Since joining as a casual more than six years ago, Fi McNicoll’s career at WiseTech has evolved and grown in ways she never imagined. Fi now leads operations across the People and Talent teams with team members in 11 countries, and says that she can still see herself loving what she does for many years to come.
We spoke to Fi about how she’s shaped her career at WiseTech, what makes our people culture different, and what excites her about the future.
Can you share a bit about your career journey at WiseTech?
I joined WiseTech more than six years ago as a casual in the Talent team. From there, I moved to the Legal team helping out the general counsel at the time, before moving into the People team. I actually come from an operational background so, when I joined the Talent team, I naturally looked for ways that we could improve some of the systems and processes. From there, I built a career in people-related operations and am now taking all my learnings and applying them to our end-to-end people processes and systems.
When I started as a casual, I honestly thought I was just going to be here for a couple of weeks! Instead, however, what I found was a company that has allowed me to grow my career in ways I could never have expected. My experience at WiseTech has been unlike anything I have experienced at previous companies – I have had the freedom to step into new areas, grow my knowledge and build a team of smart and dedicated people. At WiseTech, there are opportunities to get involved in whatever you're really passionate about. I love that there's no formal hierarchy, there's no ladder that you have to climb to get somewhere, there's no box to say, “this is the role that you're doing and this is the only type of role that you can do”.
What does it mean to “shape your career” at WiseTech?
When I started at WiseTech, I wasn’t looking specifically at linear role progression, it was more about just seeing opportunities to help and offering my skills. Even though the company has changed so much in six years, I think that's still true today, where you get involved in projects and then you can shape a role around your skills and interests.
As a team lead, I love that I’ve got the freedom to help individuals tailor their career path to their skills. For example, in People Operations, we look to bring someone in and teach them the basics of what we do, then find out what really interests them, what drives them, and then we shape their role around them.
While this can bring additional complexity to leadership, it means our people are doing the thing they really love every day, and this makes it worth the extra thought and effort. In my team we've had such low attrition despite having a lot of people who are early in their career. They’ve chosen to stay with us rather than move on and I think that comes down to the opportunity to grow, progress and do what you love here.
What do you think makes WiseTech different?
I do a lot of the interviews for our team, and what I say to candidates is that this is a company where you will work really, really hard, so you have to really want it. And then I tell them all the things that that brings. The fact that you'll never do the same day of work twice, you'll always be learning something new every day, you'll always be challenged. If that’s the kind of job you want, and you want to be engaged, excited and learning every day, then this is the place for you.
I think what makes us different in terms of what we do versus other businesses is that we offer the opportunity to really build your career and make it what you want to be. For example, every new technical person who comes in goes through our 6-month rotation program and gets to explore different teams. We offer a version of this in People Operations as well to allow our team members to learn new areas and round out their experience. That's not something that every company gives people a chance to do but it helps people find where in the business they want to be and we, as a company, are willing to put that time into them.
Working in the space that I do, I have the chance to interact with so many different people across the business and I thrive on the energy, diversity and passion I encounter every day. We have a pretty rigorous recruitment process, but that means that we really do get the best of the best here - the intelligence, capabilities and integrity of the people that we bring in is really phenomenal.
Everyone that I work with each day is engaged and passionate, and I don't feel like there's anyone at WiseTech who's just ticking boxes. Everyone's bringing their whole selves to work every day. If you're having a day where you’re a bit low on energy, there’s always someone else who comes to work full of energy and enthusiasm that you can bounce off. I've never worked anywhere with as many passionate and intelligent people as we have here, and that's what keeps me going every day.
How do you see your career developing in the future?
In terms of my career, I never thought I would end up in the people space, and I think that speaks to the opportunities that we get here to explore our full range of skills. My background is in operations and I love making things work, and now I get to do this while also getting the satisfaction of being of service to all of our WiseTech team members globally.
Where do I see myself going after WiseTech? I don't know if I'll ever be done with WiseTech, I think it will stay with me. There’s just been so many opportunities for me to grow. Prior to WiseTech when I was a little bit younger, I ended up changing jobs every couple of years, looking for the right way to grow my career and stretch myself. Over time you learn that there's no company that's going to give you everything that you want, but at WiseTech, I’ve discovered a company that challenges me whilst also supporting me and that keeps me engaged every day.
When I look ahead in five years or ten years’ time, I can see how I could still be here, still be interested in what I'm doing and still be really engaged. So I think that's the difference.