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Richard brings transferable skills for a career change-up

Feb 04, 2022

Richard joined CBS at the end of October 2021 as the Aged Care programs manager. He’s a highly experienced human resources professional with extensive knowledge of leadership, strategy and commercial operations. He has worked across a myriad of industries from mining to real estate to global big 4 consultancy firms.

Richard graduated with an Associate Diploma in Workforce Development and Training from the University of Melbourne and followed this up with a Masters of Management in Human Resources & Industrial Relations from Monash University.

He has been awarded the Governor General’s Award for Workplace Innovation & Excellence for the design and implementation of a workplace program in partnership with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Craig Triffitt, Executive Manager Aged Care was keen to get Richard onboard saying “Previous recruitment and HR skills and experience has set Richard up to be a an approachable, person focused leader with the aged care team. He’s willing to give anything a go and his laid back personality made him a good cultural fit for this role”.

We were keen to find out what brought about his career change and hear his thoughts on the industry and what it’s like managing the age care programs.

What interested you most about CBS?
CBS were a client of mine in my previous job where I was working with a number of aged care, disability and community based providers. I was aware of the changes and challenges facing the sector and knowing a few things about CBS, I was keen to get my hands dirty and join the team.

What prompted you to switch industries?
I’d been working in HR related roles across a number of industries when my father was diagnosed initially with Parkinsons and then Lewy Body Dementia, which eventually took his life in his late 60s. It was watching his quick pathway of home care, aged care and then finally palliative care that opened my eyes to the sector and prompted me to find a position and an organisation that was making a sizeable contribution here in Tasmania.

Which of your past skills have been most beneficial to working at CBS?
I think having come from a ‘people centric’ occupation it’s been really important to remember that our clients are the most important part of our organization and our purpose for being here. Like all of us, our clients have good days and they have bad days so one skill or fact I have learnt is you never know what else is going on in our clients (or our own) lives when we see them. In HR we would call that ‘emotional awareness’ which is just really the ability to read the mood of the room. If you can do that then you can often show more empathy and care to people.

What are your goals at CBS?
I have so much to learn about the sector so my initial goals are pretty simple. Get to know all the sector jargon, the various programs we offer and seek to support all of our employees to deliver an excellent service for our clients, whilst getting great satisfaction from their own roles at CBS. That probably sounds like a big statement but if we are all enjoying our roles more, then our clients will benefit. At times this can be a challenge but seeing and hearing happy clients is highly rewarding.

What has been the highlight so far?
This is going to sound like I’m sucking up but the highlight so far has been realising that I’m working in a really great team, with a diverse range of skills, who each care a lot about the programs they manage. Specifically, the six to seven folk that I manage have a huge amount of passion and care for their CBS clients whether they are a new CHSP or HACC client, a home modifications customer or a regular spring clean or garden maintenance client. I think they all realise that what we are doing actually makes a difference to peoples’ lives. Sometimes we forget that.

What has been the biggest challenge?
That’s an easy one. Getting to know the jargon and the huge number of policies and procedures that govern and guide the sector. Because we provide a range of essential and care based services often with elderly or vulnerable people there are understandably a huge number of rules and regulations, so having not worked in the sector my biggest challenge is to get my head around them all as quickly as I can.

Tell us something new you’ve learned this week
That in the next 18 months another million Australians will turn 70 (post WWI babies) so demand for our services will be even higher, particularly in Tasmania where we have an older age demographic. It can only mean that there will be greater need for our services.

Describe a typical work day
It sounds like a cliché but there is no typical day. Normally here by about 8am and anything can happen in the next eight to nine hours. I’ve got a very good team who manage their various tasks very well but I guess it’s about supporting them when they need help, if something difficult crops up. To sum it up, most of my day is based around problem solving and working out better ways of working, so our team enjoy their jobs and our clients get the best care and service possible. I hate meetings but occasionally we have to have them too!

How do you find your colleagues?
They’re highly focused on their clients and getting good outcomes. Everyone is easy to approach and whilst no one is perfect, there is normally a good vibe in the team. We have a wide range of ages and experiences in the team which I think is great for diversity as we can all learn off each other.

What’s the best part of your role?
Getting great feedback from clients that our support workers, spring clean team or in-house tradies have done a great job. Our team get these all the time and I think it gives them a great deal of satisfaction.

What’s the office environment like?
Happy and friendly. I like the fact that people will chip in to help each other when they can, which shows terrific teamwork. We’ve just all moved to new desks with an upgraded configuration which seems to be working well. We’ve also got about 100 new plastic plants which I go around and water 😊

How do you ensure the aged care team are offering clients the best customer service?
That’s a good question. We are a very hands-on team and each person has a high amount of care and personal responsibility for their clients. If something starts to go off track with a client or there is an issue, we have a number of systems and processes as well as escalation points where we can ensure our clients issues are dealt with quickly and effectively. I’m a great one for encouraging ownership of an issue and I’ll support people to back their judgement to make good decisions. If you make a mistake then that’s okay, nobody is going to be in trouble for trying to solve a problem. If we all remain client focused we will collectively find the right outcome.

Which of the CBS values resonates the most with you?
Collaboration for sure. Essentially, it’s all about us working together as a team to solve the issues our clients (and their carers) have. We all need to rely on each other’s skills and experience to do that. Without it we are just a cluster of individuals.

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