BLOG IMAGE Sally Murphy

Sally Murphy, Founding Director, Purple Playground

Sally Murphy, Founding Director Purple Playground works with leaders of social enterprises, start-ups and rapid growth organisations to invest in their people, through developing leadership capability and purposeful, productive organisational cultures. She deeply understands that connecting employees with meaningful work, in an inclusive team environment creates the optimal conditions for people to flourish.

How are you encouraging people to reimagine how you can do HR, and what is Purple Playground’s point of difference?

I think above all, our biggest point of difference is our approach to HR in general. Our motto is to systemise the process and humanise the experience. For us, HR is all about creating a genuine connection with our clients, who will then pass that same vibe onto their employees, flowing it down to their customers. We believe that a thriving work culture happens when people feel valued, as well as feeling like they are adding real value.

When you’re contributing in a meaningful way, you have more fun, connect more deeply and achieve more both individually and collectively.

Our progressive approach to HR means we help businesses maximise their investment in their biggest asset and often their biggest cost – their people. By partnering with us, our clients can benefit from a proactive approach that builds high-performing teams that drive business growth.

We also help businesses to plan ahead by creating their people strategy whilst mitigating  potential employment related risks, minimizing the need for reactive HR management. Time spent on reactive people management can be costly, so that’s why we take a proactive approach to building HR leadership capability within organisations. Our HR plans revolve around creating a positive and inclusive work environment, empowering each team member to thrive. We help our clients offer their people a work environment that is supportive of their lifestyle and gives them a sense of balance, ultimately resulting in happier employees and increased productivity.

Recruitment doesn’t have to be reactive and expensive. How is Purple Playground approaching recruitment with a new philosophy?

By outsourcing their recruitment to Purple Playground, businesses can save in two ways:

  1. They hire the right candidate, the first time round, minimising the expense of high employee turnover.
  2. They can focus their time saved on increasing revenue for their business and get back to doing what is they enjoy doing most.

At Purple Playground, we are passionate about more than just matching the right employee to the right job.  We aim to match them to the right organisational culture too. Our screening process goes above and beyond to ensure that only the most ideal candidates make it through to the final selection round.

Additionally, we are experiencing ‘The Great Resignation’ which has brought with it a whole new set of considerations when recruiting employees. Decentralised workforces and remote offices mean that a lot of the soft skills, which were previously of less emphasis, are now at the forefront of an employer’s requirements. Gone are the days of simply presenting your qualifications and list of experience. Today’s employers want and need more than that from their people and Purple Playground are passionate about finding these ideal candidates aka ‘unicorns’ for our clients.

What sort of organisations can benefit from partnering with you?

Our speciality areas are around Social Enterprises, Start-ups, and those organisations experiencing rapid growth where we can help them to scale sustainably.

We don’t niche in any particular industry but rather pride ourselves on aligning with businesses that share our strong values and business principles. We want to make a positive impact by genuinely helping businesses grow and scale. When we help businesses nurture their talent, we also grow, evolve and learn along the way, and that’s important for us too.

We work closely with Founders, Entrepreneurs, middle and senior management to support their businesses with a full suite of customised HR services and outsourced recruitment options.  No cookie-cutter approach here as businesses are as unique as the individuals that make them tick.

Tell us about Purple Playground’s Values, and how you integrate and embed them?

Our brand values are: Fun, Strengths and Meaningful Impact.

For us, fun is all about enjoyment, connection and authenticity in what we do and how we go about doing it. Our best work happens when we truly enjoy what we do and who we do it with.

When we talk about strengths as one of our values, this actually means two things. The first is uncovering strengths within individuals and teams that we have been engaged to work with, and the second is around our own strengths. We consistently strive to put our best foot forward; individually working through our strengths to succeed, and collectively by leveraging the brains trust of our own team. We stay in our lane and are not afraid to recommend another service or option to our clients if we believe it is a more suitable alternative for their specific situation. We find it’s often the littlest things that make the biggest difference.

When we talk about ‘meaningful impact’ it’s really about our everyday actions and their purpose. We are open to challenging ourselves on what we do and how we do it, and if it’s not aligned with our values, it’s time to rethink why we’re doing it in the first place. There’s no ‘Groundhog Day’ or ‘tick in the box’ activities here. It’s  important for us make a positive impact in all our interactions, whether this be with the people and organisations we work with, or the wider community as a whole. As an example, we are a member of B1G1 where we align what we do in our everyday work to helping those in need through donations via this platform that is measured by impacts.

What has been your greatest challenge?

One of our greatest challenges in transitioning our HR & Recruitment services over to the SME world is the lack of understanding of the importance of focusing on your people first. This tends to come from either an unintended ignorance or from lack of funds with which to invest on the people side of a business.  Entrepreneurs, Founders and CEOs of SMEs have traditionally utilised their profit, funding, grant monies etc. into the product or front facing elements of their business, often forgetting that what makes them stand out and even competitive in their industry is the people behind their product or service.

We usually hear from organisations when something goes wrong. Perhaps it’s how to manage a poor performer, a behavioural issue, or reactive recruitment needs. We are on a mission to educate this sector across all industries, setting these organisations up to succeed by investing in robust HR foundations and building leadership capability to mitigate Fair Work legislative risks.


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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.