The best piece of recruitment advice I can give you.

Posted on February 23rd, 2022

My advice, particularly in this market, but really any market, is not to undercut your candidate at the offer stage. Offering someone under their salary expectation is not smart at all; it’s plain crazy. It has very serious consequences to the employer/employee relationship. Let me tell you why.

This person is the most motivated they’ll ever be. They’ve been to at least one interview with you and you’re both hooked! You’re excited! Finally, someone to fill your vacancy. And someone fantastic.

Do not ruin it. Do not save yourself a buck by low balling the offer. “They can get it after probation. Makes sense. If they’re terrible they won’t get it and they don’t deserve it right?” In your head it makes sense but if you’re on the receiving end you’re thinking very differently.

You’re motivated – you’ve found a great company, a terrific next step. You know you’re good at what you do, and you can’t wait to get in there and sink your teeth into the new job. But wait! The offer is less than you told them you were looking for. How can that be?

I thought the interviews were great, a meeting of the minds. I thought they really liked me and could see the value I’d bring but now they’re saying they don’t think I’m worth it. They’re “screwing” me down. This is awkward. Maybe they’re “that” type of company. Maybe they pat you down looking for blue pens at the end of each workday.

They knew my salary expectation when we first met. Why would they do this at the last minute? Is this what they’re like? Maybe they’ll retract other things too – they’ll change their minds on working from home two days a week. Now I can’t trust them.

What is it about the job they don’t think I can do? I feel if I do accept the job now, I’m under scrutiny and I’m starting on the back foot. I don’t feel anywhere near as excited or as motivated.

Well, the company has other things going for it, I suppose it’s closer to home for a start. I might just accept it and begin somewhat cautiously – I’ll still keep my feelers out in the market by interviewing with other companies and go with whoever offers me what I feel I’m worth.

So, 3 months later guess what happens…

And you thought that was your best-case scenario. The job seeker accepted your offer.

But it’s your worst-case scenario. Investing time, money and resources into an employee who already has their foot out the door. Back to square one.

What generally happens though is they’ll reject your offer. 9 times out of 10 once they reject your first offer they will not barter with you.

And in this market the candidate you loved has already organised an interview with your competitor. Ouch.

Unfilled Job Vacancies Are Costing Your Business

Posted on May 4th, 2021

Unfilled Job Vacancies Are Costing Your Business

This morning I was having a coffee with one of my recruiters and she was telling me that a senior manager she’s known for a few years was on the market again. My Accounting Recruiter piped up that she had just interviewed the Financial Controller from the same company. Both of these people leaving at the same time would be a savage blow as they were both in important leadership positions and the thought of it made me squirm. I really felt for the Managing Director who I had met a year ago at a local networking lunch. At the time I remember the Managing Director telling us his Operations Manager had moved overseas and he felt his leadership team could easily cover the duties and he saw it as a good way of saving money.

I’ve made decisions like this in the past so I know where he’s coming from but the consequences to these decisions are a slow burn and they aren’t easy to identify even at time of impact. I’m sure the Financial Controller will have a reason like “career progression” or “I’ve been offered the role of my dreams so I couldn’t decline” and the Customer Service Manager will be motivated to say something else to the Managing Director at time of resignation but the core of it will be that they have been covering their ex colleagues role for too long and they’re burnt out and tired.

A quick google search will have you come up with a number of different ways to measure lost revenue and the real dollar cost of a chronically unfilled vacancy. Depending on the seniority it could be upwards of $1 million a year so if you look at it from this perspective, their salary and the time cost of recruiting the role becomes less significant. It’s an exercise worth doing to keep you motivated to get the position filled if you have any currently outstanding vacancies.

There are so many other factors to consider besides loss of revenue including your products time to market, customer impacts, dropped competitive advantage, market perception vulnerability, increased management time and training and high cost consultants to either fill in or fix up.

Job seekers share team impact stories with recruiters like us all the time. We know overwork leads to stress, absenteeism, presenteeism, errors in the workplace, safety risks, added pressure to already peak performing staff, staff grievances and even heightened union activity.

It also puts pressure on Line Managers who become more sensitive to performance managing their under performers. With poor performers in a team as well as unfilled vacancies it is very hard to climb back from a customer perspective. Company brand and reputation is damaged and it’s difficult to retrieve. Studies show we are hard wired to see the negative rather than the positive. If you have a bad experience with a company it sticks for years.

