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AOD Service Providers -here's some tips on getting the Best Bang for your Buck when considering

The decision to hire casual staff particularly agency staff is not always an easy one.

How will permanent staff feel?

Will it take more time getting them orientated and allocating them tasks than its worth?

Will they know what they are doing?

How qualified are they?

Will they be tech savvy?

Can we afford them?

All good points for sure but can you really afford not to hire causal staff?

As far as permanent staff are concerned casual staff are usually hired to support their workloads during challenging periods. Its typically the permanent staff that are expected to make up for staff shortages which eventually takes its toll on even the most generous and experienced staff. Permanent staff are also very aware that even though casual staff may receive a higher hourly rate they do not enjoy the many benefits of permanent work including annual leave, sick leave, employment security, superannuation, being part of a team etc.

As per our Get Prepared and Get Informed pages our casual staff are expected to hit the ground running so you can be assured that they will know what they are doing and they will be qualified.

In regards to whether you can afford casual staff that can be a tricky question. Being the one responsible for balancing the budget is unenviable however the use of casual staff is only meant to be a temporary measure to ensure ongoing service provision for our clients, provide support for permanent staff and help meet contractual obligations so its definitely worth considering.

So how can you be sure that you are getting the best Bang for your Buck?

Here are a few tips that you may want to consider (in no particular order):

*Let your reception staff and your other team members know who the casual staff member is who is coming to assist the team. Making the casual staff member feel welcome means they will spend less time feeling awkward and more time getting stuck into the work you have hired them to do.

*Be prepared! Have clients booked in for your casual staff member. Make sure someone has contacted all the clients you need seen the day before to confirm their attendance (obviously this doesn't mean they will turn up but we all know the odds are much better when clients receive a friendly phone call and or a text with appointment details).

*Have a designated staff member a' buddy' to introduce the causal staff member to the rest of the team and give them a brief orientation to your service including essential OH&S info (20 minutes max) as well as letting them know which clients they will be seeing and any other additional tasks. A 'buddy' is then someone the casual staff member knows they can go to for support and any information that they might need to assist them to do their job well, s0 a designated 'buddy' is essential if you want to get your money's worth.

*This is absolutely optional but truly worth considering-because we are all time poor and we all have different client management systems (CMS) @AOD Recruit casual staff will come with a secured USB that will have templates for case notes, the DHHS authorised assessment tools and anything else agencies may request. They will be able to work directly from their USB rather than having to learn new CMS's every time they go to a new agency. At the end of the day case notes, intake, assessments and or other task documents can be uploaded on to your systems by the designated 'buddy' and the information deleted from the secured USB before the casual staff member leaves the AOD agency. As noted this suggestion is totally optional but we believe it would save heaps of time and ensure that more clients are being seen and less time is consumed by administrative tasks and learning new systems.

*Due to the historically poor show rate in the AOD sector it is important that you have a list of additional tasks that can be performed by the casual staff member if a client fails to attend. Such tasks may include ringing clients due the next day to remind them of their appointments, providing bridging supports and or assisting with any ' drop ins' etc

* Finally how about shorter shifts? We like to call them 'Lifestyle Shifts' but they are basically just a shorter shift that would cost the AOD Service Provider less money whilst also suiting the needs of some casual staff members such as parents, students, those who prefer just to work less hours and those who just want to make some extra money by doing a few extra hours.

An example of such a shift is a parent working from 9.30am-4pm. Such a shift would give a 'buddy' time to prepare for the casual staff member whilst also giving (in this example) a parent enough time to drop their child off to daycare or school and also ensure that they are home early enough to spend the majority of the evening with their child. The AOD Service Provider would spend less money due to less hours worked and the casual staff member would spend more time with their children therefore having their needs met as well. Win Win!!

Whether you are an AOD Service Provider or an AOD Professional

if you have any other ideas about getting the Best Bang for Your Buck we'd like to hear them. Cheers!

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