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Making a difference by Sally Thompson
focus an advertising feature Making a difference by Sally Thompson In the 21st Century, aged care providers getting older and it’s great to work with a viable financial position.” face a myriad of challenges; everything the committed, passionate people who Chris also acknowledged that because from funding to a serious shortage of are working out there in the industry, older people are now staying in their skilled staff, plus a mountain of paperwork caring for our ageing Australians. You own homes for longer, they generally and increased compliance. know, hopefully, we are all going to get require much higher levels of care when Realise Performance is a company that there ourselves one day, so the things we they eventually go into residential care promises to help your organisation are doing now are helping to set up the facilities. Care issues in the sector can navigate these troubled waters and industry for our future as well.” also be more complex than the acute care emerge with a more productive and Chris is a champion of the aged care system. “It’s not like in public hospitals sustainable organisation at the other end. where you’re treated and go home. Aged Everyone knows the Australian Denis Byron CEO Care is about managing chronic long term population is ageing and with that, health conditions and enabling people to aged care has become an attraction Anglican Care have quality of life, both in the short and for investors looking to profit from the long term.” growing market. However, according to “The independence Chris clearly loves his job, but knows Chris Westacott, Managing Director of Realise Performance, making a fortune and professionalism the tough realities facing the sector. He says many providers are struggling. is not as simple in reality as it seems. “Investors look at the demographics of of Chris and Realise “They find it difficult to attract and retain qualified and skilled staff, they the Australian population, the continued Performance was have ageing capital stock and because growth of the aged care sector due to of funding limitations many are either increased lifespan and assume it must critical in achieving currently losing money or barely be a good place to be in business. In breaking even. They need to make many respects they can be right, but an effective changes to ensure they remain viable because of the nature of funding and the businesses.” high costs of delivering services it can be restructure.” Realise Performance has helped many very difficult to make a profit. Therefore organisations though a process of the key to success in the sector is to industry which he sees as moving from renewal. “We have been spending manage all aspects of the business but in being essentially a cottage industry to a lot of time working with clients on particular the people aspects well.” a highly regulated professional sector. these issues and helping them to move A holistic approach to managing aged care Realise Performance spends a high their organisations forward. This has well is what Chris, a veteran of the human percentage of its time working with significantly improved their balance resources and health industry is passionate organisations to develop solutions to sheets and ensured that they remain about. It’s what inspired him to start provide quality care within the limits of viable in the future.” Realise Performance, seven years ago. their available resources. Chris loves talking about staffing He is devoted to the wellbeing of his “There are higher expectations placed on problems and solutions, after all, that’s clients providing timely support when aged care providers to meet increasing a large part of the Realise Performance they require it. Australian Ageing demands for care in a more highly brief. Agenda spoke to Chris at 10 o’clock in the regulated environment. This has resulted “Seventy per cent of an aged care morning and he’d already dealt with and in ever increasing expenses and the organisation’s costs are staff and this is a resolved issues for six clients including funding the aged care sector receives is tough industry where staff need to two that occurred whilst he was driving only a fraction of the funds per bed, per be competent.” to work. day in comparison to other health sectors. He makes the point that you can’t deliver “The best part about my job is that I It is a very fine balance to provide the quality care without the right people and just think it’s so worthwhile. We’re all highest quality of care whilst maintaining it’s a struggle to get those staff. focus an advertising feature To underpin this, Chris does a quick of employee interventions that align increase employee performance and search on the Seek employment website them to where they need to be we can workplace productivity. for aged care workers and the result make a real difference.” Chris also points out that over recent - more than 2000 vacancies. Chris also believes there are many years there has been a significant Chris does not shy away from what’s things a company can do to reward and increase in legislative compliance been a well-documented problem when recognise its staff, without breaking the in aged care. In response to these it comes to attracting and keeping bank. Often just saying positive things to pressures Chris advises that Realise skilled aged care workers. A personal staff and making them feel valued, can Performance is in the process of observation does nothing to dispel the have enormous benefits. Chris believes establishing a division which will extent of the problem. some managers and supervisors don’t support its clients as they prepare for He explains that his teenage daughter, have the confidence to give positive accreditation and help them establish who is studying at University, works feedback. Realise Performance offers new systems to deal with other part-time as a waitress in a restaurant coaching and mentoring to help them compliance issues. where she is paid almost $3 per hour develop these skills. Because aged care staff must record more than the average aged care everything about every resident on a worker. Her only qualifications are a bright bubbly personality, the ability to “Competent and daily basis; the paperwork trail must be impeccable. work hard and a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. motivated staff are Realise Performance understands this issue and says solutions can be A qualified Certificate III trained carer in the Aged Care industry, a specialised the most valuable found through job design, recruitment and training. job providing physical and emotional resource in aged “Employers need to be smarter about support to clients and residents, only how they manage staff to obtain greater gets paid around $16 to $17 an hour. care and we help productivity and maintain the highest Chris acknowledges that providers quality of care.” are in a bind because without extra providers get the “What Realise Performance does funding, they’re unable to pay much more. It is, as he points out, not best out of is try to help with a whole range of interventions to maximise staff surprising that management in the industry is constantly frustrated by the their employees.” performance. We work to develop and enhance skills to ensure they can problem of attracting and retaining deliver.” quality staff when the pay is low and Chris believes that one of the greatest Realise Performance can assist other opportunities such as the one impediments to the aged care industry organisations to find the right staff, by undertaken by his daughter are so is its strong links to the old industrial helping construct tailored questions readily available. award