If you’ve met Kirsten, you’d certainly know about it! She is a veritable ball of positive energy and our one woman answer to all things Global HR. One year into her role we caught up with Kirsten to find out how she’s getting on and learn a little about the progress she’s made in this brand new role.
Congratulations on your one year anniversary with activpayroll. Has it flown by?
100% yes - I can’t believe it’s been a year. It’s been the quickest 12 months ever and, in all honesty, I think I’ve learnt more during my time at activpayroll than at any other period of my life. It’s certainly been a long time since I’ve had to cram in this level of learning new skills, new experiences and their practical application particularly on a global scale. It’s been nuts – but I love that! HR is my passion, and the continuous learning of different practices helps me to build effective relationships with all the key stakeholders while delivering a first class HR consultancy service
Sounds like you’ve enjoyed it! Do you want to tell us a little bit about your role and how the service is designed to help its customers?
In a nutshell the Global HR service exists to support customers with a huge variety of HR related questions, providing local knowledge, and of course help with documentation and compliance. And as the name suggests, that can be anywhere in the world. The key to developing a successful service is to build and maintain quality relationships at each stage of the journey. This is critical for businesses to remain compliant in each jurisdiction as there are constantly evolving layers of rules. Having effective relationships in place allows for seamless transfer of knowledge and understanding to our clients, giving them piece of mind that they are compliant.
What attracted you to the Head of Global HR position?
Honestly, it was my dream job! The chance to put all my learning and experience to the test and return to a role where I had autonomy and the ability to be involved in all areas of the business. When I saw this job it felt like fate - the coming together of my grand plan.
The job is a perfect blend of sales, finance and HR and is about building relationships with the customers. I firmly believe that trust and integrity is key to success in all roles and are critical to building connections with people while delivering and supporting human relationships.
Is that your professional philosophy when it comes to work?
Absolutely! When it comes down to it HR is the same everywhere you work. We are providing a service to ensure that our clients are compliant and it’s about relationships, understanding people and businesses and why they do the things they do. We should all want to get the best out of people and the best way to do that is by consistently treating others as you would want to be treated yourself. I’ve had to carry out my fair share of redundancies and somewhat controversially I don’t mind doing them. l know it’s a last resort for businesses and that I always conduct them fairly and with compassion and treat people the right way. It’s all about personal integrity – speaking your mind, questioning situations you think need to be challenged and ultimately doing the right thing!
What are the major challenges in your role?
I’d say initially I had some gaps in understanding and knowledge of all different HR practices across the vast range of the countries we cover. This meant that I had to learn whilst simultaneously speaking to clients about the services we could support with. That and finding the balance between securing new business and having the time and space to then do the work I’d generated, particularly in the early days. It was important to me to always do the right thing and never let a customer down so I spent time gathering data and reviewing at every stage so I could improve for next time. This is key to making sure that as the service grows, we always take the right approach – it’s an amazing learning opportunity which is exactly what I signed up for!
How has hybrid working benefited you in your role?
Well it means I can get dinner prepared and washing on during my lunch break! Seriously though in a role like mine where I’m working across continents, the ability to work from home is a massive advantage as I can work around the different time zones. It offers me so much more flexibility. The only downside is that it’s definitely harder to have more of a positive life balance as the temptation is to work more hours to fit it all in.
So one year completed, what does the next 12 months hold for Kirsten and Global HR?
To sum it up in one word – growth! More partners and more locations and hopefully another person to join the team to help support these plans.
I was going to ask about what you do to relax when you're not at work however it appears that the answer to that question would be the ironing at 7am!
[laughs] That pretty much sums it up! Some days I’ve travelled the globe with calls in Australia, the UK and the USA and somehow still managed to cook a lasagne and iron two sets of school uniform, all without leaving the house!