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The HR Leader in conversation with HOBAN Recruitment CEO, Alison Watts

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read
The HR Leader in conversation with HOBAN Recruitment CEO, Alison Watts

CEO of HOBAN Recruitment, Alison Watts, joined The HR Leader to discuss their work-from-home survey and HOBAN’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Shandel McAuliffe, editor at HR Leader: “What did your work-from-home study find?”

Alison Watts: “We asked a number of questions in relation to working from home versus in the office. We did that primarily because of this difference that everybody has seen in the working landscape and it being such a topical question at present.”


“We received some insights from employers that felt that they had higher productivity with people working from home. Others felt that it was lower, and a number felt that there was no change. So, it was really interesting to receive that feedback. We are working with a variety of industries here who have responded to the survey.”

Ms Watts added: “We are seeing at a more micro level, where employers, perhaps in sales environments, really want to get their team members together because they benefit from that whole buzz of people working together and feeding off each other's energy.”

“Whereas, if people are working in roles where analysis or statistics or perhaps payroll, where attention to detail is really required, sometimes actually working from home can be really beneficial. So, we saw some interesting trends, but we also saw some metrics that surprised us a little. It was almost quite evenly split in terms of employers who had really embraced people working from home versus those who really felt that they needed to be in the office,” she said.

Editor: “How important is DEI at HOBAN?”

Ms Watts: “DEI is extremely important to us. A lot of employers say, ‘We've got targets.’ For us, it's not so much around targets. It's really about who we are as people and how we ensure that all people can actually apply to us and make our processes accessible and inclusive for everyone to be considered for every role, so it's really part of our DNA.”

“The way we do that is as soon as somebody joins our business, it's part of their induction to go through a disability-confident recruiter training. So, we aligned with the Australian Network on Disability a number of years ago. We became accredited as a disability-confident recruiter, and we've taken those strategies and applied them to a full priority personnel program that really is there to help… anyone with a barrier to employment.”

She added: “We've gone a step further with our distribution development centres. We have a centre which is currently based in New South Wales and we will be opening one soon in Victoria, where people actually have access to training, to be developed if they don't have the skillsets that the employers are looking for.”

“We give them an initiation into the workplace through our priority personnel program to help them get on the journey and start their journey into work. That's so important in a market where there is low unemployment. We really want to be able to offer opportunities to all people who are eligible for them,” she said.

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full conversation with Alison Watts is below.

Recorded on 7 September.





Hybrid working

In a hybrid work environment, individuals are allowed to work from a different location occasionally but are still required to come into the office at least once a week. With the phrase "hybrid workplace," which denotes an office that may accommodate interactions between in-person and remote workers, "hybrid work" can also refer to a physical location.


The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Remote working

Professionals can use remote work as a working method to do business away from a regular office setting. It is predicated on the idea that work need not be carried out in a certain location to be successful.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.