Welcome to the HIRED! podcast where we interview HR leaders and find out what is going on in the world of HR right now. In this episode of HIRED! By ModoHR, we spoke with Menique Kodikara, Human Resources Manager at Michael Hill, a retail jeweller that operates in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, in the business of love and celebrating special moments.
On the podcast we discuss:
- Challenges faced by employees during the Pandemic.
- What goes in to finding the right candidate?
- Important HR Tech.
- Adapting to working from home.
What is the biggest challenge from an HR perspective, that your team has faced in in the past year?
Without a doubt, it's COVID-19. The frequency of the changes to regulations and responsibilities that employees needed to adapt to across the year was immense. As a result, the Michael Hill teams had to be really agile, and adapt to that change and work with that change on such a frequent basis. COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for all organizations, in how we operate and continue to operate and service our customers in the best way possible, and then from the back end, how do we support from a leadership perspective, our teams and managing through that change, that impact them not only at work, but at home as well?
What does it take to be a culture fit at Michael Hill?
What's important is that we get the right fit for the organization, in terms of our people. We're in the business of people and celebrating love and you really need to be able to connect with people on a unique level and help to share in the celebrations of the milestones within their lives. Not only that, but be driven and ambitious in your career aspirations. From a retail perspective, we not only recruit team members from retail jewelry backgrounds, but people with all types of experiences. If you have the right attitude, drive and will to succeed, we have the training that can help you to get where you want to go in terms of your career progression.
Thinking about your tech stack, from an HR perspective, and given what's happened in the past year, what is one piece of technology or tool that you could not live without right now?
Without a doubt it is our HRIS system. More recently, we've adapted it to encompass more of the employee lifecycle. Not only from a pay and employee profile perspective, but also from a performance and development perspective, asking how we can engage that tool to be all encompassing and somewhat of a one stop shop for our team members. And how do we integrate that to work with that applicant tracking system from a recruitment perspective?
Do you think that there are challenges with having a work life balance now that everyone is working from home and has their office two steps away from their bedroom? What challenges do you think that results in, as I'm sure there are similar situations at Michael Hill right now?
The feedback we're getting from our team members is varied. We have some team members that are really embracing the change and utilizing their commute time to go out and exercise or set morning rituals for themselves. Then we have other team members that have expressed that it is challenging to switch off with work being the office and the office being home, and relax at the end of the day. We can't paint everyone with the same brush - every individual's experience has been different through this pandemic, and the changes that have resulted from it.
There are a lot of people moving away from major cities right now, because of the ability to work remotely and how expensive downtown can be. What types of challenges are associated with that?
For us, we, we have a very small support team here so that the impact for us won't be significant. But for other organizations it's important that they now have an adaptable, flexible work approach to accommodate those sorts of changes. Otherwise, it's going to only increase the level of stress that we have on team members that now have to commute longer and add to their workday overall, if that flexibility isn't afforded at the front end.
What's been proven now is that it works. People can work from home and can remain productive and can continue to contribute to the organization.
You mentioned that your HRIS system is vital, how important it is to have all of your tools be able to integrate into the HRIS system?
I think it reads back to the employee experience, having everything in one place and ease of reference. Technology is advancing at such a rate, it's hard sometimes to keep up, so the more simplified we can make it for our team members, for our candidates, and anyone engaging with the business, the better off we are. From a user perspective, it's also a lot easier for us to manage on the back end, as well.
Before we wrap up, is there anything you'd like to announce about Michael Hill?
We've recently introduced a children's book called Ellie-Mae’s Sparkle, which we're very excited about. Michael Hill, who founded the organization, is a wonderful Illustrator so we worked with him and a children's book author to put this book together, and really to help bring back that sparkle to the lives of children and families altogether. We’re very proud of that initiative.
Menique is the Canadian HR Manager and Group Diversity & Inclusion Lead for Michael Hill Jewellers. She has been in the Human Resources field for 10 years.
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