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50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2020

Joydeep Hor, People + Culture Strategies Founder: ‘Our Value Proposition is to Work With Clients as a Value-Creating Business Partner, Providing Strategic and Commercial Advice to Prevent Disputation, Conflict and Legal Problems from Arising’

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“PCS has always been able to attract high-quality lawyers and other professionals because of its brand and standing in the market.”

In an uncertain economy, almost any employee or executive will at some point face having his or her employment terminated. If you are terminated, you want to be able to negotiate a reasonable severance package, especially if you have an existing employment agreement.

There are a number of key legal and economic issues that should be considered when negotiating an employment severance agreement. It will often be advisable to consult with a lawyer who is an expert at resolving these issues. And your ability to get additional severance pay or benefits will depend on any negotiating leverage and potential claims against the company you may have.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present People + Culture Strategies (PCS) — a leading Australian employment law firm and management consulting business.

The firm was established in 2010 and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

Joydeep Hor, PCS Founder and Managing Principal, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.

PCS, an employment law firm, is a trusted adviser to Australian and international employers of all sizes and across all industries, servicing those organisations purely in the fields of labour and employment law and strategy.

The services provided by PCS to its clients fall into one of four categories:

  • Legal Advice and Consulting;
  • Investigations and Dispute Resolution;
  • Strategic HR Consulting; and
  • Education and Thought Leadership.

The value proposition of PCS is to work with clients at the ‘front-end’ of people management issues to minimise the risk of back-end problems.

Firms and corporations are crossing international borders and expanding across the globe through mergers, acquisitions, consolidation and collaboration with foreign counsel. In such cases how can we protect the interest of the employees?

The interests of employees is usually something safeguarded by legislation and other rules and regulations in different countries, recognising that each country will take a different philosophical approach having regard to its history and politics.

Over and above the protections afforded to employees by the laws of the relevant country or countries, best-practice employers will look to their contracts and policies as a means of recognising and safeguarding the interests of employees.

Q. As a value-creating business partner, do you help your clients patch up their internal inefficiencies and streamline their operations towards success?

Yes, the firm is committed to working with clients in auditing and otherwise understanding their internal systems and structures. Some of the services we provide, unlike other law firms, include the conduct of comprehensive legal and cultural audits for organisations for which we use a particular tool that we have developed. This tool essentially looks at the components of an organisation’s vision and values, its systems and structures, and its capabilities and credibility.

Once we have conducted this audit, something we are often asked to do after there has been a significant lawsuit brought against one of our clients, we are then in a position to work closely with that client as a value-adding business partner to identify which parts of its organisation require remedial action. Unlike other organisations, clients look to us to give them “all the instruments in the orchestra”. That means that we do not then pass the client on to another organisation or division: the people who do the diagnostic, fix the problems.

Q. How do you deal with changing legal paradigms?

The way in which PCS deals with changing legal paradigms is first and foremost based around its commitment to being first-rate lawyers who are at all times “ahead of the game”. One of our guiding philosophies is to foreshadow what the need for changing legal paradigms is likely to be triggered by, so that we can not only adjust to what those changed paradigms might be, but also foreshadow where the next changes are likely to come from.

PCS is seen as the leading Australian authority in labour and employment law in Australia. This is demonstrated by the fact that very few other law firms have the regularity and prominence of media appearances, including on television, radio and in print media.

In addition to our internal mechanisms for adapting to changing legal paradigms, the firm is heavily committed to educating its clients and other stakeholders on its activities so that they also are very much ahead of the game.

An example of this commitment to education and thought leadership can be seen in how the firm responded to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. From the onset of the pandemic here in Australia, PCS has conducted fortnightly (and often weekly) webinars, written 4-6 blogs and news articles which it has published to its website every week, and also conducted several other workshops and presentations at conferences and events held by external providers.

Q. How do you source qualified individuals to maintain the quality of your legal services?

The firm has always been able to attract high-quality lawyers and other professionals because of its brand and standing in the market. This is helped by the uniqueness of the firm’s service offering and the simple fact that very few other professional services firms in Australia and indeed across the world do not even go close to providing the type of services we provide and the manner in which we provide those services.

The firm has created a significant internal infrastructure based around its core values which are known as PieCeS. PieCeS stands for positivity, innovation, expertise, collaboration, efficiency and service. These values underpin and dictate all of the decision-making that takes place in the firm. In other words, the firm is a values-driven organisation and brands itself accordingly as part of its recruitment strategy.

Tell us in brief about your Investigations and Dispute Resolution.

The firm recognises that notwithstanding its desire to work with clients at the front end of people management, the reality is that most clients will come to the firm when there is a particular crisis that the client is facing. More often than not, that crisis occurs in the context of actual or threatened litigation against the client. Our Dispute Resolution practice deals with all aspects of litigation and indeed litigation management. Our senior lawyers will often conduct legal proceedings themselves in tribunals such as the Fair Work Commission whereas many other law firms will brief that work out to barristers.

The investigations component of our work is one of our most sought-after offerings. Whether it is dealing with a sexual harassment or workplace bullying complaint or any other grievance that one of our clients might be encountering, PCS has the resources to conduct a fully independent investigation concerning those matters and give its clients the assurances it seeks around how they should be responding or reacting to the findings of that investigation.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

The firm will be focused on building better awareness in the market of a number of its recently launched services and products. Most prominently, the PCourseS online training modules that the firm has developed remain an excellent opportunity for clients, particularly with the onset of the pandemic, to deliver high quality legal and strategic education for their people, and in particular their managers, in people management.

Joydeep Hor: A Bankable Leader

Joydeep Hor is the Founder and Managing Principal of People + Culture Strategies (PCS).

Joydeep started his career at one of Australia’s largest commercial law firms, before moving to a specialist workplace relations firm where he was made an equity partner at the early age of 28. He was Managing Partner of that firm from 2005 to 2010, before founding PCS in July 2010.

Joydeep has been a keynote speaker at countless international conventions, conferences and industry events and for many years has been appearing on television programs for Channel 7, the ABC, Sky News and ausbiz.tv as a thought leader and commentator in his areas of expertise. Since 2016, Joydeep has represented Australia at the prestigious ‘International Forum on Employment Law’ and he regularly presents at International Bar Association conferences. He is the author of no fewer than 10 books in this area.

Joydeep is a Graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner-President Management Program and one of Australia’s most high-profile lawyers and legal entrepreneurs.

One of our guiding philosophies is to foreshadow what the need for changing legal paradigms is likely to be triggered by, so that we can not only adjust to what those changed paradigms might be, but also foreshadow where the next changes are likely to come from.