Start Up Business Winners champions at Aboriginal Engagement

Written on the 24 August 2017 by Broome Chamber of Commerce

Start Up Business Winners champions at Aboriginal Engagement

Winners of the 2017 Broome Small Business Awards Start Up Business Award, Footprint Cleaning, has blossomed to 14 employees including a 50% local Aboriginal employment rate, with the hope of increasing that to 75% in the very near future. 

Footprint Cleaning, established in October 2016, provides commercial cleaning for small and large businesses, ad hoc cleans and spring cleans, domestic cleaning and building pre-handover cleaning in Broome, with a long term goal of expanding services throughout the Kimberley and Northern Australia. 

Aaron Ryan, Managing Director, manages the recruitment of employees directly, and conduct face-to-face interviews to ensure a good match between their goals and values, and Footprint Cleaning's mission and values which includes exceeding their client's expectations.

"Our preference is to recruit employees with an attitude that fits with our company's culture and then upskill through our rigorous training program, rather than recruiting based on relevant experience alone."

"We also prefer recruiting employees that support the community of Broome and therefore reside locally. We encourage Aboriginal people to apply for positions with Footprint Cleaning, and proactively recruit using employee referrals and local providers Kimberley Personnel and Kimberley Employment Services."

Retention of staff is stable through use of the following strategies:

  • accurate recruitment
  • training beyond minimum requirements
  • open communication and regular two-way feedback
  • including employees in decision making processes
  • fun and supportive team atmosphere where growth is encouraged
  • flexibility and equal opportunity
  • fair exchange of services with rewards
  • meaningful incentives and rewards in line with values

"A recent example of a reward for our staff member where one Aboriginal employee (who was working with a non-Aboriginal employee at the time) extinguished a fire while on the job at a youth-community facility and we rewarded his initiative by giving them a sports shop voucher as a token of our gratitude."

"We have assisted Indigenous employees to achieve success through provision of promotion opportunities based on demonstrated merit. For example, one Aboriginal employee was recently promoted to Supervisor (second in charge of company operations) and another Aboriginal employee recently transitioned from casual to full-time. We provide work opportunities to family members, such as one long-term Aboriginal employee who is also an amputee, he works with one prosthetic limb. All of these Aboriginal employees have overcome major life challenges and are now giving back to the community in a meaningful way. Via digital marketing we see positive and supporting comments towards the Aboriginal staff and their achievements."

Footprint Cleaning provide all employees with training, coaching and mentoring. Cleaning skills are trained on the job, workplace etiquette is coached and acceptable standards of work are achieved through workplace mentoring.

"To support our Indigenous employees and families we make sure we accept invitations to meet family members, and we extend our invitations to family members for staff events such as picnics and meetings. This has led to further relationship building activities such as recently visiting an Aboriginal staff member's country and meeting more family in the remote Aboriginal community. We also support Indigenous employees and families through roster flexibility. Aboriginal employees are encouraged to attend family events such as school assemblies, sports events and funerals. The roster is flexible to cater for these events plus days-off are rotated to give everybody a fair go."

Footprint Cleaning's Managing Directors Aaron and Taryn Ryan celebrating with their staff at the 2017 Broome NAIDOC Ball

"I personally have 13 years of experience in training Aboriginal people, as well as supervising Aboriginal staff to work safely and productively.  This involved getting Aboriginal people with low LLN capabilities to become work-ready and pickup apprenticeship opportunities.  Similarly, I'd like to add value to our Indigenous staff by equipping them with tangible skills and improve their life experience."

Working Together West Kimberley, delivered by the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, funded by the Department of Training and Workforce Development, is a dedicated service offered by the Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry to provide business owners and operators in the region information, support and advice on increasing the employment opportunities for young Aboriginal people.  Working Together can assist your business in creating retention strategies like those used by Footprint Cleaning to successfully engage and retain staff.  Working Together also recognises and rewards local businesses that are taking the necessary steps to become a "Workplace of Choice" for Aboriginal people in the region.

For further information, please contact BCCI's Working Together Workplace Liaison on 0488 220 414 or


Author:Broome Chamber of Commerce

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