Good staff culture is key to success

 

Elaine Farrelly’s executive career has included senior positions with Fairfax, ICI (now Orica), Pracom Limited and Optus, and international experience through past roles with KPMG and the Movember Foundation. Along the way she has learnt that growth is about staff engagement and having clear cultural values.

Although I have worked for many high-growth companies throughout my career, it wasn’t until my service on the Movember board that I truly learnt the lessons of growth. Movember, a non-profit organisation specialising in men’s health, grew from creation to more than $100 million across 21 countries within eight years. Those years were quite a ride.

One of the toughest challenges was knowing when to invest in additional staff. Bring on staff too slowly and the existing team becomes stretched and tired. Ramp up too quickly and costs may outpace revenue. This is also an ongoing consideration for the APA and no doubt for many physiotherapy practices.

I worried a lot about this during the early days of Movember. However, over the years I learnt that bringing the right staff into an organisation with a shared strong vision and clear cultural values is of greater importance than picking the exact time at which to invest.

Perhaps one of the most surprising lessons for me has been the importance of a deliberate focus on the values that define a desired behavioural culture.

Recruiting and developing a team of highly engaged people who then collectively drove Movember’s growth was fundamental to its success. I believe this holds true for any organisation whether it be the APA, a physiotherapy practice or any healthcare organisation.

Perhaps one of the most surprising lessons for me has been the importance of a deliberate focus on the values that define a desired behavioural culture. Having spent most of my career working in large corporates that paid little attention to this topic, the strength of positive staff engagement at Movember built through an overt focus on the organisation’s culture was eye-opening.

This can be illustrated through the value of ‘remarkable experiences’. Whether it be with the community or with staff, a surprisingly delightful interaction will bring genuine enjoyment to the working day. I see this reflected in the high level of staff engagement at the APA, and in the outstanding way that so many physiotherapists strive to serve their clients. The added benefit, of course, is that those who encounter a remarkable experience will tell others about it.

 

© Copyright 2018 by Australian Physiotherapy Association. All rights reserved.