Top performers are the first to leave because they don’t want to be forced to do their job badly.  And that’s what we’re seeing. They’re loyal to a degree but they end up on the market. Check in with your staff regularly and make sure they are not only coping, but remaining at the top of their game. And have a look at what positions in your business might have been vacant for too long. Then, get some rigour around the hiring process so they don’t end up in the “too hard” basket.  Believe me it will be worth your while.

By the way presenteeism is defined as attending work when unwell, often because of insecurity.


Why My Staff Are Asleep On The Job

Posted on May 4th, 2021

Well, they work hard. And often long hours.

But the real reason they sleep in the office is because I’ve asked them to do it. I recently went to the workshop of Ahna de Vena, a sleep expert and was surprised by how much I learnt. Most people need 7.5 hours sleep a night no negotiation. Only 3% of people need a bit more and only 3% of people can function optimally on less. The long term affects of not getting 7.5 hours is staggering. It affects every aspect of our health and our relationships.

So, I started researching sleep deprivation. The Sydney Morning Herald quotes that sleep deprivation is costing the Australian economy more than $66 billion in health bills, lost productivity and well-being. The Deloittes study found that 39.8% of Australians don’t get enough sleep. I was shocked when I read that 394 Australians die each year as a result of falling asleep at the wheel of a car or an industrial accident due to lack of sleep. It’s a shocking statistic but hopefully unlikely to happen to my employees. How can it be measured in a company like mine? Or yours?

I became more observant around the office and I could see signs of fatigue and stress that I hadn’t seen before.

My business is full of young parents – I don’t want them to own sleep deprivation but they’re obviously a high-risk group. Imagine them losing steam by the end of the day and then go home to their “real job”. I know because I’ve been there. Other staff are having other stress from home.

I started to hear the fatigue in the timbre of their voices by the middle of the afternoon. Hey is that one of my clients they’re on the phone to? Ouch. Many times I’ve rung companies and had to speak to Receptionists that just shouldn’t be the first contact point for any business.

Research shows that we are far more charged and productive after a nap – 20 minutes is the ideal. Some people go into a deeper sleep after 20 minutes and can’t recover from their grogginess. 20 minutes isn’t the deep part of the cycle so it’s easy to be alert immediately afterwards.

I can’t afford my Receptionists or any staff for that matter having that edge when they’re dealing with our clients, when they’re representing this business. It’s not just dealing with customers. How about my payroll staff? I want my staff to be fully productive and capable, making great decisions and performing quality work.

It was surprisingly hard to implement. People didn’t want to be slack in front of me or their colleagues. I rewarded them with a free day to spend with their family if they tried twice. Two naps during the day in the month and they get a free annual leave day off. What I’d really like to see them do is nap a few times a week, if not every day.

I’ve Been Asked To Help A Few Of My Clients Create Their Recruitment Strategy Here’s What I Shared…

Posted on May 4th, 2021

61% of recruitment firms expect to see increases in hiring demands over the next year, according to Bullhorn. 54% of business leaders also feel their hiring demands will increase, however, 77% of Australian CEO’s are concerned that their recruitment strategy isn’t strong enough.

An effective recruitment and employer branding strategy is vital to a company’s success. When a business implements a strong process, this means they’re focusing on quality talent acquisition, taking steps to ensure staff happiness in the workplace, and subsequently, retaining new employees at a high rate.

If a sound strategy is not put in place, things go wrong. Business efficiency and profitability is negatively impacted, beyond the direct costs of poor recruiting processes.

A bad recruit costs approximately $12,500, and it’s even more to replace one, according to Forbes. Entry-level employees cost between 30 – 50% of the annual salary to replace, while the number rises upwards of 150% for mid-level employees.

Employers need to remember that in today’s job marketplace the balance of power rests with the candidates. Recruiting is more about mutual evaluation and finding the right fit.

So, how do you enhance recruiting strategies and processes and keep up with rising recruitment demands?

1. Build a strong online presence

90% of job seekers use the internet to research recruitment opportunities and make the decision whether or not to apply for a job. This illustrates the importance for companies to be online and searchable. More so, when the candidate finds a company website or social media profile, all the information they could possibly need to make a decision, should be right in front of their eyes.

