My name is Julianne and I am a full time working mum to two small boys and I have struggled to maintain balance between work, family and study since I became a mum in 2012. I sacrificed my maternity leave to continue progressing my career, mostly working at a loss due to daycare expenses, but my persistence has paid off with a role I love, working in HR in the Indigenous community of Cherbourg, QLD.
Cherbourg has recently been named the most disadvantaged community in Australia and part of my role as HR is to navigate the cultural issues and communication between management and our local Indigenous workforce. Undertaking my postgraduate diploma in HRM has helped me immensely to work through communication issues and support my learning on the job. I have a practical approach and I love sitting down with our workforce and working out ways we can be flexible to accommodate the cultural differences.
I have been in this role over a year and a half now and the changes I have made and the relationships I have built in that small amount of time astound me. I have invested massive amounts of time and effort to build trust with our workforce as I am seen as an "outsider". Not being indigenous meant I had to work overtime and be completely transparent to win people over.
The communication and business units of my study have assisted to round out my overall knowledge and experience in HR so I am better able to work in a business partnership with our senior management team and help them to understand the impact of business decisions on our workforce and help to create work-arounds with as little impact as possible, both to the business and our workforce.
I am especially passionate about diversity and inclusion and have managed to raise our indigenous workforce to 77% with our turnover now being less than 1%! My stubbornness has caused me to push 10 trainees to completion this year (out of a workforce of 75), which is an unprecedented number for the area with drop outs being extremely common previously.
I am hoping to refocus and begin to push for gender diversity as our little community still holds to traditional values and majority of our workforce remains male. Succession planning is another focus to begin moving our locals into management positions to allow for further increase in our indigenous employment. With help from my next unit of study in Strategic HR I will begin building a plan to present to council and hope to start to make a difference in Cherbourg with regards to employment opportunities.