Five minutes with... Mel Roswell

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Auckland retail software firm Vend’s general manager of people and culture, Mel Rowsell, says a typical work day is spent juggling meetings, coaching managers, organising social events and thinking up creative things for staff to do.

 

What are some of your HR highs?

“Designing new processes that are totally 'Vend' – like our new two-week onboarding process, and our recently designed process for internal promotions which takes into account team, management and self-appraisal.”

What are some of the challenges, and how do you deal with these?

“Like all companies, we are always trying to deliver more with constrained resources; although because this spurs creativity I'd say this is a positive challenge.  

“Our current biggest challenge is ensuring we grow a team at a phenomenal rate without getting the speed wobbles. I deal with this by always putting the people first and listening to them.  

“My role is to meet the business requirements in a humanistic way, after all we're just a group of people trying to kick ass, and I try never to forget that.”

You're affectionately referred to as 'camp mother'?

“If there's a term in our company you'll never hear its 'Human Resources'. We wanted a fun name that encapsulated the humanistic side of the role, and after lots of ideas over a few beers, Camp Mother won out.”  

Have you always worked in HR?

“I've worked in HR for quite a few years, but took a break to have my kids, and trained as a Secondary School teacher.  

“I've had a couple of roles… from training resellers to a stint on support. I still consider myself an exemplary tester because of my unique ability to be able to break pretty much any software I use.”

What's your favourite thing about your job?

“The people and the relaxed office environment, and the ability to say 'I reckon we should.......' and have everyone else say 'sure, why not......'.”

How do you see the role of HR changing in the future?
"Work-life balance will become more important along with an emphasis on providing a healthy workplace culture. With technology marching along like it is, there are likely to be good opportunities to harness big data to inform decision making; and to continue to explore new technologies for communication with an increasingly on-line workforce."

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