The Great Exchange is an immersive thought leadership series, bringing together the best minds in the business to discuss the topics and trends that matter to the trade industry.
“The Exchange has come such a long way over the five years that it’s been running. We’ve really moved away from just being a supplier that’s just about selling booze and more about industry leadership, taking it to the next level and really trying to be on the forefront of what’s happening and actually being the drivers for change” explains Dan Beale, The Exchange National Business Manager.
“In Australia, there are limited opportunities within the trade community to come together and celebrate the trends, innovations and issues in the industry. We have always wanted to create a platform that connects, supports and inspires local trade talent across Australia.”
The first of the series is Health in Hospo, which featured international guest speaker Tim Etherington-Judge (co- owner of Healthy Hospo) and a host of local talent, debating the health of the industry, their experiences and giving our trade audiences the inspiration and tools to shape a better future.
Sydney: Julian Train, Sam Egerton, Shannon Rosie
Melbourne: Shay Leighton, Caleb Baker, Orlaith Belfrage
Adelaide: Raymond Matthews, Ollie Margan & Kate Rowlands
Perth: Brett Robinson, Claire Bass, Brie Maddox
Brisbane: Aaron Clark, Kwan Leigh Fong, Ceri Kidby-Salom
“I’m really excited to be here in Australia speaking about Health in Hospo as part of the Great Exchange” says series keynote Tim Etherington-Judge. “We can really start to change the conversation, change the health of the industry, and help build a healthier, happier industry that is more fun to work in. With the right tools we can ensure people have longer careers and are more productive, that businesses do better and that everyone is winning!”
Throughout the series key themes that have emerged around the country include; the role management play around health in the workplace, the benefits of a healthy and happy team to the business success and the need for genuine conversation and empathy within the trade community.
Ollie Margan, owner of Adelaide’s Maybe Mae, discussed the importance of strong mentoring and leadership during the panel. “When I made the decision four years ago (to move to management full time), it was a time when I made a fairly seismic shift in my direction in life, and one that was going to be bound to the lifestyle of hospitality.”
“In my mind there had to be a way that this was sustainable and didn’t have to be the lifestyle that I had been exposed to at the time. I think that I have a cultural, social and moral duty of care to make sure that there is a really positive workplace environment and a really open dialogue around these issues that are so inherent.”
Ollie also touched on the benefits of a happy and healthy team “The other thing that I latched onto today is the other responsibility that I think anyone when they make that transition actually needs to assume, is fiscal responsibility. I’ve known a lot of great bar operators over the years and I rarely hear people talk about it in this sense.”
“I know that it costs me about $2,000 to train a new employee. If you say the average tenure is 6 months then we are already at $6,000 in cost of workplace unhappiness.”
“It’s never really spoken about as something that should be an investment yet if your dishwasher breaks or you need to get some new menus printed, no one bats an eyelid at dropping several thousand dollars on a problem like that. But when you have a staff member that’s not happy, or not in a good place, there seems to be a reluctance to acknowledge that a small investment from a business point of view is all that’s required to fix that.”
Shay Leighton, organiser of Tough Guy Book Club, spoke passionately about having more real conversations during the Melbourne panel discussion. “The “Party Party Party” nature of the industry itself is something that we perpetuate. We’re the ones that say, “c’mon have another shot, another beer, let’s go out every night”.
“In those times, when people aren’t able to look after themselves, we need to actually start acting like a community, not just start talking about ourselves like a community. We need to be more empathetic and more caring about the bartenders we work with; and build relationships that are based around not just booze.”
“But how do we broach that subject? How do we actually talk to each other about things that are not just “do you want another shot” or “how was the football game on the weekend?” It’s having better communication, having better conversations with each other.
Tim Etherington-Judge builds on this saying “the ‘are you okay?’ question is something that’s asked a lot, but something that needs to change is actually answering it honestly. Because so often we say ‘no I’m fine’ when things are definitely not fine. The person asking is not there to judge you, they are probably genuinely quite interested. Be confident enough in that friendship or relationship to say “you know what? I’m not okay today. I’m actually a bit shit”. Have that conversation.
“Health in Hospo is so timely and so important, now more than ever. The way the industry is looking, the amount of hours people work, the drinks culture and status of mental health, it’s really making sure we take care of our most valuable resources which are our relationships with each other, and our relationships with our workplace. Ultimately, it’s about taking care of ourselves so we can enjoy the industry and have more fun together” says Cam Pirret, The Exchange NSW Brand Ambassador.
To learn more about The Great Exchange series and to become part of the conversation, follow The Exchange’s social channels below: