Integrity, self-awareness, empathy and bravery are several qualities that make up a successful leader, shares Ingrid Anderson, Chief People Officer at BWX.
An experienced senior business leader with a track record in achieving commercial outcomes nationally and internationally, Ingrid is this year’s HR and Recruitment Executive of the Year winner at The CEO Magazine’s 2020 Executive of the Year Awards.
"I am thrilled to win this award," says Ingrid. "After a particularly challenging year, it’s such a lovely way to end it. Winning this award is a fantastic way for myself but also my team to be recognised for their achievements."
A successful career spanning public and private companies, Ingrid joined the global natural beauty business in November 2018 as People and Culture Director and shortly after was promoted to Chief People Officer.
"I pride myself on my ability to operate at both a strategic and operational level," Ingrid says. Her role involves attracting and recruiting staff; leading the development and execution of employee engagement programs to support and embed company values; advancing talent review and performance planning; and overseeing all internal communications.
"When I started at BWX, the company values had been developed but had not been embedded in the business," Ingrid shares. "The desired culture had not been identified or articulated. We undertook a communications campaign to truly embed the values and ‘over-communicate’ our ideal culture along with our purpose and vision."
"I pride myself on my ability to operate at both a strategic and operational level." – Ingrid Anderson
Ingrid also notes how the implementation of a recognition program helped improve and transform the workplace culture and employee engagement.
"Our engagement score increased from 67% to 74% globally and from 67% to 79% in Australia over 18 months," she says. "We are particularly proud of these results given the engagement survey was undertaken in May 2020 after several months of operating in a pandemic. Our recent preliminary year-end results also speak for themselves and align with the improvement in culture and engagement."
BWX Australia is managed from its two global offices in Melbourne, Australia and California, US, with products sold throughout Australia, US, Canada and the UK. It is also expanding into other international markets, including China.
Thus, given the nature of the global company, it’s crucial to ensure that employee connection to the purpose and values behind BWX remain strong.
"We continuously articulate our purpose, listen, seek feedback and measure the internal impact of support we provide to the community and environment," Ingrid explains. BWX has even introduced a committee to ideate and execute initiatives to increase the connection further.
Ingrid has also been at the forefront of refreshing policies, training and strategy around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, as well as exploring ways to further support employees’ wellbeing and address the psychological impact of COVID-19.
Additionally, to keep employees motivated, the company ensures frequent and transparent communication, informal and formal recognition, as well as market-competitive rewards and incentives.
Finding leadership inspiration is not a challenge for Ingrid, as she quickly names former Billabong Chair of the Board and colleague Ian Pollard.
"Ian’s ability to truly listen, his intelligence, pragmatism and advice inspired me," Ingrid reveals. "He would often check in on myself and others right down to frontline staff, and his check-ins were always so sincere and heartfelt."
Ian’s advice on life and getting outside your comfort zone resonated with Ingrid and it’s advice that she’s carried close throughout her career. "His book, Mental Spinach, is one I find myself referring back to often," she adds.
"Working in HR we are often the ones ensuring others are recognised for their success. Don’t underestimate the value of being recognised yourself. The award submission process is a great opportunity to really reflect on your achievements and take stock of the year."