Rhonda Brighton-Hall on the Future of Work and HR

Optimists, realists, altruists and sceptics were all urged to think about the bigger picture when it comes to the future of work at our latest event.

A stellar line up of Sydney’s senior HR Directors joined us to hear Rhonda Brighton-Hall share her ideas on the future of work.  The buzz term of the moment, there are few better qualified to impart their insights on the future of work (and indeed the impact on HR) than Rhonda. As the thought-provoking conversation evolved, Rhonda positioned the topic as part of a wider philosophical question on how we improve society as a whole?

Globalisation, ageing population, multigenerational workforce, greater diversity, big data, technology (to name a few) are bringing change and with them comes a range of extraordinary opportunities to rethink the very fundamentals of ‘work’.

Rhonda argued that the foundations of business are cracking under outdated systems based on an eight-hour day and jobs for life, even the need to work full time to pay for the mortgage. This is easily demonstrated by current statistics showing 2.1million mothers in Australia are currently out of work or under-employed, despite wanting to go back to the workforce.

For those who are not sure how change will affect them, it is estimated that a staggering 23-30% of current jobs in Australia will no longer exist by 2025!

Rhonda delved into how we can reimagine organisations, employment and the way we lead, with discussion around what HR will be accountable for and how is it best structured to deliver? Imagine for example that by 2030 the average Australian may be working for three employers on a part-time basis. What are the implications for the simple basics like codes of conduct and contracts?

Rhonda challenged the thinking of our guests, around the role that HR will play in the future and how there is a real opportunity for HR Professionals to change their approach for the good of organisations and society. An unashamed altruist, she believes that as we continue to embark on this period of change, now is the chance to rebuild the foundations and framework of businesses and the people within them. And she also urged HR Leaders not to ditch the “we care about people” tag of old; as whilst the impact HR has on a business’ performance is obviously defined by company results, this cannot be done without genuine regard for your people.

Peoplecorp would like to thank Rhonda for sharing her thoughts and to all guests who attended.  Using Rhonda’s own reference, we would like to sum up the event with the words of Mahatma Ghandi;

“The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.”


Keep an eye out for our interview with Rhonda Brighton-Hall next month.

Speaker details:

Rhonda Brighton-Hall is one of Australia’s foremost HR and OD leaders. Rhonda’s career includes senior roles in both HR and business, across prestigious companies, including BHP, Sara Lee, Luxottica and most recently CBA. Rhonda has lived and worked in Europe, Asia, USA and Australia.

She is a past Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, AHRI HR Leader of the Year, AHRI HR team of the Year, and was invited into the Human Capital Hall of Fame in 2013. She has been a Board member of AHRI since 2013. She has undergrad and post-grad qualifications in HR and business.

Rhonda is equally well-known for her work in the NFP sector, particularly around indigenous and disability. She is past patron of ASPECT Autism Australia and is currently actively involved with Autism, profound disability, AIME and CareerTrackers.

In mid 2015, Rhonda moved out of corporate and into start-ups and part-time lecturing, all aimed at speeding up the future of work and the future of our profession. She will publish and launch her own company in May 2016.