Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2017 Contents Can you briefly tell us about your
background and how you came to
the sector and your current role?
I have spent most of my career in the
health and aged care sectors with the
majority in the not-for-profit private
My entr y to aged care occurred
in 1999 when I joined mecwacare as
chief financial officer. It was a great
introduction to the industr y and it
provided me with a grounding that has
held me in good stead ever since.
I remained in the not-for-profit sector
until 2008 when I moved into an aged
care advisor y role primarily assisting
private providers to better navigate the
I joined Arcare in 2009 as CFO and
became chief executive officer in 2011.
What would you most like to
achieve as CEO this year?
We have 600 beds across three states
to commission this year and ensuring
that we adequately support the
wellbeing of our staff would be my
We have also been working hard on
our five-star brand over the past four
years and we are hoping to continue
that work this year and reinforce our
position as a premium provider and
What are the big opportunities you
see and how are you positioning to
capitalise on them?
Providing enhanced choice and control
for residents is the best thing to happen
to the industr y in a long time.
Having adopted a relationship-
first approach three years ago and
implementing our dedicated staff
assignment soon after, we feel well
placed to capitalise on the opportunities
that will arise from the new consumer-
Later this year we will start getting
feedback from residents directly as
part of a regular temperature check to
guarantee that we honour their wishes
and maintain their citizenship rights.
What are the challenges facing
your organisation and how will
Having stability from the government
around funding and supply of places
is of paramount importance. We are
responding by showing the government
that we are embracing resident choice
and control and take ver y seriously
the rights of residents as citizens and
worthwhile members of the community.
Arcare is not alone in feeling the
squeeze when it comes to finding and
retaining talent. People are our greatest
asset so it is critical that we support their
wellbeing at ever y possible opportunity,
ever y single day. This is a big focus for
us this year and beyond.
What keeps you awake at night?
The safety of staff and residents, and
of my own family, is deeply important
Knowing that we are supporting
staff and providing a culture in which
they look out for each other and build
relationships with our residents gives me
peace of mind.
On a broader level, my biggest
concern is around the uncertainty and
unpredictability of industr y funding.
Ensuring that bed supply is capped
is important to us as it allows for
investor confidence and the deliver y
of needed places. Maintaining the
Accommodation Bond Guarantee
Scheme is also important as it
underpins the growth capital of
the industr y.
How do you support your key
people through this period of
reform and change?
I try to give as much of myself as
possible to staff because I have found
that one-to-one mentoring and coaching
is more powerful and meaningful to
people than sending them to a seminar.
‘Listen to people
COLIN SINGH, Arcare CEO, shares his views on the
challenges and opportunities facing his organisation
and leadership in the sector.
I normally do this through regular
informal catch-ups over coffee as I find
this relaxed environment encourages
open and honest communications. It also
strengthens my relationships with staff,
which is important to me personally
and to the business in the context of its
relationship-centric approach and as a
What’s the best advice you’ve
received that helped you as an
aged care CEO?
Listen to people and acknowledge them
and their contribution is something that
one of the Arcare directors told me and
it is so true. I’ve found it is the key to
getting the best out of people.
We all have so much going on in our
working lives and swirling around in
our heads that it is often difficult to be
100 per cent present in the company
of others. I treat listening to others
as a task that I need to successfully
complete each and every time I meet
What qualities make a standout
aged care leader?
Having empathy for all staff and
stakeholders is crucial. Supporting
vulnerable people is difficult and
challenging so while we all need to
focus on improving resident wellbeing
and giving them a five-star experience,
we cannot be too hard on ourselves if
things do not always go as planned. As
long as one’s intentions are noble then
you cannot go wrong.
Being cool under pressure and
decisive come in handy every single
day. The other quality is being able to
think creatively. As we are often dealing
with people during a stressful time and
with limited time and resources, being
able to develop left-field solutions is an
important and ultimately ver y rewarding
quality in an aged care leader. n
30 | JULY – AUGUST 2017
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