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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 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 (the founder of leading Australian employment firm People + Culture Strategies) has authored 10 books on labour and employment law and people management in his career. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner-President Management Program and is a regular presenter at international conferences. Joydeep acts as a trusted adviser to many of Australia’s largest and otherwise significant employers on all aspects of their people management strategy. He is renowned for his innovative ideas around people management.

What do you enjoy most about working in employment law?

Employment law is invariably about people but what I find fascinating is how while no two issues are ever the same, there are always common themes. These straddle different industries, different locations and organisations of different sizes. As I like to say, “People issues are people issues everywhere.”

On what sorts of matters do clients come to you most frequently at present?

There continues to be a lot of work on the employer response to the pandemic. Numerous challenges continue to exist for employers around bringing their people back to their usual places of work or having them continue to work from home. What has been interesting is that in addition to the significant amount of redundancy and restructuring work, we have been still doing a lot of work in the culture auditing space and business improvement generally.

What are the challenges in Australia regarding the implementation of a mandatory coronavirus vaccination in the workplace? How feasible is this as a proposal? 

This remains a very hot topic at the moment with a lot of employers interested in knowing the answer to the question. The most likely outcome is that the government is unlikely to make the taking of the vaccine manadatory for all employees across the board. However, as was the case last year in relation to the flu vaccine, certain industries are likely to have stricter requirements.

Given the rise in virtual work processes, what privacy and discrimination concerns can arise from online meetings? 

The issue of privacy and data protection is not as regulated in Australia as it is in European countries. That being said, I think the bigger concerns are the cultural and sociological ones whereby employers are becoming aware of aspects of their employees’ personal and private lives and habits. Employers here, as everywhere, need to think about issues of productivity and efficiency as well as issues of trust and morale.

How are technological developments currently affecting labour and employment practice in Australia? 

Technology has had to be responsive to the pandemic. Travel has been reduced enormously as has the way in which organisations educate and train their staff. The experience of many organisations is that onboarding and induction has become more challenged. It can also be expected that with a lot of unrest brought about through the pandemic that there is likely to be a significant amount of turnover across many organisations.

How does People + Culture Strategies distinguish itself from the competition? 

PCS is and has always been a unique firm. From our inception in 2010, we have been modern, innovative and non-traditional. We are not named like a typical law firm, we do not price our services like traditional law firms and our interest is in avoiding clients having legal problems as opposed to wanting them to have legal problems. Clients come to us for far more than legal advice and representation. They know that we can help them become an employer of choice, improve their line management capability and keep them compliant on people issues.

What advice would you give to younger lawyers hoping to one day be in your position?

I have been able to carve out a wonderful and rewarding career and professional life for myself in the law, without ever having the passion for “the law” that most other lawyers have. I think this goes to show that there are numerous things that are able to be accomplished within the broad legal industry. I would encourage all younger professionals to follow their passion once they have identified it and not to be limited by anything.

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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