Companies that are active on social media daily, are 37% less likely to have trouble sourcing top quality candidates. Furthermore, companies who use digital platforms are 50% more likely to be growing revenue than those who still use basic IT methods and they earn 60% more revenue per employee, according to Deloitte.

The numbers don’t lie – building a strong online presence is a worthy investment.

2. Have a strong Employer Value Proposition

An EVP is a company’s way of telling a candidate why they should apply for a job with them. It explains company benefits, workplace culture and essentially, what’s in it for the candidate. Employer Value Propositions should be clearly communicated through engaging content marketing, utilising several channels including company websites, social media and blogging.

Having a strong EVP will help employer branding which, in turn will increase the impact of a company’s online reputation and brand when searching for a new quality employee.

3. Using employer branding for talent acquisition

Employer branding has a massive impact on talent acquisition. In fact, 77% of Australian SME leaders acknowledge this, but only 8% have allocated budget to it. (compared to 32% that went towards job boards). Despite this, nearly half of the SME business owners in Australia planned to increase their volume of employees in 2018.

To meet this demand, companies need to have a strong marketing strategy, a good workplace culture and a testimonial strategy. Testimonials being showcased particularly on LinkedIn, are a great way to increase employer branding as they show off the strengths and skills of current employees. Jobseekers will always want to work for a company that has good reviews online.

Good employer branding also leads to positive referrals. A study by JobVite, found that 46% of referred employees stayed in their job for at least 1 year after they were hired. Having said that, pardon the plug but our stats are that 92% of our placed candidates have stayed win their role after 1 year plus. Referrals have also been shown to reduce the time to hire by almost 50% compared to candidates who apply through a company careers site.

4. Talent acquisition is nothing without a retention strategy

It’s great securing a quality employee and having hopes and dreams they will grow and advance within a company. But for that to happen, a retention strategy should be put in place.

20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days after a new recruit comes on board. Making new employees feel welcome and valued from the moment they start within the business is critical to employee satisfaction. An organised, in depth induction, allocating them a mentor, setting out short and long-term goals and providing regular feedback will ensure a sound retention strategy.

Erica Westbury
Managing Director – Norwest Recruitment

The Top 10 Growth Roles In IT

Posted on May 4th, 2021

The Australian Artificial Intelligence industry is predicted to be worth AUD 1,980 million in 2025, which is up from AUD 33 million in 2016 (a CAGR of 22% per annum). Frost & Sullivan research also predicts that more than 40% of high-routine and low-skilled tasks will be automated by 2030.

One of the biggest reasons for the increase in artificial intelligence investment is the fact that AI and automation technology is helping companies move forward in leaps and bounds, especially in the IT industry.

True, it will change many IT jobs and make several roles redundant and 80% of Australian workers are already aware that their work is at risk from automation and technology. But it’s also creating new opportunities and exciting jobs that have never existed before.  

In fact, the Australian IT industry is expected to see a 14% job growth between now and 2030, according to TechWire.

Future Skillsets in Demand

There is hope for IT jobs where the human touch is valued and cannot be replaced by automation. Here are the top 10 roles that are expected to see high positive job growth despite AI, according to Forbes.

Artificial Intelligence Specialists
Australia is currently lacking in people who understand and can implement AI strategies. Employers are specifically looking for technology leaders (CIO/CTO, head of product, etc.) who know how to credibly manage teams made up of AI, data science and innovative product specialists.

Augmented Reality Designers and Developers
Companies are beginning to embrace augmented reality and machine learning programs, which has resulted in the demand for creative people who can design and develop applications that take advantage of these new chips and APIs.

Data Science Talent
Data scientists are in demand who have the skills to analyse deep data behind digital marketing strategies, inbound lead funnels and website CRO and UX. 

Mobile Application Development
Most consumers use mobile to make a purchasing decision. Thus, companies are under pressure to hire in-house mobile developers to create mobile apps and mobile responsive versions of websites. App developers are expected to be fluent in multiple programming languages, including Java, HTML5, Objective-C, C++, C#, Python and Swift.

