Tony Lines, divisional manager for human resources at Village Roadshow Theme Parks and Lisa Aitken, managing partner at Aitken Legal, at the Aitken Legal workplace forum, Caloundra RSL.
Tony Lines, divisional manager for human resources at Village Roadshow Theme Parks and Lisa Aitken, managing partner at Aitken Legal, at the Aitken Legal workplace forum, Caloundra RSL. Iain Curry

How to engage staff and boost productivity

MOVIE tickets.

Dinner with your partner.

A cash bonus.

Public recognition for a job well done in front of your colleagues and bosses.

Enterprise agreement negotiations that are welcoming and inclusive of input from staff.

A simple thank you.

Give these things to your staff at various spontaneous moments throughout the year and consider yourself now in on the secret to keeping them engaged, productive and loyal.

Divisional manager of HR at Village Roadshow Theme Parks Tony Lines does these things, as well as other managers, for the 1500 staff under him. And he said they were easy to do, whether you owned a large or small business.

"No matter if you employ two people or 200, it is really important to recognise people for doing a good job and sometimes it's as simple as a thank you, provided it's genuine and not overdone," Mr Lines said.

"You can offer cinema passes or dinner for someone and their partner because you just want to say thanks to a staff member for going over and above.

"People really appreciate that, and the cost is not significant, but it means a lot to that person."

Village has a Shining Star program awarding outstanding performers with cards that managers fill out. They can be accumulated and then redeemed for prizes like dinners and accommodation.

There are also incentive programs offering a financial reward for strong sales results, and divisional managers receive a budget to fund one-off instant rewards for staff doing great things.

There is also recognition for long service and a team member of the quarter announced every three months, culminating in a team member of the year, who wins $2500 - deliberately grossed to ensure the full amount is not taxed.

Mr Lines was a guest speaker at the Aitken Legal Workplace Forum in Caloundra last Friday.

He advised attendees to seriously consider workforce planning as well as engagement.

"And that is making sure you are utilising your workforce effectively," he said. "We had a high level of casuals in our business, but now with the increases in casual loading, it doesn't work so we have concentrated on increasing the permanency in our business.

"And there is a benefit for us as it reduces costs, but also for team members because they get a permanent position, so they can get annual leave and it makes it easier to get loans.

"If you are paying a lot of overtime every week, ask yourself if you are better off hiring another person, or hiring someone for a short, busy period.

"And if someone leaves, ask yourself if you need that job or if you offer it again, but with a changed job description. Continually challenge what you are doing and look for continuous improvement."

Challenges and opportunities

"The main challenge we have is making sure we can get additional people with the right skills to fit our culture in those seasonal holiday periods when we need to increase numbers.

"The other challenge is keeping everyone motivated and giving them enough hours.

"But we battle that issue by having a flexible enterprise agreement in place.

"So, we have a system of banked hours and TOIL which enables staff to work additional hours when we are busy that they can take as paid time off or use to top up wages in quiet times."



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