As part of International Women’s Week 2021, Nicole Galliford spoke about her role in human resources, navigating challenges throughout COVID-19, and the best advice she has to share.
Nicole is Babcock Australasia’s Human Resources Manager for People & Business Performance, based in Adelaide, South Australia.
Tell us about your role as a Human Resources Manager.
My role at Babcock is to partner with the Defence Australia, Finance & Corporate, Strategy & Future Business and People & Business Performance teams to deliver a people strategy that supports their business.
What has your job involved during the COVID-19 pandemic? Has it changed at all?
I commenced my role with Babcock during the pandemic, which meant I had my laptop couriered to me at home where I was remotely inducted. Because I started work within our current pandemic environment, I have been working within an agile environment from day one. During this time, my observation is that the pandemic has really changed our mind-set around how we work collaboratively and what our expectations of teamwork should look like. It has helped us to focus on what is important, rather than what keeps us busy.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced during the pandemic? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I found in starting a new role during the pandemic was to understand the new industry I was working in and to get to know people without meeting them face-to-face. It was a new way to be inducted and join an organisation, as I had none of the usual access to a site in the way we are usually inducted. Once some restrictions were lifted and working in the office was being introduced again, I found that every day was a learning experience, from finding the facilities and printer, to meeting my team and passing other staff in hallway, to later learn they were a senior leader I had not yet put a face to the name. I found the best way to develop relationships was to call people and introduce myself, ask them if they had time to chat about their business and make time to meet with them to understand what they did and ask questions. I spent a great deal of time getting to know people and I used every new interaction to build my understanding of the business and the people within it. Then, when I can get to the office, I take up the opportunity to meet with people face to face.
Looking back on your career, is there any advice you would give your younger self?
I have been lucky to have worked with some exceptional leaders in my career. Every one of them has opened up doors for me, challenged me in different ways and allowed me to work on opportunities that have expanded my views and allowed me to learn. The advice I would give to my younger self is to give every opportunity a go (don’t wait for things to come to you) and have confidence in what you bring to the table. Sometimes you know more than you think, and what you don’t know, you can always learn or work with a great partner who you can learn from.
Who or what have you found particularly inspiring / supportive over the last 12 months and why?
Jacinda Ardern from a female leadership perspective because she is compassionate and driven, with great family values and a strong leadership approach. Within Babcock, Managing Director – Defence, Andy Davis has always been extremely supportive and is consistently optimistic, open and approachable. Andy is always willing to listen and consider new ideas, challenge ways of thinking, and ask people to look at something in a new way.