Work 180 Employee Story | A People Journey: From Reception to Leadership
Mar 27, 2019
An employee story by Work180
Life moves fast these days. So do people. Instant messaging, tweets, likes, networks… It can all be empowering and exhilarating but also exhausting… and perhaps a little hollow? As I dial in for my conversation with the Nova Group’s HR Manager Nicole McCallum, it’s fair to say I’m also refreshing my inbox, texting my wife, muting Spotify and draining a double shot flat white. Nicole answers the phone and ten seconds later, I’ve stopped fidgeting and am sitting back in my chair, truly centred on what Nicole has to say.
I suspect she has that impact on others too. It definitely has something to do with her openness and her friendly, down to earth way of speaking. But as our conversation progresses, I realise it’s more than that – it’s the positive feeling you get when you know you’re speaking to someone who ‘gets it’… who’s been there and done it… who has experienced enough of life’s ups and downs to appreciate the bigger picture. By the end of our chat, I’m clear on three things about Nicole: she is great to talk to, she has stories to tell and I’d love to work alongside her.
A People Journey: From Reception to Leadership
Nicole joined the Nova Group (Nova) back in 2005, known then only as Nova Systems, when they were a small business of 45 people. Her career prior to that was highly diverse. She tells me with a warm laugh that she had 19 hospitality jobs in ten years (including hotel and resort management) and that she’s worked as an Executive Assistant, a TAFE lecturer, an oyster farmer, a uranium mine sub-contractor and an escort vehicle driver.
Initially employed by Nova as a receptionist “and to cook the barbecue and stock the beer fridge”, Nicole soon found her place at the Professional Services firm. And as Nova has grown significantly from 45 to 570 people, so has Nicole’s career. Showing immense versatility and a constant readiness to ‘give it a go’, she has worked for Nova across finance, executive assistance, conferences and events, security and corporate support. And later, “at some point way back when”, she became the People and Culture Manager and a career in human resources started to emerge.
What Matters Most: Empathy and Human Kindness
She now works as the Group HR Manager, managing HR across the globe for Nova Systems, GVH Aerospace, two10degrees and Geoplex, a position which she says is about supporting and connecting Nova’s employees and their managers to drive Nova’s strategic objectives and culture.
“My remit includes helping Nova’s people managers provide an environment in which people can thrive. It’s also about being there to support each employee, while also being ready to challenge and make the hard decisions.”
It’s easy to picture Nicole achieving this balance. She talks positively and confidently about the need to apply “understanding, empathy and fairness”, and I get the sense that she plays an important role in bridging gaps, championing the employee to the business, and the business to the employee. When asked what she loves the most, Nicole’s response is immediate:
“It’s the same today as it was in my hospitality days: I love it when someone comes in with their smile upside down and walks out feeling a little better. I want to help them see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and that they want to keep going – that’s the most important thing. It’s the most basic stuff you can do for another human being.”
And there it is. That empathy based on deep life experience. Nicole reveals that she has supported a range of employees through mental health challenges, and has helped get them back to work and a more positive situation.
“Sometimes this job can break your heart. Sometimes you’re on top of the world. It’s just the way it is. When someone needs support, the key is to be honest – no BS. We need to help them get healthy and well, and not treat them any differently.”
Nicole says that her own life experiences and challenges help her empathise with and support others. She suffered from anxiety and depression as a teenager, and has also experienced loss through tragic circumstances.
“I’ve had some difficult life events during my time here. But the support Nova has given me is phenomenal. The things they’ve done for me personally have affected me – they make me want to stay and help the business continue to thrive.”
From Chainsaws to Flying Lessons: a Unique Employee Experience
Nicole clearly has a deep connection with Nova and feels they really are a great place to work. She speaks fondly of the way they reward and recognise their people, and celebrate together. She laughs as she tells me they once gifted her a chainsaw voucher, rather than flowers, adding: “They know me.”
She also says they’ve supported her through training, including an MBA and even flying lessons:
“Years ago, I used to take minutes for the Executive Leadership. We had an aircraft and our previous CEO would fly us all to the meetings. One day, I said ‘you should teach me to fly this thing’, so he did.”
Nicole recognises that as the business has grown, they’ve needed to keep working hard to ensure that everyone stays connected. Yet she’s proud of the many things Nova offers its people, from professional and personal development allowances to family benefits to health and wellbeing support. As part of this latter component, they have counselling services available 24/7 to assist their employees and managers.
“It’s incredible really that after all this time, I still don’t want to work anywhere else. I’m like an antique here! I have great relationships across the business and I‘m so grateful to Nova for the opportunities and life experiences they’ve given me.”
I suspect Nova would say the feeling’s mutual. Thanks Nicole!
Nova Group has partnered with Work180 in Australia as part of our commitment to creating a culture of diversity, inclusion and equality and providing a great place to work. Read more Work180 news here.
Work180 is an international jobs board that connects smart businesses with talented women.While their focus is on empowering women in the workplace, Work180 is trying to achieve equality for all employees.
Nova Group Commercial Manager Named as Finalist for 2019 Corporate Counsel Awards
Jan 23, 2019
Eric Dale, Commercial Manager at the Nova Group has been named as a finalist for the Defence Lawyer of the year award at the 2019 Corporate Counsel Awards!
