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Can you provide a short career bio – where you started, where are you now?

I finished my degree and found myself in a recruitment agency trying to get my first job out of uni when that same recruitment agency offered me a role to work with them.  Not knowing much about being a Recruitment Consultant, I took it on and found I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the fact that I was given a desk and the white pages and told to make 100 new business calls a week!  I ended up working in recruitment for around 6 years before moving into internal HR mostly in the professional services industry before finally transitioning into HR consulting where I have remained since 2005.

Talk to us about the role HR plays within an organisation?

HR’s role is multifaceted.  HR should be a trusted advisor to business owners and employees on all employee relations issues.  Risk mitigation for the business should always be the priority.  Ensuring that businesses get the best return on investment on their talent is an equally critical part of HR’s role – I love Richard Branson’s quote “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so that they don’t”.

Why is it so important for companies to be HR compliant?

It has become very easy for employees to find relevant information around pay, awards and employment obligations, so the frequency of claims has risen dramatically.  Further, the Y and Z generations are much less gun shy about standing up for their rights as an employee and demanding more from their employers. The risk of non-compliance on a business is significant – it can result in very hefty fines, which for a smaller business can be devastating.

When working with businesses what are some of the more common misconceptions about HR?

That HR is the ‘personnel’ department – basically that we look after contracts and payroll.  This is not the case at all.  I wouldn’t have the foggiest about payroll. HR has many facets – mostly it’s about optimising talent and ensuring that the greatest investment that a business makes (it’s people) is performing as well as possible.  Businesses often see HR as a ‘cost’ and are less reluctant to invest in it than finance, IT or marketing. However, in my view it is an equally (if not more) important function of a business. 

We constantly discuss how people and employees are the single most important asset a business has – what are your thoughts on this from a HR perspective?   

See my responses above!  I am constantly trying to get this message across.  The business owners who actually ‘get’ this concept are the ones who sleep the best at night and who enjoy the greatest success.  Your employees should be your number 1 priority – even over and above your clients or customers.  If you look after your employees, the rest will look after itself. Keep your team happy, provide a great environment and benefits, and invest in your staff and you will reap the rewards.  It’s so simple, but it is still a concept that is not widely embraced. 

Tell us a bit about what Calibre300 HR can offer?

Calibre300 HR will offer its clients a tailored HR function helping them to manage all stages of the employee lifecycle from hiring through to exit.  We would also be available by phone or email any time there is a people issue that is keeping you up at night. So many businesses spend countless hours on HR, not realising the opportunity cost of this.  By using Calibre300 HR, you are buying back not only your time, but also peace of mind. Hard to put a price on that!

What do you enjoy doing in your down time?

My what time?! Haha – I have 3 children, enough said!  I love hanging out with my family, going for long walks or runs while listening to podcasts, going out for dinner or drinks with friends or doing a boxing class.

Who is someone you admire and why?

I’d have to say Turia Pitt.  She’s the epitome of strength and resilience.  Her confidence, philosophical views on life and ability to get back on the horse and find the humour in things after facing such horrific physical and psychological set-backs is nothing short of phenomenal. She’s such an inspiration and someone I would love my daughter to look up to. 

If you weren’t working in HR what would you be doing?

I would love to be a midwife or nurse. Or both! Being part of people’s lives at their most vulnerable, exciting, or difficult times would be so rewarding.


Kristen Gallagher