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Dr Andrew Heys, Lecturer in Management, MGSM and Ms Robyn Whittaker , Head of the People Team, Gilbert + Tobin; Managing Professionals: People & Performance in Professional Services Firms, 7 November 2013

Andrew and Robyn addressed a Young Business Forum reception attended by 65 professionals where they discussed “Managing Professionals: People & Performance in Professional Services Firms”. This event was proudly hosted by Macquarie Graduate School of Management. Click on the heading to read more.

Over the last two decades professional services firms (PSFs), have faced great pressure to modernise their approach to management. To cope with greater competition, more informed clients, regulatory change and expansion, professional services firms have hired highly experienced corporate managers in areas such as marketing, HR and finance. However, PSFs are often reported to be rife with conflict between these managers and the partners for whom they work.

Human resource management is one functional area that is seemingly well suited to the professions. Yet recent experience has shown that many HR managers have failed when they have tried to apply corporate HR practices in the context of a professional partnership. This session presented recent Australian research into the management of people in professional services firms. We explored the implications of the findings from this research and heard how a leading Australian law firm has developed a distinctive and award winning approach to people management.

Dr Andrew Heys presented his latest research into the link between management practices and organisational performance in Australian professional services firms. Andrew’s research illustrates the importance of analysing systems of management rather than discreet management practices as the likely sources of superior organisational performance.

Ms Robyn Whittaker is the Head of the People Team for Gilbert + Tobin. Robyn made the transition into professional services five years ago. Prior to G+T Robyn worked in a number of leading Financial Services companies. Robyn and her team’s focus has been to introduce to G+T the leading people and leadership practices she saw in a corporate context and to align these activities to the unique culture of G+T.

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