When it Comes to Culture, the Buck Stops .. Where?

In our latest Ask The Expert lunch, Peoplecorp in conjunction with The Moir Group hosted a panel discussion on leadership and culture. We were delighted to have Shane Gannon the CFO of Mirvac, Peter McCann the Managing Director of CIVEO and Lucinda Gemmel the CHRO of Virgin Australia Group as our panel to discuss and debate this topic. Kate Mills who is the CEO of Financial Executive’s institute chaired the discussion.

We had a fantastic turnout with 160 attendees of CEOs, CFOs and HRDs. There was good discussion on who is accountable for culture and how the jobs of HR, CFO and CEO interact with each other to be more effective partners. Seeing it through the lens of slightly different roles, it was interesting to hear Shane’s view of how vital culture is when appealing to external investors. He commented that there is much more interest in how an organisation invests in their culture and hence why from a CFO’s position you need to be closely aligned with HR.

It was agreed that all roads lead to leadership and Lucinda summed it up that “Culture is what happens when no one is watching”. She indicated that it is very hard to define it as it is always constantly changing and that it should be led from top down and authentic. Shane also added that at Mirvac they created an environment “where it was safe to speak up” and this was led by their CEO down, so it was visible in the organisation.

In summary it was agreed that all three roles should sit on the executive leadership team and be an equal contributor, although the buck does stop with the CEO. From a CEO’s position, Peter commented that it is vital to have “HR with a seat at the table as it sends a powerful message to employees”.

Thanks to the Moir Group who co-hosted with us. It was great to meet their finance clients and hear how their roles interact with HR.