Maximising the use of workplace technology

Workplace technology

5-minute read – Business Management Series – Workplace Technology

At one time or another, all of us were children. And if we were like most children, our attention span was relatively short.

We would get a new toy for Christmas or our birthday, and it would be wonderful – so new and shiny and interesting.

But after some time, perhaps a few months, perhaps over a day or a few hours, the novelty would wear off, and we would forget about the toy, and either go back to old toys we love, or find something more interesting.

As adults, workplace technology is somewhat like those toys from when we were kids.

When a new platform is rolled out across an organisation, it often comes with a lot of excitement.

There are usually launches, internal communications, training, and incentives or encouragement to adopt the software.

It is at that point, that most employees log in for the first time, try it out and start to buy into using it.

But again, just like those kids, sometimes, after a few days, weeks or months, employees can return to old habits – learning even the simplest of new systems can seem like extra work on top of what they already do.

Gradually they log in less and less, or only to use the necessary functionality. After a while, they can even get out of practice and forget their training.

When this happens, engagement with the system begins to decline, and the investment you made in exploring solutions, finding the right one and implementing, suddenly seems somewhat wasted.

And yet, you decided upon this solution for a reason. You determined it would bring value to your organisation, perhaps improving productivity and enhancing results.

So how can you make your time and efforts worthwhile? The simple answer is, don’t stop investing!

Keep communicating about your workplace technology

In the old world, pre-Netflix and all those other streaming services, if you wanted to see what happened on a television show, you had to tune in each week.

Unfortunately, even with a great desire to see what would happen, as adults, many of us have so many obligations and commitments, that days get away from us and it would be easy to forget when the new episode is scheduled.

To help us out, television networks would advertise; relentlessly reminding us of the time slot and cliff hanger associated with the next episode.

When it comes to workplace technology, you need to be that relentless advertiser.

Your teams have a lot going on, they have a lot of commitments.

They might like the software, they might understand it – they might even love using it, but if it is their habit to log into something else, and that something else still exists, there will be days when they take those shortcuts.

One short cut becomes another, and eventually, what was logging into the old process every now and then, becomes only logging into the old process, and the new platform is forgotten.

Don’t stop communicating about the software and reminding people of its benefits and functions just because it seems everyone has bought-in and adopted it.

Keep pushing it and promoting it and supporting it until it becomes the new habit, and your employees log into it out of routine as much as they do out of choice.

Keep up the training

Remember those toys? Remember what happened when you found something about it that you just couldn’t figure it out?

Sure, you gave it a try, but trying and failing is not very satisfying. Eventually, unable to work it out, you moved on and found a toy you knew how to use.

Again, workplace technology is no different.

Provide ongoing training that is mandatory for all employees, whether online or face-to-face.

This not only helps them figure out any of those frustrating bits that might have turned them away, it also regularly introduces them to new ways of doing things they may not have been aware of.

Make it a source of crucial information

A new intranet is one of the most common platforms in medium to larger organisation, regardless of industry, and it’s also one people tune into at the start, but often less and less over time.

And yet, it can be a crucial point for obtaining information, if you so choose!

Use your workplace technology to share information that employees NEED to know – this will encourage regular use.

As an example, workplace management software might be a good place to make rosters available, so employees must use it to find out when their next shift is.

A CEO might make a $100 prize available to the employee of the month, and the intranet might be the only place employees can find out if they won.

You have workplace technology because it provides an important service, so draw on its purpose to determine how you can use it to share crucial information or processes.

Make workplace technology available and accessible

Over the last few years, and especially in 2020, our workplaces changed dramatically.

While aged and disability care frontline staff were rarely office-based, now even those office staff have started to work offsite, from their homes.

In order for workplace technology to be used in the long-term, it needs to be easy to get to, no matter where your teams are.

This means taking the software to them, rather than making them go to the software.

Visicase’s workplace management platform is on the cloud, meaning users don’t need to be stuck in an office in order to use it.

Field workers can log in remotely, using any device, and do what they need to do, on our system, from wherever they are.

If you implemented software that is not cloud-based, it is likely, over recent years, developers have looked at making it more accessible or will.

Get in touch with your service providers to find out what options you have for taking your workplace technology to your people, rather than the other way around.

