2020 hindsight may be quite useful, as we head into 2021


2020 hindsight may be quite useful, as we head into 2021

At times in my life when things have not worked out quite as planned, I have heard the words or even said them myself, “everyone has 2020 hindsight”.

This clever combination of the 20/20 measure of visual acuity intertwined with the fact that we only understand a situation once it has occurred, has been, personally, a relatively positive way to move past a disappointment, failure, or loss.

Recently I have thought it was even more fitting given the fact that the year 2020 will never be forgotten. It will forever be in our hindsight, and as I sit here today, reflecting on the year, I cannot stop feeling that too few of us take the time to look back.

Often it takes a milestone, a birthday, anniversary, or the natural end of something (a sporting career, a contract), before we truly cogitate on our experiences.

When COVID first hit, firstly as murmurings in China then escalating to our shores that resulted in a great deal of fear and panic of the unknown, we had to make sure that we were able to provide a level of certainty to our clients in what was an ever-changing business landscape. This was of paramount importance in Victoria, where many of our clients reside.

This had to be right, and we did not have the luxury of taking our time – this needed to happen now!

But in doing so, we were forced to look backwards to go forwards. Back through our history to help figure out why we were here and who we were to make sure we were best placed to provide the best support, advice, and guidance to all our clients.

In particular:

  • Why we started
  • How we got to where we are now?
  • Who has been a part of the journey?

And the big question was:

What do we do now to help our clients through this?

We started by having many group meetings. In these meetings we addressed our statement of purpose and what it was, and why it was that we formed HR Central.

We wanted and will continue to always want to be the best provider of HR Services and Support for small business across Australia.

We offer peace of mind through the power of partnership and offer tailored solutions for your people.

How do we do that?

By being listeners first and then speaking your language, so we are all on the same page.

Knowing best practice, being across all the legislation support schemes that were offered, but not being afraid to challenge and change should the circumstances require us to do so, and this year required so.

finally, but most importantly, taking pride in watching your success.

So, with our client focussed team supported by our Board who are equal measures experience and acumen, we were able to execute the above by:

  • Providing free information to anyone who needed it via our subscription platform, e-news, social channels, and webinars
  • Solidify partnerships with other likeminded businesses/organisations via webinars, blogs, and zoom panels
  • Granting payment relief to those clients who were truly not able to manage/or were struck the hardest
  • Moving the HR Central team from our office to a remote first working style
  • Implementing a new omni-channel client support system
  • Performing a full audit and review of our cost base
  • Reviewing our processes and streamlining many of them
  • Changing roles and duties to better suit the results our clients needed

All that happened not only to ensure that HR Central could continue to service our clients during this stressful and very strange time, but to ensure our company would be even stronger going forward.

Of all the learnings of the year, and there have been many, the number one is about how amazing people are.

From early on, the HR Central team were part HR support and part life support for our clients and partners. Many clients were calling us worried (many angry, many in tears, many just lost), whilst our own team were also dealing with changes and challenges in their own lives that the pandemic had caused.

As time went on it was incredible to see our partners and clients maintain a never say die attitude and constantly attempt to try to make the best of a very tough situation for some, as well as others who cleverly managed to turn their business into something that proved to be even more successful than their original model.

And throughout it all was my personal support network of the HR Central Board, the HR Central Team, my friends, and my family.

To all of you who have helped me personally get through this year, I say thank you.

To anyone who has helped HR Central, or any of our clients/partners, I thank you also.  I very much hope that we have been able to ‘pay it forward’ to the hundreds of small businesses, their teams, and their owners that we are proud to call clients, partners, and friends.

As I look forward to 2021 – with my 2020 vision – it is impossible to know what is ahead of us however, one thing I am locking in now is more time to reflect, to review, and to improve.

Happy New Year,


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Damien Gooden

Damien leads the HR Central team.
He has over 20 years working in and with small business. HR Central is the perfect vehicle for Damien's genuine interest for people, IT and problem solving.
Damien has a hands on role across the business, particularly the HR and development teams, and can often be seen around the country at various networking events talking all things HR.
He holds a Certificate IV in Human Resources from AHRI, Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems (Application Development) from Monash University, and is a member of AHRI, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Computer Society.

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