This project demonstrated how self-managing teams can provide timely, flexible and high quality services to NDIS, and how a traditional service provider can transform from a hierarchical to a team-based organisation.
Avivo supports people to live in their own homes and communities across three sectors: disability, mental health and aged care. Avivo’s vision is for all people to live as valued citizens. In the 2015/2016 financial year Avivo worked with 1,205 people with disabilities and families in the Perth, Mandurah, the Wheatbelt and Midwest regions of Western Australia.
Realising that traditional ways of providing services and workforce management will not be able to meet the demands of the NDIS, some service providers are adopting solutions which include uberisation and casualisation of the workforce. These practices will decrease the training and development opportunities for workers, decrease the work conditions and will not develop a workforce that is effective in supporting people with disabilities to achieve their goals. Avivo’s project aims to demonstrate how self-managing teams can provide timely, flexible and high quality services to NDIS participants across metropolitan, regional and remote areas, and how a traditional service provider can transform from a hierarchical to a team-based organisation.
Avivo’s Working Locally project aims to change the organisation from a hierarchy with power and control sitting with management to an organisation where power and control sits with customers, and the employees who work closely with them. The project involves changes to the organisational structures, roles and accountabilities for support workers, office-based staff and the leadership team.
Avivo has determined that it needs two different but complementary team models to meet the needs of different types of customers:
Key intended outcomes will see support workers, working in self-managing teams, able to work more closely with customers, and have greater decision-making ability. By increasing job satisfaction, the support work roles will become a more attractive career choice, which in turn will help to attract and retain staff.
At the end of the project staff in Working Locally teams reported:
For NDIS customers, the transition will result in more flexible and individualised support, and increased choice and control. The project will provide an example of a large service provider transformation. The learning from this transformation will assist other organisations to embrace similar change.
At the end of the project participants supported by a Working Locally team have been positive e.g.:
This project is a follow-up from a trial phase in which extensive research was conducted into self-managed team models in other organisations, and six neighbourhood teams were trialled. These were different locally led team models with varying levels of self-management. Significant levels of engagement and alignment were achieved.
For this project, Avivo developed a Roadmap to Working Locally mapping out how the structures, frameworks, supports, consultation and reflections would be put in place to support the rest of the organisation’s transformation. Several working groups were formed for specific Roadmap activities such as Team Framework and Supporting People. Activities to support the implementation of our Roadmap over the year focused on:
Avivo also regularly holds ‘Stop and Learn’ events to reflect on and learn from implementation.
Working groups have reported challenges with attendance of field based staff due to prioritisation of support work with customers. In order to address this Avivo has:
Further work needed to be done to support the development of new teams, help to set ground rules and how they will function as a team. Experience has shown that as situations became difficult the tendency within teams was to regress back to hierarchy. It became obvious that they needed clarity on the purpose, team definitions, expected behaviours and support tools, ensuring that the core foundations and relationships were in place to support a well-functioning team before exploring anything else.
Lack of agreement between managers on how to reorganise into local teams has presented a significant barrier. Managers all committed to the concept of Working Locally but were supporting their teams to trial working locally in a different way. This has been addressed by reorganising leadership resources to include: