Relationships with managers key to workforce support: Billings

December 7, 2020

Dr Jo Billings, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor at University College London told the VHA’s COVID-19 Health Sector Forum focused on workforce that the relationship with managers is critical to supporting workers.

The event, attended by people and culture leaders in healthcare across Victoria, explored the key areas of support required to support the recovery of the healthcare workforce and build resilience in the wake of COVID-19.

In a conversation with Tom Symondson, the CEO of the VHA, Dr Billings outlined lessons that can be drawn from other sectors including the military, highlighting the biggest difference being that healthcare workers live where they work, while military personnel traditionally have a physical distance from the trauma and their home life.

In exploring the role of managers in supporting workforce resilience and recovery, she told the forum that it is critical to give employees a space where they can freely talk about their wellbeing. She also raised concerns with the ‘healthcare hero’ mantle, which can prevent people from sharing the challenges they face.

Kent Burgess, Deputy CEO of Star Health and Claire Woods, Executive Director People and Culture at Ballarat Health Services followed the presentation by sharing some insights into programs they are implementing and developing to support people working in their organisations.

Attendees participated in a series of workshops where they shared details of programs being developed across the state and discussed common issues across the sector. The insights will be used to inform the development of new resources and support for the sector.