Excellence in Cybersecurity
Given recent malicious hacking and cyber-security attacks, companies need to ensure they are protecting the data they capture behind the walls of their networks. Stakeholders are also becoming increasingly aware of cybersecurity concerns and therefore demanding companies address the issue by hiring more tech security specialists.

Talent for SaaS In the Cloud
Skills in cloud computing and SaaS are expected to rise in demand, as well as virtualisation skills in Amazon AWS, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware for private cloud hosting.

Ability to Adapt to New Tech
Employers need people who don’t just have strong IT skills, but also have a passion to learn and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing technology landscape. Thus soft skills will be almost just as important as technical skills.

Coding and Engineering Experience
Small and large companies are constantly coming up with new ways to build and use products and services that are more intuitive. As a result, an engineering mind and coding skills are now essential for the high-tech industry.

The impact of artificial intelligence and automation on the Australian IT industry is inevitable, so the best foot forward is to accept these changes and adapt. Jobseekers must investigate the skills of the future and ensure they can survive the changes and leaders should ensure their workforce has access to further learning and skill development courses.

If you need help or advice about your IT career, give us a call on 02 8853 4111 or email

Only 14% Of Your Staff Are Engaged At Work

Posted on May 4th, 2021

Only 14% of your staff are engaged at work

And this statistic includes your leadership team! Ouch. Well that’s according to a Gallup Poll taken in the last couple of years. A recent survey by LinkedIn is saying it’s more like 25%, but even that number is a worry.  Business owners I mix with felt that last year was an unusually high staff turnover year too. Sometimes staff turnover can be a good thing particularly when a company needs fresh skills and or a new attitude but the reality is watching your IP walk out the door is very costly and takes years to get back.Here’s a few quick but important tips you might be able to address right now so this year isn’t like last. 1. Communicate more – newsletters, regular One on Ones with every staff member, a walk around the block with your MD, feel your staffs pulse regularly.2.Give your staff feedback, give credit where credits due, learn to give compliments.3. Develop your staff, internal training, external training, set goals and help them develop them.4. Regular employee engagement surveys – perhaps an anonymous survey every 6 months and address issues if there’s a trend.
5. Keep people accountable – people genuinely want to contribute and be productive – help them do that by keeping them on track and if you find someone is deliberately not doing their job move them out of the team as soon as you can.  There’s nothing more disheartening for an employee if they’ve got a strong work ethic but their colleague doesn’t. 
 Written by Erica WestburyManaging DirectorNorwest Recruitment 

I Know What’s Driving You Crazy

Posted on May 4th, 2021

Yes I really do! I hear it all the time from business owners and Human Resources leaders in Greater Western Sydney and I’ve lived the fragility of it myself. And you’re getting sick of hearing how important having a good culture is!  You already know that.  How do you actually create a good culture? How do you keep it?  I thought I’d ask a friend and entrepreneur, Mark Lewis.  Mark has been studying culture and high performing teams since 2016 for his new venture Crewmojo.

Hi Mark. I know you’ve been studying company culture for the past couple of years whilst developing Crewmojo – what lead you to study culture and see there was a business in it?

I’ve experienced first hand the ineffectiveness of the old school ‘command and control’ style leadership and recognised a more modern approach can empower employees to deliver results – growing the company through happier and more successful employees.

Before Crewmojo you were in another tech start up in the finance industry that you built up and sold.  Did you have ‘culture’ issues during that time or have you always been a bit of a guru?  

Can I take you back a step earlier?  Before that business I was managing 80 staff in an ASX listed company and I was leading them the way I “thought” managers were supposed to work; I made decisions without engaging team members and I thought I needed to know all the answers. Which I eventually learnt was completely wrong!

When I started IP Payments (we grew it to a team of 50) I came with a very different approach. I engaged deeply with my team to understand how they could help us grow the business.  We would win business against our competitors who were far more resourced than us and I learnt to genuinely collaborate with employees in every role.

Crewmojo is an app that helps businesses who are interested in working on their culture.  Who are more likely to be your clients?  Is it certain industries?  Is there a commonality of companies wanting to work on their business?

