Keeping Aussie Businesses Together

by Caity Wynn, 3 minutes read
HOME blog event keeping aussie businesses together

After a brief period of life being back to almost normal, large parts of metropolitan Australia are living back under lockdown conditions to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

With constant and sporadic changes being made to how our hospitality industry is able to safely operate, businesses are feeling the pressure of an uncertain future like never before.

While we don’t have all the answers, we know this is a time to make sure that our community feels connected — which is why we were excited to bring together a stellar group of thought leaders from the hospitality industry to share their advice on getting through the next few months, and provide insight on where we’ll start to see the silver linings of the pandemic.

From supporting your team’s mental health to optimising your business’s biggest asset, we’ve pulled out some of the most important highlights from our “Keeping Aussie Businesses Together” event.

If you’d like to catch the full webinar, you can do so here.

Prepare to support your staff’s mental health

In the early days of owning and running her restaurants Stillwater and Black Cow, Bianca Welsh recalls first experiencing dealing with some ‘really full-on’ mental health issues in her workplace.

At a time when common practice would be for staff to be ‘written off the rosters’, she went in a different direction to ensure that valuable staff weren’t lost just because there wasn’t an understanding of what they were going through at the time.

Some years and a psychology degree later, Bianca is just as passionate about closing the education gap on mental health in the hospitality industry, with her top tip for employers:

A good starting point is to have some basic understanding and empathy, as well as taking the time to educate yourself through accessing the many free resources available... just chipping away at a little bit of knowledge can go so, so far.

Keep your staff connected to the business

Retaining engaged staff that are ready to work in the business has also proved a challenge between and throughout our lockdown periods. The unpredictability of the industry, in particular, has driven a lot of workers in the industry to seek alternative employment.

EARL Canteen’s creative director Jackie Middleton shared that, ideally, it’s best to stop staff becoming disconnected from the business in the first place by ensuring the staff are continually engaged — even if that means keeping people on the roster for short shifts to just come in and read a book.

It’s so important to keep that IP in their head and keep them engaged with the business… We have so much knowledge in our company, and I feel really grateful that we’ve been able to retain it.

Leverage the power of your collective community

Co-Founder of social enterprise Colombo Social, Shaun Christie-David is no stranger to engaging with his community, currently having provided over 80,000 meals to vulnerable communities since the first lockdown began.

While his business model might look a little different to most in the hospitality space, Shaun’s advice for every business is to look for ways to work with, and lean on, the community that wants them to succeed.

No one can do this on their own, I can't do it on my own. I can’t do it without my chefs and my team, and I can’t do it without the support of the community that backs us in their own way.

Look after the most important asset in your business — you!

While we heard lots of great words of wisdom from David Koch (TV presenter and business owner of 25 years), our favourite insight was the importance of recognising yourself as the number one asset in your business and investing in it.

The customers are important, the staff are important, but you drive the dynamism. It’s you that drives the culture. It’s you that needs to take the leadership when dealing with setbacks. So the biggest thing that I learned is that you need to look after yourself.”

In Kochie’s own experience, he found the best way to do this was to surround himself with good advice and people he trusts, as well as building processes into his life that allowed him to cope with any setbacks in a process-driven way.

Change is always a state of mind for us as business owners — so you need to make sure you’ve got the right foundations.

There was so much good stuff packed into this event, so if you missed it live we would recommend checking out the full recording here. Otherwise, stay tuned as we’ll continue to share more tips and tricks to help keep Aussie businesses together and moving forward.

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