Why Citation HR was the perfect place for graduate lawyer Olivia to polish her skill set

We’re proud to introduce you to one of Citation HR's Workplace Relations Consultants, Olivia Perry.
Why Citation HR was the perfect place for graduate lawyer Olivia to polish her skill set

We’re proud to introduce you to one of Citation HR’s Workplace Relations Consultants, Olivia Perry. One of the standouts in the 24/7 HR Advice Line team, Olivia was Employee of the Month in June 2022, recognised for being – in the words of those who nominated her – “The embodiment of We’re Better Together.”

The team Olivia joined in June 2021 is spread across Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and New Zealand. As a Workplace Relations Consultant, Olivia’s role is to receive phone enquiries from Citation HR subscribers who need guidance on employment matters. On a daily basis, Olivia helps prevent as many as 40 employers from mishandling HR or facing non-compliance penalties by guiding them towards legally-sound workplace actions and creating the documents employers need to comply with Fair Work Ombudsman’s regulations – all while maintaining a notoriously bubbly outlook. Here we get to know her a little better.

How can we understand what you do at Citation HR?

A big part of my role is taking care of audits for new clients in relation to company compliance with HR and industrial relations. I also monitor the HR Advice phone lines to answer complex employment relations queries from many kinds of businesses.

80-85 per cent of queries need a resolution within a day as part of the service level agreement which we pride ourselves in delivering, though the more complex calls take several days.

We get a high volume of calls and I often solve 20-30 problems for 20-30 businesses in a day – across Australia.

What are some of the fascinating cases which get put in front of you, working within the HR Advice Line?

Frequently I field queries from clients in relation to performance concerns, misconduct, creating documentation for complex matters or multiple employment relations issues.

This week, for example, there was a query in relation to an employee who – following performance management – was aggressive and swearing at work. To solve this stressful challenge, I assisted the client with performance and disciplinary processes, sharing Invitation Documentation, and supplied guides on how to conduct the disciplinary process, including process maps and workflows. This helped take the emotion out of the situation and keep it professional.

The outcome was the employer issued a warning to the employee in relation to their conduct and implemented a performance improvement plan. The employee kept their job, while the employer had the power to dispense a continued disciplinary process. Everybody got a fair and constructive outcome.

Tell us how you picked up your professional skill set.

My knowledge of employment law began while working in a human resources role at State Trustees. I would work on performance plans, disciplinary processes, and other HR duties. One of the biggest challenges I was privileged to work on was completing an enterprise agreement bargaining process for State Trustees. Before State Trustees, I studied a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts degree at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.

While studying, I worked in Customs and Immigration at Melbourne Airport. It got me used to dealing with people’s challenges… including finding fish in the occasional person’s suitcase!

Since joining Citation HR, it’s crazy to compare how much more exposure to real employment legal challenges I’m getting.

Working in this role has opened the opportunity to do Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) training within months of starting, so I got my certificate in WHS law – which is a very valuable ticket to have. After training in the first few months, I was prepared enough to conduct compliance audits. These audits give you so much learning about what’s required to comply with employment law. And working at Citation HR, you have such good access to the team at Citation Legal, a leading employment law firm in Australia, and Citation HR’s sister company. They’re prepared to share their knowledge and upskill junior staff. They like to hire internally and promote staff.

I believe the company empowers staff with the opportunity to be their best and take on challenges – with support from senior workplace experts.

I’ve seen so many people promoted from Workplace Relations Advisor to Workplace Relations Consultant – the next step up in professional responsibility. In other legal roles it might take much longer to go from clerk to paralegal. 

What’s it like to work in the HR Advice team?

We’re young and energetic, there are lots of varied personalities in the team and we love group chat – it’s fun to be part of. This week we had a new starter in his second year of law study. I encouraged him to message the team for perspective when stuck with his law assignments. Everyone’s happy to help. At times we can be silly and share memes and enjoy our breaks together.

Tell us what life’s like outside of work

I love hanging out with my dogs – a Dachshund named Humphrey and a Cavoodle named Archie.

I’m a big movie person. On the weekend I watched Fresh, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan. I went in knowing it was about someone who eats people – though my fiancé thought we were watching a rom-com! It was a bit of shock for him!

We’re spending a lot of time at the moment planning our wedding – in March 2023 – so that’s a lot of my life right now.

Before you go – what on earth is a cavoodle?!

It’s a Cavalier King Charles spaniel crossed with a poodle.

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