Many sizes – CEO’s of smaller sized businesses – plus HR departments in larger businesses – a key theme is companies with a commoditised product or service.  If you can imagine an accounting firm or an insurance business where the product or service is exactly the same as can be bought down the road.  The only way to differentiate… is how they go about delivering the product, and the customer experience they wrap around it.  As I learnt early on in my leadership career – engaged happy staff have a big impact on service delivery which in turn can generate lasting customer advocates.

Why do you think it’s such a moving feast?  Why is a company culture so difficult to contain?  I know I’ve found it’s something I can never take for granted – one wrong hire and it feels like it falls flat again, or someone important doesn’t take regular annual leave and the tension in the team mounts. 

The work that we’re doing now is cognitive based – the more we are moving into this age of digital transformation we’re automating the mundane tasks; and we’re left with the cognitive tasks like building and maintaining relationships with customers, working in teams, problem solving, etc.  As soon as something annoys us or frustrates us, perhaps a miscommunication or injustice, our feelings of frustration immediately clouds our ability to do the cognitive work.  Our minds go straight to the personal injustice and it won’t be working on building a customer relationship.  Cognitive work needs us to be tuned in to be able to achieve a good outcome.  When something has frustrated us, for example a manager using their authority over us, rather than treating us respectfully, we can’t focus on the cognitive task at hand.  Maybe another example is If you’ve given feedback when it’s too late – “why didn’t you give me this feedback 6 months ago when you knew about it?”  and they sit there and feel terrible about it.

Are any industries more prone to have fragile cultures?  Does size of company matter? 

What we’re seeing in our research is it’s not the company, or size or industry – it comes down to managers.  If a manager takes the time to coach & develop their team, and show that they care, managers make all the difference.  Team members need to know it’s safe to communicate, that they won’t get shot down, even with a contentious topic.  A leader needs to build a foundation of trust in their team . So the challenge is not an industry or size of company problem.

If you could give tips to creating a good culture in a business what would they be?

Create a forward looking relationship between managers and team members – don’t judge what has happened; As a manager, how can I help you be successful, what can I do to help you on your journey?

Work towards quarterly goals – the environment is moving so fast the everything keeps changing, keeping goals quarterly will help to keep the reality alive.

Try to create a workplace of asking for feedback – “I’m about to do this presentation to a new client – what do you think of the way I’m presenting? How can I improve it?”  Be vulnerable and model learning and willingness to improve.

Employees have to take responsibility for their own their performance too, be proactive and communicate a status snapshot once a week – what have you achieved, what do you plan to achieve and any roadblocks you’re facing. Managers are not mind readers and without communication won’t know what’s going on in your world and may not think to ask.

As an employer, there’s been a big shift in what employees are looking for over the last few decades:

– In the 80’s you gave people a job

– In the 90’s you gave people a job with benefits

– In the 00’s people wanted a job with benefits and perks

– Now people are looking for a job, perks, benefits and fulfillment. 

– It’s all about fulfillment – personal growth, human relationships and an opportunity to make an impact.

Thanks for sharing your findings with us Mark.

Interview Conducted by Erica Westbury Managing Director of Norwest Recruitment

Mark Lewis is Co Founder and CEO of Crewmojo a People Management Platform.  Mark is a people focused entrepreneur with a “passion and curiosity for discovering new approaches to traditional ways”.  Since 2016 Mark has been researching leadership and developing high performing teams on his journey to develop Crewmojo. Check it out at:

Everyone’s Talking About…Being A Westie

Posted on May 4th, 2021

Well not everyone, but our Premier Gladys Berejiklian certainly was last week when I attended the Western Sydney Business Connection State of the Region Address at the William Inglis Hotel in Warwick Farm. Gladys thinks it’s a great time to be a Westie. I do too. Here’s why…

Our Premier has recently returned from an overseas visit where 17 European companies (mostly German) signed a memorandum of understanding to set up in Western Sydney in response to the opening of our new Aerotropolis.

The Aerotropolis will create 200,000 new jobs for the area. It’ll make a huge impact on industries including Supply Chain, Procurement, Manufacturing, Transport and our exciting new Space industry hub (20,000 new jobs in itself).

Western Sydney will have a huge injection of funding. $93 billion will be spent in NSW in the next four years and a third of that will be spent in Western Sydney. Think Health, Transport, Education etc.

Interestingly a third of all jobs in NSW are located in Western Sydney and if you hang around me you’ll have heard (many times) that Greater Western Sydney is the third largest economy in Australia.

