TEAM MEMBER STORIES – JORDANA McCALLUM
￼￼Human Resources Business Partner Jordana McCallum had never envisaged herself working in the arboriculture industry, but a temporary contract with Active Tree Services two years ago quickly opened her eyes to a sector she describes as both ‘exciting and ever-evolving’.
Jordana explains she had initially come from a hospitality background, and it was an industry she grew up in, courtesy of the fact her family owns and runs the Lonsdale Hotel south of Adelaide.
“It’s a traditional family-owned and operated pub that my dad has run for 40 years,” Jordana says.
“Me and my brother had a great childhood where we pretty much grew up in the front bar.”
By her teens, Jordana was working in the family business, serving customers. She also soon took on co-ordinating the human resources side of things while also completing a double degree in business and psychology.
Jordana says working in a family-run pub was an experience that afforded her a hardworking mentality while also providing a great insight into customer service.
“I’m really proud of what my family has achieved with the hotel, but my parents were always supportive of me taking whatever path I chose, and they encouraged me to spread my wings,” she says.
In 2019, that path saw Jordana working in agency recruitment, and it was here that an opportunity to work with Active Tree Services on a temporary basis arose. After only two weeks, she was offered a full-time job and hasn’t looked back since.
“I love the variety of this industry and the fact no two days are the same,” she says.
“It’s complicated, it’s exciting and it’s challenging, which makes it incredibly rewarding.”
Jordana started as a Human Resources Officer but was quickly promoted to her current position as Human Resources Business Partner.
The role sees her working with management covering South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, and the Fleet Department to provide advice and guidance on topics like employment law and managing underperformance and discipline.
“It’s a traditional HR generalist role, with vast amounts of variation within the work,” she notes.
“I come in once a verbal offer has been made to a potential staff member and assist management with all facets of the employee lifecycle.”
“I also look at things like human resources analytics including staff turnover, and initiatives like rewards and recognition in a bid to retain talent.”
Jordana says Active’s commitment to retaining valued staff involves offering competitive wages, while also ensuring people have all the equipment and support that they need to do their job.
“It can be tough out there in the field, so it’s about making crews’ lives easy so they want to stay with us and make a difference,” she says. “It’s also the simple things like thanking people for a job well done with a coffee and a thank you card from management.”
A key part of her role involves working with management to identify talented team members for further career opportunities, and Jordana notes this is one of her favourite parts of the job.
“A large percentage of the leaders at Active have come from the field and risen through the ranks. We’re really proud of that and we always put any available positions out to the field crews before we advertise,” she says.
“It’s exciting to identify talent and offer people opportunities for advancement. I love writing congratulations letters when our existing staff are offered new positions, because I know how excited they will be when they get that letter.”
Ultimately, Jordana describes her job as providing advice to ensure team members are both happy and safe.
“Given this is a high-risk, and dangerous industry, a lot of the performance management comes down to safety. It’s our number one priority and we can’t set the bar low for that,” she says.
It’s this variety of tasks and focus areas that Jordana says she loves about working at Active. But she notes the job is made all the better by the people she has the opportunity to work with.
As a woman working in a traditionally male industry, she says the team at Active is consistently respectful and unfailingly professional.
“I continue to be excited and challenged and this is an industry that’s always evolving,” she says.
“My advice to others would be give the arboriculture industry a go – I guarantee you’ll fall in love with it like I did.”