Withdrawn Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

‘I will be able to use a lot of the learning back in the workplace’: People power–human resource capacity building in Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (#229)

Rebecca Radford 1 , Sue Davey 1 , Paula Jones-Hunt 1
  1. Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

In partnership with the peak Aboriginal health body–the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)–and Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (ACCHOs), the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (‘the department’) strengthens human resource (HR) capability in ACCHOs. The department will co-present with the VACCHO-based project consultant and representatives from an ACCHO.

Organisations with strong HR systems can achieve their strategic goals because they are able to select, manage, and develop the right people at the right time[1]. To improve recruitment and retention of the Aboriginal workforce in ACCHOs without designated HR management, the department funded VACCHO and ACCHOs to undertake a human resources (HR) needs analysis and implement a suite of HR capacity building strategies, since 2013-14. These include: employing HR project and administration officers in 11 small-to-medium-sized ACCHOs, upskilling nine HR staff (including five Aboriginal staff) through a Certificate IV in HR, enhancing culturally appropriate supervision structures, auditing and correcting award payments, establishing a statewide HR Community of Practice engaging the 24 ACCHOs and the development of HR systems and structures including HR policies and HR metrics-reporting templates.

The maintenance of a high-level governance committee and project working group has been a key factor in driving this project. So too has the appointment of an expert project consultant and succession planning in VACCHO, whereby an Aboriginal graduate HR position has been appointed to work on the project and will be mentored for two years by the HR project consultant. Another important process has been the participation of VACCHO in the interview process to appoint an external project consultant and the time-limited HR project staff in ACCHOs.

Early outcomes of this project are: systemic and self-sustaining HR changes in ACCHOs reducing the purchase of external HR advice, enabling ACCHO-management a greater strategic focus and enabling organisational success; updated position descriptions; existing HR staff skilled in contemporary HR practices; the extension of the VACCHO HR consultant position; the continuation of the HR Community of Practice for a third year; a new HR standing agenda item at VACCHO members’ meetings; and VACCHO developing Aboriginal employment guidelines for their member organisations.