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The benefits of diversifying HR staff

By Jack Campbell | |4 minute read

Many HR professionals ‘fall into’ the role. This rings true for Adam Hill, who came from an aviation engineering background and now uses his prior knowledge in his current role as a manager and HR business partner for AUSPAC at Orica.

In a conversation with The HR Leader, Mr Hill shared: “I decided just to embark on a bit of a career change and thought the only person who is going to help me is myself. So, I went and enrolled in a university degree by correspondence through the University of Southern Queensland. And pretty much while I wasn’t on the tools, my head was in the books.

“One of my majors was human resources … I found my way into John Holland Aviation Services, which was pretty much where I started my HR journey. Initially, I was doing a lot of work on rostering and crewing issues with the line managers there. And I got a bit of an opportunity with the HR manager at the time, expressed my interest to her [about] the career path I wanted to take, and she must have seen something in me, and she actually gave me a shot.”

He continued: “I’m really thankful to her for doing that. [It] transitioned me across from the engineering side into more the HR stream. But I was lucky I had that background in aviation. I knew exactly what was going on and what the requirements were from a recruitment and a people management perspective … and I could apply that in a business sense.”

Taking the time to listen to staff and help them to achieve their goals can completely shift their career. Mr Hill said this is exactly what this manager did for him, and he described her actions as his ‘lollipop moment’, meaning she altered Mr Hill’s trajectory and changed his life for the better.

Coming into HR from an engineering background, Mr Hill has brought his prior knowledge, experience, and methods of working to his new role. This is something he says is beneficial for companies as this diversity can offer a new outlook.

“From an HR perspective, I think its very worthwhile having a different background other than just purely HR, as it gives you a little bit more understanding of the business requirements. It gives you more of a real-world grounding into the applications or the outcomes of what HR methodology is actually trying to do,” explained Mr Hill.

“When you work on the shop floor [it] gives you the perspective of whether things are actually going to hit the mark or not, or what changes need to be made. I think its really beneficial that we have diverse backgrounds within HR and various skillsets that you can draw upon and utilise in various industries.”

This is a practice that Mr Hill says can have positive impacts when reversed too: “When you’re working on the shop floor, or as I was going through my study, it was all light bulb moments. I was like, ‘Oh, is that what theyre trying to do,’ by the changes they were putting through. So again, that just gives that very different perspective on how you can approach your change management,” said Mr Hill.

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Adam Hill on 22 November is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.




Benefits include any additional incentives that encourage working a little bit more to obtain outcomes, foster a feeling of teamwork, or increase satisfaction at work. Small incentives may have a big impact on motivation. The advantages build on financial rewards to promote your business as a desirable employer.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.