HAVING worked at so many venues on the Sunshine Coast and many other places before I started SSC Hospitality, I often hear other staff members saying “what is the management thinking? Why do they keep doing this or that?”.

My current role often involves being in two or three places each week and every now and again I, too, see things that “baffle” me, to put it mildly! So the question that came to me was, why don’t employers or business owners sit down with their staff over a coffee or a beer and talk?

A 30-minute frank and honest discussion between staff and managers or owners, say twice a year, would help every single business out there. Yes, it may cause tension at the meeting and for a little while after, but it’d be short-term pain for long-term gain.

I know AFL isn’t the sport of choice up here, I’ve been a Geelong Cats fan since the days of Gary Ablett senior (80s-90s). Back in 2006 after several years of bad performance, players took their turn to sit in front of the rest of the team and get told their pros and cons.

The main things that came up were work ethic and effort, and taking you seriously. What was the result of this little chat? A Premiership the next year in 2007, then in 2009 and 2011. The playing group were convinced that meeting back in 2006 was the catalyst for the amazing period of success.

Not only have I surveyed my customers to see how I can improve service, but I’ve asked my staff that question and how can I make their work life easier.

I strongly believe the benefits of doing this far outweigh the negatives. Some managers think they know best, but I dare say that these people are running businesses which are in fact in the most danger of failing, or at best just surviving. You need to not only listen but hear them and show that you value their opinions.

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