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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Joydeep Hor

Joydeep Hor

People + Culture StrategiesLevel 9NAB House255 George StreetSydneyAustraliaNSW 2000

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Joydeep Hor receives tremendous praise for being “visionary and suave in his approach” and is considered to be “the top option for employment law advice”. 

Questions & Answers

Joydeep Hor is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner-President Management Program, having completed earlier undergraduate and postgraduate programs at the University of Sydney. He has authored 10 books already in his career including leading texts on termination of employment, workplace behaviour and people strategy. Joydeep appears on Australian television as a leading commentator on workplace relations law and strategy. He is a highly regarded keynote speaker at national and international events.

How has the market changed since you first started practising?

The “purchasing” market for services in the labour and employment space has changed enormously in the last 23 years. I think the change can best be summarised as follows: in the past, it was enough to be a good solver of an organisation’s people problems, now you have to do more to ensure that clients don’t have those problems to start off with or at the very least can put in place measures to minimise the risk of their occurrence.

Which cases most stick in your mind and why?

In 2005, I acted for Jessica Rowe who is one of Australia’s best-known media personalities. The case arose from her leaving her then employer to go to a competitor network and her employer argued that she hadn’t provided the required amount of notice, and on that basis tried to injunct her from making the move. We were able to win five successive cases (all over the Christmas-New Year period) validating her move. The case remains the leading case on fixed-term contracts and how notice periods work in that context. I also ran a case for Orica where the law clarified the responsibilities of an employer returning an employee from parental leave.

What are some key factors you consider when advising a client on how they can build the right systems and structures for their company?

I do a lot of work in this space and have done for many years. Ultimately the starting point for an organisation is their mission or purpose. Flowing from that is the question of what kind of organisation do they want to be – what are their values? The systems and structures they need to create need to give effect to those values. 

Companies need to ensure that they have a continuous improvement approach to their systems and structures as well rather than a “set and forget” approach.

Which types of concerns have clients sought your advice on since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic?

The list has been endless. The issues have raised from complying with externally imposed legislative and statutory changes. In Australia, the government has had a JobKeeper scheme which had a considerable amount of detail for employers to be across. The rights and responsibilities of employees working from home has also been high on the list. Australia has been more fortunate than other countries and numerous individuals have been able to return to their usual places of work, although many have not wanted to.

How do you anticipate that covid-19 will impact office culture?

Many commentators have suggested that covid-19 will have a permanent effect on how people work and office culture. I do not think that the changes will be that significant. This is because the fundamental employee value proposition for most organisations revolves around physical co-location of their employees. I do not think that employers will be turning their back on this in any permanent sense.

What steps can employers take to ensure they maintain a transparent and considerate approach towards their employees during this crisis?

Employers that are doing this well are proactive rather than reactive. Their communications are meaningful and relevant. They are staying connected but not just for the sake of staying connected. They are continuing to go about their business as best they can and not overplaying the impact of the crisis.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own firm?

The best advice I would give is to remain externally focused but internally aware. It is very easy when you set up your own firm to get caught up in internal management and operational matters. Most people start their own firm because they enjoy servicing their clients and perhaps have a view about how they can do it better. Attracting and retaining good people around you, while a cliché, is important but not easy.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

Having now crossed over 10 years since I set up PCS, I am very proud of having created a firm that is genuinely different to any other law firm, and that continues to attract referrals and new clients on a daily basis. PCS is globally recognised which is not something that I had ever thought possible for a boutique firm that I would set up.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Joydeep Hor is enthusiastically recommended by peers who describe him as “incredibly strategic;
a lateral thinker who is entrepreneurial in his approach, which clients appreciate”.

Questions & Answers

Joydeep is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s owner-president management programme and one of Australia’s highest-profile lawyers and legal entrepreneurs. He has authored 12 separate books on people management law and strategy and regularly appears on Australian television as an expert commentator in his field. He has spoken at countless international conferences as one of Australia’s leading authorities on workplace culture, people management and sexual harassment, and advises the most significant Australian private sector employers on the most sensitive workplace issues.

What do you enjoy most about working in the labour and employment space?

Labour and employment is one of the few areas of law that involves people-related issues all the time. Everyone has or has had a job, and everyone interacts with people in that context. The legal issues that arise are more about the psychological or sociological aspects of those interactions than they are about anything else. I also like the fact that things happen quickly and you’re never stuck on the one case for an eternity.

What qualities make an effective employment lawyer?

Being a “good lawyer”, being able to solve problems and knowing the law really well are the price of entry for any decent employment lawyer. I like to think that the key differences are around how strategic someone can be, and whether their focus can be on avoiding problems from happening or being repeated in the future.

How do you advise clients on pursuing a preventative approach to legal problems within their organisations, rather than a reactive approach?

