Where do you thrive?
In big companies? Small ones? In a specific industry or sector?
How do you know?
Radhika Nichlani knows from experience. Having enjoyed fulfilling and impactful roles with some very different businesses, including Accenture, Specsavers and IMC, she moved to Global Vision Media (GVM) in March 2018. After just one year with the Digital Learning Company, she’s just been promoted to General Manager (Operations) and is truly energised. We sat down with her to find out why.
A diverse journey in instructional design
At the heart of Radhika’s story is ‘instructional design’ (ID). For those who don’t know, ID is about creating learning experiences and materials in a way that results in people acquiring and applying knowledge and skills. It’s also where Radhika kicked off an exciting career in Learning and Development.
“I’d studied clinical psychology and was fortunate in 2008 to happen upon Accenture India. They were looking for someone with a psych background for an instructional design role. I joined and really enjoyed it – that job really set me on this path.”
It certainly did. Over three years with the global business, Radhika moved into senior positions in the instructional design space, working in India and then Melbourne. She then switched things up, bringing her ID skills to the healthcare industry, before joining a small online learning operation in Melbourne, followed by two years in retail with Specsavers. We ask Radhika what motivated her to move around.
“I wanted to experience how instructional design works in different industries and contexts. It was very valuable to see the differences and commonalities across such diverse organisations. But in my previous job at Specsavers, I realised I was really missing the feel of working in a small business. That’s one reason why I joined GVM as a project manager for online learning.”
Radhika spent a year in that role at “Global” (the team’s pet name for the business), working closely with every member of the team on process improvement, improving the way people work and understanding how they feel and behave. She loved it but says that her contribution slowly and naturally evolved into exploring questions like ‘Do we have the right people?’ and ‘Are we doing things in the most effective and efficient way?’ As a result, Radhika got involved in recruitment and performance reviews, and her subsequent promotion to General Manager (Operations) was the obvious next step.
Ownership and engagement: “We designed our own office!”
It’s clear that Radhika loves what she does and who she does it for. She speaks with energy and enthusiasm about how GVM’s size and culture empower people to learn, impact and connect with each other. She proudly shares three stories which capture these themes beautifully. The first relates to the ownership and involvement that GVM’s people experience:
“I loved the moment when we transitioned from our rental office space to our very own. The team came together to design the new place, including choosing the flooring, the lights and everything in between. We’re so proud to tell people we have the most beautiful office in the heart of Melbourne, and that we created it.”
Radhika goes on to share a story about impact and visibility:
“Our team developed app books on cyber safety for indigenous Australians. This was a very important project and working in it was a truly thrilling experience. It was also high profile – we even had interest from the Prime Minister’s Office.”
The third story Radhika shares is wonderful for its simple illustration of a special employee celebration and experience:
“Our Christmas party was one of a kind. We had a tennis-themed event and guest visitors Sam Groth and Storm Sanders came out to celebrate with us. We got to play some tennis games with the two champions – It was truly special and so carefully thought out. As thank you gifts from GVM, the team were also given a ground pass to the Australian Open! It just shows how much Peter cares for who he always calls the ‘A’ team.”
True leadership, true diversity and inclusion
Peter Hawkins comes up repeatedly in our conversation with Radhika, particularly when she speaks about why she loves working at GVM. As the Company’s Managing Director and Radhika’s manager, he’s clearly had a huge and positive impact on her.
“You don’t think a workplace; you think a manager. Peter is a very special person in the way he views the world – the lessons he’s learned, what he’s passionate about and what he wants to do for the community. His passion is contagious! We learn so much from him every day and he has shaped a culture which is very open – about how we’re feeling, about what we need. We educate our clients on health and wellbeing so it’s great that Peter practices what we preach. He’s so particular about it.”
Radhika shares that Peter and GVM work hard to drive diversity and inclusion, in a workplace where people truly belong.
“Right from my job application and interview, I could feel it. They asked me “What can you bring to GVM, not just from a skills perspective but as a person. And what are your personal values? What matters to you at work and beyond? I was actually looking for some flexibility, as I was doing some home tutoring for Syrian refugees as well as foster caring for guide dogs. They want this in their people, because it’s how you get fresh and diverse perspectives.”
The available workforce in GVM’s industry is still skewed towards men, but they have moved the dial in the past 12 months, bringing more women into the team. Their diversity of nationalities is also impressive.
“We’ve brought people in who have changed the dynamic and the approach. In our small team, we have people from North America, South America, Bangladesh, India, Australia and beyond. This really adds to us. In a creative industry, it helps to have people with different perspectives.”
We refer back to Radhika’s past career moves, and ask where she’ll go next. She replies without hesitation:
“I see myself in this role for a very long time. I’m really passionate about it, and about GVM. In the day to day, it’s not about your job; it’s about a workplace that feels like home. Everyone comes to work each day just wanting to be here.”
“Here,” she says, “you can be you.”