Values as the North Star

In an era where organisations often articulate their values merely as words on a wall, St Nicholas sets itself apart by not only modelling its core values, but by weaving these values into the very fabric of its identity.

St Nicholas’ inaugural Values Awards, presented in December 2023, signify the provider of early childhood education and care’s commitment to cultivating a workplace culture where values are not just statements but guiding principles that shape daily operations.

By honouring team members with awards aligned to each of the Catholic Diocese’s of Maitland-Newcastle’s five core values — Compassion, Hope, Integrity, Justice, and Participation — St Nicholas transcends the commonplace, forging a deeper connection between the organisation and its workforce, and fosters a community where shared values serve as the driving force behind collective success.

In an effort to weave the spirit of recognition into the daily tapestry of the award recipients’ environment, St Nicholas’ Executive Leadership Team took to the road to present the awards directly to honourees at their home centres.

“I feel honoured and privileged that my colleagues took the time to recognise the work that I do,” said Michelle Summers, an Educational Leader at St Nicholas Early Education Lochinvar, after receiving a St Nicholas’ Hope Award.

“I credit my success to the children I have been privileged to teach, as well as the Educators and Directors, both past and present that I have been lucky enough to work with.”

David Healy, Executive Director of St Nicholas, said the introduction of these annual awards highlights a proactive effort from the organisation to create a rewarding and values-driven workplace.

“Amidst unprecedented staffing shortages across the early childhood sector, we recognise the importance of celebrating the significant contribution our educators make to our organisation and the communities we serve,” he said.

“St Nicholas' Values Awards form an integral component of this endeavour by not only acknowledging our team members’ outstanding efforts and achievements, but also reinforcing the magnitude of St Nicholas’ core values in every aspect of our operations.”

The Awards distinguish themselves from mere token recognition, embodying a genuine commitment to fostering the professional and personal development of team members. Each recipient is rewarded with a prize designed to support their career growth.

Notably, eligible awardees are gifted the opportunity to attend the Early Childhood Australia Conference in September 2024, providing a platform for valuable networking and exposure to best practices.

 St Nicholas’ commitment to investing in Pathways’ Programs and retaining talent was also highlighted through practical technology packs being awarded to junior trainees to support with their ongoing learning and development.

The future at St Nicholas is not just a continuation but an evolution, promising exciting developments in 2024 and beyond that will further enrich the employee experience and amplify the culture of excellence that defines the organisation.

St Nicholas is set to introduce a forward thinking Rewards Program in the coming months which aims to recognise collective achievements, demonstrating that the Values Awards are not just a moment in time; they are the stars that form the constellation of shared success at St Nicholas.

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Alexander Foster

Alexander Foster is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

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