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VisiCase provides an NDIS-ready business automation platform, built on powerful workflows. It helps you manage, streamline and optimise every component of your business, and its modules empower a positive employee and client experience.

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

5 employee retention strategies for NFP and NDIS providers

Employee retention - Visicase

4-minute read – Workforce Planning Series – Employee Retention

The 2019 NDS survey indicates many NDIS providers are suffering from skills shortages. And we know this extends to many Not-For-Profit healthcare organisations too.

There are just not enough people to get the job done!

What this results in, is high competition for the best people in an industry, and, as can be read in the survey case studies, threats of employee poaching.

Earlier in 2020, we spoke with recruitment expert, Madeline Hill from Randstad, who provided valuable guidance related to NDIS recruitment and attraction strategies.

But with extra help in demand, and poaching not an uncommon complaint, how do you hold onto the great employees you already have?

1. Open communication and listening: a sign of good leadership

Strong leaders are often more likely to retain good employees.

Why?

Because good employees recognise the value of a senior manager who leads effectively and treats their people well.

A key starting point for any retention strategy is enabling open communication between existing employees and senior leaders, to ensure those who are making decisions are aware of the needs of the people who work for them.

But communication isn’t enough. Enabling employees to have their say, is not enough!

Employees need to feel valued, and this comes partly from knowing they have been listened to, respected and that their feedback has been take on board.

Implement clear, accessible and unintimidating channels of communication for all employees, and report back regularly on the actions you have taken in response to their feedback.

2. Employee retention comes from offering real opportunities

Very few people start a career to stay at the bottom.

Most human beings aren’t very good at stagnation.

We need to move, to learn, to expand and grow.

In addition to this being true for our lives, it is also true for our work.

In interviewing frontline NDIS workers recently, one of the primary shared complaints of participants was a lack of training and growth opportunities within their organisations.

These workers felt stagnant and trapped, like they had no way to move up or move forward, and similarly, that their income was also stuck.

Employee retention is supported by enabling employees to grow and flourish with your organisation.

Training and career progression aren’t just ‘nice-to-haves’ if you plan to keep your top-performing employees. They are necessities.

3. Get the right people at the outset

One of the ways you can significantly improve employee retention is simply by employing the right people in the first place. We say ‘simple’, but it really isn’t that easy, is it?

Madeline advised that NDIS and related NFPs should be targeting their recruitment and employer brand at people who have the traits most likely to make it in the roles advertised.

For example, if you are looking for carers, most can learn or upskill what they need to, but if they don’t have the right compassion, patience and empathy, they may not last as long.

This is all about employer branding and your recruitment strategies.

First, your employer brand should clearly indicate the type of company yours is: the culture, the people, leadership and the way you treat clients.

Second, your recruitment materials should use imagery, headings and wording that really indicate not just the skills, but the type of person who will be appointed, and who will succeed in the role.

4. Position your salaries AND benefits

Madeline also reminded us that employees can be swayed towards a company with lower salaries, if the perceived benefits are really appealing.

She used the example of airline companies that offer quite comparatively low salaries for professionals, but win hearts and minds of adventurers with free or discounted travel as a benefit.

The challenge is, if those benefits don’t stack up once they are on the books, they may be more easily stolen away.

Develop a strong benefits package and ensure it is clear and easy to access by employees once they are a part of your company.

5. Employ the right managers

If you look at human resources research, one of the most common reasons people leave an employer is because of a manager (or managers).

This is right up there with location, flexibility, career progression and remuneration.

A manager is an employee’s first point of contact for both the good and bad aspects of their job.

They should help celebrate when their team has a victory, or at least acknowledge extra effort or great results.

They are also the first in line if there is any conflict. Unfortunately, they can also be the reason for the conflict.

Just because someone is good at their day-to-day tasks, does not mean, if promoted, they will make a good manager. Before auto-promoting, assess your employees for their leadership qualities.

Do they have strong emotional intelligence? Empathy? Are they good listeners? Are they prone to feeling threatened? How do they take feedback? Can they share a win?

If someone has the right qualities, then assess them for their skill.

So many people are promoted into manager roles, but never trained to be a manager!

Ensure you empower them to be the best manager possible, by sending them to training that will equip them with the right tools.

In a skills-short market, so many organisations get tied up in attraction strategies, when solid employee retention strategies could help them keep the great people they have and save a lot of money in rehiring costs.

