Interview with Renata Bradnock
How long have you been with Charterhouse?
Can you tell us about your career within the business?
“Yes. I started as payroll officer and was promoted to payroll manager when I returned from my first maternity leave. In this role, I implemented a new payroll system and rolled it out across the business. I was also responsible for work health and safety and return to work for internal employees and contractors. I gradually started taking on more HR responsibilities: first, exit interviews, then training and development of smaller teams, and visas for international employees. Midway through 2017, after my second maternity leave, the business officially introduced an HR function and I was formally offered the role of Group HR manager.
“I’ve had exceptional support from Charterhouse as I have transitioned into this role - and this support is ongoing. There’s a real commitment within the business to my continuing professional development. I’ve completed my Certificate IV in HR and am now being sponsored to attend a mentoring program and work towards HR certification through the Australian HR Institute.”
What are your responsibilities in this role?
“When I first took on the Group HR manager role, there was no real HR framework in place. I spent the first six months establishing a clear structure and drawing up our HR policies and procedures. One of my key aims is to support our consultants and administration staff - to help them be the best version they can be. We now have a formalised quarterly review system in place, one-on- one weekly meetings between consultants and their managers, 360-degree feedback, and regular employee surveys to check the temperature within the business. I am particularly proud of the success of 360-degree feedback, where, twice a year, consultants provide me with feedback about their managers. There’s a real climate of honesty and trust here, and I think it motivates our people at all levels to do their best. Recruitment as a profession has a very high staff turnover. Our commitment to open, regular communication is helping us to tackle this head on.
“Moving forward, my job is to maintain and build on all our current initiatives, as well as develop and deliver HR strategy and support the leadership team.”
Do you consider yourself to be an HR business partner?
“Yes. My role as Group HR manager is to proactively contribute to our business strategy and success. I work closely with our senior management team to ensure that our policies and practices are aligned with our business needs. I have a place at the table in our weekly directors’ meetings and quarterly strategic planning meetings. I know I have 100% support from our CEO Jason to introduce initiatives that will positively impact employee engagement and support our business growth. I’m currently looking at introducing a mentorship program, for example, where upcoming managers will be matched up with a senior colleague for 6 months. It should make a real difference to knowledge and skill-sharing within the business, with positive outcomes for employee development and retention as well.”
What aspects of your role are you passionate about?
“I am passionate about making Charterhouse an employer of choice. I want our people to enjoy coming to work every day, I want them to feel supported, and I want them to build careers with us. Recruitment is a fast-paced, highly stressful environment so I’m working to create a culture with health and wellbeing at its core. Our wellbeing package provides our people with the tools to take care of themselves. I’m qualified in First Aid Mental Health and actively promote the programs we have introduced to support staff with mental health issues. Also, as a working mum of two small children, I appreciate the need for flexibility in the workplace. I want to ensure that we are doing our best to promote and support flexible working arrangements.”
What does the wellbeing package involve?
“I organise fruit baskets for the office twice a week and a weekly boot camp on Wednesdays. And this year, we launched a series of monthly initiatives, including ‘Healthy February’ where we provided a healthy breakfast at work and held yoga classes and a boot camp. It was also an alcohol-free month, where we donated the money not spent on alcohol to charity. Later this year, we will be counting our steps in the newly renamed ‘Step-tember’. I plan to build on these initiatives, by bringing guest speakers into the office to talk about nutrition, wellbeing and motivation, for example.
“We also take the idea of wellbeing out of the office into the wider community. There’s a real desire to give back and to get involved in the big picture. I coordinate our charity work and have signed off on three initiatives so far this year. Each time, staff have come to me and expressed an interest in supporting an organisation, and the business has given them the time off to commit to that. At the moment, we have a team helping to prepare and serve food for the homeless in Sydney, and another consultant running a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House. A team from our Melbourne office spent the day cleaning out swimming pools at Children First Foundation’s Miracle sMiles Retreat. It’s very varied and rewarding work.”
How do you support working parents at Charterhouse?
“By being a flexible employer! We already have a number of family-friendly initiatives in place, such as working from home a couple of days a week. And we have flexible working hours, which can help mums and dads with school drop-offs and pick-ups. We are also open to job share arrangements. Two of our administration staff are coming back on a job share this year and we have one consultant who is returning to work and will be working completely remotely. We want our people to enjoy a healthy work-life balance, and we want to encourage women to return to work after children.”
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