Like many industries in 2023, the experience of working in aged care can be highly rewarding and fulfilling.
It can also be incredibly challenging, with reliance upon government funding and tight profit margins leaving little room for investment in staff wellbeing and leading to burnout and disengagement.
For the past 4 years HD&U have studied and worked with improving this problem with a Mornington Peninsula based provider of Allied Health services to the aged care industry nationally. This post for FBC features 4 ‘less obvious’ insights from that experience, and provides lessons for businesses of every shape and size:
- Empowerment and Belonging – No surprises, but experience of work is largely impacted by a team’s commitment to the ‘values’ it chooses to live by and how it passes these down from veterans to newcomers. In a similar way, empowering teams to enrich their own experience or work and wellbeing is also highly effective – particularly in organisations within which cultural problems are more frequently ‘passed up’ to leaders to fix instead of being resolved by teams.
- Evolving through Improvement – As in other areas of business, success arises for businesses who commit to the continuous improvement of their experience of work. With favourable outcomes from this endeavour being proportional with how frequently a team pauses to reflect upon themselves, with meaningful data, identifies and implements improvements, and repeats this process.
- Measuring for Impact – Following this last observation, there is an age-old business mantra to always ‘measure what matters’. So how does a team measure and track mental health stressors? To solve this problem HD&U leverages the innovative ‘TeamLife’ software to track roughly 90 psychosocial risk factors each week. TeamLife also tracks team progress towards important objectives and provides insights to speed-up skill development too.
- Support and Collaboration – Irrespective of whether a business is measuring what matters effectively, a frequent and ongoing challenge for smaller businesses is the absence of in-house people or expertise, which in turn leads to poor, or even failed, execution. To improve support and enable our aged care client to navigate around this dilemma, HD&U dissects data, translates insights into actionable tactics and shares these weekly. Through the benefit of this targeted support, the aged care teams are both better equipped to succeed and also freed up to focus on their core responsibilities and thrive.
Most importantly, the aged care business has established a deeper understanding of how to manage its team and sustain a positive experience of work through the HD&U program, as well as developing the internal capability to continue this themselves. Other reported benefits include:
- Better understanding of psychosocial risk profile and improved ability to manage and control these risks to comply with imminent Victorian psychosocial harm regulations;
- An improvement in staff tenure and the adverse impact of staff replacement. For example: costs fell to 1/3 of previous levels;
- Measurably higher productivity, culture and wellbeing; faster skill improvement; and improved team and self awareness; and
- Successful navigation through significant external challenges that adversely impacted staff wellbeing and experience of work across the aged care industry.
Significantly, regression analysis of over 10,000 responses from staff involved in the program found results in four of the areas targeted explain a staggering 70% of each person’s weekly performance.
Looking to the future…
The program continues, and in September 2023 HD&U, our client and FBC’s strategic partner Monash University will commence a 12-month longitudinal study into burnout and cognitive fatigue in the aged care sector.