When developing workforce planning for your organisation, don’t forget to include the many practices that can help keep an employee happy, engaged, challenged and feeling valued.

Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash

VisiCase provides an NDIS-ready business automation platform, built on powerful workflows. It helps you manage, streamline and optimise every component of your business, and its modules empower a positive employee and client experience.

NDIS software: helping your team adapt to new technology

NDIS software implementation

4 minute read – Business Management Series – Your NDIS software roadmap

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, there will always be someone on your team – often multiple people – who don’t do well with change.

For those people, change feels difficult, it creates insecurity and uncertainty, and it can cause them to question their place in an organisation.

But change doesn’t have to feel like that – and when it comes to introducing new workplace software, it shouldn’t feel like that!

The implementation of new workplace software is a very exciting time, because often it means a product is being introduced to solve problems and make life and work easier for the people who use it.

When implementing new NDIS software, concentrating on positive communication like this can help overcome some of the challenges employees might feel as they adapt.

At VisiCase, we have been involved in decades of workplace technology implementation – in fact, we’ve even had change management specialists on our team to help ensure our clients’ transition is smooth and effective.

Through that experience, we have built a solid understanding of some of the best ways to approach NDIS software implementation and achieve user buy-in.

1. Assess your NDIS software need and make sure the solution fits

A very important part of selecting a solution – especially NDIS software – is really understanding the needs of the users and the business, and any challenges they are experiencing with the current software.

Of course, this is best learned by asking people who use the software in different ways, to have input. As an example, for NDIS software, you might ask administration employees about rostering needs and frontline employees about reporting requirements.

To achieve real buy-in, get stakeholders from right across the business involved in assessing the need and making sure the proposed solution fits.

2. Give plenty of warning of change – in the right way

If people are told of an important change immediately prior to that change being implemented, they can experience distress, frustration and even anger.

If they are told too far in advance, with not enough information, they can experience anxiety and uncertainty.

Once your leadership team has decided to transition your NDIS software – even if you haven’t chosen your new solution – a good way to communicate the pending change is to invite people to get involved, as above, in the decision-making process.

For those who choose not to be involved, the invitation helps them feel consulted and considered and like this is happening with them, rather than to them.

3. Thoroughly test before implementing

For solutions like NDIS software that are often highly customisable and affect multiple parts of a business, it is important your rollout is smooth and easy.

Hiccups are normal and are a part of any change, but minimising frustration-causing errors all comes down to how well you test and how well you work with your supplier account manager.

Lean on your account manager during implementation to get the set up right and introduce a thorough testing schedule to work through every part of how your new system works, before rolling it out.

4. Communicate the positives to the team

Once you have selected a solution, you can start to get wider buy-in from your organisational team.

Communicate to employees frequently so you can ensure everyone is aware of the change – remembering not everyone reads every communication you send out, so you need to use multiple channels.

When crafting your communication, identify pain points users might experience while doing their jobs or using the old software. Highlight how the new software will solve those problems and provide an easier and more intuitive process for them.

5. Get users involved in implementation

Often, there is little that is more motivating and credible, than peer encouragement or review, and this is very true for software implementation.

Employee advocates for this transition will be crucial to building business-wide uptake and acceptance.

Gather together an implementation working group of employees from different roles across the business – ensuring they are compensated for their time if outside normal hours.

Invite the group to training and implementation workshops with the provider team and enable them to ask questions – noting down what different parts of the business are most concerned about, to inform your organisational communication.

In addition to becoming advocates for the platform and confident supporters of other users, this group will also be invaluable in providing open and honest feedback to your leadership team, enabling you to mitigate risks and address opposition or concerns.

6. Launch new software with style

If this is a big change to the business, make the launch an event – something exciting, that is seen as positive and interesting, rather than just another platform they need to learn.

Invite teams to the launch event and training events and continue to communicate the positives they will personally experience from the change.

Ensure they have access to all the resources they require to get comfortable using the new software solution, and that support is on hand and accessible when they need it.

7. Don’t stop communicating

Statistically, few people adapt to something new very quickly, with the majority of people waiting to see how it works out for those early adopters before they really commit.

Similarly, with NDIS software, even though everyone may need to start using it from launch, some will do so with reluctance, some with excitement.

For this reason, it is really important to keep communicating about the new solution.

