Almost one year to the day after Governor General Peter Cosgrove established a Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety, Peninsula Villages has claimed the Outstanding Employer of Choice category in the NSW Chamber Regional Business Awards. At a truly challenging time for the industry in which traditional practices and methods are coming into question, the recognition, which came during the Central Coast ceremony on Friday 11 October, is reward for the organisation and provides a positive reflection on those who are constantly striving for excellence in the aged care sector.
Peninsula Villages has always prioritised inclusivity, productivity and compassion for circumstance - understanding the growing need for a more flexible lifestyle and that working in the aged care industry can be taxing at a physical, mental and emotional level.
“This is a win not just for Peninsula Villages, but for the entire aged care sector,” said Shane.
“At a time when there is so much negative press surrounding aged care it’s good to know that organisations who are doing the right thing are being recognised for their work.
“Every member of our staff is dedicated solely to the livelihood of our residents. That shines through every day within our villages and it clearly shone through for our community as well.”
The Outstanding Employer of Choice award recognises organisations that put in place strategies and initiatives to create stimulating and supportive workplace environments for their employees.
Peninsula Villages has many such strategies and initiatives in place. This helps them to attract and retain the strongest employees, boast a staff turnover rate nearly half that of the industry average and facilitate the needs of their diverse community beyond regulatory compliance.
“Whether it’s staff wellness programs and benefits, rewards and recognition programs or skill development courses and regular staff celebrations, Peninsula Villages is always implementing new ways to develop our culture and bring lasting benefits to our residents and the local community,” said Shane.
There’s no doubt the aged care sector is experiencing its challenges and in terms of finance this was evident in the latest Australian Government ACFA report* which outlined the overall financial performance of residential aged care providers declined in 2017-18 and the number of providers making a net profit fell from 68% in 2016-17 to 56% in 2017-18. An outcome significantly influenced by the changes to ACFI (Aged Care Funding Instrument) and the feedback from providers suggests the pressures have continued into 2018/19.
The same report suggested that, during the 2017/18 financial year, expenses of residential providers rose by 5.3% while income only rose by 1.7%.
“We are certainly operating in a testing environment at the moment – the Royal Commission, legislative reform and poor public opinion is all proving divisive in the industry,” said Shane.
“The fact that we were awarded Outstanding Employer of Choice in our region while operating within a sector that is struggling to maintain financial performance, is a huge achievement.
“Conversely been pitted against some local for-profit organisations in this award and winning it was nothing short of motivating as we continue to focus on efficient ways to consistently care for our community and residents, while also maintaining a plan to motivate keen and dedicated staff to join our team,” he added.
Even now, Peninsula Villages is in the process of implementing a new model of care to assist with meeting new standards in the industry.
“We are constantly assessing the merits of new, innovative ways to proactively test the threshold of what is considered standard and what goes above and beyond for our employees – it’s particularly humbling now to see that this commitment is being recognised,” Shane concluded.
Reference - *Australian Government Aged Care Financing Authority, ‘Seventh Report on the Funding & Financing of the Aged Care Industry’, July 2019.