Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Spt-Oct 2011 Contents [Brian Herd, NIMAC Conference June 2011]
way. Another presenter at the NIMAC conference - management
and leadership expert, Richard Dore, from Proteus Leadership
Centres -- echoes this.
"Recognition is vital for a great culture. People simply love
being acknowledged and praised for their contribution, so spend
the majority of your time giving people praise, recognition and
rewarding them accordingly," says Dore.
"Catch people doing the right thing," he says. "And when
you give people genuine praise, it also gives you a lift and it
Another compelling way to encourage and reward staff - that
doesn't involve paying them extra money -- is to allow flexibility in
their working arrangements.
Flexible arrangements can include allowing variable
configurations of working hours and the opportunity for job
sharing. It may include enabling staff to bring their children
to work if needed or even parents. Brian Herd spoke of an
aged care group that allowed staff with their own parental
caring responsibilities to bring their their parents into the
organisation's day centre when needed, thereby eradicating a
major area of stress for those workers.
Upskilling volunteers to better support paid workers might
take some of the strain off certain jobs while recognising and
rewarding the volunteers. Staying on at work might be more
appealing for older workers if employers can offer them phased
retirement opportunities; while phased return-to-work options
might be invaluable for workers coming back into the workforce
after a baby or another break in their working life.
Finally, there are the 'little things', as Herd likes to refer to
them, that can make the biggest differences to the health and
happiness levels in an aged care workplace.
He describes ideas like gift vouchers to congratulate success in
training or ceremonies to publicly acknowledge staff achievements
"One facility I know of had a 'Spouse Day' where staff invited
their partners to come into work and see what it is that they actually
do all day and the importance of their role. They put on a lunch and
some afternoon tea and the staff went home that night feeling like
they had all this wonderful recognition for their work and I'm sure it
gave a whole new fillip to their relationship with their partner!"
Other facilities, he says offer 'me days' as rewards; concede
the best parking spots to care staff; or call on relationships with
their own service providers to add value for staff, for example
by getting their lawyers to run a free session on preparation of
wills and EPAs. They may encourage a regular 'story telling time'
for staff and seek out good PR in the local media to highlight the
achievements of the facility and its workers.
DON'T TOLERATE THE 'UN' STAFF
Alas, concedes Herd, not every worker will respond and perform,
regardless of how happy and functional the workplace is and
sometimes courage is needed in the face of risk.
"You shouldn't tolerate the 'un' staff. Tolerating them just
infects the good staff and compromises your values.
"Sack 'em!" Herd says. "The cost of keeping them will far
exceed the cost of cutting them."
Richard Dore agrees. "Focus your energy on the right people.
[...] Sure, always support and empathise with a person who is
having a bad day but be wary of persistently pessimistic people who
are energy vampires. The best way to do this is call your negative
people on their behaviour and don't indulge them. Alternatively,
simply get rid of them ... set your miserable people free! n
FOR STAFF =
Sandra Hills is CEO of
Victorian aged care provider,
Benetas. She believes reward
and recognition of staff is the
best way to thank staff for
their good work and also to
repay them for their 'further
"We try to use a range
of methods to reward and
recognise staff but we
very rarely offer financial
incentives," says Hills.
"Except for things like a book
of movie vouchers or maybe a Myer voucher or occasionally we
might give someone a night in a hotel or send a team out for a
nice dinner. But usually the rewards are opportunities for on and
off the job training and development.
"Sometimes that can be expensive -- for example sending
some people on a leadership program might cost several
thousand dollars each but they come back inspired and motivated
and they share their experiences with the team and everyone
benefits. Sending someone to a conference as a reward might
cost $1000 but people tell us they would prefer that to the money."
Hills believes supporting staff to undertake further
educational qualifications or training and development - and
then celebrating and sharing their successes - fuels higher
performance and improved outcomes and ultimately leads to
better care for clients.
"People want to be recognised. One the major motivations
you can provide is to recognise people so we will make sure
we put things in our own newsletter and have a special morning
tea for someone who just completed a program or won a grant
"We will often send the news to Aged and Community
Care Victoria for their newsletter and get the local paper in.
Importantly, we are not rewarding them just for doing a job and
we need to be clear about how and why we reward people
because there can't be inequities. Some people do exceptional
things quietly in the background and nobody really knows and
you have to make sure those people don't get overlooked."
These people are:
✗ Un motivated
✗ Un interested
✗ Un requited
✗ Un recognised
✗ Un rewarded
✗ Un reliable
✗ Un happy
✗ are badly selected
✗ are poorly trained
✗ have no incentives
✗ think it's just a job
✗ don't care about caring
✗ whisper in corridors
✗ say, "I'm not paid to do that!"
✗ are looking for their next job
✗ never accept responsibility
✗ More complaints
✗ More paperwork
✗ More agency staff
✗ More cost
✗ More managing
✗ More time distracted from caring
MANAGERS, TAKE THE TEST
✔ Do your staff know your organisation's values?
✔ Do you appraise staff?
✔ Do you know their aspirations?
✔ Do they understand their role and authority?
✔ Do you offer and encourage training?
✔ Do you have career progression?
✔ Do you have clear communication?
✔ Do you take them seriously?
✔ Do you promote fun in the workplace?
✔ Is there a culture and climate of trust?
✔ Are you always thinking about them?
[Brian Herd NIMAC conference,
THE 'UN' STAFF
AAA | SEPTEMBER -- OCTOBER 2011 | 43
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