This might mean introducing small training and tips sessions to team meetings, organisational newsletters or even sending out videos by text so users can continue to grow their skills and comfort.

The bottom line is change is only successful if your team is on board. Getting them on board means addressing their concerns and their challenges, helping them understand the benefits, and providing them everything they need to use the solution and feel comfortable.

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VisiCase provides an NDIS-ready business automation platform, built on powerful workflows. It helps you manage, streamline and optimise every component of your business, and its modules empower a positive employee and client experience.

Photo by Mimi Thian

Working with an NDIS provider and managing exhaustion

Working with an NDIS provider shouldn't be exhausting

4 minute read – NDIS Career Series – Working with an NDIS provider

If you are employed by an NDIS provider or you work in a care environment, especially a frontline role, there is every chance you work shifts.

If you work in a larger regional area or a city, you may work those shifts across multiple organisations, travelling between one and the other to increase your income.

In fact, there is every chance you might work an overnight, supporting an in-home client, and then drive to a facility to provide services the following day.

Needless to say, a workload like this can be exhausting.

Managing exhaustion as a shift worker, or just as someone with a heavy workload, can seem impossible. Many of us simply give in to the idea that we may never not feel tired again.

And really, that could be the case.

But it doesn’t have to be.

While we can’t control everything, and we can’t change much about our jobs, we can do some little things in our lives that help make our downtime more effective and more abundant.

1. Draw on technology to optimise your personal time

For many people, household and family obligations outside of work can take up a lot of time, and when we’re tired, we actually tend to do them more slowly and less efficiently.

By taking a look at the aspects of your life that you could refine and optimise, you can save yourself time and energy, and either get to bed faster, or spend some much needed time snuggled up on the couch.

A great way to approach optimising your personal time is to write a list of all the household and other obligations you have. Look at which tasks might be made easier by calling in some help or by using technology to be more productive.

For example, meal planning apps allow you to select meals with a tap, and with one more tap, add all the groceries to your grocery list and send off the order to your supermarket for delivery.

So, rather than spending 30 minutes or an hour compiling your list and planning your meals, and a further hour or more at the grocery store, you spend two minutes and gain back more than 60!

Likewise, you can minimise hours spent after work catching up on timesheets, by drawing on apps like VisiCase (if it is used within your NDIS provider) to record your shifts and submit to management.

2. Work as a community to share the load

The introduction of services like YouFoodz and Light’n’Easy have been welcomed eagerly by busy Australians who are short on time and energy, but want to eat good, healthy meals.

The problem is, not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on food every week – even if it is pre-cooked for you!

One building community (residents who live in the same apartment block) in Sydney tackled this problem by putting their heads – and their kitchens – together.

Realising each household was short on time and money, they each agreed to bulk cook one meal for several other families at the start of the week, and in return, would receive four days of cooked meals for their own families.

Draw on your community, whether it’s your building, your family or even your work colleagues, to determine how you can make household tasks more efficient.

3. Go to sleep faster

Often a big problem with being exhausted from work, is that work continues to play on your mind, even when you’ve finally made it through the day and into your bed!

Writing down your thoughts in a diary or even on your phone before bed, can enable you to find more mental order and clarity, helping you get to sleep faster!

4. Stretch and exercise regularly while working with an NDIS provider

It might sound counter-intuitive, because you are already tired, but moving around can help wake you up – especially if you are working a physical or long shift in a care role.

Many health specialists recommend stopping and stretching regularly while at work so you can loosen up your body, reduce the likelihood of injury, keep the blood flowing, and stay alert and focused.

Read our recent article for NDIS carers, featuring sports therapist, Rachael Leek, for some easy stretches that can protect your body and help fight off tiredness.

5. Talk to your manager

Organisations, including your NDIS provider employer, have a duty of care to look after their employees – and managing fatigue falls under this remit.

If you have tried everything, but just can’t seem to shake that feeling of exhaustion, it’s time to talk to your manager.

Being open and honest can help a manager, as they may not even be aware of the problem. Working together, you might be able to find different ways to reorganise your shifts, or even identify shifts that will result in less exhaustion.

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VisiCase provides an NDIS-ready business automation platform, built on powerful workflows. It helps you manage, streamline and optimise every component of your business, and its modules empower a positive employee and client experience.

Image by Kinga Cichewicz