Details for 2018 coming soon. Please read on for the 2017 program.


DAY ONE: Wednesday 21 June 2017


Registration opens


Welcome & opening remarks from the Chairperson


Zrinka Lovrencic, Managing Director, Great Places to Work Australia


9:00am KEYNOTE: How the Department of Education is leveraging big data to make insightful HR business decisions

Innovative companies 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, talent reviews and executive succession planning and development tools
  • Using big data to assess  leadership pipelines and employee engagement
  • How to use external data
  • Balancing data-driven decision making with intuitive decision-making 

Cliff Gillam FCPHR, Executive Director, Workforce, Department of Education, Western Australia



CASE STUDY: Leading a remote, mobile workforce

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?

Tracy Rainford, Director, HR Strategy and Workforce Development, WA Country Health Service - Department of Health



Morning refreshment and networking break



11:00am 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?

Craig Boyle, Partner, MinterEllison


The forces of global change (and how they affect HR directors)

Globalisation, digital disruption, large-scale demographic shifts and technological advances will continue to change the way we work over the coming years.  What will the workplaces and workforces of tomorrow look like?

  • What does digital disruption really mean long-term for workplace planning?
  • How will we meet the high expectations of millennials by creating a rewarding work experience, defined by constant learning and dynamic career progression?
  • What will future generations of workers expect from their employers?
  • Which elements of traditional management and leadership remain consistent throughout the years?

Stefanie Bradley, Partner in Charge, People & Change Authority, Management Consulting, KPMG


12:30pm  Networking Lunch


1:15pm PANEL: Professional perceptions: Why are we still battling a credibility crisis?

More than a decade after the publication of The HR Value Proposition, why is the HR profession in Australia still questioning its value, credibility and identity as respected leaders within our organisations?

  • Why are some HR professionals still struggling to be recognised in many organisations?
  • Why are we still preoccupied with the way that other professionals perceive us?
  • Is the HR department really viewed negatively by other professions? Or are we paranoid?
  • Are we succeeding in striking a balance between being an advocate of the people and representing the business?

Sarah Bagshawe, Executive Manager HR, Toxfree

Damir Kucan, Executive General Manager HR, Crown Perth

Elain Meighan, Group Manager HR, Silver Chain Group

Ron Pettit, Regional HR Director, Intertek

Moderator: Zrinka Lovrenzic, Managing Director, Great Places to Work Australia



Risky Business: Understanding the employer’s Duty of Care for business travel overseas


Given Australia's geographic position, international business travel is increasing for many Australians.
Recent research has shed light on the reality that many companies do not have travel health policies for their employees who are required to travel overseas for business. Thus, organisations are exposing themselves to potential liability by not offering any form of pre-travel health advice or information on necessary vaccinations. In this session, gain an understanding of the employer's Duty of Care, the costs and benefits of implementing a travel health policy and hear from travel health expert Dr David Rutherford.


Dr David Rutherford



Afternoon refreshment and networking break


The key to authentic HR leadership in the executive team


Today's best HR directors are authentic leaders who earn the trust and confidence of their executive peers to guide them through strategic and ethical challenges.

  • Discovering your unique leadership style and building your leadership legacy
  • Leading with inclusiveness, empowerment and candor
  • Structuring and leading high-level discussions about concepts, ideas, strategy and execution

Muffy Churches, Executive Coach


4:00pm Managing 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?

  • 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

Lori Grech, Managing Director, QL Management Consulting


4:45pm Day one concludes

DAY TWO: Thursday 22 June 2017

8:50am Opening remarks from the Chair
  Zrinka Lovrencic, Managing Director, Great Places to Work Australia

KEYNOTE: Embracing Disruptive Technology: Creating a culture of innovation, contribution, and inclusiveness


Hear from leading Australian accomodation operator Mantra Group and how they are embracing technology and integrating it across global workforces and across five generations of workers.

Cherie McGill, Executive Director HR, Mantra Group



The elements of a high-performance team


High-performance HR teams are comprised of collaborative and innovative people who are committed to a common purpose. United by common values, they work together to produce superior results for their organisations. What are the attributes of a high-performance HR team?

  • What makes a high performing HR team? 
  • Establishing appropriate ways of expressing tension, disagreement and frustration
  • Hot to create collaborative team culture in a virtual team environment
  • structuring decision making in a team so that it is flexible, agile and empowered

 Ian Jackson, Director of People & Culture, Curtin University


Morning refreshment break 


11:00am PANEL: How should HR leaders balance commercialism with empathy?

 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 while also acting as a moral compass

Angela Edwards, HR Director Asia Pacific, CHC Helicopter Services

Kelly McKenzie, Group Manager of People & Performance, CBH Group

Lana Snook, Executive Manager, People Development, RUAH Community Services

Andrea Thompson, HR Director of Health AsPac, Serco

Moderator: Claire Goodson, Director, Integritas Consulting


12:00pm CASE STUDY: Diversity in practice: How to attract, recruit and engage a diverse workforce
  • A WA case study: Newmont Australia's campaign to increase Indigenous and women's participation
  • Practical issues during the recruitment phase: Quotas, benchmarks, substantive equality and human bias
  • The impact of unconscious bias and similar-to-me effects and how to manage these
  • Actions to take at the recruitment phase: One size doesn’t fit all, understanding cultural safety, different selection methodologies
  • The role of HR and what you can influence

Mark Greenwood, Director, People Solutions

Kim Solomons, Assessment Team Leader, People Solutions


12:30pm Networking Lunch 


CASE STUDY: Reinventing performance management - Career conversations that matter

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

Veronica Holmes, Director of Human Capital, Deloitte


PANEL: 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?

Jane Coffey, Senior Lecturer, HRM, School of Management, Curtin Business School

Michelle Howells, Head of Human Resources, ThyssenKrupp Elevator

Angie Young, General Manager People and Culture, Synergy Energy

Moderator: Andrew Fletcher, Learning Commercial Leader, Consulting Mercer


3:00pm Conference concludes


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Breeanna Jeffers
Event Coordinator

P: +61 2 8437 4717


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