After cutting her teeth in the hotel industry and working with some of Australia’s leading hospitality providers, Michelle Loader moved into the outsourcing space and became CEO of AHS Hospitality, a business that provides outsourced housekeeping services to the accommodation industry. During her tenure, Michelle led a management buyout of AHS before subsequently selling the business to the Chandler Macleod Group (CMG), thus becoming, as she says, “part of the Chandler Macleod family.”
Michelle explains that her first year as CEO of one of Australasia’s leading HR and recruitment providers has been quite a journey. “After delisting on the Australian Stock Exchange, we became a part of Japanese-owned Recruit Ltd, the fifth largest HR and recruitment organisation globally,” she says.
“We saw it as a chance to analyse our operations and improve. We challenged the status-quo — we looked at our operations from top to bottom, examined our internal structure, and formed strategic partnerships to complement our capabilities.”
One such example is CMG’s partnership with Holman Webb. By providing commercial and legal insights across industries, this company empowers CMG to stay at the fore of its industry.
“It’s been a really dynamic year for the company,” continues Michelle. We have a brand new Board, a new Chairman, and new ownership.”
Having accomplished rapid change in such a short time, Michelle is inspired to take things to the next level. “With 7 brands operating across 5 countries, I was excited about how we could leverage our size and collective resources to achieve even greater results. Last year, we worked with more than 4,000 clients. In and of itself, that’s huge, but the potential opportunities that come with that are extraordinary.”
A passionate advocate of the 57-year history of Chandler Macleod, Michelle believes its core products and services are the most valuable assets for the company’s future success. “We’re a HR product and service company,” she explains. “Our foundation all those years ago was organisational psychology. So, our DNA is psychometric assessments, and finding the best person for the job. It’s what we call ‘BestFit’.
”By utilising the latest advances in behavioural psychology, the BestFit methodology is used at scale by CMG. “We placed approximately 40,000 candidates last year.
“Every candidate we place, every project we initiate, and every client we interact with is an opportunity to learn. We use our past to create a better future — for our teams, our clients, and our candidates.”
The diverse nature of CMG is one of the company’s strongest points of difference. “We’re quite different from other operators in the staffing industry, in that we plan, source, assess, develop and manage workforces,” Michelle says.
“A lot of companies in this sector don’t have the capacity to manage the recruitment process from end-to-end. So the breadth of what we do is a big thing. Last year, we connected with 7% of Australia’s working population. That’s a pretty huge number.”
Michelle and her personal philosophy are every bit as impressive as the company itself. Outside of work, she is a founding director of the International Women’s Forum in Australia — a networking organisation helping women to connect and grow as leaders. And her rural upbringing has no doubt played a part in her development. “I was raised on a regional farming property in Victoria,” says Michelle. “I’m the daughter of hard-working parents; my mum’s commitment to her family, community and the business meant she never worked a paid day in her life. I believe anything is possible, and that’s what I love so much about our business; its capacity to unleash potential.”