Exclusive interview with Waudi Tahche - Cardinia Shire Council

Could you tell me a little bit more about yourself and your role at Cardinia Shire Council?

I am passionate about inspiring and bringing out the best in people and organisations.  I have worked in HR for the past 23 years in both the private sector (Telstra, AMP, AGL, Medibank) and, more recently, Local Government at Cardinia Shire Council as the General Manager People and Culture reporting to the CEO.  As one of the leading Local Government organisations’ in Australia, my role at Cardinia Shire Council, is strategically leading the end to end remit of HR whilst also partnering with the Executive team in the development and implementation of Council Plan (what our community expects and needs).  On the People and Culture end, it has been about leading, developing and implementing our new contemporary People and Culture operating model that builds and operationalises a people strategy into programs, systems and processes, which align to, and contribute demonstrably to the achievement of community outcomes and an engaging culture.


What are you focused on right now?

Where do I start? We are in the middle of our action planning phase of our Employee Engagement Survey and embedding these into Business Unit People Plans as part of the Business Planning cycle.  We are also in the final stages of completing our four (4) year human capital plan (Strategic Workforce Plan) to assist with preparing and planning for people, priorities, capability, etc for the future.


How is the role of the HR function within Cardinia Shire Council responding to the current aims and challenges of your business?

Being in a population growth corridor, where building and providing services, infrastructure, economic development, and dealing with and managing complex societal issues to support the growth in a Fairer Rating System (rate capping) presents fiscal and resource challenges. How the HR function is responding to this challenge is through a well-articulated people strategy that is predicated on building capability (particularly innovation), leadership, collaborative agility (dealing with adaptive challenges) and high performance culture.  This means the HR team is front and centre with our client facing business units in developing and building what I call ‘leadership density’ (you don’t have to be a titled people leader to lead), helping leaders with managing and leading change, role modelling our values, and promoting and effecting collaboration.


What do you see as the main challenge that the HR function faces in the future?

The future of work is real.  As technology is advancing at a rapid rate, like Artificial Intelligence (AI), roles and skill sets in organisations are changing and I believe HR need to be understanding how technology may influence what future roles look like for their respective businesses, and the opportunities that present for new skillsets to be developed.  I think organisations need to be mindful to strike the balance of where adopting AI technology makes sense and where it doesn’t and HR need to be at the table to provide the right counsel, particularly around the people impacts.


What key characteristics do you look for in HR professionals when recruiting for your team?

Being passionate in making a positive difference to our business and having a ‘can-do, anything is possible’ attitude.  From a skill set perspective, definitely strong influencing skills as you’re trying to influence leaders in making considered decisions whilst factoring in all the macro and micro issues, their importance (the why), and how they connect back to people and community outcomes (or customers in the private sector).


What is the best career advice you have ever been given?

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

‘Start with Why’ (I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek)


What do you love most about your role?

Making a positive difference to people’s working experience. Working with a very supportive CEO, Executive team, and passionate HR team.


Best place or holiday destination you have visited?

I have two (apologies – cannot split them):

Hawaii – weather is great all year round and very family friendly (and there’s no flies!!)

New York – love the pace and the vibe of NYC.

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