Workforce unity: Resthaven’s Team Talent Showcase – 2023 Future of Ageing Awards profile

Resthaven's Team Talent Showcase 2023

Resthaven’s 2022/23 Team Talent Showcase fosters collaboration, confidence, and retention, tackling staff turnover in aged care with unique leadership development. The inaugural event was awarded Highly Commended in the 2023 Future of Ageing Awards.

South Australian aged care provider Resthaven, introduced the Team Talent Showcase Program in partnership with Top Branch Consulting in 2022/3. This unique initiative aimed to address challenges in staff turnover and foster a sense of unity among its diverse workforce. The program focused on showcasing employees’ skills in managing real-life workplace challenges, promoting interdepartmental collaboration, enhancing confidence, and increasing staff retention.

Why it Came About

The program was initiated in response to the surge in staff turnover experienced by Resthaven, a trend exacerbated by the global pandemic. The organisation, with over 3,000 employees, recognised the need to combat team isolation and silos within its large workforce. An Employee Climate Survey conducted in 2021 revealed that 60% of employees believed Resthaven was a great place to work, with an engagement score of 47%. This indicated room for improvement and further investment in staff development.

Resthaven was committed to nurturing a leadership culture with a focus on adaptive capacity. They believed in providing opportunities for career progression, regardless of an employee’s current role. The Team Talent Showcase Program was designed to enhance interdepartmental collaboration, deepen understanding of the complexities of the aged care sector, build confidence, and develop coaching skills among staff. It sought to provide an inclusive approach to leadership development, which was not limited to high-potential employees.

Additionally, in the wake of the global pandemic and extensive sector reform, there was a need to inject joy and fun into the workplace, giving staff from different departments and sites an opportunity to celebrate their work in aged care. Resthaven’s CEO, Darren Birbeck, collaborated with Taryn Sexton of Top Branch Consulting in early 2022 to develop a program that would expose emerging leaders to adaptive leadership concepts, boost morale, and engage staff.

How it Works

The Team Talent Showcase Program was launched at Resthaven’s annual leadership conference to generate enthusiasm and seek volunteers from the management team to co-design the program’s scenarios and deliverables. The program’s content was developed from scratch and tailored to the challenges faced in the aged care sector, incorporating real-life experiences and decision-making scenarios.

Eight teams, each consisting of six members from various departments, participated in the program. The teams were led by a middle manager (team captain) and included members from head office, maintenance, and site staff. Each team was also assigned a Team Mentor from the Resthaven Future Leaders Program or alumni to provide guidance and support.

The program had a structured preparation phase with the teams receiving a Team Preparation Kit to help them prepare for the Team Talent Showcase Day. Teams conducted their own preparation sessions with guidance from management. On Showcase Day, teams were presented with various tasks, including written assignments, presentations, and role plays, designed to simulate real-life challenges in the aged care sector. Teams were observed and supported by mentors, management, and other observers throughout the day.

After completing the tasks, teams had debrief sessions, and their performance was assessed. This data was later shared with management for career development opportunities.

Hear from those who took part in the Team Talent Showcase

Stakeholders Involved:

  • Darren Birbeck – Chief Executive Officer, Resthaven
  • Sylvia Powell – Executive Manager People and Culture, Resthaven
  • Sonia Hunter – Manager Workforce Strategy, Resthaven
  • Resthaven Senior Leadership and Executive team
  • Resthaven Marketing and Communications team
  • Resthaven Board Members
  • Taryn Sexton – Principal, Top Branch Consulting
  • Marguerite Kolar – Consultant, Top Branch Consulting
  • Andrew Stevens – Director & Co-founder, Uncharted Leadership
  • Volunteer observers from different sectors with adaptive leadership backgrounds

Evidence of Success

The Team Talent Showcase Program demonstrated significant success, as evidenced by various metrics and feedback:

  • The program was oversubscribed, indicating high demand and enthusiasm.
  • A post-program survey showed that 90% of respondents found the program to be a valuable professional development activity.
  • Participants reported improved skills in various areas, including confidence, listening, delegation, presentation, public speaking, and understanding leadership styles.
  • Overcoming challenges during the program journey, such as time management and conflict management, demonstrated personal growth.
  • An employee pulse survey conducted in June 2023 indicated an increase in the perception of Resthaven as a great place to work, rising from 60% in 2021 to 69% in 2023.

Additionally, program participants shared their positive experiences and the value they gained from the Team Talent Showcase:

  • Participants highlighted the enriching experience of learning about Resthaven and collaborating with employees from different roles and departments.
  • They emphasised the opportunity to form new connections and engage with colleagues they might not interact with otherwise.
  • The program was described as a chance to work toward a common goal and experience joy in getting to know and work with others.

The Team Talent Showcase Program achieved its goals of fostering collaboration, enhancing staff development, and infusing a sense of joy into the workplace. The success of the program indicated its potential for scalability and adaptation in other organisations, offering a template for employee development and engagement.


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