Erica Westbury – Norwest Recruitment
Member of TEC 31, Chaired by Graeme Jenkins
Sydney, New South Wales
Norwest Recruitment is one of Australia’s most established boutique staffing firms, specifically servicing the North West of Sydney. Its Southwest Recruitment brand covers the eponymous region in the city, while the company has also opened an office in the Melbourne CBD.
Venturing into a market that was, at the time, not fully developed, managing director Erica Westbury needed all the help she could get – which was why she turned to TEC.
- Reinvigorating a saturated market
- Dealing with a constantly changing landscape
- Maintaining an identity while looking forward
Mixing the old with the new
Erica’s story began just over a decade ago, when she moved to the North West of Sydney while on maternity leave. Even with the task of looking after her 10 month-old twins on her hands, Erica’s shrewd business acumen allowed her to detect a niche in a packed recruitment market that could be filled.
Although there was a substantial number of recruitment agencies servicing the thriving business hub of the North West, particularly in the Norwest Business Park, Erica noted that many didn’t offer the premium-level professional service she valued. Instead, many were “haphazard in their service approach”, providing a poor customer experience, and Erica sought to rectify that.
Norwest Recruitment’s status today is testament to the success with which she turned this around – however, there were hurdles along the way.
“I’ve found it very difficult to forecast in the last few years. It’s hard to work out where the market’s going, and how business confidence will change.”
Another recurring issue for Norwest is the need to strike the right balance between sticking to its traditions and core values, while also looking forward and adapting to change.
“We need to be innovative, while at the same time providing our customers what they know and love about us. It’s therefore a challenge to stick with the basics and do what they want from us, while keeping our other eye on the changing landscape, and figuring out what we need to do to stay relevant.”
Doing the same thing better
“I simply thought I could do it better,” Erica recalls, when asked about her response to the lack of quality she witnessed at the business park.
“I said to myself: ‘You know what, I don’t want to be all things to all people’. There was plenty of work even on just that one street [of the Norwest Business Park]. That was going to be my niche, and I set out to own the area.”
Coupled with enormous commercial and residential growth in the North West, this was an opportunity that Erica simply couldn’t let slip – and she certainly grabbed it with both hands.
Through its numerous arms, Norwest Recruitment now provides both permanent and temporary solutions to clients spanning a broad range of industries, from accounting and finance to logistics, IT and HR.
Recognised as one of the best
With 20 dedicated full-time staff in its books, Norwest is committed to helping businesses grow by finding superior local talent. It is this motivation and drive for results that has helped the company scoop a plethora of awards over the years – the most recent of which was the 2014 Australian Small Business Champion Award.
“We were really excited to win because it’s a renowned national award,” Erica says, reflecting on the company’s victory in the recruitment services category.
“There are so many recruiters out there and it was very exciting for us to be recognised as one of the best. It was a very proud moment for the whole team, and moreover, it’s a testimony to the hard work of our staff.”
She adds that it was “a real morale booster [that] gives credibility to what we do”.
The company’s slew of other accolades – such as being listed on the BRW Fast 100 – certainly didn’t come about by taking the easy route of business.
And as someone who loves dealing with people and sharing ideas, it is no surprise that Erica cites her TEC network as a reliable source when she needs a helping hand. Having been a member for more than six years, she says the speakers and peers she encounters at TEC have proven to be invaluable.
“I’m also continually being inspired by the other TEC members. Just by turning up once a month I stay very motivated. I see what the other members are doing and it makes me want to be a better leader.”