OUR PEOPLE

0+

employees contributed to our work this year.

0

dedicated staff members that have been with us for over a decade.

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number of new employees joining us this year.

STAFF

“I’ve been involved with services that directly help people who have been homeless. During COVID we’ve received messages of “stay home, work from home, only go out if it’s essential”. The homeless are still homeless and there’s all this new need. Vinnies is one of the places people come to for that support to keep them afloat.”

Corinne Lindsell, our Community Inclusion Manager in the South Region

STAFF PROFILE

Julie Dronsky has been checking in with people experiencing isolation during the pandemic.

“THERE’S ENORMOUS GRATITUDE COMING FROM PEOPLE WE ASSIST THAT SOMEONE HAS TAKEN THE INITIATIVE AND TIME TO CALL AND CHECK IN ON THEM, AND SHOW CONCERN FOR THEM.” – JULIE

Julie Dronsky

Leading a team of hard-working volunteers during COVID-19, Julie Dronsky, our Volunteer Engagement Coordinator in the South Region, has been reaching out to the local community to check-in with people experiencing mental illness and isolation.

“There’s enormous gratitude coming from people we assist that someone has taken the initiative and time to call and check in on them, and show concern for them.”

It has been a year like no other for St Vincent de Paul Society NSW staff, with both internal and external challenges arising at several points along the way. Our employees responded to these challenges with characteristic commitment and resilience, putting the people we assist at the forefront.

Our wonderful employees are supported by the People and Culture team, based out of our State Support Office in Sydney. Key areas of focus for this directorate in 2019/20 included progressing our Reconciliation Action Plan, enhancing our people systems and processes, and supporting our people in their mission to help those we serve. Many aspects of these were impacted by our internal restructure as well as the unpredictable events of bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional constraints included a recruitment freeze and a significant number of vacancies within People and Culture.

Valuable lessons included a need for continued – and continually improving – planning, collaboration and leadership. The challenges also emphasised the value of agility and flexibility.

RESTRUCTURE AND CEASED PROGRAMS

Following the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2020–2022, an organisation-wide restructure was undertaken to align our workforce with our new strategy. Through a process commencing in October 2019, all position descriptions were reviewed and updated to incorporate a capability framework, outlining essential skills and attributes required across the organisation. To help our employees understand the new structure, their roles and how they fit into the strategy, “new ways of working” workshops were held across all departments and business functions. We reviewed our professional development performance review framework, Stronger Together, ultimately replacing this with an improved framework named People, Potential and Growth.

One of our goals in the restructure was to remove duplication of roles and effort across the organisation, while focusing on the priorities outlined in our strategic plan and reconsidering any initiatives that are no longer aligned. This resulted in the removal of 125 roles from our organisational structure, and the cessation of the SPARK and Compeer programs. 97 new roles were created, leaving a net reduction of 28 positions. A total of 70 employees were affected, and we successfully redeployed 38 of these valued staff members into new roles. A transformation team was created to oversee the smooth transition from the old structure to the new, while supporting the affected employees and assisting them to find alternative roles within the new structure wherever possible.

Circumstances beyond our control led to some additional program closures this year. The conclusion of the NSW Government-funded Ability Links program, as well as the transition of Local Area Coordination services to a new provider, had a significant impact on our staff. We stood by our employees through each of these major adjustments, providing personal support, professional guidance, and assistance to secure employment in alternative roles either within the Society or with other service providers. (More information about Ability Links and Local Area Coordination is available in the Service, Quality and Impact section of this annual report.)

Overall, program closures and transitions resulted in the contraction of our workforce from 2,024 to 1,532 employees during the 2019–20 financial year – a reduction of 24%.

PEOPLE AND CULTURE DIRECTORATE

The implementation of the Strategic Plan 2020-2022 and subsequent restructure have been beneficial for our work in employee engagement, resulting in greater visibility of activities across the People and Culture directorate, an enhanced ability to understand and assign accountability for goals and outcomes, better tracking of achievements and impact, as well as consolidating key functions.

One result of these changes was the transfer of member and volunteer management to a separate stream, the new Members, Volunteers and Regional Operations directorate. Additionally, responsibility for internal communications was moved from People and Culture to the Commercial Enterprise, Fundraising and Communications directorate, providing greater cohesion and collaboration between internal and external communications. Responsibility for safeguarding of children was also moved into Strategy and Governance.

In the revised People and Culture team, this year we commenced revision of industrial instruments with a view to rationalising and consolidating these in support of current business strategies. Our Code of Conduct was revised, resulting in a more inclusive code reflecting our ethos of ‘One Society’. Several policies including the Respectful Workplace Policy and Motor Vehicle Policy were reviewed and updated, and an excess leave strategy was developed, resulting in a decrease in leave liability for the organisation.

LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

We continued to roll out learning and development resources to support and upskill our people, both in face-to-face workshops and using the Vinnies Learning Centre platform introduced last financial year. This included developing and delivering virtual learning sessions in response to COVID-19.

As part of the new People, Potential and Growth professional development framework, we delivered pilot sessions on managing performance and developing capability for our team leaders. In the Local Area Coordination directorate, an emerging leaders program was established and leadership development sessions were delivered to 135 managers. In total, the Local Area Coordination directorate clocked up 20,296 learning hours on important topics including how to identify and support children and young people at risk.

SUPPORTING OUR WORKFORCE THROUGH COVID-19

The implementation of Microsoft Teams last financial year as well as Workplace by Facebook during this financial year meant the Society was well equipped for the sudden transition to working from home precipitated by COVID-19. We used these online platforms to keep our staff engaged and informed throughout the coronavirus period so far, as well as supporting them to collaborate on projects just as they would in an office-based environment.

We developed a Pandemic Leave Policy as well as working-from-home guidelines to provide clarity for our employees, and successfully accessed the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper program, allowing us to mitigate some of the financial pressure on our services while retaining our staff through these trying times.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to test our resilience and prompt necessary short-term strategies to sustain our workforce and balance cost against revenue. Due to financial constraints, a temporary recruitment freeze was put in place, with minimal exceptions applied in order to fill essential roles. The most impacted area has been casual employment, with our casual retail staff temporarily stood down during the closure of Vinnies Shops.

Unfortunately, this has added to the decline in our workforce, as some casual staff have understandably moved onto more permanent employment while other departing employees have been unable to be replaced.

OUR STAFF IN NUMBERS

Gender

Type of Employment

Years of service

Processes are being implemented to record data on our numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, staff with disability, and employees from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We hope to share this data in future financial years.