RSL Services and Citizen’s Club Nambour Inc welcomes Amit, Guru and Annika to the team, the Clubs newest international placements. The organisation prides itself on being an employer of choice and champions workplace diversity through its ‘we’re better when we work together’ philosophy.

Annika, a Swedish national, never thought when she backpacked around Australia that she would one day be back and settled on the Sunshine Coast. When an opportunity arose to make a fresh start in Australia she grabbed it and joined the Nambour RSL Club restaurant team.

A qualified chef, Annika brings with her experience from working in smaller cafes and restaurants in Sweden. She explains, ‘Working here gives me experience in a bigger organisation and a larger kitchen. I wanted the chance to start over and I hope to settle here.’

The culture shock was not too bad, Annika said, ‘Sometimes I struggle with the way Australians shorten words. The lingo is hard to grasp’.

The Club has always championed diversity in the workplace beyond the legislative requirements that the Anti-Discrimination, Fair Work and Health & Safety Acts outline citing many tangible benefits.

Suzanne Long, General Manager explains, ‘We employ over 90 staff at the Club from many different backgrounds and cultures. We believe this diversity enhances our member’s customer experience but it is also crucial in providing a mix of experience and a mix of perspectives.’

Out of these values and standards grew the ‘we’re better when we’re together’ philosophy the club now advocates internally with staff and externally with customers.

‘We can say that we have a good mix of male and female managers and staff but it goes beyond gender diversity. We have staff from all over the world working with us.’

She continues, ‘What this says to our community is that we are an inclusive and fair organisation that can offer an increased service level to our members and guests. Our staff know that they will be valued equally and treated fairly.’

New research is being released documenting that workplaces can enjoy higher retention rates and greater productivity through recruitment policies that adopt and champion diversity. Benefits also include reduced absenteeism, better reputation, improved customer relations, reduction in skill shortages, improved teamwork and access to a much broader range of ideas and skill sets.

Amit, hailing from Bombay in India, certainly enhances the restaurant teams experience level. Working with different Cruise line companies for the past 10 years and cruising around the world with his wife has seen him seek the stability of land!

‘Service for us could be up to 4,500 meals for lunch and dinner. It was a well organised, production line. Imagine cooking 1,700 steaks!’ he explains.

Similarly Guru, from Nepal, sees working in Australia and the Club as a great opportunity for he and his wife. Guru trained in Birmingham in the UK and lived and worked in London for 8 years. All three qualified Chefs have integrated well into the team and are sharing their knowledge with other staff adding to the level of food service delivery.

The cultural melting pot is not just in the kitchen. All areas of the venue from reception, administration, management and front of house food and beverage have a broad range of staff. Over the years the Club has also worked closely with local organisations like Equity Works and Skills and placed disabled staff into roles within the Club.

Suzanne continues, ‘What we do well in community clubs is ensure that the whole spectrum of the population is represented. We can have the hipster barista and the experienced mature receptionist, the academically trained analyst and the learn on the job industry professional. We retain staff more successfully than others in our industry because we recognise the benefit of a mix of age, gender and experience.’

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