Celestino is building the $5 billion Sydney Science Park in Western Sydney in Luddenham. Their goal is to create an internationally recognised epicentre for research and development. It’ll be be a community that will create 12,000 knowledge based jobs, cater to over 10,000 students and behome to over 10,000 residents. It’ll have it’s own STEM School, the CSIRO Innovation Zone and ‘Urban Living Lab’, educational and medical research, international and local businesses. Apparently recent university graduates are targeting Western Sydney to work in the best Technology companies due to the funding and the exciting tech start ups populating our area.  And on that note, there are now a selection of University campuses located out here too. Western Sydney is the focus for growth in high tech manufacturing, STEM and AI. There are great hopes (and serious investment clearly) for Western Sydney to be Australia’s Silicon Valley.

Looks like the future is now (sorry if that’s a bit over used?) in Western Sydney. Our entire business, social and urban landscape has changed since I moved here 17 years ago. We have better transport and access to other areas for a start, and that will keep growing. The jobs here compete in salary, benefits, opportunities and diversity with everywhere else in Australia. And hey, what about the people here? We’re pretty awesome too aren’t we? 

Written by Erica Westbury Managing Director of Norwest Recruitment.

Everyone’s Talking About…Working In Council

Posted on May 4th, 2021

Here’s another big employer and it’s such a fascinating ecosystem  I thought I’d meet up with an employee of the Hills Shire Council and find out. I went straight to the top and met with the General Manager, Michael Edgar.

First impressions of the offices are very modern, efficient and professional. There’s lots of natural light and it appears spacious and busy. The friendly Concierge triaged me into a waiting area upstairs and it wasn’t long before Michael came out to greet me and take me to a meeting room.

If Michael is typical of the Hills Council employees then I imagine it’d be a lovely place to work.  He is warm, friendly and talks very easily about his time at the Council.  This isn’t his first rodeo.  Michael started as a trainee at Blacktown Council and from there to the Blue Mountains and then to the Hills.  Now he leads around 600 people.

Given that Michael has worked at three different councils, I asked if he could paint me a picture of his perspective of this Council and the people in this shire. “I would describe this community as a ‘can do’ community.  People here really pitch in and look for Council to facilitate rather than do it all.  Not just in business but also the developers and  the volunteering network.  We have a lot of volunteers in aged services, bush care, regeneration – yes there’s a high degree of ‘can do’. This Council also takes on a businesslike approach. They would be the main differences.”

“I have really fond memories throughout my entire career working in councils – the people that work in Council are decent, good people – that’s not different between the councils.  It’s congenial and it feels good.  I find that people who work in councils are community minded; they know that what they do contributes to the community and its quality of life.  We are also very mindful that we are delivering our services to the community using largely their money so it’s important we make good use of it.  What is also important, is that the priorities and budgets are given oversight and direction by the Mayor and elected Councillors as the governing body of the organisation which adds another dimension to our work as we align ourselves with their direction, vision and values as elected officials.”

“What I think people not working in council are often surprised about is the range of positions we have. I think people think we just collect rates and rubbish” he said with a smile. “We have a wide range of positions from Childcare workers to Engineers, Planners, IT people, Accountants, Building Surveyors, Compliance Officers, Environmental Health Officers, Trainees, Journalists, Gardeners, Civil workers, Property Officers, Community services, Events staff, Marketing staff, Librarians, Customer services officers and many more supportive roles.  The diversity of business activities and professions is not always obvious.“

So, what attracts people to work at council?

“We are very supportive employers and the work is both challenging but rewarding.  We help people develop through education assistance, career development support and access to employee assistance programs. I’d like to think we also have a close collaboration between the leadership team, management and our employees. I can’t quote the exact figure off the top of my head but our staff turnover is in single figures. And, in all of my years in councils I’ve always experienced supportive working environments and have always sought to address areas of negativity or inappropriate behaviour. Work satisfaction is high in a council position.  Everything we are working on here affects the wellbeing of the community. Town Planners and Engineers would never have the opportunity to work on such incredible urban growth and local infrastructure projects as they do at council.  Can you imagine the satisfaction of working on projects and seeing new and existing communities come to life?  We work in ten year cycles but our planning must have a vision of the future – out past 30 years.  It’s incredibly fulfilling.  People like to engage in meaningful work.  Council work is meaningful.”