system. “Aged care providers which assess actual competency However, Chris goes on to explain that need to be innovative and no provider during the recruitment process. providers can overcome this by making has exactly the same constraints or These questions can also be used for the workplace a more attractive place issues with regard to how they go about the performance review cycles and to work. He believes that more needs determining the conditions by which ultimately can be linked back to the to be done in the ‘soft people’ areas their employees are employed.” national competency standards. such as performance management and Realise Performance has developed a “We can help set up systems for development, career paths, workplace range of approaches over the last couple existing staff to maximise performance, flexibility and recognition systems. of years using the latest techniques in for example new job descriptions, “Competent and motivated staff are the employee relations which have proven performance management and role most valuable resource in aged care and to be exceptional in not only enhancing competency frameworks to enhance we help providers get the best out of an organisation’s ability to attract performance within an organisation.” their employees. By developing a range and retain staff but also to significantly focus an advertising feature Australian Ageing Agenda asked Chris are limited ongoing care costs. But now so that longer term planning what advice he would give to an investor eventually there comes a point where becomes more realistic and achievable. looking at starting up as an aged care people will need higher levels of care “Realise Performance simplifies the service provider within three hours of and the question that must be answered approach to strategic planning. Many major cities. He relished the opportunity by these organisations is ‘How are they people spend a lot of money on strategic to answer: going to deal with this issue?’.” planning but don’t get much from it. We First of all, you’ve got to be clear about Revamping an existing aged care need to focus on identifying immediate what you’re trying to establish. business on the other hand needs a imperatives whilst at the same time • What residents are you trying combination of high level goal setting ensuring that clients have some view to attract? whilst ensuring there is a specific focus about where they would like to take • What sort of aged care provider are on managing the business within its their business. However our priority is you going to be? current organisational constraints. ensuring organisational sustainability.” • Where do you want to position Chris goes on to explain that many Realise Performance is also about to yourselves in the market? aged care providers are struggling to launch an electronic newsletter and • What services are you going remain viable with ageing capital stock, Chris’s unquestionable expertise will be to provide? ever increasing expenses and a lack of on display when the company starts a • How are you going to staff it? cash reserves to address many of their series of business breakfasts later this • What sort of employees are you issues. These short term constraints year, to inform interested parties on looking for? make long term planning impracticable the issues facing the industry and how “There are many levels of aged care. as for many providers the focus can Realise Performance can help. He wants A lot of organisations are investing in be about survival. Therefore, he helps to see his business make a difference. independent living units because there organisations focus on getting results focus an advertising feature Chris Westacott Peter Evans Leanne Thebridge Managing Director Principal Consultant Senior Consultant Qualifications: MBA, Qualifications: Qualifications: Degree qualifications in Law and Psychology. Bachelor of Business, Human Resources and Expertise: Remuneration, Master of Organisational Marketing, Diploma of job evaluation, job and Development and Training, Directorship. competency design and Diploma of Occupational Professional Credentialing: organisation analysis Health and Safety. FAICD, FAHRI, and training. Expertise: HR generalist, AFAIM, AFACHSE Industries: Broad HR Policy and Systems Expertise: Strategic Planning, Governance, experience across a wide range of industries development, Occupational Health and Safety, Strategic Human Resource Management, including Insurance, Communications, Risk Management and Quality Systems and Organisation Analysis and Design, Strategic Professional services. health and aged care accreditation. Workplace Reform, Change Management, Experience: 30 years in a consultancy role. Industries: Health, Education, Manufacturing Senior Executive and Board Coaching, Strategic Experience: 25 years experience in HR, OHS and Remuneration Management, Reward and Alan Pigott quality systems management. Recognition Systems. Principal Consultant Industries: Aged Care, Health Care, Community Qualifications: Degrees in Elly Beck Services, Pharmaceuticals, Government, Law and Business Consulting Practice Academia, Aerospace, Financial Services, administration. Manager Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing. Expertise: Organisational Qualifications: Experience: Over 30 years in human resources analysis and design, Diploma in Business and line management roles with both a local and strategic and business Administration, Certificate international focus plus 8 years experience as planning, project IV in Training and a consultant. management, change Assessment, Certificate IV Member of the Board for a community based management, highly skilled facilitator and Occupational Health aged care provider (272 high and low care beds mediator plus high level negotiation skills. and Safety. – including dementia specific high and low care Industries: Public sector across federal, state Expertise: Administration, Learning and wings and independent living units). and local government levels, Transport and Not Development, Vocational Education, Risk for Profit sectors. Management and Quality Systems and health and Stephen Auburn Experience: 30 years in senior management roles. aged care accreditation, Support for clients and Principal Consultant. staff of Realise Performance. Qualifications: John Watt Industries: Pharmaceuticals, Event Management, B.A. (Asian Studies); Master Principal Consultant. Education, Aged Care and Community Services of Education; Certificate Qualifications: Master of Experience: 30 years in business management and IV in Assessment and Public Policy, Bachelor of quality systems development. Workplace Training. Education (Hons), Professional Dip Teaching. Shaminie Chandrahasan Credentialling: CPAHRI Expertise: Systems Marketing Coordinator Expertise: Learning and for performance and Qualifications: Bachelor of development solutions, planning, performance organisational improvement. Commerce/Marketing. management systems, vocational education and Activity Based Costing, Expertise: Marketing and training, industry analysis, remuneration advice. Benchmarking, Business Process Re-Engineering, Business Development. Industries: Aged Care, Health Care, Change Management & Business Restructuring, Experience: Retail and Community Services. Corporate Governance, Infrastructure Review, professional services. Experience: Over 30 years in public and private Management Review, Micro-Economic Analysis, sector roles. Organisational and Business Planning, Policy Development, Program Review, Shared Corporate Services. Industries: Public sector, Health Care, Community Services Experience: 17 years as a specialist consultant in corporate governance and performance management
"Making a difference by Sally Thompson"