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Tenterfield Hero reflects the true value of rural health workers

Becky Jackson is a Mental Health Nurse working in Tenterfield. She was awarded the Foundation’s Community Hero Award in November for her contribution to our workplace and for demonstrating the values o the Foundation in everything she does.

The Healthy Communities Foundation Australia was pleased to be awarded an Employee Net Promoter Score of 72 by its staff in the 2023 Employee Happiness Report. According to the AIHR, this is 32-62 points higher than what is considered a 'good' score by employers. The finding was based on a survey of staff that took place in November 2023.

The Employee Net Promoter Score sums responses to a question about the likelihood that an employee will recommend working with an organisation to a member of their family or a friend. Staff who give a score of 9-10 are ranked as 'promoters', 7-8 as ranked as passive and 1-6 as 'detractors'. The Employee Net Promoter Score is the sum of the promoters minus the detractors. A score of between 10 and 30 is considered to be good.

According to Foundation CEO, Mark Burdack: "We cannot achieve our goal of healthy communities without creating healthy workplaces. We spend the majority of our waking week at work and if this is causing us stress or conflict that feeds into the overall well-being of families, friendship networks and communities.

"Health is one of the largest employing sectors in the economy. If a lot of people in the system are unhappy, then our communities will not be happy or healthy.

"We wanted to see how we could achieve better levels of happiness among our staff to create a model for future growth of the sector as a contributor to healthy communities.

"As a charity we pay a decent salary but not the amount of money that people might expect working as a locum or with an agency, so we have focussed on other areas that we believe are important.

"It is simple things like genuinely valuing staff - not just for the big things but also the little things.

"Often reward and recognition programs are based on 'how much money has the staff member made us or saved us' rather than on 'how has that staff member demonstrated positive values that are essential to the achievement of our goals'.

"Organisations often give lip-service to the idea that their "values" are the key to their success. But how many times have we heard about organisations that have stated values such as "integrity" or "customer focus" and been found to lack integrity or to have focussed overwhelmingly on profits over people?

"At the Foundation, we believe that values are essential to the achievement of our goals.

"Last week I was proud to give our Community Hero Award to one of our Mental Health Nurses, Becky Jackson in Tenterfield. She was nominated by her colleagues because her positive outlook makes those around feel happier. She has advocated for the Foundation to adopt Art Therapy to help members of our community struggling with suicidal ideation, and is now studying to complete this qualification. She is dedicated to the care of her patients. What we saw is someone who is converting her passion into substantive change for those around her, and to the wider community.

"We are purposefully trying to change the narrative to align with our values, and to carefully watch how people are living those values in the big and little ways that matter to our staff and our communities.

"No-one dreams of becoming a nurse or an Aboriginal Health Workers because of the pay packet, they dream of helping others.

"That is not to disregard that we need to pay our staff well, but this is a starting point and not an end in itself.

"What we believe is that people get into the health business because they care, and if we return that same sense of care to our people then they will be happy" said Mr Burdack.



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