From Business Support to Department Manager

“What?” was Helene Haukland's reflex when she became Department Manager. Now, she shares her journey from Business Support to leading Omega 365 Consulting's international projects.

Published: 23 February 2024
After eleven years at Omega 365, Helene Haukland has moved from her position in Business Support to Department Manager at Omega 365 Consulting.

She started at the age of 23 in Business Support, where she supported department managers. Ten years later, Helene Haukland was promoted to Department Manager for Omega 365 Consulting, making her one of the youngest in Omega 365's history. In her role as Global Project Consultant Manager, she leads the work on many of Omega 365 Consulting's projects that take place outside Norway. It is here that she excels at what she does best: working with people. 

“I collaborate with Norwegian clients who have projects overseas, focusing on all consultancy work and activities abroad that aren't handled by our other international offices. We have a strong partnership with them.”  

The assignments Haukland manages are primarily oil and gas projects handled from Norway, where they require personnel with experience from the Norwegian industry. They mostly involve travel as expatriates, where you temporarily move to another country to work. This requires the right person for the right project, as well as everything from local tax rules to work visas, residence permits and everything else needed to complete the assignment. 

“To solve that, we need to be up to date on the regulations, which vary from country to country and are constantly changing. There are no one-size-fits-all answers to these questions. If you've found one solution for a particular country, it's guaranteed to be different in another,” says Haukland. 

She has gone into the position with a Pippi Longstocking attitude, saying “I've never done that before, so I'm sure I can do it.”   

But she has done this before. With ten years of experience and expertise in the field, along with extensive knowledge of Omega 365 and the industry, Haukland's efforts and drive have been noticed. 

“Solid, thorough and fearless,” is Jorunn Wathne Løhaugen's description. As Haukland's manager, Wathne Løhaugen appreciates their collaboration. After many years of working with colleagues in Business Support, Wathne Løhaugen particularly highlights Haukland's organizational skills, great work capacity, and willingness to learn.  

“As a Department Manager, it's a great advantage that she's quick on the uptake and thoroughly familiarizes herself with things,” says Wathne Løhaugen.  

“She's on top of things and grasps concepts quickly. She excels in systems and organizing tasks. Helene is also unafraid to take the lead and be visible,” Wathne Løhaugen explains. 

“What you deliver to her gets done. When she says she'll follow up on a consultant, she does it.”  

Valuable experience from Business Support

After eleven years at Omega 365, Wathne Løhaugen has no doubt that her experience from Business Support is extremely valuable in Haukland's role.  

“That's where the relationship building starts,” says Wathne Løhaugen. 

“From Business Support, she brings with her a good understanding of the industry, systems, and collaboration with the administration. You depend on all the pieces when you make a sale,” Wathne Løhaugen explains.  

“In this industry, you meet many different people. It's an advantage that the Department Managers at Omega 365 are spread out in age and experience. Helene likes talking to people – and good dialog is crucial,” says Wathne Løhaugen. 

Haukland herself is not entirely comfortable with praise, and reluctantly admits that she has some qualities that suit the role.  

“I'm good at getting to grips with things, I remember a lot, and I need things to be right,” says Haukland.  

She refers to it as “a touch of OCD and strong memory skills.”  

“I'm systematic, which has been my strength in Business Support, and a trait that comes in handy as a Department Manager. In addition, I can talk to many different people and meet them in a good way, so that we sell Omega,” says Haukland. 

In the competitive arena of consultancy, Haukland believes that the company with the most effective dialogue and ability to build relationships is the one that wins in the long run. 

“We need to build strong relationships so that the consultants choose Omega in the future. They need to feel a certain level of security and trust the people who will be sending them out. It's important to be good at talking to people and giving the consultant confidence that we have control,” says Haukland. 

“It's all about getting Omega into the consultant's heart. That's how we succeed,” she says.   

From Business Support, Helene Haukland brings with her a strong understanding of the industry, systems, and collaboration with the administration.

Committed to improvements 

In Omega 365, Haukland admits she has "meddled," as she puts it, although others might see it as identifying opportunities for efficiency in the products Omega 365 delivers. With a background in graphic design, she possesses a keen interest in both technical functionalities and design aesthetics. 

“I've been very involved in improving the system and further developing the apps we use. Together, we have built a system that can be effectively used in the recruitment process. What's great about Omega is that regardless of where you are or who you are, you can voice suggestions and provide input, and you're encouraged to make proposals. And then, it happens,” says Haukland.  

 “I'm committed to everything I do. I can't hold back,” she laughs. 

This also applies to other parts of the work she did in her role at Business Support. Eventually, other Department Managers started saying “one day you'll be sitting in my chair”, something she didn't even realize was a possibility. When the international department needed strengthening, Haukland decided to submit an application to show her interest in the future Department Manager position.   

“Huh? Me? No!” was Haukland’s response when she received the offer.  

“I figured I had to grow up first. But I guess someone saw something in me,” she says.  

The driving force is to help people with exciting assignments where they can utilize their skills. The goal is to be a good leader for them throughout their employment. Haukland sees some parallels with her other great passion, handball. As a player, coach, and team leader, she emphasizes teamwork and empowering individuals to excel. During the season, most weekends are spent playing handball, either coaching her daughters' teams or competing in matches for Ølen's women's team in the 5th division. 

“It gives me energy. You can draw parallels with working life. There's little that compares to the satisfaction of experiencing effective teamwork and seeing our hard work pay off when the ball goes in the goal.”  

“It's also great fun. Tough tackles on the pitch are almost therapeutic. You get to wrestle a bit,” says Haukland. 

The value of a good conversation 

Haukland is now in the process of formalizing her leadership skills via the LED+ course, a program that several members of Omega 365's management team have undertaken. Personality tests are part of the course, which aims to make you aware of which personal traits you can use in a leadership role. Haukland is particularly keen on enhancing her conversational skills. 

“I see how much a good conversation means,” she explains.  

Haukland herself mostly praises others. Of course, it is no coincidence that she is now entering her twelfth year in Omega 365. Haukland enjoys where she has worked since her early twenties.  

“There are very nice people here. We have a very good work environment.”