The people who work for us
Our staff are the backbone of our organisation. Without them, we wouldn’t be here. We recognise that having happy, well supported staff, who truly feel part of the Bethany Group and our values – are the most important measure of success for our organisation.
Bringing the Employee experience to life
We are dedicated to investing into the future of all staff at at Bethany.
Priority six in our Strategy states that “we will ensure our staff are valued and aligned to our purpose.” By encouraging and responding to their feedback – gathered via both formal and informal mechanisms – we can help ensure our staff feel safe, engaged and supported in their work.
In 2021, the Bethany Group made a significant investment in staff development and bringing the employee experience to life.
To underpin the agency’s commitment to a safe, supportive, and inclusive workplace for all, the Board approved new roles dedicated to Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Learning and Development and Inclusion and Diversity to complement the existing People and Culture team.
These roles will help shape the Employee Experience by working closely with managers and employees to implement and build on feedback from the 2021 Employee Alignment and Engagement Survey.
Priorities include strategies to enhance mental health and wellness, build capability and create a connected organisation which enables everyone to feel safe from discrimination, valued and empowered to contribute.
In the past year, supporting our people through change and disruption continued to be a key focus, with health and wellbeing of our team our priority. We continued to support working from home arrangements and introduced a new flexible working policy, to ensure that staff were provided with support to gain the best working conditions to suit them.
“Bethany group have been more open to hearing the needs of staff and acknowledging the impact COVID has had on staff in service delivery and the personal impact. Support offered by Team leaders and Managers has been amazing through COVID, they are a credit to the organisation and have done their best to make sure their staff feel supported and valued.”
“Management provided flexible work arrangements to staff related to workplace or home office options during COVID-19 restriction period – demonstrating focus on staff needs and wellbeing. Big thank you.”
Additionally, a number of key well-being initiatives including “RUOK Day” and “Bethany Wellness Month” (October) took place, and our EAP services continued to provide additional support throughout the year. Regular communications through internal CEO newsletters, intranet and encouragement to participate in team virtual activities were designed to engage and keep staff connected. In this way, our workplace culture remains healthy, despite the challenges of the Pandemic.
“The Bethany newsletter has been a nice addition, it has brought people together and reminds you you’re part of Bethany (even if you’re working remotely and sometimes what feels like in silos).”
“Wonderful organisational values and positive workplace culture. Meaningful, client-centred work.”
“Fantastic culture, always welcoming and made felt part of team.”
Making it easier for staff
Easing the complexity of connecting staff during a pandemic prioritised a number of key projects related to digital technology. The development of Bethany’s Service User database started in 2020 and will allow reporting across all programs at Bethany, facilitate the sharing of information between programs, streamline processes and eliminate duplicate data entry. In August 2021 the first version of the project was implemented, and we are well on our way to implement fully by January 2023.
Additionally, with flexible working and the move towards a workforce that can work “anywhere”, in 2021 continued upgrades to IT included new laptops for all staff, as well as setting up new VPN systems to allow staff to work faster while away from the office. Security is always a priority at Bethany, and the introduction of two-factor authentication ensured that all Bethany accounts are kept secure.
In 2021, we implemented a new enrolment database at our kindergartens, to improve the registration experience for families and create efficiencies for our staff. The new system provides a seamless user experience for families when registering for a Bethany kindergarten and completing an enrolment form. From registration to accepting a kindergarten place, making payments and other forms, this can all now be achieved online.
“The recent investment in IT and other systems (SRS, SharePoint improvements) is so valuable. Having current technology available and enough people in IT to help efficiently has had a big impact on my role.”
“One of Bethany’s strengths is identifying and introducing new systems and processes. It has been positive to see the Board investing in major IT projects as well as some new key positions particularly in People and Culture, which will help to position Bethany well into the future.”
Career Revive: Helping women step up or back into work
In June, Bethany was successful in its application to participate in an Australian Government pilot initiative – Career Revive. The initiative is aimed at addressing systematic barriers preventing skilled women in regional Australia from returning to the workplace.
Participation in the initiative has provided Bethany with the opportunity to collaborate with KMPG in undertaking a review of our current practices, policies and culture that has resulted in a tailored plan to assist with attracting and retaining skilled women returning to the workplace.
By participating in this initiative, Bethany is contributing to key research into whether tailored interventions can help shift the barriers women face returning to work.
Our quality achievements
Bethany’s Quality Governance Framework is designed to ensure we deliver high quality services to individuals and children.