The Lawyers Weekly Corporate Counsel Awards celebrates the success of individual in-house lawyers and legal teams across all industries in Australia. The event is in its third year with Lawyers On Demand their principal partner since 2017.
Winners of Corporate Counsel Awards will be revealed at Sydney’s Hyatt Regency on Friday, 29 March 2019. Prior to the ceremony kicking off, Lawyers Weekly will host the inaugural Corporate Counsel Summit from 9am until 4.30pm.
The summit will bring together local and global in-house powerhouses for a range of sessions and panel discussions relevant to in-house lawyers and legal teams, including an opening keynote from Google US’s head of legal operations, technology and strategy, Mary O’Carroll.
Good luck Eric!
Nova Group Announces Family and Domestic Violence Policy
Nov 23, 2018
Today, the Nova Group is pleased to announce the introduction of their Family and Domestic Violence Policy.
The Nova Group is committed to providing a Great Place to Work and are dedicated to creating a culture of diversity, inclusion and equality and providing an environment free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, vilification and victimisation.
The Nova Group’s Family and Domestic Violence Policy will apply to all Australian employees to grant access to the entitlements for all. The policy provides up to 5 days of unpaid leave each year and access to flexible working arrangements to enable employees to manage the impact of Family and Domestic Violence.
In the instance of Family and Domestic Violence, the Nova Group will provide the most beneficial support arrangement for their circumstance, maintain a safe working environment for them, and support them in arranging external support from relevant agencies.
The Fair Work Commission has updated all industry and occupation awards to include a new clause about family and domestic violence leave, taking effect from 1 August 2018.
Family and Domestic Violence Support
Confidential information, counselling and support for people impacted by FDV is available at 1800 RESPECT.
Nova employees and their immediate families also have access to AccessEAP for free and confidential counselling services.
Fair Work Australia
Fair Work Australia want to support Australian workplaces so they can be compliant, productive and inclusive. Our vision is that the community values the work that we do.
My Victoria website developed by Geoplex launched!
Nov 12, 2018
On 27 September 2018 the My Victoria website developed by Geoplex – parent company Nova Group – in partnership with Today Design, was launched by Victorian Special Minister of State, Gavin Jennings.
My Victoria is an innovative product envisioned by the Department of Premier and Cabinet designed to improve accessibility to Victoria’s extensive open data catalogue. The website allows businesses and the public to explore over 60 data sets published by the Victorian government in an easy to use web and mobile responsive application.
Geoplex worked in partnership with Today Design to deliver My Victoria. The product was developed in a short time frame by a multi-disciplinary team of government and commercial partners working in a collaborative agile environment. The project successfully combined human centred design principles with cutting edge Open Geospatial and Dev Ops components to deliver a beautiful high value product to the community.
Better access to government open data is estimated to have an economic benefit of $25 billion in Australia and $6 billion in Victoria by the Bureau of Communications Research. The Andrews Labor Government has confirmed plans to expand the range of data sets on the My Victoria website to provide Victorian businesses with the data and information they need to make informed decisions.
My Victoria is powered by Open Source GIS tools (Postgresql and Geoserver) and is deployed in a high availability configuration on the Amazon Web Services platform. All hardware infrastructure is provisioned and managed using “Infrastructure as Code” techniques to ensure optimum performance, security, reliability and reusability.
The My Victoria map display is based on the Openlayers framework and leverages Vector Tile services to provide smooth map transitions and fast browser side rendering. Geoserver acts as the single central data API and provides services supporting all maps, charts and data widgets in the application.
My Victoria is now supporting businesses across the state, whilst also playing a key role as an open data framework under the state government’s single digital presence program.
Geoplex are mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) specialists who enable the visualisation of data, drive competitive advantage and solve business problems.
We use design and technology to Make better policy Bring products to life Shift to digital services Design vivid futures Engage with diverse communities Make better customer experiences Design end-to-end service experiences
My Victoria makes open data accessible to Victorian businesses
For more information, contact
Sarah de Valence – Group Communications Manager
Nova Group Partners with Work180
Oct 30, 2018
The Nova Group is excited to announce our partnership with Work180 as part of our commitment to creating a culture of diversity, inclusion and equality and providing a great place to work.
Work180 is an international jobs board that connects smart businesses with talented women. While their focus is on empowering women in the workplace, Work180 is trying to achieve equality for all employees.
Launching in Australia, the Work180 platform will promote the Nova Group by sharing stories of women in Nova and showcasing job vacancies, creating significant opportunity to attract and retain talented women to Nova. The Nova Group will be recognised as an endorsed employer for women who shares Work180’s focus on equal opportunity which will provide the opportunity to engage with organisations a part of Work180 who share our values.
Work180 provides job applicants with a transparent directory of endorsed employers who support diversity, inclusion and equality and share information around pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other important criteria.
The Nova Group aims to expand the Work180 partnership internationally in the future as our business continues to grow.
Our mission is to finally put an end to workplace discrimination, so that everyone is valued equally and businesses can enjoy the benefits of a truly diverse workforce. As the demand for skilled employees grows ever more critical, there has been a power shift away from unsympathetic employers and a rejection of inflexible working conditions. WORK180 is a global jobs network that operates at the forefront of this new workplace revolution.