Interview: Kate Taylor, Associate Director Talent Management Human Resources, University of Tasmania

Tell us about the journey to your current role and what it this role entails?

My current role is Associate Director Talent Management at UTAS.  I am working on the talent management strategy and implementing a number of initiatives to improve the way we attract, recruit, retain and grow our people.  We have a new strategic direction in its early stages of implementation and this has created several exciting opportunities to reshape our we align our people to the strategic direction and build a culture that supports this.  I work closely with the rest of the HR team and stakeholders across the University.  I would described by role as evolving, varied, challenging and hugely rewarding!

Can you describe a project you are working on/recently completed, and any key challenges you have faced along the way and how they were overcome?

Last year I was the Associate Director HR Services, Remuneration and Systems and we delivered a major upgrade to our HR systems, including implementing a new e-recruitment solution.  It was heavily focussed on improving our processes along the way, and focussing on user experience.  We engaged earlier with our customers (staff) and had steering committee, change champion networks and regular communication channels set up to inform staff of the changes and opportunities to provide feedback and be involved.  Being such a large employer and geographically dispersed it was important we focussed heavily on communicating well and in the right way.  This was a big lever to the success of the project.

What did you learn from this project? What did it achieve?

The value of good governance and structure to deliver of projects.  These areas were tightly managed and make it much easier to keep accountabilities in check and on track.  Spend the required time necessary upfront getting these details correct and well understood by all parties to avoid delays, confusion and pitfalls in the project delivery.  This includes ensuring external parties (contractors and service providers) are well managed and relationships carefully monitored. What excites you most about the future? Innovation in HR, such artificial intelligence, automation of duplicated processes, inputs like chat box to help staff self-help, closing the gap between marketing and HR working together on branding and positioning elements.  Also lean and simplification activities and reshaping HR team to work more effectively and deliver more value add activities.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to further their career in government, what would it be?

Look constantly for informal mentoring opportunities (doesn’t have to be a regular mentor arrangement) – learn from others, ask questions, seek answers and build your network of people that can help shape your career.  Look for opportunities to be involved in work that aligns to your existing role but stretches you so you are learning new skills all the time – don’t just think you need formal courses or workshops to learn.

Where do you look to for further education? E.g. articles, podcasts, news sources, courses – e.g. University, online, internal etc?

UTAS short courses of course! I also get great insights from podcasts (so easy to access and play when I am doing other things).  I also subscribed to several HR and industry thought leader newsletters to get up to date articles to scan read.