Client Profile – Mackillop Family Services
This quarter, we would like to introduce Mackillop Family Services. Melissa Yen speaks with Anita Buhagiar, HR Manager at Mackillop Family Services, to gain some insight into the organisation as well as her thoughts on the future of HR technology.
Sure. MacKillop Family Services provides a wide range of specialist support services to some of Victoria’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people and their families.
– Ok Anita, could you begin by telling us about Mackillop Family Services and its history?
Sure. MacKillop Family Services provides a wide range of specialist support services to some of Victoria’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people and their families. Our services are located throughout metropolitan Melbourne – southern, western and northern suburbs and throughout the Barwon Region. Established in 1997 to continue the services to children, young people and families, MacKillop Family Services was previously undertaken by agencies established by the Sisters of Mercy, the Christian Brothers, and the Sisters of St Joseph.
-And what do you see as some of the major trends impacting upon the transformation of HR as a profession?
Well, due to the changing workforce demographic and given the increasing skills shortage, employers must now think more creatively about workplace flexibility, targeted recruitment of aged workers and providing provisions for an increased part-time and “casualised” workforce. This will have implications on all traditional HR processes where flexibility must be built-in to accommodate this. More recently, the fact that an employer’s workforce is likely to include Gen X, Y and Baby Boomers proves a concern.
The main reason for this, is that the factors that drive and motiovate each age group are different. However, my view is that this further highlights the importance of effective management. Leadership qualities that include the ability to work collaboratively ndividuals to achieve joint goals are important. Therefore, the HR professions must look to initiatives that serve to develop management understanding and empowerment of diversity within the workplace.
-Do you believe technology has positive implications for HR and its development within business? And if so, could you identify these positive factors?
Certainly. The way I see it, technology is the most effective instrument to streamline processes, capture a consolidated picture of data concerning employees, creating a customer profile and so on and is able to provide “real time” information and reporting that is modified as changes occur.
Gone are the days of monthly or quarterly operational reporting. Given the changes in legislation and the increased employer accountability with regards to meeting compliance obligations, technology has become essential in providing this information as efficiently as possible so that services are not significantly impacted by such administrative processes.
-So, how do you think HR departments can best work to ensure they receive these maximum business benefits from HR technology?
It is essential that HR aligns itself with the practice,operations and organisational goals of the business so that these processes and HR initiatives have a direct and positive impact on service delivery. Following this, it is important that HR stays on top of the technology and constantly upgrades where necessary. HR technology should be tailored to support these initiatives and must be flexible enough to be modified in the future to adapt to the one thing that can be predicted – CHANGE!
-Finally Anita, how are you and the team at Mackillop working to use HR technology to your advantage?
Well, MacKillop Family Services uses HR technology by way of an HR Information System provided by EmployeConnect. This application provides a real-time, holistic picture of an employee’s employment status with numerous security settings to ensure information is accessed by only those authorised to do so.
It is relatively new to the organisation and is currently being used to store all employee contractual information and personal details. It has been integrated with our payroll system so that any changes made in payroll or the HRIS, are transferred between each system so that data entry occurs in one application only.
This has meant that anyone is able to generate real-time organisational charts. MacKillop is just about to change from paper-based leave and training application forms to electronic application forms which will drive greater efficiencies and save paper.
Further, the organisation’s training calendar will now be based online, as opposed to paper versions, so that staff can access this at any time and apply for training. In the future, we will look at having all our recruitment managed through this system. A detailed OH&S module is being customised so that all injuries and hazard identification is stored in the one place too.
Our HRIS will continue to be integrated with other IT applications within the organisation such as our intranet and extranet so that data entry occurs only once. MacKillop Family Services has over 90 services and over 45 separate worksites. Therefore, an integrated HRIS is essential for ensuring that information is available to the appropriate people when they need it.
-Great, thanks very much for taking the time to share your thoughts as well as the happenings at Mackillop, Anita. All the best.