“We also get to collaborate with other organisations: RFS, Police, State Members of Parliament, Government agencies and many local businesses.  Let me give you an example of something we all did recently.  Remember the day that was rated as a catastrophic fire warning?  We had trucks parked down here filled with water as back up ready to go, we had people deployed in areas ready to assist the rural fire brigade and the community; we opened up the showground as an evacuation point for livestock and people turned up with their horses and dogs to keep them safe.  Even though many business experienced staff shortages that day, Council staff turned up to help the community that day because it’s important.”

“On another note, innovation is a priority, but let’s face it, the bins still have to be picked up but we can innovate how they’re picked up.  It’s immensely satisfying getting something passed that we’ve been working on for a long time. A great example of that is the lights on Glenhaven Road and Old Northern Road.  We worked really hard on that and campaigned for those lights over many years – finally the government allocated funds to match Council’s funds and now they’re in.  It’s really satisfying.”

Ok, it sounds very meaningful.  What are the challenges of working in a council?

“What is tough at the moment is that the workload is high. The biggest challenge we face is that the population is arriving faster than we expected and we’re playing catch up.  We’re working really hard to bring forward projects to help deal with increased cars and people which means there’s a high expectation of getting through the work quickly.  Let me put it this way, you don’t have to worry about watching the clocks.”

So, what excites you about the area?

“The $9 billion investment into world class public transport – the Metro. Nowhere else in the country would you get on a driverless train to work or home in the same way as the Metro.  The NSW Governments commitment to the north west metro was an absolute game changer for our Shire as it provides an alternative way to travel to, from and within our employment, residential and commercial precincts.  I’m also excited by the opportunity we’ll have by the Aerotropolis. The Aerotropolis will generate activity that otherwise wouldn’t be there. We’ve got an opportunity in the supply chain.  Imagine getting the fresh produce and flowers out internationally? We’ve got the opportunity right here in our basin.  We know there’s capacity constraints in Kingsford Smith – it’ll unlock capacity for us.”

What keeps you awake at night?

“Community safety” Michael said. “If I’m driving somewhere and I hear over the radio there’s been a vicious dog attack, my ears prick up and I don’t want to hear it’s in the North West of Sydney.  And from a bigger picture – how do we keep the community safe as the world changes around us and how do we continue to provide our services that continues to adds value to the lives of our residents? When I think about safety, I also think a lot about the safety of our workers. That’s what keeps me awake at night”.

Aren’t we lucky to live in Australia where there are people in our community worrying about or safety and coming up with ways to keep us safe?

Written by Erica Westbury Managing Director of Norwest Recruitment.

Erica Westbury is the Managing Director of Norwest Recruitment a premium recruitment agency servicing clients and job seekers throughout Greater Western Sydney since 2002. Erica is the Chair of Foster Care Angels and a judge for Telstra Business Awards.

p. 02 8853 4111

Everyone’s Talking About…Working At ResMed

Posted on May 4th, 2021

We’ve been interviewing job seekers in the Norwest Business Park for 17 years and I’ve lost count of the number of people who show an interest in working for ResMed or Woolworths. They both have an impressive presence in Norwest, but they remain a bit of an enigma. What goes on in there? It’s like driving past the largest house in your suburb and wondering who lives there and what they do.
I spent a couple of hours with the Head of Global Talent and although we’ve recruited for ResMed for many years, I learnt a lot and came away incredibly inspired. I get it! I want to work there too!
I think we all know the Australian success story of how ResMed started, but here’s a snapshot.
Just over 30 years ago, Professor Colin Sullivan and colleagues at University of Sydney developed nasal continuous positive airway pressure, the first successful non-invasive treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. He approached Baxter Healthcare. They helped to explore it but decided sleep apnea wasn’t a market they wanted to invest in further. Dr Peter Farrell was an employee of Baxter at the time and he saw the commercial potential and purchased the sleep technology from them. Peter founded ResMed (short for respiratory medicine) in 1989 and its now a global, publicly listed organisation employing 7,000 staff in 120 countries; it’s annual turnover is $7 billion and current share price at time of writing is $152.25 USD. Clearly. he was on to something. Today, Peter is still very hands on and his son Mick is the CEO.
ResMed’s Global Headquarters is at Bella Vista on a 12 hectare site. For anyone that hasn’t been inside (the security is very high) it’s a little like a new university campus, or an exclusive resort. The grounds were designed as an ‘ideas stream’; a continuous body of cascading pools and waterfalls. The driveway winds past beautifully landscaped gardens towards the office buildings. The Reception area is like a hotel lobby with impressive artwork and a huge open plan foyer. There are awards lined up and everyone’s greeted by a warm Receptionist who’s been welcoming visitors to ResMed since they opened their doors.

