Enhancing Employee Experience in Aged Care: Insights from the Round Table

November 15, 2023 Kate Wills

On Wednesday, 8th November 2023, the Aged Care Workforce Leaders Forum hosted a compelling round table discussion, facilitated by RLDatix, at the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne. The focus was on improving the employee experience within the aged care sector. The insightful session brought together industry leaders, highlighting strategies and initiatives aimed at creating a more supportive and fulfilling work environment for aged care professionals.

1. Strategies for Enhanced Employee Experience

Participants shared diverse approaches their organisations implemented to foster a better working experience, which ranged across several crucial aspects:

Ensuring a Safe and Supportive Work Culture:

A significant success story surfaced where 98% of the workforce in one organisation felt safe. This achievement was attributed to:

  • Enhanced communication channels enabling staff to voice concerns.

  • A culture of responsiveness to reported risks, accompanied by practical changes.

A focus on promoting learning and development through collaborations with educational institutions like TAFE, aiming to attract younger individuals to the aged care sector.

Providing substantial onboarding support for trainees to better prepare them for their roles.

Rostering Practices for Continuity of Care:

Prioritising 'life-friendly' shifts and including travel allowances, particularly for rural and remote staff.

Fostering the perception of care as a vocation rather than just a job.

Financial and Wellness Initiatives:

Introducing a "Staff Emergency Fund" to assist employees during challenging times.

Offering wellness benefits such as gym rebates, rewards & recognition programs, and additional leave days for various activities.

Empowering wellness champions within the workforce to address specific needs.

2. Work-Life Balance and Workplace Culture

There was a shared acknowledgment among attendees regarding the increasing significance of work-life balance and workplace culture over mere salary considerations, especially within health worker communities. The passion within the workforce often transcends negative media portrayals, emphasising the value of meaningful work and community impact.

3. Flexibility in Managing Schedules

The discussion highlighted the delicate balance between providing flexibility and avoiding casualisation of roles. Pre-COVID trends toward casualisation have shifted towards a more pronounced demand for flexibility. However, recent award changes have posed challenges in accommodating this flexibility within rosters.

4. Addressing Staffing Shortages

Various recruitment initiatives were discussed, aiming to attract and retain qualified staff, such as partnerships with schools, apprenticeships, and innovative streamlining entry pathways into the aged care sector.

5. Embracing Technology and Addressing Generational Differences

While generational differences in technology expectations were not as prevalent in aged care compared to other sectors, there's a growing need for leaders to embrace and adapt to the technological preferences of the younger workforce. Additionally, there were concerns raised about the curriculum structure for nurses, advocating for a review to ensure comprehensive education in and appeal of aged care practices.

The session concluded with a tangential discussion on the complexities of care activities not adequately captured in reporting systems, emphasising the need for more comprehensive frameworks to address nuanced care requirements.

RLDatix understands and promotes a safer and supported workforce in all health and care organisations.  To continue the discussion, please contact us to discuss our Workforce, Policy, Incident and Risk Management solutions.

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