It’s almost twenty years since Tanya Cole started Hessel Group (formerly NannySA) after defining a gap in the industry. The then mum of two young children had been trying to find a carer for her kids and kept running up against brick walls.
Finally, the fledgeling mum found a nanny through an agency but the experience was less than positive.
“I ended up employing someone, however, no information about the nanny was exchanged, the person had no baby experience and the agency failed to make further contact until the employee had worked in my home for more than two weeks. After that experience, I felt as though a professional Nanny Service was required.”
Cole turned her negative into a positive and put a plan into action to develop her own nanny service. With a background in human resources, Cole saw the advantages of providing a more sophisticated process that would better screen applicants and match them with families.
“I could see the benefits of providing home care where families were interviewed, applicants were interviewed and appropriate qualifications, police and medical checks were carried out. I also felt that interviewing families more thoroughly would help to determine their needs more accurately, complying with a duty of care.”
From this process, families were sent profile overviews before they accepted an applicant for interviews, and times were confirmed for the meetings with suitably qualified and experienced candidates.
According to Cole being a successful carer, nanny, or babysitter in the home requires more than a genuine love of children.
“Our field staff can work long hours in private family homes and most work involves minimal supervision. Parents rely on our carers to keep their most prized possession, their children, safe, well-cared for and educated – providing the highest level of childcare so that they can fulfil their personal or professional commitments.”
Cole says all their nannies and carers have key skills that align with the Hessel Group’s values and provide stimulating activities for children in their care is essential.
Since scaling up NannySA to become Hessel Group, Cole is now able to provide families of all types with assistance, including those with children with special needs. The group also provides training for early childcare, disability and youth work training, care for vulnerable children and creche services for children whose parents attend corporate events.
“We support families in sourcing quality care by listening to each family and asking the right questions to ascertain the type of care they need. We take the time to listen and learn about each child and their specific needs which helps us source the right carer in their most personal space, their home.”
Every Hessel Group carer has their credentials checked and every carer is required to have appropriate certificates such as Child Safe Environments, First Aid, DCSI Child Related Clearances.
Understanding no two families are the same, Cole puts great stead in pre-interviews to assist in tailoring a solution to fit a client’s needs. Cole says she is committed to providing innovative options to assist families.
“Our business mission includes the motto ‘dedicated to nurturing all generations, we support, we educate, we provide solutions’,” she says.
“Through Hessel’s Care and Support arm, we have increased services to become the largest approved in-home care provider in South Australia and the sole provider of the federally funded Nanny Pilot Program in SA. Hessel has been providing care workers for Out of Home Care Services for the Department of Child Protection (DCP) and is an approved provider for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the South Australian Disability Services Provider Panel (DSPP) through the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI). Hessel provides childcare to corporate, community and private clients through a mobile creche service where care, equipment and activities for children are provided for events.”
In 2015, Cole established Hessel International to provide high-quality educational training and materials globally. The first office opened in Songjiang, Shanghai, China.
At the core of Hessel’s remarkable success has been a long-term strategy of providing continued training and evolving service options for its families and staff.
“The areas we are responding to relate to workforce development, long-term unemployment and the delivery of services to vulnerable and marginalised families.”
With almost twenty years of operations and experience in the sector under her belt, Cole tells KBB she is constantly seeking new ways to bring value to the business. The Hessel Group also run a foundation, which provides services for children and young people under care and guardianship. The group was recently acknowledged as a finalist in the Telstra Business Awards.
“Being a finalist in the Telstra Business Awards provided us with the opportunity to stop and take a (quick) breath to recognise the hard work, dedication and passion of the entire team. It is important for us to keep looking forward toward new opportunities, ventures and the journey that inspires each and every one of us to wake up and tackle each day’s challenges.”