After winning Health & Wellness Business of the Year at the 2021 Ipswich Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, HealthWISE QLD Business Development Lead Naomi Petty shared her ‘Top 10 Tips’ with other local businesses at a recent breakfast event.
For those that aren’t familiar with HealthWISE…
HealthWISE is a not-for-profit, registered charity, and we have been delivering federally funded primary health and social services for over 13 years. Our purpose is creating healthier communities. We are a specialist provider of primary health care services within rural and metro regions. HealthWISE’s total service delivery area is about twice the size of Tasmania, and includes 17 LGAs. We have 9 office
locations and provide outreach services to a further 14 smaller towns and communities. We have over 100 staff and our core service streams are Mental Health, Aboriginal Health, Allied Health and Nursing.
So my 10 top tips…
1. Know your purpose.
At HealthWISE, my purpose is to grow QLD services. To increase our range of services and our geographical reach, to diversify our funders and spread our risk. I’m implementing a 5 year board investment to expand Allied Health services across the West Moreton and Darling Downs region. We want to offer our support to the rapidly growing demand for healthcare in this region. With a population growth phenomena in Ipswich current services and resources are already stretched and the disease and burden prevalence is increasing substantially. We want to serve our most vulnerable and marginalised populations. We want to position ourselves favourably for future tender opportunities. We want to provide the best healthcare services to the community equitably and with dignity and humility.
2. Market your brand.
Once you have clarity on your purpose, you can effectively market your brand. There is no point having the best product or service if no-one knows about it. It’s competitive; how do you and your business stand out from the crowd? Know your point of difference and be clear and consistent with your key messaging and your brand.
At HealthWISE, we are unique.
- We offer a wide range of high quality healthcare services.
- We are culturally inclusive and pioneering our Cultural Inclusion
Framework – 35% of our staff identify as First Nations people.
- We deliver to regional areas and metro communities
- We are collaborative
- We are innovative and creative
- We maintain robust governance
- We hire the best…
3. Develop your team and culture.
Vision, strategy, purpose and success is underpinned by culture. Getting the right people makes great things happen. Fostering a positive workplace culture is paramount. Get this wrong and you have a toxic culture that is very hard to rectify. With approx. 87% staff retention rate and many staff having been with us for more than 10 years, I think we can safely say we have the right formula. At HealthWISE QLD Kylie, Zoe, Charlotte, and Angela are part of my growing team. I feel privileged to be their manager and leader. I am committed to being the leader that I always wish I had. I recall recently saying to a stakeholder how blessed I feel “to have such intelligent, capable staff that are motivated and engaged.”
Culture starts at the top and employees ultimately want to feel valued and appreciated. I take my new recruits to lunch. I want to get to know them. Who they are, what they are about? What are their motivators and drivers? What are their goals and ambitions? How can I best manage them? How can I offer them maximum job satisfaction? How do they like to be rewarded? What are their stressors and signs of feeling overwhelmed?
I praise my staff and I don’t micromanage. I offer them support and I build empowerment and confidence. I aim to inspire them to be more and achieve more than they ever thought they could. I aim to create future leaders, not a team of followers. I aim to give them the foot in the door to opportunities and the tools for them to thrive, but allow them be in the spotlight. I want them to know it’s a safe space to make mistakes. It’s a place to put their ideas forward and be creative without judgement or ridicule. There is a genuine sense of trust, transparency and mutual respect. I nurture and grow them so that they are resilient and strong.
4. Build resilience, energy and agility.
I think resilience and agility is the difference between businesses that crumble and those that rise above in times of adversity. At HealthWISE we are a resilient bunch. We swiftly adapt our services from face to face to Telehealth at the drop of a hat. Despite the additional workloads, the extra PPE meetings, we have maintained a high level of energy.
