Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2013 Contents "Because they
can't pay well,
is paid to the
type of work
conditions, and to
job design issues
Dr Jane Coffey.
Care manager, Deb Crome,
says she went to work for
her employer, ACT provider
Goodwin Aged Care Services,
because of its impressive
reputation. She stays because it's a
progressive organisation with new ideas,
has staff dedicated to giving quality care,
and it offers support, education and
Crome is taking part in Goodwin's
mentoring program, which she says has
empowered her to strive for more and
believe that she can achieve anything she
puts her mind to. "My mentor has given me
a rare gift, that of her time and knowledge,
which has shown me that this is an
organisation that strives to empower and
nurture its staff and endeavours to provide
skills and knowledge to make a difference."
Similarly Deb King, who is a registered
nurse with West Australian provider,
Bethanie, talks positively of her employer.
King was attracted to Bethanie because
the organisation shares her values and
beliefs. "I stay because of the people I
work with, great staff and we really make
a difference," she says.
While the sector has many happy
employees like Crome and King, attracting
and retaining a quality workforce is at the
forefront of any organisation that hopes to
serve their clients well.
The good news is the aged services
sector is well-placed to succeed in that
quest. Because people attracted to these
organisations are intrinsically motivated to
stay by the work undertaken and the people
they work with, says Dr Jane Coffey, who is
the discipline leader for employee relations
and human resources at Curtin University.
"There is generally a better nexus
between the expectations of the new
employees and the reality of the job," says
Dr Coffey, who has just completed a PhD
on the attraction and retention motivators
of young people. "Because they can't pay
well, more attention is paid to the type of
work undertaken, the flexibility in working
conditions, and to job design issues of
increased autonomy and decision-making."
How do you do it? Dr Coffey says
rather than implementing a one-size-
fits-all solution, the key is to use an
individualised approach. Right from
the beginning of the recruitment and
selection process, it's important to find
out what each staff member is driven by
and tailor the strategy to suit them, she
says. "Some may be driven by learning
and development opportunities, others by
working on specific projects and others by
leadership development, etcetera."
While the approach should be personal, Dr
Coffey offers the following core principles
to incorporate into recruitment and
- Provide realistic job previews and
don't promise what you can't give
- Ensure candidates know about the
difficulties and challenges that may
- Find out new employees' expectations
and be honest about what can be met
and what can't
- With the employee, develop a
program and strategy to meet those
It's a long-term approach, she says, but
one where the employee knows the plan.
And developing your own employees for
future opportunities is much cheaper and
more effective than bringing in someone
new that doesn't end up fitting with the
DO PERKS WORK?
In addition to a generic approach and
promising what you can't deliver, Dr Coffey
says financial incentives are not the way to
go. They usually only offer a short-term gain,
which lasts a maximum of three pay cycles.
Intrinsic rewards, on the other hand,
have a longer-term motivational impact
because it takes a real investment in
the employee, she says. "Flexibility can
be a good longer-term incentive as can
investment in learning and development."
Dr Coffey suggests incorporating the
following to aid staff retention:
- Learning and development
- Job rotation and project management
- Self-managed work teams
- Opportunities for flexibility
- Autonomy and decision-making
- Good mentors and leaders
"The last one is critical," she says.
AAA spoke to some providers who
have recently won awards for their models
around staff development and retention.
One thing they all agreed on was their
strategies were multi-faceted and success
could not be put down to one element.
Dr Jane Coffey
Links Archive AAA Mar-Apl 2013 AAA Nov-Dec 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page