Quality Governance provides a framework to define our vision of quality service provision – it provides systems of governance to support staff, as well as monitoring and evaluating services through data collection, analysis, benchmarking and applying continuous improvement.
In 2021, Bethany was successful in retaining:
- Quantum’s certification against the Human Service Standards and ISO 9001:2015 standards
- Rainbow Tick Accreditation
At our kindergartens, we continued to ensure that the early childhood education programs we provided are safe, effective, individualised and connected. The 2020 ACECQA National Performance Report for Assessments and Ratings indicates that 80% of services in Australia are assessed as meeting or above the National Standards. In comparison, BKS has 100% of services at meeting or above.
The national average for services rated at exceeding the National Standards overall is 30%, while in comparison BKS has 66% of services with an exceeding rating.
“The commitment in our program to regular and quality supervision has been extremely important.”
“We do feel very lucky to be part of Bethany Kindergartens and have the much needed support of managing COVID and Assessment and Rating, but also to challenge us with new ways of doing things and focusing on the Anti-Bias Curriculum and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures”
The people who we support
The first of six priorities laid out in our 2020-2025 Strategy is to “ensure the voices of service users are at the centre of all we do.” To be sure our services are people-led, we continually gather feedback from the people who we support which helps inform our service design and delivery and ensures we are continuously improving.
2021 COVID survey
In addition to our regular feedback mechanisms, in 2021 a Covid Survey was distributed to our service users. This survey was run in recognition of the significant impact of the pandemic on the communities we serve, as well as the effect of changes to the way our services operated during periods of lockdown and restrictions.
During this time, most consultation was undertaken online or over the phone, though clients with high risk or complex cases could still attend a face-to-face appointment.
The safety or our staff and service users was – and remains – our highest concern.
Here is some feedback from respondents.
Bethany changed my life
“Bethany changed my life. I had no direction, was not leaving the home. Now I have friends and [I’m] starting volunteering.”
It was a lifeline
“How much it meant to me to have that support – it was a lifeline. My case worker is just wonderful. Couldn’t believe I had that for free. Telling all I know how Bethany is amazing.”
Happy with the outcome
“I was really happy with the outcome of the MBC [Men’s Behaviour Change program] for me.”
So immensely grateful
“The service is great, so immensely grateful. Our counsellor was fantastic.”
Caring and supportive
“Not the first time I have dealt with Bethany, wonderful company, very caring and supportive…Always offering help. Nice staff to talk to.”
Things are great with my worker
Honestly things are great with my worker. Can’t think of anything that could be done better.
Gaming webinar feedback
COVID restrictions have impacted parents and young people across the region and around the world. School disengagement, lack of social interaction, isolation and a higher use of online activity led to an increase in online gaming among young people.
To address the needs of our community in the COVID environment, Bethany developed an online gaming webinar to support parents to better understand gaming, with practical tips, a newly developed parental tool kit resource and pathways to counselling services.
Here is some feedback from participants.
Presentation was well designed
“The presentation was well designed, providing a good introduction to the topics, it was easy to understand and gave good examples of the types for gaming transactions. I was also provided with the support services available to call and access to lots of resources.”
Not full of jargon
“Was informative but not full of jargon.”
I learnt a lot
“The presentation was really clear and the content very easy to understand and digest. I particularly liked the advice around positive conversations about gaming with your children, it’s very easy to shame them when it’s a pastime they really enjoy. I learnt a lot thank you.”
Very informative and practical
“Very informative and provided good practical information about the components of gaming that link to gambling. A lot of the gaming terminology was new to me and will provide me with better ways to discuss this matter with young people moving forward.”
“Great help to stop and think about specific signs/impacts to kids.”
Service user feedback
We work throughout the year to gain feedback from each of the service users that work with Bethany, to assist us to continue to improve and optimise the services we provide. Feedback like the below keeps us motivated and grateful for the work that we do.
A very small token of my gratitude, for all that you’ve helped me with throughout our sessions together. Words will never do justice to the heartfelt gratitude I hold for all your help and support. I arrived feeling broken and full of fear, and now I leave feeling truly hopeful for the future. Thank you for helping me make such a major positive shift in my life. I will never forget it.
My client stated that after seven sessions she is now not experiencing panic attacks and her anxiety is not impacting on her functioning anymore. She stated she can now apply the skills and overcome any anxiety quickly and move forward. She states she no longer is experiencing negative thoughts about herself and finds it much easier to let go of issues she has no control over. She stated she feels complete and happy to move forward with her goals and life.