two women stand in front of a mesabi radiator

Employee Spotlight: Amanda Claassen’s Curiosity-Driven Management Style Runs L&M Australia

Perth, Australia – What does it mean to truly value the people you work with? What does it look like every day, in the office and on the production floor? Is it a handshake? A community meal? A smile and a wave?

For Amanda Claassen, Human Resources & Safety Manager at L&M Radiator’s operations in Perth, Australia, it means asking the right questions.

That’s why she is on a mission to bring curiosity right back where it belongs – at the very center of human resources and safety work.

“It’s important to me to be able to give input when someone is, for example, not attending work for a couple of days or taking frequent sick days,” said Claassen. “Instead of making assumptions, I like to have meetings with people to find out whether they’re doing okay personally or having problems at work. That way, we can resolve the issue together. I believe strong communication, combined with compassion, can have a positive impact on a business. And, it’s very rewarding to me as a person as well.”

two women stand in front of a mesabi radiator
Amanda Claassen, HR and Safety Manager at L&M Radiator Australia, poses in front of a
Mesabi radiator with Lyn Fletcher, Purchasing Officer.

Claassen holds many responsibilities. The multi-talented manager balances human resources, safety, and quality, handling recruitment, filling vacancies, closely monitoring codes of practices, ensuring compliance with the latest safety legislation in Australia and L&M Radiator’s standards for safety, overseeing document review, ensuring the accurate and timely completion of reporting, and more.

To many, this amount of responsibility might seem overwhelming. For Claassen, it’s invigorating.

“It is a huge responsibility, but I really enjoy the balance, because I like to know everything about the business that I’m working for. I like to know the manufacturing side of it, the production side of it, and get to the real root of why people perform the way they do,” said Claassen.

Claassen is no stranger to interdisciplinary work. Prior to starting at L&M Radiator in October 2021, Claassen owned several small businesses, was a registered dietician with her own private practice, worked as a national compliance manager for a logistics company, and owned a business brokerage franchise. Through it all, her motivation and drive never wavered – though these diverse experiences did serve to ignite her natural curiosity even further.

“I became interested in the question: why do certain businesses become profitable, and why do they do better than other businesses?” said Claassen. “I feel that the core focus of any business should be the people. It is the people that drive a business. If you employ the right people with the right attitude, you can make any business successful.”

Human Resources for the Modern Era: How Curiosity and Compassion Create Success

Employee wellbeing is of the highest of priority – full stop. However, the nuance of what creates a safe and healthy environment for employees is often overlooked. Using her inquisitive nature to drive her work, Claassen brings this key nuance into the light where it belongs: a business cannot have strong safety practices without having a strong personal relationship with its employees’ wants, desires, and hardships. Furthermore, a business cannot develop this compassionate relationship without taking this one simple step: asking questions.

“Traditionally, the HR approach to business success was to reprimand workers. I feel the modern way of managing is to support and to encourage workers,” said Claassen. “The work health safety legislation is putting a lot of emphasis on consulting with workers. If you make any decision, you have to get their input – and I have found, it works. I may know the legal obligation and the requirements that the law demands of us, but the people who are on the floor, doing the work, they’ve got very practical, strong suggestions on how to improve safety, and, more broadly, our workplace culture.”

To make sure that people feel comfortable coming to her with ideas on how to improve safety and quality, Claassen has an open-door policy. Nobody has to make an appointment to have a conversation with her in her office. For the more introverted employees, Claassen makes a point to encourage people to share their ideas anonymously. For her, an opinion missed or a question gone unasked is a lost opportunity for growth.

“There is a quote that I came across the other day by author Simon Sinek, and it really spoke to my beliefs about my work,” said Claassen. “It is as follows: ‘A culture is strong when people work with each other, for each other. A culture is weak when people work against each other, for themselves.’”

When Claassen isn’t on the job, she enjoys taking it easy, playing with her new puppy (a Shih Tzu named Benji), and spending time with her two teenage children. Claassen had long convinced herself that she didn’t want to adopt a pet, so the addition of Benji to the family was truly a spur-of-the-moment decision. After her daughter showed Claassen a photo of the seven-week-old “fluff ball,” in Claassen’s words, there was no going back.

L&M Radiator: Greater Than the Sum of its (Genuine Mesabi®) Parts

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