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Making a difference by Sally Thompson


Making a difference by Sally Thompson

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                                                                                     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.
    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
                                                                                     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
    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

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