Australian College of Commerce and Management Blog

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Whats It Like to Work at ACCM College - Employer of Choice

Employer of choice

At ACCM College we pride ourselves on the quality, passion and expertise of our staff and recognise they are a key factor in our long-term success.

But being a quality employer doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes planning and commitment to your people over the long-haul. Especially during times of rapid growth and change!

ACCM College has grown from 33 staff in 2015 to 50 staff now. That is significant growth and takes a “small business” into the dangerous territory of cultural change.

To ensure ACCM College remains true to our culture, we went “RETRO” by re-inventing “traditional” HR program; but we ensured that they were very honed in to our specific needs at this point in time. Often that is the key with HR strategies – ensuring they adapt to your current needs, and do not get unnecessarily complicated.

RETRO stands for: Recruitment; Engagement; Training; Recognition; and Organisational Structure.


As we began to grow quickly we needed to retain existing staff, recruit new staff who would work well in our specific culture; and quickly skill them up. 

To accomplish this, we re-invented our RECRUITMENT procedure. Importantly, when we achieved a recruitment success – we reviewed the process and person recruited and identified further improvements to the processes.

Finding the right staff is hard, but keeping all staff happy, motivated and ENGAGED is even harder.


As part of our annual appraisal and review process we began asking staff to rate our management and engagement efforts across a range of topics, and then rate which of those topics were most important to them. This then allowed us to shape our future leadership and management approach to ensure staff needs are being met.


We similarly had to reinvent the way we TRAINED new and existing staff. This included establishing a mentoring program that paired our newest arrivals with experienced and proven staff who exemplified the skills, attitudes and behaviours we wanted to recreate.


We have identified from our engagement surveys that most of the team favoured team rewards, but individual RECOGNITION for outstanding personal achievements. To this end we have just launched our revised rewards and recognition system that specifically addresses the ideal balance that our staff want.

Organisational Structure

The final major HR strategy involved ORGANIZING staff into smaller teams. The teams within teams approach has ensured that the sense of belonging has been maintained.

“RETRO” HR practices have ensured that we retain the culture responsible for our success, despite rapid growth.

An example of how the ACCM College culture also translates into employer obligations that we take seriously is our choice to offer staff permanent job roles. This is not the norm in our sector; with seasonal (semester) and contract employment or contractors being the main employment status. To be an Employer of Choice in our sector means we need to allocate more resourcing and management focus to be able to offer permanent employment opportunities.

This is a win –win as it also means we can tempt workers to leave the safety of their current profession and join us to take on their new career as a vocational trainer.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference. In this case, ACCM College is an Employer of Choice by making sure it gets the basics right and so can offer a positive and supportive work environment!


In addition to ACCM College's nomination for Excellence in Customer Service, we have also been nominated for:

Excellence in Innovation Award

Excellence in Customer Service

Business Leader Award

Excellence in Business

Lisa Jones