Facteon People: Employment Lawyer to HR Manager
Meet Kate, our recently appointed Human Resources (HR) Manager.
Kate oversees Facteon’s HR function at an operational and strategic level. With a background as an employment lawyer, Kate has 10+ years’ experience in HR working in both the public and private sector. Kate is committed to partnering with the business to build a modern, high-performing culture where everyone feels valued and engaged.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am a people person, which is probably a good thing given I work in HR! I like that my role has the opportunity to make a positive impact and difference to people’s work experiences.
How did your HR journey lead you to joining Facteon?
Prior to joining Facteon I worked as a Senior HR Advisor at an Auckland-based FMCG business. I enjoyed working in a manufacturing environment and was ready for the next step in my career. I liked that Facteon was part of a NZ success story having once been part of Fisher & Paykel Appliances but was now operating as an innovative manufacturer in its own right. Having the opportunity to take ownership of the HR function for Facteon was really appealing.
How has the way businesses view HR changed over the past 2 years?
If HR wasn’t seen as an important part of any business before the Covid-19 pandemic, I think there would be a different view now. In late March 2020, when NZ went into its first level 4 lockdown, everyone – employers and employees included – were thrown into a state of uncertainty and chaos.
HR was at the forefront of managing what that meant for businesses and how they would need to quickly adapt depending on whether employees were deemed “essential” or not. As the pandemic progressed, HR remained central to how businesses responded to everything from how best to support employees’ wellbeing, how to on-board new employees remotely, how to manage the issue of Covid vaccinations, the return to work, including the evolution of flexible/hybrid working, and everything in between!
What challenges and changes have you observed within HR recently and how do you respond to them?
After more than two years with its borders essentially shut, one of the biggest challenges for NZ employers is the tight labor market. With the borders only recently fully opened, record low unemployment, and the immigration reset, employers are struggling to find quality applicants for vacant roles. With such a tight labor market, direct approaches have become more common, so it’s important for employers to know how their employees are feeling, what their career goals are, and how their development can be supported, so that’s something that’s a focus for us at Facteon.
How does the SLT at Facteon see HR as a core contributor to their success?
It might sound like a cliché, but Facteon’s biggest asset are its people. Avoiding unwanted turnover is important and HR has an important role to play in this.
What do you get up to when you’re not managing HR at Facteon?
Spending time with my family, two children and husband, and friends.