Employer of Choice: All Disability

Who are you and what is your business? My name is Fiona Wallace, and I’m the General Manager of All Disability, located in Port Macquarie, but we service Australia wide with an onsite team and a remote team in other regional areas. We have 42 employees.

Describe your core business: we provide NDIS plan management – when an individual is given a plan they have options regarding how to manage it. If people choose to have an externally managed plan, they can ask us to manage their finances. We don’t make decisions, but we advise. Plan management services are on top of the NDIS/A finding.

How would you define an excellent employer? A good employer makes sure their team knows what’s important, and makes sure their team is engaged with good job satisfaction. It’s important to make sure you’re hearing back from your people – we survey or staff every 6 months (we use star workforce survey), use the feedback to identify five key areas that scored the lowest, and actively work on that.

In your organisation, what are some of the things you do that make you an employer of choice? We treat our team members as individuals, who all have different needs and flexibility requirements. We can’t be the highest payers, so we need to make sure we do other things to help people to stay. We give people the option of working an extra half an hour a day to get a day off every 3 weeks (or they can take the extra paid half an hour if they like). We live our values from the top to the bottom. Our culture is really good, we have a wide variety of ages. Team connectivity was really important through Covid – we sent everybody home so we had to improve our remote connectivity which ended up benefiting our remote workers, which was a great outcome.

Why is it important to you that you are an excellent employer? Our people are our greatest asset – our organisation is only as strong as our people: they are dealing with our members, our providers, they are answering the phones. Every cog in the wheel is really important.

What have you learned along your journey to becoming an employer of choice? Ensuring your employees feel trusted is a big one, blanket rules don’t always work – each team member has different needs. Being empathetic to what other people need. Be prepared to be flexible – people need it more than ever these days.

Do you employ young people (under 25)? Do you consider you do that effectively? Why/Why not? We do! We recently lost a 19 year old who was such a valuable employee – we were so sad to see her go! You’ve got to set really clear expectations with younger people – many of them haven’t been in a work environment before or perhaps they have but in a more regimented workplace, so they need to get used to having less structure.

What is your advice to organisations that want to improve as an employer? They need to get feedback from their teams – if they want to improve, they need to ask. Don’t assume you know what’s working or not working. A team member won’t always feel comfortable telling a senior colleague how they’re feeling. Don’t just survey your staff once, keep doing it – be consistent. And when you receive the feedback, share it with your team: this is what we found out, this is what we’re focusing on and this is what we’re going to do about it. Also, If you’ve got someone who’s not on board, and not following the expectations of your workplace, it needs to be addressed and dealt with straight away. Unaddressed issues become toxic for the whole workplace. If you need help to deal with the issue, get it, develop your skills.

What key trends do you see impacting your business in the next 5-10 years?
– There is a lot of change about to come through over the next couple of years in NDIS – it’s likely that rather than the provider sending us an invoice to pay that it will become like a hicaps system (swipe card like health insurance).

We may start seeing less plan managers, merging into large organisations rather than lots of small organisations to help manage costs.

It’s also possible that aged care packages are likely to become managed more like NDIS in the future.

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