Naomi Dunne talks about her background, and HealthX's unique relocation and welfare offering to employees.

"I have a Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Commerce Degree Majoring in Psychology and Human Resource Management and I believe this set my foundations and understanding that at the heart of any successful business, is its people. 

I commenced my career almost 20 years ago in recruitment in the blue collar sector, but within five years, found my place within healthcare and in particular the aged care sector and immediately felt at home. There is something special about helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society to ensure they have access to the best possible care and everyday quality of life. And, as a country girl, to be able to solve these staffing shortages in regional and remote areas of Australia made it just that bit more special, which was part of my initial attraction to working at HealthX. 

With the growth and diversification of our workforce across many backgrounds there was an emerging requirement, if we were to remain an employer of choice, that we continued to put the needs of our employees first through a commitment to settling them into their new communities, their ongoing welfare and life in Australia. And so, the role of Director, People and Welfare commenced". 

Where have HealthX nurses and carers come from and what has motivated them to move to Australia?

"Our HealthX nurses under our Secondment Program are highly experienced registered nurses coming from Singapore, Middle East, UK and New Zealand and on average have about 8 year’s experience as a registered nurse. And although these are the countries they are now coming from, it may not be where they are born - the journey to come and work and live in Australia is a long one, including time away from family or children on the path to make this dream happen. For them, Australia really is the land of opportunity it is a long term goal for them and often the location where their family is finally re-united. 

Our aged care workers come under a program for which HealthX is an Approved Employer called the Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme (PALM). Employees come from the pacific Islands (currently Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati) under our training program, to be educated and qualify as aged care workers in Australia. Our PALM employees come to Australia independently of their families with two main objectives - to gain new skills to take back home at the end of their visa and contract and also send money home to support their families and for all of the opportunities that come with that - new cars, home renovations, new houses, schooling opportunities for their children. Back home, often their positions are called ‘volunteer positions’ or ‘unpaid work’. Many of them can work many months or even over a year before the opportunity to be given a paid position. There is no such thing as pay for overtime or what we consider basic conditions such as paid sick leave. Being on the PALM scheme is very rewarding for them and full or opportunities. They are proud to be selected for this program and it shows in their work". 

HealthX is well known for its ‘soft landing’ program.  What is it, how is it evolving and how does it set HealthX apart from other health care employers?

"Yes, we have a team of 'Employee Onboarding Officers' who are responsible for planning, coordinating and delivering our soft landing program, which is tailored to every new arrival that joins the HealthX family. It’s our "people first" approach to ensuring not just their first experience in Australia but their entire time is a positive one. 

For our PALM employees we are actually evolving our offering to include an initial two week program in Brisbane, prior to placement in the community. This allows time to deliver additional training modules from our Registered Training Organisation, to be delivered as part of the Certificate III in Individual Support, as well as allowing more time induction and preparing for life in Australia.

As an approved employer of PALM, HealthX has made a commitment to continue to educate and support employees throughout the  employment period including personal and professional development programs and social events.  

We believe it goes full circle - We look after our employees and they feel valued, they in term look after our elderly in aged care or the sick in our hospitals. It creates pride in their work and care in what they do. As part of the HealthX family they want to do a good job and their work feels".

Globally,  healthcare and medical professions are notorious for high burn-out rates due to long shift hours and stressful conditions. What legislation exists in Australia to protect employees and how does this compare to other countries like the UK, Middle East, Singapore and New Zealand. 

"In Australia, we have good workplace safety legislation around appropriate breaks between shifts and taking break during their shifts and if they are required to work overtime or called back to work, that they are compensated accordingly through overtime and shift penalties.

However, nursing and healthcare shortages in an industry that is required to operate 24/7 will still add pressure to rosters and the requirement to work overtime. Probably one of the best ways to overcome burn-out is managing staffing shortages, consistent workforce so you can roster accordingly". 

What are some of the things HealthX does to encourage healthy living, hobbies, personal and professional development of employees? 

"We consistently provide with helpful information from fact sheets about healthy living in Australia and budgeting, through to safety and workplace information. We also have a quarterly newsletter we send out to our employees which helps to reinforce all of our messages. We are currently requesting everyone to send through their favourite recipes and we are selecting some to go in our newsletter and at the end of the year we will have a HealthX recipe book. This not only encourages healthy eating and enjoying cooking at home but also we really want to create a sense of community, that they are part of something - that’s important. 

I tell my team regularly that the minute our employees feel like a number and not an employee, we have failed. No matter how big our organisation grows, we have employees, and they are all part of the HealthX family and should always feel that way. Additionally, our staff are part of their host facility environment for 2+ years as appose to an agency shift fill model which allows our staff to do any on-site training and development alongside the colleagues that they work with". 

How do HealthX measure staff wellbeing, what are the scores and how do these compare to industry standards?

"HealthX has the NPS (Net Promoter Score) system to measure satisfaction overall for all our employees. Our recent NPS score for employees across the business was 74 which is way above the national average of 30. 

We have also recently introduced a cultural/wellbeing survey which will go out after their first month, and then every 3 months which covers questions on; Work life, house and budget, community, training and development, and connection to home/culture".