Last week, a group of 20 Worksmith members and industry names gathered together for our Industry Feedback Session. It’s a new near, a new decade, and a new opportunity to be the change that we all want to see in this industry. Decade-on-decade, year-on-year, hospitality has progressed in leaps and bounds in some respects, and yet hardly budged in others. Why? Why not? How can we continue to progress? What needs to change?
The group that came together was both animated and considered in their responses, and from a short, 90-minute session, we covered everything from desired events at Worksmith (More big-name talks, more hands-on workshops and training opportunities, more tastings), to resources (apps and mentoring programs), these were the three big topics of the night.
What Needs to Change the Most:
Costs & Communication.
All attendees were in agreeance, in an industry where the laws/rules/restrictions change more than frequently, access to information to maintain compliance is crucial, yet noticeably difficult to obtain and maintain. For employers and employees alike, the rabbit hole you must tumble down to learn the process of (for example) 457 visa applications, is jumbled and arduous. The contribution that this industry makes to farmers and suppliers makes it more than worthy of a streamlined process for accessing information. As one attendee and small-business owner aptly put it “We submitted our first 457 visa application last year. It was hell”.
The complex and ever-changing nature of our industry’s systems requires a streamlined source of information. This, we all agreed on. Nobody in the room could list their rights as an employer/employee, and this said enough for all.
The onus, of course, is not solely on the government to help us, but help is needed to ensure our industry can continue to grow, and those within it do not get left behind.
Suggestions came thick and fast: a regular audit with a reward for compliant operators (a tax break, perhaps?), The creation of a political party ‘The Cookers and Waiters’. One thing was and is for sure, clearer information and how its communicated is essential for everyone within our industry.
it’s time for the contribution that our industry makes to the economy and communities across the country is recognised. From this, there was a unanimous yes from all!
How? Investing in training is crucial. When there’s no industry standard set by the government, but a high standard expected from the public, something isn’t right. TAFE, it’s time to shape up or ship out. The consensus from all our attendees was that the current programme was is outdated and generic, it also lacked training on how to maintain a state of health and wellbeing in an industry that (traditionally) works extraordinary hours.
Key Takeaways? The Australian Hospitality, Food and Beverage should be celebrated for its difference and exceptional achievements, not prohibited by it. When the cost of training new starters on the job becomes prohibitive, we need support. If we can’t get it from the appropriate departments, then we must create and innovate our own forms of support.
Above all when it comes to industry training, what we can all reiterate to employers and employees alike: Be Friendly, Be Grateful, Enjoy what you do. That is where we start. An education overhaul is our end-game.
Costs + Communication:
As patterns of extreme weather become more regular, as populations soar (and with them, rent prices), as taxes continue to rise, the costs of our industry require two key things: Communication and understanding. The ripple of outrage that comes from a $4.50 coffee can be felt across suburbs, but when we break down the cost of that coffee and communicate it, it’s incredible that higher prices haven’t come sooner. Those beans (that come from the crop of an incredibly fragile ecosystem), are grown, harvested, roasted, and transported, to your using nothing but people and resources (and neither of those things is free). Once delivered (by people), they’re roasted (by people) and your milk (farmed and delivered) is steamed. That’s before wages, overheads and rent comes into the equation. When it comes to communicating the costs of things, transparency to the consumer is essential, and there needs to be an uptake both internally and externally across the board. For those customers resistant to higher prices, the industry can find a way to work together to create added value for the customer that doesn’t cost more (a welcoming and friendly environment, for starters).
If we intend to continue to grow hospitality together, Worksmith will be in your corner every time. The industry feedback sessions are for you to tell us how we can continue to grow our industry, and help those within it to grow too. Leave it with us.