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Employment News Story: Shoalhaven Occupational Therapy – A Regional Star that Shines Bright

Being named one of the best places to work in the Australasian region is no mean feat.

STAR Workplace in collaboration with HR Coach Australasia has rated Shoalhaven Occupational Therapy (SOT) in the Top 5 high-performing businesses across Australia and New Zealand.

Their STAR Workplace report measures organisational planning, HR framework, compliance, performance management and workplace improvement – with SOT scoring well above industry benchmarks.

While there were ample high scores in their report, it is telling when these showcase the immense levels of employee satisfaction in this workplace.

SOT scored a whopping 100% for ‘satisfaction as an employee’, compared to the Health Industry average of 49%. A remarkable 51% difference.

Principal Occupational Therapist (OT), Claire Carson, says they’ve been very intentional about their culture:

“Both Nathan and I come from Government roles where it was difficult to get to kid’s assemblies, gain reward for effort, or enjoy variety in a role.”

“We wanted to create something different with flexibility, fun and plenty of support.”

“We offer funded team activities, bonus’ for therapists, professional development allowances, yoga, mentoring, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the opportunity to work hands on with a diverse range of clients,” added Claire.

Despite their incredible performance and recognition, allied health is still a notoriously difficult industry to recruit to, particularly in regional areas. Where supply cannot keep pace with demand.

SOT do feel the pinch of the skill shortage and regularly welcome students from as far as Port Macquarie and Charles Darwin University down, to Eden, who have expressed a desire to gain work experience:

“We tend to simply say yes,” said Claire

“We love being able to show off the beautiful South Coast and how we are doing things differently within our business.”

“We always hope they return to us when they’ve completed their studies and if they live close enough, many do stay in touch.”

SOT have looked at other innovative ways of meeting demand locally and reducing waiting lists. They have upskilled and enhanced the role of Allied Health Assistants (AHA) – empowering them to carry out observations and write reports with the direction of an OT.

“Our AHA’s have built such strong rapport with clients as a result and for some its only increased their passion for the industry – with one volunteering to run group activities on a Saturday morning!” Noted Claire.

Jill, who has completed SOT’s OT Graduate Program, says she got into the industry because she enjoys the creative problem solving involved:

“No two situations or people are the same, I get to work with people of all ages and learn what’s important to them.”

“I also get to do that in an environment that values my wellbeing, everyone here looks out for each other,” she added.

 

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