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Maxxia HR Scholarship Program

6/22/2015 10:36:22 AM

In partnership with the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), Maxxia’s Scholarship Program launches a brand new series of seminars never before available in Australia.

With a strong emphasis on shaping the agenda of the future, the Scholarship Program exposes participants to global thought leadership, future scenario planning, frameworks and conceptual tools, as well as intensive clinics aimed at solving real-workplace dilemmas.

Targeted at HR senior management, Maxxia has sponsored five participants for the seminar series.

Over four separate sessions this year, participants will discuss and learn more about:

  • global trends, innovations and making strategic Human Resources choices for your organisation
  • transforming your Human Resources function to align with your organisation
  • Integrated Talent Management to achieve organisational strategy
  • the new Human Resources Leadership Model – being a commercial leader of influence within your organisation
  • driving and ways of adjusting to change across your organisation with foresight, insight and mitigating risk
  • delivering integrated Human Resources and business programs including customer centricity, diversity and values that create long lasting impact.

Here is a taste of the information that participants will be privy to:

Introducing the High Performing Workplaces Index (HPWI)

The High Performing Workplaces Index (HPWI) was the culmination of more than two years research overseen by the Society of Knowledge Economics and researchers from the University of New South Wales, Australian National University, Macquarie University and Copenhagen Business School.

Funded by the Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations, the project saw researchers work with 78 Australian organisations to identify and analyse what constitutes a high performing workplace. More than 5,600 employees – including senior executives, middle management, frontline management and non-managerial employees – were interviewed on a range of workplace and productivity related issue.

This was the first comprehensive study of the leadership, culture and management practices that prevail in Australian workplaces since the 1995 Karpin Report and Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey .

The final report of the HPWI research (or to give it its full title, Leadership, Culture and Management Practices of High Performing Workplaces in Australia: The High Performing Workplaces Index) outlines the aims of the project and details the findings. The key objective was to open up the ‘black box’ of management and provide insights into the leadership, culture and management practices that higher performing workplaces deploy and benefit from. It also illustrates the productivity and profitability benefits that accrue to higher performing workplaces.

The research shows that leaders in higher performing organisations prioritise people management as key, involve their people in decision making processes, are more responsive to customer and stakeholder needs, encourage a high degree of responsiveness to change, and learning orientation and enable their staff to fully use their skills and abilities at work.

High performing organisations are not simply more profitable and productive, they also perform better in many important ‘intangible attributes’ such as encouraging innovation, leadership of their people, and creating a fair workplace environment.

According to Steve Vamos, founding President of the Society for Knowledge Economics, 'The Report is a call to action. It provides clear evidence that improving Australia’s productivity – or effectiveness at work and performance of our workplaces – is and will be largely a function of our commitment to develop leadership and management capabilities across all organisations in our economy. It is time to invest in this vital and undervalued lever of Australia’s productivity performance.’

How the HPWI works

The HPWI analyses the performance of organisations in the service sector. The higher and lower performing organisations were identified as one standard deviation above the mean of the HPWI and one standard deviation below the mean of the HPWI. The index is derived from 18 measures of organisational performance, grouped into six categories.

The index was then computed by calculating the overall score for each of the six categories. They are:

  • Profitability & Productivity (P): Profit margin ratio and productivity using the organisations’ financial data; employee perceptions of the organisation’s financial performance.
  • Innovation (I): CFO perception of the organisation’s innovation outcomes and organisational support for innovation; employee perception of the organisation’s innovation outcome.
  • Employee Experience (E): Employee perceptions of their level of commitment to the organisation; positive and negative emotions at work; job satisfaction; turnover intention; and general well-being.
  • Fairness (F): Employee perceptions of distributive fairness and procedural fairness in the organisation.
  • Leadership (L): Employee perceptions of their immediate supervisor’s leadership skills in three areas: developmental orientation; authentic leadership; and people management.
  • Customer Orientation (C): Employee perceptions of the organisation’s customer orientation and customer satisfaction.

Key Findings

The key findings from the study show that High Performing Workplaces have:

  • 12 per cent higher total factor productivity than Low Performing Workplaces (LPWs)
  • higher levels of innovation outputs than LPWs across all four innovation categories:
    • services and products (25.3 per cent higher);
    • operational process to produce goods and services (29.3 per cent higher);
    • managerial structures and strategies (2.9 per cent higher); and
    • marketing methods (21.2 per cent higher).
  • lower levels of employee turnover (23.3 per cent lower)
  • spend more time managing their people (29.3 per cent more)
  • expend more effort trying to understand customer needs than LPWs (19.4 per cent higher)
  • an average profit margin ratio of 15.62 per cent whilst LPWs have an average profit margin ratio of 5.44 per cent. This difference amounts to $8,844,178 on average in profit margin differences, or $40,051 per full time employee.

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High Performing Workplaces: 18 Performance Measures across 6 Categories (scaled 0- 100)


Interview with Maxxia HR Scholarship Program participant, Chris Clark

Superintendent Chris Clark is Commander Workforce Management, NSW Police Force. He is attending the AGSM Strategic HR Series on the Maxxia Scholarship Program.

Why did you embark on the program?

It is important that members of senior management teams in any industry group avoid isolating themselves from the real world. Often what is considered best practice in one business is not on par with best practice in another. That risk compounds across industries/disciplines and escalates further when you compare private and public sectors.

Best practice in a highly specialised technical process might exist in pockets but one cannot argue that people management varies significantly in different settings.

The Strategic Human Resources Series is an excellent opportunity for individual senior managers to engage their peers and to explore best practice in Human Resources. Similar opportunities are generally limited to lengthy courses of academic study or to industry specific forums.
The AGSM Scholarship Program offered by Maxxia brings together a pool of professionals, each with different perspectives and experiences. When harnessed, this is very powerful and mutually beneficial. That is attractive to individuals open to new ideas and who want to achieve best practice on a new level.

What are you hoping to get out of the Program?

My expectations are simple – I see the opportunity to make some structured and quality time, to lift myself above the day-to-day routine and to think more strategically.

I am certain we all deal with similar issues in people management and I'm equally convinced there is somebody out there who has an answer to my questions.

I expect to bring myself up to speed with relevant and recent research – something I would not otherwise be able to do.

I also expect to develop new networks and to contribute my own experience. Ultimately, I hope to take a closer look at myself and to think about the skills and experience I should pursue to take me to the next step in my personal evolution.

What are the key insights you took away from the first session?

The first session confirmed for me that the discipline of Human Resources is a critical one in any context but is often undervalued or recognised less than other business streams.

It was useful to hear from others about their struggles in getting a seat at the big table. It was also useful to hear about business strategy, technology and innovation, not necessarily in the context of people management, but nonetheless to understand more about the consequences of recent business decisions.

The public sector is not as open to the impacts of global financial trends, market share, competitive advantage, product innovation and other factors of significant interest to the private sector. But those things aside, both sides of the fence deal with people.

There are lessons to be learned across the board and having discussed some of these with others at the forum, I am more open than I was to keeping the dialogue open for mutual benefit.

Do you have any feedback or suggestions based on your experience so far?

I found the extra effort by Maxxia to make the sponsored organisations feel welcome outside the forum was a very effective exercise. This small group came from four states and I am sure would benefit from a higher level interaction.

Maxxia is with little doubt motivated in this program to contribute as a good corporate citizen to the development of individual expertise and professional networks which may not otherwise develop. This is an excellent initiative which I believe will develop more in time.

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