Rebecca Herbert and Tim Esmonde on working at Nous Group

13 November 2019 5 min. read
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Nous Group recently featured as the only management consultancy on Great Place to Work’s annual list of Australia’s top employers. Two of the firm’s professionals – Tim Esmonde and Rebecca Herbert – reflect on their careers at the company.

Australian-origin management consultancy Nous – which boasts a team of roughly 400 consultants across eight nation-wide offices (with its latest addition launched in Darwin in August) – was recently named as a top-ten local employer on the annual release compiled by human capital research firm Great Place to Work, its fourth such appearance on the list.

“This recognition shows we are continuing to offer an engaging work experience to our team. I am pleased that so many people are building fulfilling careers at Nous Group, and this quality work environment supports us to deliver superb results to our network of clients,” commented Nous Group founder and managing director Tim Orton on the consultancy’s latest accolade.

To learn more, spoke with two of the firm’s senior members; Melbourne-based director Tim Esmonde, who joined Nous at the beginning of 2017 following eight years working as an independent consultant; and Rebecca Herbert, a Senior Consultant currently based out of Nous’s Canberra office who has been with the firm for the past four years.

Rebecca Herbert and Tim Esmonde on working at Nous Group

“It’s a combination of the work and the people,” says Herbert, when asked what are the most attractive elements of working at Nous. “Our clients only pick up the phone when they are doing something new, or when they need help with a difficult issue. Either way, that makes for challenging work with high stakes. What makes this more energising than stressful is the people of Nous.”

For Esmonde, Nous’ reputation for engaging assignments and supportive associates preceded itself. “I had known about Nous for many years having had previous colleagues work here who enjoyed the work, the clients they worked with and their colleagues,” he said of his decision to seek a permanent role with the firm, and desire to work with experts in their fields across a range of sectors and clients.

In addition to its clientele, case-load, and employee culture, the firm itself – and in particular its business approach – also proved a major selling point for both recruits. “Ultimately I was taken by its reasons for being, and positive influence for the type of work that Nous does,” states Esmonde, with Herbert adding; “Nous’ commitment to positive influence is why I’m here – it’s why I applied and it’s why I stay.”

She continues; “It informs the clients we work with and the work we do, because we’re not interested in spending our time on something that doesn’t matter or won’t work. So we work with disability service providers because helping them makes the lives of people with disability better.” Herbert further cites another upside of such an example; “That kind of commitment also attracts great people.”

People and diversity

Although, for example, Esmonde along with his many duties as a director delivers projects through the firm’s Digital and Design offering, ‘people’ are a reoccurring theme for the pair of ‘Nousers’. Herbert: “My work is figuring out what makes organisations tick – their people. This often involves figuring out the mix of people a client needs, how they should work together and what good leadership looks like.”

As should naturally follow, when the focus is on people, both professional and personal development and diversity are also major factors. In his role, Esmonde supports the capability development of colleagues and plays an active part in the firm’s Pride network for LGBTIQ+ colleagues and allies, while Herbert is a member of the firm’s Organisational Performance and Leadership service line.

“We offer an engaging work experience to our team. This work environment supports us to deliver superb results to our network of clients.”
– Tim Orton

“It’s a broad remit,” she says of her role, citing a diverse set of clients ranging from the Australian Federal Police to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and National Disability Insurance Agency. “I’ve worked on very different projects in this space, from helping clients become more inclusive of a diverse workforce, to spelling out what someone’s day-to-day will look like after a massive change initiative.”

Here, the firm’s internal view to diversity in recruitment serves not just its employees, but from a personnel perspective also its clients. “At the end of the day, we have people from a diverse range of professional and personal backgrounds, tackling problems from different angles to help us find solutions that none of us could have alone,” states Herbert, further noting that this feeds back into professional development.

Professional support

Describing development at Nous like a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book, she says, “Because our work, our clients and our people are so diverse you’re always finding something new to learn. So we teach each other. Everyone has a performance coach who has their eye on their longer-term career, but it’s also about knowing who to talk to around the place.”

Herbert elaborates; “We have economists who run “Economics 101” sessions for anyone who’s interested, leadership coaches who can help you become more influential, and R-wizards who will teach you how to code. It all depends on what you’re interested in. And when you’re interested in a bigger-ticket item, then Nous supports you to work part-time while completing a master’s or a PhD.”

Despite a resume spanning 25 years in the public and private sectors, Esmonde, too, notes the supportive environment, albeit having taken some time to adjust to the firm’s self-management culture following his long experience with hierarchical institutions. “Nous provides me the right infrastructure, support and expectations of the Director role so that I can both feel and know that I am trusted to do a great job.