We met with David Waite the Park Custodian of Timbertown who was one of the winners of ETC’s Employer of the Month. David shares his insight to help other business owners and managers around staffing, recruitment and work/life balance.
You can watch our interview with David here, otherwise there is a breakdown below.
“Timbertown Heritage Park has been operating for over 40 years. It’s a recreated timber getters village celebrating the 1880-1930 period of the Mid North Coast timber industry.
Our staffing levels vary greatly, depending on the season. Out of season we have about 15 and during school holidays that goes up to around 35 employees.
I think what makes Timbertown a different employer is that we are recreating the past, therefore we have a lot of unique and rare trades where we need to employ people. For example: Blacksmith, Wheel Writer, Saddler, Train Driver, Boiler Operator. Of course we also have typical roles like gardeners, maintenance, carpenters, but we have a lot of unique and rare opportunities that exist within our business.”
“We really encourage great communication between all parties in our workplace. I like to think that from a management point of view, we certainly don’t hound our staff. We see our staff as professionals and as CEO’s – Customer Experience Officers. It doesn’t matter what your role is – you’re important and contribute to the overall success of where we want to go.
Sure we provide cappuccinos for our staff and that sort of thing, but the most important thing is to be flexible. When somebody wants time off to go visit their family or whatever, it’s important we provide that and that’s what we do.
I’ve found since I’ve been involved with Timbertown, that we do have a great diversity amongst our staff. For example, I’ve known of quite a few that may have had different levels of Autism and they fit in fantastically here – the routine suits them, they feel like they are part of the purpose here to preserve our heritage and it just works really well for us.
I think it’s very important to give people an opportunity. I do realise from a practical situation that not every workplace can facilitate all levels of abilities, but I think that many can. I think employers would be rewarded with what’s out there if they just give these people an opportunity.”
“As a business owner, I must say my greatest challenge is getting the work/life/home relationships balanced. I struggle with that, because I’m a workaholic, I love where I work – I love coming here every day. My children are now all adults, so that does make it a little easier and my wife works full time with me as well. We try to go on holidays when we can, but our lives are heavily revolved around work. Probably not the best scenario, but an honest one.
I hear it every day, from visitors that come in here, who may have a high paid salary job in the city, which they totally dislike. I just could not imagine. Life is far too short to be involved in any work situation that you really dislike. I think finding something that you are passionate about and following that, is extremely important”
“We basically present an opportunity – we provide an outline of what the job description is and they’ve ticked all the boxes by providing a candidate who is suitable to that role. Then there’s ongoing support and mentoring for all parties. I just think it’s a fantastic win-win situation”
Thanks for your time David!
Stay tuned for the next edition of ETC’s Business Spotlight.
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