In an industry where resources are limited and work can be physically and emotionally taxing, effective leadership is unequivocally important. Research by Data Drives Insight shows that well-trained frontline management staff are essential to build culture, reduce turnover, and lift the quality of care.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety highlighted the need for stronger resources to support workforce leadership, development, skills and culture, as underpinning practices to support provision of high quality and safe care.

The Human Services Skills Organisation (HSSO) has partnered with Data Drives Insight, the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University research teams, to measure the skills profile of the workforce with a particular focus on frontline management. This is being achieved by offering subsidised CILCA360 assessments to eligible aged care and disability support organisations.

The benefits to employers participating in the project are two-fold, with immediate benefits to their frontline management and longer-term research outcomes benefiting the sector as a whole. Individuals undertaking the assessment receive a personalised report and a confidential one-on-one session with an accredited CILCA360 coach, as well as access to online professional development tools. This investment in their professional development and opportunity to focus on themselves with an experienced facilitator has been welcomed by recent participants.

Human Services Skills Organisation Chief Executive Officer, Ms Jodi Schmidt said the initiative would pave the way to a more evidence-based approach to investment in frontline leadership training within the human services sector.

“Providers are acutely aware of the limited budgets available for staff development, and the costs associated with high employee turnover.

“The data will provide immediate and long-term benefit. Providers can use the evidence collected to decide where the investment of professional development budgets is best spent.

“This really is a strategic opportunity. With direct, immediate, and long-term benefits for providers. Participating employers can benchmark leadership and measure improvements. Providers can use the evidence collected to decide where the investment of professional development budgets is best spent. To support all providers, we can also use the data to help inform government spending.”

General manager for Data Drives Insight Donna Buchanan said the partnership would build on existing insights gathered about the sector.

“Our preliminary research reveals some initial areas for focus. Gaps in leadership capability within the sector include conflict management, self-care, performance management, sharing responsibility, communication, coping with stress, and change management. We want to continue to build on these insights.”

Results further identified that change management, conflict management and communication issues had the most significant negative (direction) correlations with organisation performance and care – i.e., the worse the leaders ‘performed’ on those measures, the lower the organisation’s performance and level of care outcomes.

Conversely, higher levels of performance per the capabilities above led to high staff satisfaction and consequentially – better  workplace environments.

“Not every leader will require further training but every provider, if they wish to remain competitive, should ensure that investment in professional development is evidence-based,” said Ms Schmidt.

About the program

The CILCA 360 leadership program is a data-driven tool for anyone in a leadership role.  The tool encourages reflection and feedback to identify areas of strength, and capability gaps for improvement.  Developed by and the peak bodies of aged care and disability, the program has been aligned to the Aged Care Leadership Capability Framework and incorporates aspects of both the Aged Care Quality Standards and The National Disability Practice Standards.

We’re looking for 1,000 frontline leaders in the sector to participate in CILCA360 assessments. The Human Skills Service Organisation has subsidised the cost of 1,000 places. The cost of the program (with subsidy already applied) is $295 per person.

Providers who are interested in being involved should visit the Data Drives Insight website for more information.