Greystanes Disability Services was established in 1958 in Sydney’s Blue Mountains under the name of Greystanes Children’s Home. Today, Greystanes is a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Insurance and Care (icare) accredited disability service provider. The organisation specialises in providing support to adults with intellectual and multiple physical disabilities who have complex health care needs.
Greystanes employs over 150 staff and manages seven supported independent living homes in the Blue Mountains and Penrith, in addition to offering day activities for people with disability, a flexible home support service, and developing staff training materials and resources for families.
Greystanes uses Person Centred Active Support as its framework to improve quality of life. This approach aims to provide just the right amount of support to enable people to participate successfully in meaningful activities and relationships. Greystanes values working together as a team and promoting a safe, respectful environment based on honesty and trust.
The HR department at Greystanes needs to simultaneously focus on the finer details as well as the big picture. Their approach is to hire people on their attitude and values towards people with disability, and then train them and provide the knowledge required to provide holistic person-centred supports. This approach presented numerous challenges around keeping track of staff training and getting staff to attend mandatory face-to-face training – an important compliance obligation.
“As a 24 hour / 7 day-a-week service it was difficult to get staff to attend all of their compulsory face-to-face training requirements, especially if the training only took 30 minutes to deliver,” says Jo Kot, Training Coordinator, Greystanes Disability Services. “We tried implementing the training at monthly team meetings. This didn’t work for night shift staff and casual staff who also worked for other organisations.”
Greystanes also recognised that its training register was essentially an Excel spreadsheet that was cumbersome and difficult to navigate. “It had numerous worksheets and columns, leaving it open to human error,” Kot recalls.
There were additional HR-related challenges to overcome. When Kot started in her role at Greystanes in 2015, the training completion rate sat at around 70–80%. This was too low to become an accredited attendant care provider. icare only approves attendant care providers who are highly skilled and able to deliver quality services, so an ongoing target for Greystanes has been to consistently achieve a 90–97% training completion rate. Greystanes must adhere not just to the NDIS Disability Practice Standards but also the Attendant Care Industry Standards (ACIS 2013). The Attendant Care Industry Standard is a national quality management certification administered by the Australian Community Industry Alliance (ACIA). Compliance and auditing obligations were both critically important to the success of Greystanes – yet it took a lot of time, energy and resources to organise the training and to generate reports.
Kot explains: “We used a paper-based system, including letters, to inform staff of their training requirements and sometimes they would claim that they didn’t receive the letter. This was followed up with a short 125-character SMS message via EMPLive. The problem with using EMPLive to send messages was that I could not access their reply unless I was at my PC. And even if I directed staff to not reply to the SMS but to call my mobile phone, they didn’t really seem to understand, or they would forget.”
Wanting to ensure employees remained engaged with positive communication and flexible work practices, while also covering all compliance-related issues, Kot and her team sought a helping hand from technology. “ELMO helps us with those finer details and to be compliance-ready so that we can focus on the big picture, and in the process ensure that our staff are skilled and able to deliver high quality services,” she says. “This is imperative for Greystanes and our auditing process.”
Kot says Greystanes chose ELMO for a number of reasons, including a desire to have one integrated system for both training and performance management that was easy to navigate and user-friendly. They also desired a cloud-based interactive platform that allowed staff to login from any device. Finally, the organisation sought to develop the digital and literacy skills of the staff, and future-proof its training and HR systems.
Introducing ELMO has allowed the HR/training team at Greystanes to streamline processes and transfer old paper-based systems to a digital platform.
“I can now access staff email addresses and contact them personally regarding their training,” says Kot. “Staff who work night shifts can complete online training during their shift and keep up-to-date with their requirements.”
There has also been an uptake in training completion rates since introducing ELMO in 2016. “This has improved every year and generally sits at around the 90–97% mark,” Kot explains.
While face-to-face training still occurs for areas such as health support/medication assessments and ‘Ready to Roll’ – the Greystanes driving program – the shift to digital training has helped to keep track of training. “Auditors also like the fact that we can track participant completion and provide evidence of compliance at a glance,” Kot says.
ELMO’s dedication to excellent customer service has also left a positive mark. “Customer service is excellent – the staff at ELMO are always welcoming and respond quickly,” Kot says.