The following series is filled with valuable insights from the country’s leading operators on everything from milestone moments to the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, what they’re tipping will be big in 2024, and the current staffing landscape.

Merivale’s Chief People Officer Jessica Furolo covers the importance of developing skills and utilising tech.

Our efforts to improve the experience of working at Merivale to not only consider the physical spaces we work in, but also the tools and technologies that enable our work and the learning practices that help us achieve our best. We also haven’t taken our eyes off the true Merivale magic — our unique culture.

One of our finest moments from 2023 was coming together as a leadership team to drive Respect@Work. We’ve taken a comprehensive and consultative approach to ensure safety is a top priority for our people through leadership, good judgement, and staying true to our values. It’s been an incredibly inspiring journey to connect and observe the level of care Merivale teams have for each other and our guests.

Another highlight from 2023 includes launching Merivale Academy in October across our business and seeing the early benefits of creating a culture where learning is the way we work. Aligned to our values, Merivale Academy covers every moment of learning across our business, whether it’s online, on the job, or in the classroom.

Examples include induction learning, skill building at all levels, compliance learning that keeps our people safe, and leadership development. And it’s all supported by technology. For example, the mobile-first learning management system EdApp, which has been chosen because it suits the needs of our workforce.

We believe Merivale Academy will deliver a range of benefits including improved business performance and an enhanced ability to support our people to continue delivering great guest experiences both now and in the future.

Alongside our venue portfolio, our business has grown significantly in the last couple of years. We have 5,300 people across more than 90 venues, two stadiums, and headquarter offices.

When recruiting talent, most of our applicant volume comes via our Merivale Careers website, which we’ve recently refreshed given its importance in our overall talent attraction strategy. We also have an internal referral program — refer a friend — which has been successful. Our work attracting and retaining talent saw the addition of 3,315 new hires in 2023.

Temporary and permanent migration continues to play a crucial role in our people strategy. Consequently, we have a strong international cohort across our casual and permanent workforce. The specialised skills we’ve identified in overseas talent has been key to maximising our growth, with the added benefit of transferring these skills to our local teams, making it a win-win.

Our priorities from 2023 carry over to 2024 and beyond. Namely, we will continue innovating, scaling our business, and growing Merivale. To do this against a challenging economic backdrop, we need to amplify what we do well — delivering unique and memorable experiences for our people and our guests.

This involves a relentless focus on simplicity and consistency, and delivering on our key priorities, whether they be attraction, retention, leadership, or productivity.

Additionally, as we continue to scale our business beyond Sydney, internal communications are a key focus for us in helping us inspire our teams to do their best work and deliver positive guest outcomes.

I’m really looking forward to what 2024 brings. We’ve got a full and exciting agenda, we’re clear about our priorities, and we’ll be bringing more talented people on board who understand the power of pulling together to deliver great guest outcomes.