Five minutes with... Jo Copeland, HR Director, Simpson Grierson

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What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
About 15 years ago I watched a team go through a particularly difficult restructure.  A top performer came to see me about how it was handled.  He said to me: "if you are walking down the street and you see a man kick a dog, you don't need to be the dog to know it is wrong".  It was a great lesson on how important it is to treat people well when you are doing hard things.  I've never forgotten it.
 
What challenges do you think HR will face in the next 10 years?
The digital revolution is already changing the way we practice HR. It is enabling more flexibility in the way we work and expectations from staff on what is possible are changing really fast.  And social media and gaming platforms will continue to evolve and challenge traditional recruitment methodologies.
 
I see a future where IT, marketing and HR come together.
 
What is the most interesting aspect of your role?
For me right now it is helping to shape the future of the large law firm model in an the age of the DIY google lawyer! 
 
What do you feel is your biggest professional achievement to date?
There have been loads but one of the most satisfying achievements for sure has been the work I've done in the last year to support the LGBTI community.  We've set up an internal pride network and were the first company in New Zealand to obtain the Rainbow Tick which is significant in the conservative world of professional services.  It makes such a difference for people to know they can be free to be themselves at work.
 
How would you sum up HR professionals in two words?
Brand advocates
 
Complete this sentence: If I weren’t in HR, I’d be…
Doing something creative involving bright, beautiful textiles in happy colours.  I have an aversion to all things black or beige.
 


Jo is the HR director at Simpson Grierson

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