Good News Story: Hanlon Industries & how Small Successes have Big Impact

Hanlon Industries is a family-owned and run business specialising in steel fabrication and commercial construction.

Across their two decades of operation, Hanlon Industries has grown from their head office and main manufacturing workshop in Corio to a company of 140 employees across three states.

As a GROW signatory and a Silver Partner of the Foundation, Hanlon Industries has a demonstrated commitment to investing in their region.

Elly Hanlon, General Manager – People, Finance & Administration at Hanlon Industries, says this commitment has always been a big part of how the company does business. “My mum and dad started the business and dad was always focussed on supporting local and investing in manufacturing in Australia… He’s always been pretty passionate about creating a balanced team and providing opportunities for Geelong people who have experienced difficulties in life.”

These ideas of creating balanced teams and providing opportunities are central to the GROW mission and make Hanlon Industries a perfect fit for creating real change in the employment sector across the region.

GROW is all about encouraging businesses to explore how they can contribute to creating more local and socially-minded opportunities in the region. That can be as big as reforming your employment policies and exploring new employment pathways, or that could be small but meaningful changes like sourcing from local social enterprises, investing in our region, and ensuring there are no barriers in keeping people from employment with you.

Elly says that the decision to join GROW was an obvious one. “It (GROW) was well suited to our existing culture of inclusive employment and then when we first signed up we found we were ticking quite a lot of the boxes for GROW so we didn’t have to change the ethos of the business to make it work; that being said I think GROW definitely encouraged us to do more.” That more includes making small but sustainable and meaningful changes that over time contribute to big changes in people’s lives.

“The big thing I would say to people with private businesses is that we’re not a social enterprise, and we can’t do everything – you just have to do something,” says Elly.

“I guess a lot of the changes that you can make being a part of GROW they don’t always have to be huge changes; they might not necessarily be putting on an employee from a disadvantaged background; it can be really small things. We just changed our cleaning services to My Maintenance Crew which was a really easy change.”

“Another one we made recently was using Fruit2 work. One of our admin staff was spending an hour once a week going to get milk and bringing it back to the offices (we’re based in Corio so the closest shops are 10 -15 minutes away) so by choosing to support Fruit2work who support individuals who have been in the justice system. In choosing to use them instead it’s been really beneficial for us; we’re not wasting time, improved our workflow, and obviously helping out the community. So, there’s a lot of really easy changes you can make like that.”

The inclusive nature of the business extends to their hiring processes too. “We’ve just employed someone who’s just returned from the justice system. He went in while he was working for us and we supported him all through that process, during his trials and everything… if we didn’t give him that opportunity, who would?” says Elly.

The changes Hanlon Industries is making are not only beneficial for their business and their employees but the wider community too. For every person that is welcomed into sustainable and sustaining employment from a pathway outside of the ‘norm,’ their families, social group, and local community also benefit.

Like Elly says, if we don’t give people that opportunity, who will?


Want to learn how you can create opportunities in your community? Check out the GROW website for more details on how your organisation can start making social and local business moves today.