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Why HR leaders should be learning from each other

By Jack Campbell | |4 minute read
Why HR leaders should be learning from each other

Anu Villarosa, The HR director at Pitcher Partners, spoke with us about why senior HR people should connect with one another to share ideas and develop their skills.

Ms Villarosa shared how a WhatsApp group of senior HR professionals from all over Australia was created in the earlier days of COVID-19. She said: “We shared information and asked for information. The amount I learned was phenomenal. The generosity, the willingness to share.”

Ms Villarosa notes that with the broad range of areas that HR encompasses, you can’t learn everything you need for the role from a textbook.


“I think that comes from the fact that HR is everything. You're strategic, you're operational, there's a legal component, there's compliance involved in there, there's learning and development, there's organisational development,” she explained.

“As an HR practitioner, you don't know what you don't know until you learn from other people. There is no one that can really relate to the breadth, challenge and enormity of the HR role [quite like] other [HR] professionals.”

Connecting with likeminded people who understand the HR world was and is beneficial to individual and company growth, especially in the context of the workplace changes brought on by the pandemic.

Ms Villarosa said: “I'd never experienced the fact that [HR] can be quite lonely, too, because your role is relative. A large part of what you do is confidential or frontline or last minute, or it's not something you can go and have a conversation with a team member or indeed another member of the organisation. So, to have other professionals share, lean on each other and empathise with what you do, is quite special.”

Professional networking groups can encourage people to share and connect. While there are plenty of benefits to support your learning, Ms Villarosa also noted there is an element of emotional support.

“… a forum where people trusted each other to share documents that weren't confidential, but that were coming from an organisation they trust … and we could talk about things that would help each other, was quite extraordinary,” she said.

“There are so many areas across all aspects of HR and people, that you can build those networks and opportunities to share information.”

The transcript of the podcast episode with Anu Villarosa, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full conversation with Anu Villarosa is below.


Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.