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Building Staff Morale At Community Living New Zealand

Submitted By: Rob Smith, Community Living New Zealand

The Community Living New Zealand Annual Staff Awards exist to recognise the work of staff, with a particular focus on frontline staff. The awards are combined with the graduation ceremony for our CareerforceTM graduates, whose completion of qualifications ties directly to their salary band. In 2021, we had a digital event due to COVID-19. This had the added benefit of allowing staff to participate who would otherwise would not be able to be involved.

Impact Of The Program

The Annual Staff Awards are a key part of maintaining staff morale while highlighting examples of great work. It also leads to greater staff retention, promotes upskilling – and therefore better services – and our overall workplace culture. As staff morale increases and individual employees are celebrated, this indirectly leads to more staff completing upskilling qualifications, which in turn increases their pay rate.

“The annual awards have been amazing every year, but the digital version in some ways was even better. We saw excellent engagement from staff and loads of excited feedback. People really got into it and the boost to morale is palpable.”

Rob Smith, Community Living New Zealand

Steps To Implement A Similar DSP Program

Community Living New Zealand took the following steps to establish the Annual Staff Awards. These steps can help provide a blueprint for other agencies to develop their own awards program for Direct Support Professionals.

  1. Create award categories, with input from leadership
  2. Accept nominations from all staff, via online and physical forms
  3. Put together a judging committee
  4. Decide winners
  5. Contact winners via Zoom, under the guise of another meeting
  6. Record meetings (with permission)
  7. Create video
  8. Distribute video via various channels

Challenges You May Encounter

Normally, the Annual Staff Awards would be a physical event. However, due to COVID-19, we needed to move to a virtual version so having staff who know how to put a video together certainly helps. Another key challenge was permission – we made sure to confirm with all winners that they consented to appear on camera.

About Community Living New Zealand

Logo for Community Living New Zealand

Since 1989, Community Living has supported disabled people to thrive as part of the community. We are a not-for-profit organisation with more than 30 years’ experience in the disability sector. Our services are individualised and led by the people we work for. Based in Hamilton, we work with communities throughout the middle of the north island including the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.

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Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.