FIP Group Helps Golden Cockerel Rule the Roost

09 May 2024

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Workforce efficiency is vital to success in the poultry processing industry and, for industry leader Golden Cockerel, partnering with FIP Group to introduce workers under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme has been a game changer.

Operational solutions

Golden Cockerel’s Chief Human Resources Manager, Cecil Fernandes, says to enlist FIP Group’s assistance was spurred by operational challenges within their local workforce. “With daily production requiring about 500 people, our main challenge was labour shortage with absenteeism and turnover high in this type of work, and we knew we needed to bridge the labour gap,” said Cecil.

Cecil further elaborated, “It’s a large gap to fill in terms of labour shortage. It’s challenging to get people to understand and enjoy the work initially because it’s quite repetitive. It also involves shift work, which isn’t always attractive initially.”

Recruitment and integration

Since working with FIP Group, Golden Cockerel has welcomed 53 PALM workers from Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, with plans to expand this number.“ I was directly involved in the recruitment of these workers. I travelled to Fiji with FIP Group to support recruitment operations for the first 53 PALM workers myself. We followed a similar process to any recruitment here locally, where I had a conversation with each potential worker. We discussed their lifestyle, goals for working in Australia and skills and experience,” said Cecil. 

On site support and relationship building

At the heart of this collaboration lies the dedicated on-site support from FIP Group which is instrumental in ensuring the seamless integration of PALM workers into the workplace with a positive and supportive environment.

"FIP Group’s Site Manager Cherie does a really great job looking after the PALM workers, keeping them on track, and helping them with things that they're really not used to here, that wouldn't happen back home,” said Danielle Watson, Safety Manager. 

“The relationship between PALM workers and Site Managers works really well. It's great to see that the PALM workers are getting this experience, they’re happy and they love coming to work. It’s also reassuring to know that Cherie is providing the additional pastoral support for the workers as well,” said Danielle. 

Facilitating communication and trust

The role of the Site Manager enables meaningful interactions with the PALM workers, serving as a trusted intermediary between the workers and Golden Cockerel. “Cherie being on site gives the ability to have more face time with the PALM workers and be the liaison person, filtering out anything they're not quite sure about or that they may not feel comfortable going to a supervisor or coming to HR about,” said Danielle.

“The workers know they can approach her and that she’ll point them in the right direction. They've built that relationship where they really trust her,” she said. 

“It also makes it easy for Golden Cockerel to communicate with the workers. Communication in a large business can be hard, however, when you have one person looking after a large group of people it’s extremely helpful from a business perspective.”

A focus on safety

Safety is a top priority at Golden Cockerel, with stringent induction and training protocols in place to ensure the well-being of all employees. "Our supervisors are really passionate about ensuring that their teams run smoothly and safely. They have constant conversations with everyone, including PALM workers, to ensure that any hazards are promptly reported,” said Danielle. 

Cherie is involved in the Safety Committee and provides insights and acts as a liaison between the business and PALM workers. Looking ahead, there are plans to further empower PALM workers in safety matters. 

Navigating cultural differences

In addition to addressing immediate workplace concerns, FIP Group’s site managers assist PALM workers in navigating cultural differences in Australia, ensuring they successfully adapt to their new environment. “One example that springs to mind is the difference in road rules here in Australia. Ensuring PALM workers understand the rules and are comfortable driving here in Australia is a prime example of the support provided outside of the workplace,” said Danielle. Looking ahead, Golden Cockerel is excited about the addition of initiatives to celebrate and promote cultural diversity within the workplace. 

This collaboration demonstrates a commitment to workplace integration and safety. By prioritising on site support, effective communication and cultural awareness, both entities create a thriving workplace for all employees.