Josie Holdstock - Director of Human Resources at PZ Cussons Australia Pty Ltd

Nick Hindhaugh, founding Director of Six Degrees, sat down with Josie Holdstock, Director of Human Resources at PZ Cussons, to reflect on the year just passed and discuss the future.

1. 2009 was a tough year for most. What are the key business changes you have made to adapt to the economic climate?

We have been, and continue to be, focussed on reducing waste and 'noise' in our business. This means constantly looking for better and smarter ways of working. Over the past 12 months we have done such things as develop more efficient processes, establish better communication, and create effective cost structures.

2. What is your outlook for 2010 and beyond?

We have a very positive outlook, with good sustainable growth projected for the next five years. We believe the overall economy is improving and with our very strong plans for our brands, our ongoing focus on strengthening the relationship with our customers, as well as our improved ways of working within the business, we are well placed for a successful year ahead and beyond.

3. What are the greatest challenges facing your specific industry/disciplines?

We operate in a very competitive environment where our consumers and customers are more and more demanding. The categories in which we operate have a high level of competitive activity and our employees have high expectations of the company to provide a great place to work. For our ongoing success, we need to have a very strong innovation platform for our products and how we run our business overall.

4. What are the key skills and attitudes you will be looking for in candidates in 2010?

Our company values are Courage, Accountability, Networking, Drive and Oneness (CANDO!) and we go to great lengths to make sure that new people joining the business are aligned to the company's values. This helps ensure a good fit both for the individual and the business. We are always on the lookout for commercially focussed people who have proven strong personal leadership skills and a real desire to make a difference.

5. What are your hiring intentions for the year ahead?

In 2010 we will be embedding the new structures we developed in late 2009. Having found a good mix of new talent blended with longer-serving, experienced talent in our business, our efforts during the coming year will be centred on further development of our current team.