As we address the potential impact of 60 day dispensing and a tight retail environment on pharmacy profitability, in our last blog, we looked at workforce planning. We partnered with boutique human resources (HR) consultancy firm, Bespoke HR, who shared insights into what workforce planning is, key areas to consider and requirements under the Pharmacy Modern Award 2020.

As with any element of organisational change, leadership is key. In this blog, our Holman Hodge pharmacy accounting team sought insights from Paulette Kolarz, Managing Director of Bespoke HR. She discusses the evolution of the new leadership landscape and driving performance, as well as workforce opportunities to consider in workforce planning.

The new leadership landscape and driving performance

We know that a leader’s role always requires pivoting and that restructure or even downsizing will have a direct impact on leaders. Some key areas for leaders to focus on during a downsizing include:

  • Open and honest communication

Maintain clear, open, and transparent communication with employees throughout any organisational changes. Provide regular updates, address concerns, and offer clarity on the reasons behind the organisational decisions.

  • Empathy and emotional intelligence

During challenging times, leaders should demonstrate empathy and emotional intelligence. Understand and address the emotional impact of organisational changes on employees, and provide support as needed.

  • Focus on core activities

Concentrate on core business activities that are essential for the organisation’s survival and long-term success. Trim non-essential functions and projects.

  • Performance management

Take the opportunity to review KPI’s and adjust performance metrics and expectations to align with the organisation’s new goals and priorities. Set realistic targets and recognise employees who excel during challenging times. During periods of change, it can be beneficial to review goals and KPIs every 90 days to ensure they are aligning to the changing landscape and needs of the business. This also helps all staff remain clear on their own role objectives and focus.

Workforce opportunities

In previous years, the Pharmacy industry has faced staff shortages and difficulties around finding suitably experienced staff to fill critical roles. In instances where your organisation is needing to downsize your workforce, there are some opportunities that you may want to consider including:

  • Reduce leave liabilities

Consider providing employees opportunity to take their annual or long service leave. As long as you are following the requirements under the Pharmacy Modern Award 2020, this could be a great time to give your employees a well-deserved break.

  • Talent mapping

Take the opportunity to identify high performers as well as identify gaps in critical skills and competencies within the organisation. This information helps in succession planning and prioritising reskilling and upskilling initiatives to address these gaps.

  • Promote flexibility

Encourage flexibility in work arrangements, such as part-time or flexible schedules, to accommodate employee needs and reduce overstaffing during specific hours or days. Noting that you must following the requirements under the Pharmacy Modern Award 2020.

  • Talent pipeline

Building an effective talent pipeline as part of your recruitment strategy is critical when there is qualified staff looking for work in the market. Consider attracting, engaging, and nurturing potential candidates who could fill key roles in your organisation in the future.

Workforce planning is a critical aspect to setting your organisation up for success to manage the impact to your business with the potential revenue decline resulting from the introduction of 60 day dispensing. While there may be some difficult decisions you need to make as a business leader, there are also many opportunities available to you to refocus your workforce and review your approach to human resources.

About the Author

Paulette Kolarz is the Managing Director of BespokeHR and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading authorities in Human Resource Management and Leadership Development. Paulette helps organisations attract, retain and grow their leaders and build high achieving, engaged teams.

With more than 20 years working in HR, she has significant experience in providing end to end people solutions in the areas of HR Consulting, Recruitment and Training and Development.

If you would like to get an in-depth evaluation of your people priorities, Bespoke HR’s 15 minute survey provides you with a detailed personal report (and it’s free). Click on this link to undertake Your People Success Score and People Priorities audit.


We have looked at a range of issues around 60 day dispensing. Check out our previous blogs: