Sio Hamala is a hands-on manager. Like many business owners in the construction industry, he got his start working on a job site, tools in hand, and sweat on his brow. He is solving bigger problems these days, but still feels most comfortable when he can run his careful and experienced eye over a job site or shake hands with people and look them in the eye.
Sio’s day starts early. Most days he’s up well before the sun – getting himself and his team ready to head out for a productive day building Australia’s future one concrete block at a time. Things can be fluid. There are problems to solve including last minute transport issues, employees who call in sick and need to be replaced on the daily roster. Others who need support in a myriad of small ways to ensure that Sio fulfills the promises he has made to site supervisors and project managers who are relying on his crews to keep their projects on time and under budget.
The morning unfolds rapidly. Sio and his wife Kolo are a tight team – always looking for ways to improve and grow without losing sight of the people who help keep their dream on track.
DARING TO DREAM
Sio got his own start in construction without any contacts and precious little experience. However, where others may have seen obstacles, Sio focussed on seeing (and creating) opportunity for himself and his family.
He set out on foot each day – visiting site after site on the Gold Coast to ask for work and gain a foothold in the construction industry. His persistence eventually saw him break through to get his start. His strong frame and stronger work ethic ensured that he could go home at the end of each day sure of his contribution to the team around him.
Little did he know that these early beginnings would lead to the creation of his own company and an opportunity to take on an even bigger challenge.
THE BIRTH OF HAMMERS WORKFORCE
Hammers Workforce came into being the way many good ideas do – around a kitchen table. Sio and Kolo shared a vision of a labour management business with a simple ethos – “Do great work. Always deliver what you promise. Treat people the way you expect to be treated”.
The success of their vision might be reflected in the fact that they continue to serve their very first client and their staff retention rate is one of the highest in the industry.
Kolo says, “We want Hammers Workforce to be more than just a job. Our teams work hard in harsh conditions in an industry that is historically known for being tough and dangerous. Of course, we care about delivering on our contracts, but we also care about the well-being of every person on our team and the people they have waiting for them to come home safely.”
The care and attention that Sio and Kolo pay to their team also extends into the wider community. They believe that you must give before you receive and have looked for ways to reach into and form bonds with the community beyond Hammers Workforce.
They recognised early that the values of teamwork, striving for excellence, and commitment to a cause are very similar in sport and in business. So, it was a natural choice to extend their circle of influence into the sporting arena – and their mutual love of rugby gave them the perfect vehicle.
Hammers Workforce made a significant commitment in their sponsorship of the Gold Coast Eagles rugby team but, to them, it’s about more than just jerseys for the team. “The passion and pride in the rugby community are real. As sponsors and supporters, we stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone who is contributing to the sport and the community within it”, says Sio. “It’s a privilege to be a part of it.”
The last year has seen tremendous growth at Hammers Workforce. Their guiding principles and values have been put to the test, at times, but Sio and Kolo have never waivered from their commitment to those values.
“Doing the right thing the right way might be an old-fashioned value, but it’s who we are”, says Kolo. “That culture, that whole mindset is what we stand for. It’s not something that you can just add later or when it’s convenient.”
While they may not be the largest labour workforce, Hammers is showing itself to be one of the most progressive in taking a holistic “whole person” approach to managing their staff. They regularly check in with their workers to make sure they feel good about the job and that there are no problems at home or at work that could affect their performance or distract them when they need to be focussing on the job in front of them.
Hammers Workforce look at each new hire as a long-term member of their crew and their work family. They’re very selective when hiring to make sure that everybody who joins the team will reflect well on the company and help to keep everyone around them safe.
“A good team is like a rugby scrum”, says Sio. “Everyone needs to be committed, do their job well, and create a strong bond with the people around them. If we do that well, we all win. Get it wrong and you’re always going backwards.”
Hammers Workforce has gone from strength to strength in a year that has seen plenty of external challenges. With their strong vision and a work ethic reminiscent of Sio’s early days, the husband-and-wife management team at Hammers Workforce look set for a strong future indeed.