I attribute this to the value we place on staff wellbeing measures. As healthcare professionals we can’t take care of those we serve if our own cup is empty. We offer a wide range of employee benefits and we have a HealthWISE wellbeing working group. Most notably we offer flexible work hours and support staff to eat well, exercise, practice self-care and to get adequate sleep. We also offer COVID wellbeing days. Each month our organisation gifts every staff member a day off to spend how they please. In my view, a very worthwhile financial investment and one that I have shared with other organisations as the sector feels the brunt of the pandemic.
5. Adopt a continuous learning environment
I can’t highlight the importance of creating a culture of curiosity and thirst for learning. One of the greatest pieces of advice I can offer, is mentoring. Everyone should have at least one mentor and preferably external to your organisation. I do. It’s not just about the wisdom and knowledge he offers me, it’s about having someone that tells me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. That pushes me to do better, to be better. Someone that I can be vulnerable with in order to grow and improve myself. Someone who has my back and is prepared to prop me up or be a sounding board during the tough times. Someone I can trust has my best interests at heart, simply because he believes in me.
6. Cultivate enduring stakeholder relationships.
In the industry of healthcare at least, I am of the view, we can’t do it all by ourselves. That is, resources are finite and need is substantial. By working together in collaboration and partnership we can do more, with less and achieve better than in isolation. I am genuine in my approach and sincere in my shared vision and passion for better health. I formulate connections easily. People are willing to help me and to work with me to achieve my visions. Organisations can work in partnership, across health sectors, to improve the patient journey from tertiary to primary care.
Furthermore, there is so much to be said from attending a networking event. But, I am strategic in my approach – I don’t just chit chat, thinking about how delicious the canapes are – I earn my place in the room and carry myself with a sense of confidence and aura. I identify the key persons of influence and decision making capabilities and I make a be-line for them. I engage with purpose and intent to influence and to have impact. But I also listen with the intent to understand, not reply. I believe in surrounding myself with people that are smarter than me – it’s important to know that we don’t know it all and we never stop learning from others.
7. Balance risk and opportunity.
I am responsible for tender writing and I have learnt the importance of balancing risk and opportunity. I’ve learned that I’m a fast paced, forward thinking, entrepreneurial oriented individual that thrives on change. BUT, other members of my tender team are not. They are more conservative, protective and risk adverse that I am. I need to balance opportunity with available resources and capacity. I’ve needed to alter my communication style to clearly articulate the risks and demonstrate that they have been duly considered and
mitigated. This demonstrates the importance of taking into consideration the range of views when making the decision as to bid or not bid.
8. Celebrate the wins.
At HealthWISE, we work hard but smart. But we stop and ensure we celebrate the wins. Whether that’s popping the bubbly for a recent tender win, receiving an award, passing accreditation with flying colours, it’s a staff member graduating or it’s reaching our monthly team targets and project milestones… we pause to celebrate. What better way to boost morale, and reignite the fire of enthusiasm to achieve more than a nice pat on the back when it’s a job well done?
9. Be courageous and have patience.
It can be daunting to be courageous and to step outside your comfort zone but some of the greatest achievements are gained by doing so. I encourage you all as business men and women, and leaders or aspiring leaders to be assertive. Stand up for what you believe in, challenge status quo. It’s how we adopt a continuous quality improvement mentality. We need to learn to challenge the way we think and react, to see things from an alternative viewpoint. Have patience. Success takes time and perseverance. At HealthWISE we are actively developing our next 5 year strategic plan. But it takes time to achieve. Set realistic goals and avoid being diverted off track from what it is you are aiming for. If you can’t learn patience then you just get frustrated and disappointed rather than fulfilled.
10. Have fun and have impact.
How can you be successful if you don’t love what you do? Enjoy the journey and have fun. At every step of the way promote your business with impact – know your elevator pitch and use it! You never know a sale or opportunity may arise from a conversation you have at the corner store, a kid’s birthday party, or that high profile executive meeting. Be your walking, talking brand. Have you cards on hand, talk about what you do with passion and those you engage with will be captivated by you.