This month we speak with Sallyann Shearer, Team Leader Talent and Organisational Development, Adelaide City Council.
Sallyann tells us why she was attracted to working in HR, her thoughts on the strategic role of HR in an organisation and her involvement with the HR Network.
Hi Sallyann - thanks for speaking with us.
Tell us about your role at Adelaide City Council.
I am the Team Leader, Talent and Organisational Development. I manage a small but fantastic team and together we are responsible for initiatives such as: cultural measurement, leadership development, training, reward and recognition, talent management, diversity and inclusion, employer branding and employment pathways.
Where were you before you started in local government?
I worked in State Government for around 8 years in various OD roles. Most recent roles include Manager, Change and Organisational Development and Manager, Workforce Development.
What attracted you to HR?
After completing my Behavioural Science degree, I was employed by a workplace that gave me some great opportunities to try different roles in areas such as Marketing, Policy, Research, Internal Communications and Grants. None of these areas truly inspired me until I won a HR role and my manager suggested I undertake a post grad qualification in HR to further my knowledge. I absolutely loved studying HR and was able to put the theory directly into practice. I moved from the operations side into the training and organisational development side of HR and have never looked back.
What is the best thing about working in HR?
I love being able to understand the way an organisation operates in terms of culture and organisational practices and then look at ways to improve on those practices. There is always work to be done in ensuring that our strategies, programs and initiatives are aligned to changing organisational directions and business and employee needs.
What is the strategic role HR can play in an organisation?
We have a strategic role to play in understanding current and future workforce needs, how they align to organisational goals and strategic directions, then ensuring we are attracting and retaining the right people to fulfil these needs. We also have a strategic role to play in ensuring that our people understand the vision and direction and their contribution to it and have the right capabilities, skills and knowledge to perform successfully and achieve the organisational goals.
Tell us about your involvement with the HR Network and the importance of the network to its members and the sector.
I have been an active member of the HR Network Committee for nearly a year and a half, joining the network shortly after commencing in my role at Adelaide City Council. During that time I have facilitated a number of the discussion forums at events, including one on talent management, one on employee value propositions and hosting a session on onboarding and induction. I also spoke on behalf of the HR Network at the recent Mission ImPossible Conference which was a great way to showcase the work we are doing as part of the HR Network. The HR network is a fantastic opportunity for all HR professionals across councils to not only network, but to collaborate and learn from each other on topics and issues that are common to all of us. We have such a huge opportunity to work strategically to strengthen, broaden and add value to some of our HR programs by working together to offer them across all councils.
Outside of local government, what keeps you busy?
I recently 'discovered' fitness and have been participating in 8 week challenges at the gym, ran the Bay to City, the Hot Lap Fun Run (during Clipsal 500) and also gave the recent Stadium Stomp a go. I also have a seven year old son who keeps me pretty busy.