Q&A #1

 Here is an interesting interview we had with Susie Babani, Former Group Chief Human Resources Officer, at ANZ.


How have you made the integration of HR and Comms work well in the companies you have worked for?

HR and Internal Comms have a lot in common – as we spend a lot of time communicating with our employees and these days not just pushing stuff out  but also endeavouring to have a two way conversation with our employees. Our Comms Head for People sits on my leadership team – even though she reports to her functional head – so that she is fully aware of our People initiatives  as they evolve and how the Comms function can play a role in delivering these to our employees in the best way possible – whether via intranet, social media, traditional email, web chats or town halls. Equally, she also educates us about new developments in communications whether that be technology based eg. Our soon to launch internal social collaboration tool or the best way to ensure questions are asked at an in person town hall. Communications is a profession in its own right and I believe we derive benefit from involving the experts to do it as well as we possibly can.


What do you see are the most significant challenges and opportunities facing HR in the digital age?
As Tom Cruise so eloquently put it in Top Gun, it is “the need for speed”! Our employees live their day to day lives in a digital world where they are just two or three clicks away from their bank account details, shopping for groceries or booking a holiday. As the customer experience (CX) around digital is enhanced on a daily basis we need to work hard to try and ensure the Employee Experience (EX) moves in the same direction. Managers want to manage their daily people tasks (such as approving leave or making changes to an employee’s grade) as quickly and easily as possible so they can get on with their day jobs. When we do our engagement surveys, no-one wants to wait 6 weeks for the results anymore – we need to look at real time solutions for these kind of activities. I wouldn’t say we are there yet but we are actively considering a fast, simple and effective EX in all the things we do; just as our front line business colleagues are doing when considering the CX.


How is the banking sector/ANZ leveraging new digital channels to better attract and manage talent?
I think that the arrival of social media sites such as LinkedIn has heavily disrupted  the business of sourcing talent for organisations. It has enabled our recruiters to do what we used to pay others to do, and much more effectively and cheaply. As data on people is now freely available and global, it also means we are likely to see a shift in who owns the sourcing of new talent to not just be the domain of the traditional recruitment function but also to be part of every employee’s role – as someone described it to me – each employee can and should now be a “talent scout” for the Bank. In addition, assessment of candidates for suitability can be easily done online before there is any need to meet with them – enabling both parties to get an initial view of whether there is likely to be a fit. The big change to come is a recognition that the people you want to hire are not likely looking for a new job – so we can be more sophisticated in reaching out to them directly for things that will interest them rather than hoping they will view a company recruitment website. This is something that search consultants have done for a long time using their Rolodex and these days automated databases, but it is now easy for anyone to do this.


Social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn (I have just become a 2015 LinkedIn Power Profile in Australia!) are very useful to me to be a public voice around topics that I am passionate about – including diversity, leadership, flexible working and culture. I have been able to write articles on these topics on ANZ_BlueNotes which is an open site magazine available to everyone and then also share them via social media for broader reach. This has meant that I can get broader messages out to current and potential employees about what kind of Bank we are trying to be and what matters to us and it’s a real time conversation. This is another way to engage employees and prospective employees and also to generate that two way conversation that is so important – listening as well as sharing makes all the difference.