The take-up and implementation of new technology, particularly automation, has directly impacted the productivity and success of Australian businesses of all sizes. On a people level, this evolution has also required a new standard of efficiency. In response, companies are undergoing significant business transformation.

According to Heidi Duncan, former Finance Director at ALDI Stores Australia, whether organisations are going through a formal transformation or tackling the challenge as a business-as-usual piece, there are always opportunities to “get the best out of your people in order to make those efficiencies come to fruition”.

Strengthen business partnering and strategy

While the concept of business partnering has been a buzzword for a number of years, it’s often automatically thought of as external relationships and therefore has been overlooked from an internal standpoint.

“What I mean is what we actually do within our teams, which involves challenging at the macro and the micro level,” Duncan said at a recent Michael Page Finance Business Transformations event held in Parramatta.

“That requires understanding the overall outcome your team is there to achieve, and analyse whether it’s being effectively fulfilled – again, everything from a high-level strategy to what we do on a day-to-day basis to achieve success.”

Duncan believes businesses cannot afford to have an unclear strategy in 2019, and that it’s essential to question whether every activity and process contributes to the overall vision.

“One thing I’ve noticed lots of times in my career is people need you to do tasks that you’ve inherited without really questioning the benefit or the time spent on it,” she noted.

“At times when we’ve stopped to think about it, they’re not really relevant at all or we can do it in a completely different way that’s much more efficient. So ask yourself: does it meet our current needs?”

Use the right language

Also speaking at the Business Transformation event, Olga Fadeeva, General Manager Human Resources at Toyota Material Handling Australia recommended HR practitioners learn to communicate with the business’s multiple divisions in a way both parties understood.

Fadeeva used the example of an organisation’s HR and finance functions needing to understand each other, and for HR’s value to be recognised.

“Different functions use different language and terminology and it’s critical for HR people to understand, as many don’t know the language of finance, which means they struggle to articulate, for example, a proposal that will lead to sustainable performance,” she explained.

“Very often, HR people underestimate that or neglect to recognise that outside of just human relations – we talk about amazing initiatives that we’re going to introduce via HR but the CFO and business leaders are looking at the cost of it.

“So it needs to be presented in the language of cash flow – the initial costs of implementation and the return on investment.”

She underscored how business partnering also allows HR professionals to find consistencies across the whole organisation.

“People don’t recognise the entire ecosystem well enough and how to manage it going forward: it’s the suppliers, customers, internal stakeholders and infrastructure, and other contributors,” she said.

“It’s a very critical time to understand the entire network, rather than be a small group of people working in isolation.”

Further, HR practitioners have access to a great deal of information, which could be useful as a driving force for the introduction of a new initiative.

“But you need to question if everyone going to be excited about this. There will be some resistance, understandably, so the incentive and benefits for parties to participate is critical,” Fadeeva noted.

RELATED: Why finance should be seen as a business partner

Business Transformation: the new norm

As much as a buzzword it may be, the current environment of continual business transformation is the reality of businesses today.

“Organisations will continue to transform; there will be changes and there will be challenges,” Farhad Malegam, Western Sydney Finance Consultant at Michael Page said at the event.

“If we take some of these principles, apply it and utilise it within our business networks, we will see even more success.”

He said with technologies evolving, so are business models and the talent within those organisations.

“The last two decades have shown businesses that refrain from change and adoption of new technologies would eventually die out or get acquired,” he warned.

“With the CBD saturating, Western Sydney is at the heart of NSW’s development and growth. The rise of business parks, massive infrastructure projects like the WestConnex and Badgerys Creek Airport, and government departments moving West is a mere glimpse of what’s in store, and with this growth, Parramatta is set to become a next mega city.”

Commenting on the outlook for businesses and hiring talent in Western Sydney for 2019, Malegam said unemployment rates across NSW have been at their lowest level in over four decades so there has never been a better time to look for a new job.

“Business partnering and analyses roles are in the highest demand. This is primarily driven by businesses optimising data analytics and big data and are harnessing the power of technology and data-driven decision making,” he revealed.

RELATED: The Future of Human Resources: 8 drivers of change

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