Triple H and the key to positive workplace culture

Manuel Hall jokes that he was “born into the forest sector”.

The Triple H Contracting Director began working for his dad’s harvesting business in his mid-teens as a way to make money in the school holidays, only committing to the business fulltime in 1997. Manuel admits that it’s not as simple to attract young people to the industry these days.

“Recruitment seems to be a difficult area across the industry. Many have left the industry, so trying to attract new people to the sector needs to be a big focus,” he said.

Triple H Contracting—Hall Harvesting & Haulage— is a family owned and operated business that works across Tasmania.

“We started with a two-man crew and have significantly expanded with operations in both pine and hardwood clear fall and thinnings in the south, east and northeast of Tasmania,” Manuel said.

The business currently employs 22 people and six sub-contractors. Of this group, a third of Triple H’s workers are currently enrolled in the new Forestry Leadership Skillset developed by the TFFPN alongside industry and administered by TasTAFE.

Manuel with Triple H’s Alana Summers and Forico’s Amanda Slater at the 2023 Tasmanian Timber Awards

Manuel said the business prioritises professional and personal development and recognises it is key to good workplace culture.

“In order for the growing business to continue and be successful, our people need to feel empowered to strengthen their abilities, to develop new skills and become more effective in their roles,” Manuel said.

“This leads to a more positive culture which in turn flows through the whole business,” he said.

“This course was a perfect first step for our leaders in this business to help their growth. It has been tailored to the forestry industry which means it is relevant to our people and helps keep them more engaged with work.”

Manuel believes encouraging employees to expand on their knowledge and skills in the workplace positively affects their confidence, motivation and overall morale.

“We want our people to gain additional valuable knowledge that can help them grow and open up different channels for them both personally and professionally,” he said.

People are at the center of Triple H’s business and Manuel said the business doesn’t just talk the talk but also walks the walk.

Triple H staff at a Refocus Safety Meeting

In 2023 the business won the Tasmanian Timber Award for Excellence in Workplace Health and Safety, with judges commenting on the organisation’s proactive approach to supporting the wellbeing of its workers.

“We pride ourselves on keeping up to date with best practices, codes and standards – ensuring all personnel involved in our business understands their roles, responsibilities and duties, creating a culture where safety is paramount and always forefront of every decision we make,” Manuel said.

At the beginning of each year the team gathers in a central location to reflect on the previous year, plan approaches for the year ahead, and to re-induct staff. This annual meeting always strongly focuses on health and safety.

“These gatherings are a great opportunity to realign our mindsets and focus on educating the importance of safety in the workplace, embedding it into every aspect of our business and making sure that all workers and contractors understand the benefits of keeping everyone safe,” Manuel said.

Manuel with his family

“All our employees participate in mental health training, first aid training, applicable certificate training based on job roles which includes Certificate 3 in Harvest and Haulage, Certificate 3 in Mobile Plant Technology and Certificate 4 in Work Health & Safety.”

The business proactively promotes mental health and shares its Employee Assistance Program (EAP), regularly discussing these topics in Triple H’s monthly toolbox meetings.

“We encourage open conversations and a safe environment where people feel secure to talk or listen to others. Having the EAP allows our team to utilise a service free of charge and anonymously if needed. Openly discussing the subject allows for obstacles to be removed that may be contributing adversely, in turn creating an improved and more beneficial workspace,” he said.

Manuel knows it is important to lead by example. He balances his mental health with regular exercise and spending time with those who support him.

“I still play a bit of football as well as volunteer at my local club helping with training and the kid’s games. I love skiing, camping and have a small farm I enjoy working on. At the end of the day, everything I do revolves around my family.”

Manuel encourages young people or those looking for a new career to consider forestry.

“My advice is, go for it! It is such a diverse industry that offers so many different great opportunities and different roles. There’s much more to forestry than operating a machine, cutting trees. In our business alone we have two apprentices – one is completing their Cert 3 in Mobile Plant Technology and the other enrolled in a Cert 3 in Engineering Mechanical Trade. Another employee has recently completed a Cert 4 in Work Health and Safety.

“The opportunities are endless.”