Of all the formal presentations and informal discussions, the themes that resonated most with us were around workforce planning and the implications for the HR discipline, especially in the traditionally difficult to recruit for cohort, personal carers.
As our industry is on the verge of exploding, workforce planning by governments and private providers will only become more important.
Consider the facts. More than four million Australians live with disability, there are more than 210,000 places in residential and flexible aged care across the country, and more than 350,000 people work in aged care. As our ageing population grows larger every day and the impact of the NDIS and My Aged Care programs touches more consumers, the question remains: how are we going to equip ourselves?
Understanding HR challenges is vital.
Many LASA Conference participants told us that they experience immense challenges in attracting, recruiting and retaining quality staff. Perhaps not particularly specific to aged care and disability service providers, the key issues for us were:
- Workforce Gender mix. Not surprisingly, most personal carers in Australia are women. Do we need to campaign for more men?
- Age of the workforce. As the general population gets older, so do our workers. The median age for staff in the health sector is 43 years. Should we be looking for younger recruits and, if so, how to engage and enrol them?
- Creating and updating policies, procedures and processes is more important than ever before. Issues such as absenteeism, workers compensation schemes, workplace Health & Safety, succession planning, performance management, disciplinary issues and IR seem to be front of mind. How can we do it all better to meet staff professional development needs and our own commercial, compliance and duty of care objectives?
- The value of effective, quality recruitment, retention, training and development is paramount. Not only for employers and employees, but for the millions of people we care for. What should our response, as an industry, as governments and providers be?
We all agreed that planning workforce can help to ensure that providers have the right people and can achieve a professional, sustainable workforce with the right skills to deliver quality services to individuals, families and communities.
Meeting colleagues across the aged care sector and sharing insights is the real value of conferences such as this. We thank LASA for bringing us together again, and look forward to working with our industry peers to not only understand the issues and their impacts, but to do something about them.
If you have queries about recruiting for aged care or disability service, contact newly or call us on
03 8488 7640 and see how we can help you get it right.