AHRI get a lot of things right for me as an association – they work incredibly hard (every employee or volunteer I’ve met have confirmed this), they listen to their membership, and they lead with the genuinely good intent that our profession can be better and can create better work environments for others.

Last week I attended the AHRI Awards, a national event that I have never had the opportunity to go to before. It was fabulous. Not just because of the great MC (Peter Berner), performances & food – but for the great conversations and stories that were shared throughout the evening.

The “people profession”, as described by Lyn Goodear, came together to celebrate the hard work of both individuals and workplaces in bettering work for others.

Ok, ok, ok – without further ado, here are my 5 key takeaways from the event:

1. Individual awards are where it’s at

The first two acceptance speeches for the night really set the tone, both giving heartfelt thanks to their teams, mentors and managers who believed in them. It was a timely reminder that no matter how busy you are, how much you’ve got going on, the support you give those in your team will make an impact far bigger than you realise at the time.

There is amazing talent coming through in the field of HR and I’m excited about the impact and change that this will inevitably bring.

2. Diversity & inclusion is where all the cool work is happening

The HR Diversity Champion Award as a really big one for me. The Defense Force isn’t necessary an employer that I would have picked as a front runner in innovative HR practice (which I full well acknowledge may be my own denseness) but I was really impressed with Shane Cox’s work in providing career pathways for indigenous youth.

3. The numbers of people with AHRI certification are growing

I’m really enjoying the growing professionalisation of HR in Australia, largely due to the efforts of AHRI. Certification was a topic of conversation at the awards – which definitely prompted me to reflect on exactly when I will be getting my A into G on that one!

4. AHRI = genuine advocacy

A message I heard loud and clear – not just from AHRI (because what member association isn’t going to advocate this), but from volunteers, staff members, and from what efforts are recognised makes it clear, we are fortunate to have this be our professional association.

I heard multiple times from the winners in their acceptance speeches of the honour of their work being recognised by AHRI. What AHRI is doing is celebrating work that is changing the way others work, interact and experience their own work. Work that is genuinely changing peoples’ lives.

5. Conversations!

The AHRI Awards was a fabulous opportunity to get out and meet (and reconnect with) people who do great HR. Sometimes life can get busy and its easy to forget, or just not prioritise, meeting new people and listening to what makes them tick. I was lucky enough to sit next to someone who had also rejoined the workforce, and changed role, soon after becoming a parent for the first time. I got to hear about the fascinating experiences of someone who has moved into HR after a long career in energy. These conversations, among others, were a good reminder that its easy to get caught up in your own bubble and forget to take the time to learn from others.

I had such a brilliant night. Not just because of the organ (OMG THE ORGAN), the showtunes from Wicked, the Phantom, Les Mis & Jersey Boys, but because of the honour of being around people that are so brilliant at what they do that they inspire me to be better.

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