We started to chat in their lovely café on the ground floor and I asked the question, “So, why do people like working here? Why do you think it’s such an attractive place to work?”
“We’ve just done some work on our employee value proposition and our Net Promoter Score is really high. We are people helping people. Our purpose is to keep people at home and out of hospitals. And, we’re doing really cool things! We’re all about designing. Right now, we’re working on some really cool partnerships and awe inducing tech, we are changing the healthcare landscape. Our mission is to change 20 million lives by 2020.” She said.
“When you work at ResMed, what you do has impact. We have created this industry. That feels really good. And we’ve got far more exciting things happening in the future. The culture here is incredible. We’re given true autonomy to act and make decisions. I personally think that’s so unique in the workplace. That’s why the engagement survey is so high – people are given responsibility and we aren’t making bottle tops for a living. Staff are very motivated and have a purpose. We ask people to have imagination and build the job they want. Everyone has that licence.” Katie continued.
“We want people to be free to be themselves – we’ve recently started an initiative to dress for your day. We want inclusion and diversity; we know what same/same people bring – same/same results. We are all about outcomes in ResMed. Conformity stunts innovation. We are constantly thinking about how we build innovative teams.”
“We employ people here who speak up and we give them the autonomy to act – Do Step 1 and if Step 2 doesn’t make sense why do it? Change Step 2. We take the medical regulation here very seriously and we adhere to that but we are extremely driven to innovate and think differently.”

“Another reason people feel fulfilled is that we manufacture onsite – possibly nowhere in the world does a Design Engineer walk over to the next building to see their concept come to life.”
They feel like Google for Healthcare.
When I asked about the more tangible benefits of working at ResMed, the response was a little offhand when she listed a few “Gym onsite, pool, exercise classes, financial advice, free breast screening, superannuation with fees paid by ResMed, employee share scheme…” I felt there was possibly more on the list and as incredibly generous as they are the feeling was that these things weren’t as important to staff as everything else we’d talked about and why they have the enviable retention rate.
Personally, I’ve seen people we’ve placed into ResMed over the years carve out their careers. If they have the right attitude they can go from division to division. An example of this is one of their current Presidents started as an Industrial Design Graduate 20 years ago. There are plenty more success stories.
So, there’s a few of the reasons staff attrition for ResMed is incredible. And it is incredible, 6.3 years is their average tenure. Unbelievable for such a dynamic business. On average, global tenure for business is 18 months.
The truth though is that not everyone is cut out to work there. That’s why, if there’s staff turnover it’s within the first 6 months. This is not a company you join to “maintain” or “coast”. Only “grafters” will survive. Despite there being 7,000 employees globally and 1,400 here in Bella Vista, the staff numbers are lean for the company’s expectations and if you aren’t a driver and can’t make things happen then you won’t achieve the outcomes expected.
So what does it take to work at ResMed? What they look for is: “resilience, GRIT, willingness to learn, someone who will provide insights and help us see difference. Someone with imagination.”
And the future of ResMed? Let me tell you it’s exciting. If it’s not a household name right now it will be – they are bringing sleep and respiratory health straight to the consumer – think pop up stores in shopping centres.
Stay tuned…I’m having a coffee (Ok, a G&T) with a Woolworths employee in the coming days and I’ll give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work there too.

Written by Erica Westbury Managing Director of Norwest Recruitment.

Erica Westbury is the Managing Director of Norwest Recruitment a premium recruitment agency servicing clients and job seekers throughout Greater Western Sydney since 2002. Erica is the Chair of Foster Care Angels and a judge for Telstra Business Awards. 

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