Ultimately this is an issue of the culture within the organisation. When I work

with clients on their cultural framework, I emphasise the need for them to identify clearly their vision and values; then look to building the right systems and structures; and then ensure they have the capability and credibility to execute the vision and values.

Which industry sectors are the busiest in the Australian market at the moment?

Given some recent attention on the issue of underpayments and businesses being potentially prosecuted for such underpayments, every industry sector is on high alert. While a few years ago mining and manufacturing were busier than they are now, there are a range of sectors who remain busy. People issues exist wherever people are employed and that’s what generates business.

What are the main challenges for global employers managing their international workforce?

There are the obvious areas of ensuring consistency while tailoring things to local markets. Broad issues such as modern slavery, data privacy, the changing workforce (Uberisation, etc) are all big and live issues.

How would you like to develop your practice in the next few years?

Our firm is without a doubt the most unique player in this area in the country. We have a genuinely distinguishable proposition whereby we are a blend of a law firm and a management consulting business. I want us to keep blending these services and making it even more confusing, rather than less, as to whether we are in fact a law firm!

What inspired you to set up your own firm?

I had a career that evolved within more traditional legal environments into something unique where I enjoyed being a business partner of my clients rather than just a lawyer. There were no firms that were doing what I wanted to do so I built a firm that did.

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

“We pay what we pay you to be told what we can do, not what we can’t do.”

Global Leader

Labour & Employment 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Joydeep Hor receives tremendous praise for being “visionary and suave in his approach” and is considered to be “the top option for employment law advice”. 

Biography

Joydeep Hor is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s owner-president management programme and one of Australia’s highest-profile lawyers and legal entrepreneurs.

Joydeep studied at the University of Sydney for both his undergraduate degree (majoring in English literature with his bachelor of laws (honours)) and his master of laws (focusing on labour and employment law). Joydeep has been ranked as a leading lawyer in Chambers (2010–present) and Doyle’s Guide, and he was recognised as Australia’s 2016 Workplace Relations Lawyer of the Year at Corporate LiveWire’s Legal Awards.

Joydeep started his career at a global firm, before moving to a specialist workplace relations firm where he was made an equity partner at 28 and was also elected managing partner (2005–2010). Joydeep’s first book Inside Employee Screening was published in 1999 and he has authored several books since, including Managing Workplace BehaviourManaging Termination of Employment and Finders Keepers: A Guide to Attracting and Retaining Great Employees. He has been a keynote speaker at conventions and industry events, and has provided comment for Channel 7, the ABC and Sky News. In 2016 Joydeep represented Australia at the International Forum on Employment Law.

In 2010, Joydeep founded a groundbreaking practice in the legal industry, People and Culture Strategies (PCS). It was established to be unlike any other legal firm, with an emphasis on working with clients to prevent disputation and legal problems arising within their organisations, as opposed to a mere “reactive” provider. PCS now serves over 1,250 employers (with a particularly strong reputation for sensitive employee separation issues, matters of workplace bullying and harassment, and strategic solutions to people-management challenges).

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

The “extremely knowledgeable” Joydeep Hor is “an incredibly strategic lawyer” with an “impressive bank of clients” including KFC, Virgin Active and Mars Australia.

Biography

 

Joydeep Hor is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s owner-president management programme and one of Australia’s highest-profile lawyers and legal entrepreneurs.

Joydeep studied at the University of Sydney for both his undergraduate degree (majoring in English literature with his bachelor of laws (honours)) and his master of laws (focusing on labour and employment law). Joydeep has been ranked as a leading lawyer in Chambers (2010–present) and Doyle’s Guide, and he was recognised as Australia’s 2016 Workplace Relations Lawyer of the Year at Corporate LiveWire’s Legal Awards.

Joydeep started his career at a global firm, before moving to a specialist workplace relations firm where he was made an equity partner at 28 and was also elected managing partner (2005–2010). Joydeep’s first book Inside Employee Screening was published in 1999 and he has authored several books since, including Managing Workplace BehaviourManaging Termination of Employment and Finders Keepers: A Guide to Attracting and Retaining Great Employees. He has been a keynote speaker at conventions and industry events, and has provided comment for Channel 7, the ABC and Sky News. In 2016 Joydeep represented Australia at the International Forum on Employment Law.

In 2010, Joydeep founded a groundbreaking practice in the legal industry, People and Culture Strategies (PCS). It was established to be unlike any other legal firm, with an emphasis on working with clients to prevent disputation and legal problems arising within their organisations, as opposed to a mere “reactive” provider. PCS now serves over 1,250 employers (with a particularly strong reputation for sensitive employee separation issues, matters of workplace bullying and harassment, and strategic solutions to people-management challenges).

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