Building your support team
Tips for building a great support team
Why should you build a support team?
Why is it not a good idea to rely on one worker only? People get sick, take holidays, aren’t right, move on. Being reliant on one support worker could create vulnerability, and if they leave or are off sick for any length of time, what happens then?
To help substitute if and when required
It’s better to have a second person (at least) who knows the ropes, who knows the person being supported, who is already part of the team and who may be able to step in and take on the additional hours to avoid gaps in support when and if needed.
One size doesn’t fit all
The person who provides the necessary personal care support at home may not be the right person to attend a footy game on the weekend or to support a catch up with the grandkids. The roles are very different and require different skill sets. Learn more about what to consider when looking for support.
Each individual — based on their personal nature and life experiences — can add to the person’s life in different ways. People bring themselves, their interests, personality, life history, family backgrounds and cultures with them into the lives of the people they support. This can be a real bonus.
More support workers equals more safeguards
Additionally, and especially, if the person being supported lives alone or at least doesn’t live with family or friends, more than one person providing support is an important safeguard. This way, there is always another pair of eyes to observe what’s going on in the person’s life.
Find out more about soft safeguards and hard safeguards.
How to build a support team
Involve the person to be supported
Involve the person to be supported as much as possible in the discussions about the role/s to be filled and the skill set required. For some, this is easy and they might have strong preferences and opinions, in which case it might be a good idea to involve them in the interview process, for instance. For others, it may take more time and effort to engage them in the process. For some, these decisions will need to be made on their behalf, with them always at the centre of the thinking and planning.
Involve your current support worker
You might be able to engage your current support worker to play an active role in the process of finding others to join the team. People in the Mable community have found this a good way of building a team with a support worker taking the lead and assisting with some of the administrative work that finding and managing a team of support workers requires.
Audit skill sets
Conduct an audit of the skill set or experience/interests that are missing from the current team and the roles that need to be filled can then be identified. Can anyone provide the type of support that is needed, or are specific skills required?
Think about the support needed
Consider the nature of the support that is needed. Is it mostly to support someone in their home with housekeeping or is it predominantly personal care support?
Is it mostly to support someone to get out and about in the community, such as to attend classes, do the weekly shop, get to the doctor’s, learn to travel on a bus to get to work or to participate in a sport?
Different people are good at different things. Once the nature of the support has been identified, it helps to then narrow the search to the right person or people for the job. Be specific about what is needed and what the role is:
- Homemaker assistant: assists a person with cooking, cleaning, gardening, making beds, laundry
- Leisure assistant: supports a person with the out and about in the community stuff: sport, theatre, concerts, travel, visiting family and friends
- Personal care assistant: showering, toileting, dressing, assisting with meals, hair and nail care
- Allied Health assistant: medications, physiotherapy, seizure support, choking and inhalation prevention
For some of these supports, training and certification may be a prerequisite. In the instance of someone needing to be given medication, only a person who has done the recognised training can administer medication.
Write a good position description
Create a position description based on the audit, to help guide the discussion about what a support worker is being engaged to do. It can help the person who will be supervising the workers. It provides something to come back to if the person isn’t performing the role they were engaged to perform.
Benefits of having a position description:
- Focuses the mind on what is actually required
- Clarity for all parties about the role
- Guides the induction process for a new person
- Can identify specific training requirements for the role
- Can help with performance challenges if someone is not performing the role as expected. Provides a good benchmark to measure performance against.
Contact Mable for help at any point along the way. When you sign up on Mable, you’re connected with a Dedicated Support Specialist. They will guide you through the tips to post a great job post or search for the right workers for you, advice around shortlisting and meet and greets, as well as any support around how to use Mable.
Start finding, booking and managing support workers today to build your support team.