Lydia Mc Williams
LAST MONTH, I WROTE A BLOG TITLED “CONNECTING THE DISCONNECT IN THE AGED CARE SECTOR” WHERE I DISCUSSED VARIOUS CHALLENGES AGED CARE COMPANIES IN AUSTRALIA ARE CURRENTLY FACING. THESE CHALLENGES HAVE BEEN THE FOCUS OF MOST OF MY CONVERSATIONS WITH MY CLIENTS ACROSS THE SECTOR THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE LAST FEW WEEKS. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING MORE ABOUT THIS, FEEL FREE TO GRAB A COFFEE, SIT OUTSIDE UNDER THE WINTER SUN FOR A BIT OF VITAMIN D AND CLICK HERE.
As a follow up to this blog, this month I would like to explore how we can disconnect this disconnect. This ‘how’ is based upon my own observations only (hence not gold) and from ideas which were sparked during my conversations with candidates and clients working in this sector. If you have any thoughts / ideas which you would like to share with me, I would love to hear from you (yes you!).
Let’s start with five ways we can disconnect the disconnect:
1) Senior executives can look to spend more time on the ground in the facilities to understand their daily operations and proceedings. This would increase their understanding and awareness from a ground level perspective and would also build rapport and deepen relationships with their staff. A win-win!
2) I have observed that some aged care companies are moving away from the model where nurses and health care practitioners manage the facilities and are beginning to transition towards a new model where business people from the corporate world head up the facilities. When I say business people I am referring to those who have experience running branches in other sectors such as retail stores or banks.
To effectively manage an aged care facility, do you really require a health care background? Do you need to know how to treat a patient? I guess the answer is no given that all the staff under the ‘branch manager’ would have these clinical skills, while the branch manager would be knowledgeable in P&L, workforce planning and most importantly running profitable businesses which provide outstanding customer service. Food for thought!
3) It seems crucial that strong internal communication remains consistent with regards to changes which come about. By this I mean communicating the why, how and when to staff to ensure that they are abreast of these changes to ensure that they feel like they are part of this journey and valued staff members, not just a number in the chain. If you have any queries regarding communications roles across the aged care sector, my colleague Jaquelina is your person to speak to. You can catch her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) A word of advice to hiring managers in the sector (given the multiple hat wearing and lean team structures), would be to hire project managers who have strong change management skills and experience. This is advantageous from a cost perspective as well as benefiting the organisation in terms of effectively and concurrently managing the change piece, which sometimes can be left as an afterthought.
A word of advice to all the project managers out there who want to break into the ever-evolving aged care sector, would be to gain hands on experience in change management to complement your project skills.
5) In terms of project management team structures, some organisations are fixated on hiring project managers with health care / aged care / NFP experience. While others are fixated on hiring staff from outside of the fast-paced corporate world. Why not meet in the middle and aim to have a blended mix of project staff, some with corporate backgrounds, others with health care or NFP backgrounds. After all, variety is the spice of life right!?
If you’d like to share your ideas on this topic, please reach out to me directly.
Lydia Mc Williams
Project Resource Partners
Level 29, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
T +61 3 9949 8100 D +61 3 9949 8106