Over the past few weeks we’ve posted a series of three case studies, featuring insights from some of our key clients in the disability support sector.
Natalija Kotinis from Australian Home Care Services, Helen Douglas from Calvary Community Care and Richard Burn from Independence Australia are all respected for the work they do and their opinions on workforce management.
Across the three, certain themes emerged.
Australia’s capacity to provide a quality workforce to meet the increasing workload that the NDIS demands is one of the significant challenges to the design of the scheme overall.
As the Scheme rolls out and the sector rapidly grows, work arrangements have to be suitable to the staff member and the organisation, and client choice of their support worker needs to be enabled.
Having said that, all interviewees agreed that support workers were the backbone of their enterprises.
As the front person with clients, carers, families and in the community, they are very visible. As living, breathing brand representatives, the nature of their work is unusually personal and highly significant.
It’s vital they are supported.
Our guest experts said that this support starts before the worker is even employed. Understanding that their personality type is generally empathetic, generous and giving is vital. Having an organisational culture that supports and models these values is paramount.
Then, the employer’s recruitment process and renumeration packaging must be cognisant of their needs for flexibility – many support workers are women and most of them have family responsibilities.
Once onboarded, the ways they are made to feel comfortable and supported is also key. Otherwise, they’ll move on, leaving clients and their employers exposed.
The challenges for providers, like our three special commentators, is to successfully recruit and retain in high numbers, while also meeting the challenges of more person-centred approaches and hitting the operational and financial targets of the organisations that employ them.
It is the balance we must all work to achieve.