Taught by skilled practitioner lecturers, Deakin’s Master of Human Resource Management delivers a highly industry-relevant qualification.
In the 21st century world of work – underpinned by globalisation, digitalisation and social change – organisations need skilled human resource professionals who can play key roles in rapidly-changing, and sometimes turbulent, environments.
A degree in human resource management is a versatile qualification that can be applied to almost any organisation but how do you ensure it delivers in-depth, real world application?
Deakin’s Master of Human of Resource Management (MHRM) is specially-tailored program for human resource (HR) professional that’s taught by lecturers who uniquely bridge the gap between industry experience and academic rigour.
Dr John Molineux is a senior lecturer teaching in the MHRM’s Human Resource Management and Leadership units. He also supervises PhD students and manages industry- based research projects in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
An active member of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), Dr Molineux has more than 30 years of HR industry experience across a range of organisations and in senior roles.
‘I’ve pretty much done everything in HR during my career, and my knowledge, insight and stories really benefit students. It also makes a difference in the way I teach a unit as I construct the program around the current issues of HR and write my own case studies,’ he says.
Reflecting on the HR industry, he says one of the biggest industry shifts came in late 1980s when ‘personnel management’ evolved into ‘HR management’.
‘HR then changed from being operational to strategic. This meant that HR directors were welcomed in the executive team as strategic partners – who had key insight into the functional areas of organisations – rather than being just part of finance or corporate support,’ he explains.
According to the AHRI, today’s HR managers need a portfolio of skills that equips them to be strategic culture change leaders, coaches, mentors and workplace designers.
‘Other capabilities also include an understanding of people, arising from psychology, employee engagement and emotional intelligence, as well as acknowledge of employment law’, adds Dr Molineux.
With emerging skills’ gaps in the HR industry identified as ‘understanding analytics and the design of high-performing work systems’, Dr Molineux says Deakin’s MHRM aligns with the AHRI’s key HR capabilities.
‘The course is also fully accredited and endorsed by the AHRI, offering four credit points for AHRI members who have undertaken its Certified Practitioner program.’
Moving into academia nine years ago, Dr Molineux links his research into real-world learning.
One project, published in the International Journal of HRM 2013, outlines a successful cultural change study that utilised integrated HR strategy and systems in a large public sector organisation.
Recently, he has also worked with a research consultant designing and delivering a 12-month ‘action learning program’ aimed at improving the wellbeing and performance of NSW school principals.
‘That program has received much positive feedback and is continuing with new groups of school leaders in several states,’ he says.
As a lecturer, Dr Molineux enjoys seeing students develop their understanding of what is possible in effective, organisational HR management.
‘And in research, I love seeing the impact on people participating in the intervention programs we are making with some of my industry partnership projects.’
MHRM lecturer Mike Bengough also boasts a strong industry background with almost 20 years in a variety of management and senior management roles in the banking industry.
A lecturer in Deakin Business School’s (DBS) Business Process Management unit, he’s recently taken on the role of Chair and lecturer in the core MHRM unit Organisation Development and Change.
‘My time in the banking industry saw me heavily involved in a number of significant change programs and therefore, all elements of the change management discipline. When we talk about the people side of change, this is normally the responsibility of the HR function within organisations (although the importance of change has seen a number of firms embed the change function within their day to day operations) and this is why it is imperative that HR directors and managers have a comprehensive knowledge of change management,’ he explains.
Over the past six months, Mr Bengough has built strong connections with the Change Management Institute and says that this, along with the robust partnership between MHRM and the AHRI, Deakin students have access to the most up-to-date theoretical and practical change management knowledge available.
‘The field of change management is incredibly dynamic and strategically important to all organisations. The “people” side of change is particularly fascinating and I believe organisations cannot achieve their goals unless this crucial element of the discipline is openly acknowledged and managed effectively,’ he says.
With a reported 11.4 million Australian now living with a chronic disease, Mr Bengough suggests that one of the biggest challenges currently facing the HR industry – and corporate Australia generally – is employee wellbeing.
‘We also know that mental health issues are on the rise and this, coupled with poor nutrition and levels of activity, are manifesting in high levels of absenteeism and presenteeism which negatively impacts workplace productivity. This issue needs to be addressed immediately and the HR profession has a vital role to play.’
While managing change is only one aspect of a HR professional’s role, he explains there are two aspects to the Organisation Development and Change unit which reinforce the practical application of HR management.
‘The first centres around workplace-based assessment and involves the creation of two comprehensive business reports: an individual report assessing the level of organisational change readiness and a group report requiring the creation and implementation of a change management plan for an organisation.’
Fully online, the unit’s second practical application is its weekly, highly-interactive Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session.
‘This encourages the cohort to talk about the problems and issues they are facing in their respective organisations and how elements of the theoretical content can be used to address them.’