Many years ago I was PR Manager for a national (now international) employment organisation who specialised in Disability Employment services, Job Network and included a Registered Training Organisation, (RTO).
IT was at a time when employment services were often in the news. Scandals of embezzlement, cheating the system, organizations making millions while job seekers kept on seeking.
And a time when RTO’s were in the news. Scandal, cheating, dishonest practise, tricking or bribing vulnerable people to sign up for courses that they had no real interest in or ability for.
Regardless of how impeccable the organisation you worked for was, the sector was disgraced and no-one cared if your experience was different.
I have been thinking about this the last few weeks, where judging by the news NDIS, (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is on the nose. Confusion, long waiting lists, people missing out or getting less assistance on the NDIS plan than they received previously.
I can imagine the impact of this on people with disability and their families and carers. In fact, I don’t need to imagine, a bit of time spent on news sites, social sites and forums shows a great deal of distress and anger.
Of course, there are many good stories as well, but they don’t often get past the ‘noise’.
What has exercised my thinking recently is the impact on staff in disability organisations, doing their best in a new system that is either finding its feet or flawed.
I imagine people who have faced frustration and heart break, but also jubilation and excitement, who perhaps celebrated with clients/consumers only to get home to news that is deflating.
How do you help staff to keep up their morale when their positive experiences of working in the NDIS environment never makes the news?
Here are some tips on communicating with staff that might help:
Encourage managers to celebrate all ‘wins’ in their team
Be clear on expectations around results
Be available for debrief
Be willing to take on appeals where necessary
Be clear about what could be done differently in this new environment
Amplify the successes
Create positive stories and use them to explain the organisation position
Tell your staff how much you appreciate their efforts
Communicate the above to all staff in all communication forums:
Newsletters, Intranets, meetings, emails….
In other words, make sure that your employees are able to do the best for their clients in a difficult environment and that in the workplace they feel valued, listened to and understood. We need the NDIS to work and the more effective we are in service provision the better off all people connected to the system will be – Particularly people with disability.