz will present our own live virtual Global Headline event in October.  

“People crave impact,” she told the audience. “Being underutilised is boring, frustrating, draining, and exhausting.”

Liz explained that burnout could result, an issue we’ll cover further in our free Mental Health and Wellbeing Week from October 10 to October 14. 

“What kind of leadership do you need to ensure people move forward?” she asked. Liz answered that by trusting people, empowering them, developing them, and providing a workplace where psychological safety is a priority can turn more contributors into impact players.

Hugh Van Cuylenburg

Speaker, podcaster, and Founder of The Resilience Project, Hugh Van Cuylenburg took to the stage to talk about evidence-based mental health strategies.

Hugh told the audience that Australia was #2 in the world for depression (5.9%) and among the top three countries named the ‘loneliest’ country in the world. But, as we learned from Hugh, we can take ownership of our mental health and wellbeing.

“We all have access to happiness. The brain does not discriminate.” - Hugh Van Ciulenburg

Some mental health tools he suggested:

·       Journaling to clarify and unburden.

·       Practising gratitude – focusing on what you have. After noting ‘What three things went well today?’ for a month your brain will be rewired to spot the positives.

·       Think about others more than yourself. Write someone a gratitude letter.

(To ensure your leadership is not affecting the wellbeing of your staff by 'accidentally diminishing' them, read our blog on Traits of Multipliers and Diminishers).

Heidi Chambers

Here we learned that 93% of workers rate physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing as being as important as pay. Two-thirds would be prepared to forego a pay rise for greater work flexibility.

Heidi Chambers, Digital Transformation and Employee Experience Director at Deloitte and product owner of WorkforceX said the data shows work needs to be redesigned around people and this means seeing technology as a friend.

When introducing new technology, she recommends starting simple, being clear on the intent, and being obsessive over the experience. 

Kathleen McCudden and Caroline North

Seek’s Chief Human Resources & Communications Officer Kathleen McCudden and Manager of Market Research Caroline North spoke about the employee value proposition (EVP) and recent research on attraction, engagement, and retention of people.

Citing data from more than 11,000 Australians, they said the top drivers of attraction were still ‘salary’, ‘work-life balance’ and ‘career/development opportunities’, but there was the new driver of ‘culture of the organisation.’ 

They said that hybrid and work from home (WFH) arrangements were now mandatory for 50% of candidates.

They also said the ‘Great Resignation’ (high levels of attrition) wasn’t seen in Australia/New Zealand, instead it was specific to the United States. However, they added that the next generation will have 17 jobs and five careers! Some of their advice:

·       Judge what is tolerable when people leave, understand why.

·       Use plain and direct English in job ads. 

·       It makes a big difference to have senior leadership involved in the recruitment process.

·       Everyone is responsible for the culture of the organisation.

Alexandra Badenoch

Speaking on redefining the role of a leader was Alexandra Badenoch, Group Executive Transformation, Communications and People at Telstra. Alex said that leaders needed to be agile and responsive to lead through a complex external environment:

·       Societies were demanding more of leaders; how they served customers or impacted the environment.

·       Communities were doing it tough, facing economic challenges, such as cost of living.

·       There’s unrelenting uncertainty and change is tiring.

·       People want to work for a purpose and values-driven organisation.

As they come under pressure to meet targets, leaders must balance the welfare, happiness, support, and performance of their people. When there is change, leaders need to be aware that people can lose their sense of identity or position in the organisation. Engagement is key, and leaders need to learn the skills of being empathetic, listening, and acknowledging how people feel (while pursuing the plan with conviction). Investing in training to upskill the team was imperative.

Growth Faculty’s Stephen Blackie and Lucy Pitt

Meanwhile our chief enthusiasm officers Stephen Blackie and Lucy Pitt also spoke to hundreds of fellow convention goers over the three days from our exhibition booth.


They explained the benefits included in the Leadership Pass, our curated platform for learning and development that helps all employees reach their full potential. Delegates learned that teams with Leadership Passes are given unlimited access to 40 live virtual events and a Leadership Library of year-round leadership content on demand. 

If you'd like to increase your professional and personal development why not consider signing up your teams as Leadership Pass holders with Growth Faculty? Choose the plan that suits you, and see who's up next.


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