Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Mar-Apl 2016 Contents CREATING AN engaged workforce
is currently the number one issue
for businesses across Australia,
and the most critical factor to their
success, says Kathy Kostyrko,
director of public sector with Hays.
The recruitment firm recently
surveyed 396 employers and 800
jobseekers across Australia and
New Zealand to examine what
factors influenced staff engagement
and to work out practical strategies
for organisations to improve.
"The more engaged your workforce is, the
more likely you'll retain your workers and the
more likely they will be productive, creative
and innovative," Ms Kostyrko told AAA ahead
of her presentation at the LASA Tri-State
conference in February.
The two most important factors for
employee engagement were a
sense of feeling valued by the
organisation, and recognition
for a job well done. Ms Kostyrko
stressed that making staff feel
valued was particularly important in
aged care, as workers were often
putting so much of themselves into
the care of residents.
It was important that people felt
valued, that their opinions would be
heard and acted upon. "That there is
a collaborative environment, so that
when they come to work, they feel like they're
working with friends," said Ms Kostyrko.
This meant getting to know staff as
people, not as just as employees, and taking
the time to work out what was important to
them, she said.
"Engagement sounds easy, but it's not,
because it takes time and involvement of
management to make sure that the needs of
their employees are absolutely being looked
after," she said.
Ms Kostyrko stressed that induction and
onboarding were critical to getting people
engaged from day one.
"There's usually a lot of turnover in that
first 12 months and often it's because when
the person started they may not have had an
appropriate induction," she said.
Among the other key engagement
factors for employees was knowing how
success would be measured; a clear
understanding of how one's role helped the
organisation achieve its objectives; and a
clear communication of the organisation's
objectives and strategy. n
The Tri-State Conference took place 21-23
February in Albury.
Dr Stephen Lundin
Photo: Nicola Ward
'All about attitude'
We create our own workplace culture, so why
not make it a fully human and playful place,
asks expert ahead of Sydney conference.
IN AN AGED care facility quality of life is
about freedom, engagement with others, and
having a connection to values, says Stephen
Lundin, international expert on workplace
moral, culture and productivity.
He says that quality of life is difficult to
measure, but at the essence of good aged
When quality of care is discussed
it usually involves fairly clinical criteria
reflecting a medical model, says Dr Lundin.
He acknowledges that clinical criteria are
important, but says quality of life is
critical, largely due to the vulnerability of
"In an aged care facility quality of life is
about freedom, engagement with others,
and having a connection to values and
favourite activities. But for staff to really
know a person who can't summarise their
life, they need to be truly present and
to discover things about them through
conversation, family and visitors, and by
paying attention," says Dr Lundin.
Dr Lundin, author of the best-selling
FISH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and
Improve Performance spoke to Australian
Ageing Agenda ahead of his participation in
the Aged and Community Services NSW &
ACT state conference in May.
He is best-known for the "FISH
Philosophy," which focuses on "who we
are" while we work, and how our values,
attitudes and interactions shape the
His philosophy encourages people to
approach work playfully, to be present,
focus on serving others, and be more
conscious of our attitudes.
What makes a workplace satisfying is
partly influenced by how much people
enjoy the work and partly by how much
they enjoy the feel of the place, Dr Lundin
says. "Some places have a toxic feel while
others are welcoming and warm. The feel of
a place, or the culture, is created moment
by moment as workers choose how they will
show up at work."
Dr Lundin acknowledges that aged
care organisations and staff have been
through a lot of change, as reforms have
been implemented, over which they had
little control. "It is true the sheer amount of
change is tiring," he says.
But, aged care workers have a choice in
how they show up for work, he says.
"Why not create a palace of hospitality
amidst the chaos? Why not co-create a
place that is playful so that coming to
work is joyful even if the actual job is not?
We create our own workplace culture;
why not make it a fully human and
Dr Lundin encourages workers to put
aside a focus on the negative and build a
work environment where "you look forward
to entering each work day because it is
like a healthy home." n
The ACS NSW & ACT state conference
runs 4-5 May at Dolton House, Sydney.
Creating an engaged workforce
Staff engagement has been shown to improve clinical care
outcomes and create financial return, says recruiter.
By Jackie Keast.
www.australianageingagenda.com.au | 53
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