No more staffing nightmares at Soulfish Seafoods

Finding trustworthy, reliable staff has been an ‘absolute nightmare’ for Dan Learoyd in the past and almost put him off starting his new business Soulfish Seafoods based in Coolum.

Luckily Mr Learoyd stumbled on the ‘indispensable’ Andrew ‘Jack’ Eden when he needed new staff and found he had all the right experience, credentials and attitude for the job.

With a back injury including painful bulging discs and arthritis, Mr Eden was a STEPS Employment Solutions client and needed to declare his injury, illness or disability to an employer, making finding appropriate work and a flexible employer a challenge.

“Finding work has been quite difficult,” Mr Eden said.

“I picked up odd jobs in maintenance, but had experience in the seafood industry and retail, so working with Dan has been an easy fit.”

“Having a back injury was definitely one of the problems I had with finding work, but Dan understands the problem and works around it – he’s a great guy to work for and likes to make it comfortable for everyone here.”

Mr Learoyd praised Jack as a ‘definite leader who treats the business as if it were his own.’

“He more or less manages the place when I’m away at times,” he said.

Soulfish Seafoods is a busy operation supplying many fine dining restaurants on the Coast and the Shane Family Farmers’ Markets at Noosa, Kawana and the Big Top, Maroochydore.

“I have no hesitation with leaving Jack to run the business while I’m away– he’s very reliable and hardworking, plus everyone here enjoys working with him, he likes to have a laugh, is great with customers and knows exactly what he’s doing.”

With two other staff who have a declared illness on his team, Mr Learoyd said he was a bit unsure about hiring someone with a disability [injury or illness] for the first time, so started by asking the question about what the disabilities were and assessing if he could work around them.

“I find the guys I’ve employed much keener than people without a disability– I guess as they can find it a bit harder to get work, so when given the chance they have all seemed to rise to the challenge and feel comfortable at work.”

Having the support of Government incentives has been excellent too Mr Learoyd said noting the benefit of a lump sum payment for keeping employees with injury, illness or disability on long term is worthwhile.

“Every bit counts in small business and if you can recoup some of your wages costs it’s an incentive to put some of these guys on.”

“It’s been very easy and amicable with STEPS and I hope more people get behind them as there are obviously some decent people on their books– I couldn’t see why they wouldn’t work out for other employers like it has for me.”


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