SACS and Mind Australia have partnered on a unique project. Mind Australia is a leading provider of community mental health services that support its clients to live independent, productive and purposeful lives. As part of its service Mind offers peer support services to its clients.  Peer support workers have lived experience of mental ill-health and recovery and they use this experience to support clients on their recovery journey. Peer support is recognised as a highly effective form of support in a range of support settings, so much so that the idea is being supported by a range of Governments around the world.  The idea also has the support of many service provision organisations – it has strong research backing.

SACS provides a service called “high performance modelling”, where a client organisation identifies a group of employees to use as a foundation for future recruitment activities. The idea is to profile these employees in respect of their psychological characteristics as well as the competencies which allow them to perform their roles effectively. The diagram above outlines the method.  We then build a recruitment kit which is based on the findings of the profiling activity which can then be used by hiring managers to recruit with greater confidence and accuracy.  It was this approach which we used in the project with Mind Australia.

The effectiveness of peer support models has led to significant growth of its use in care settings and we do not know of any other example  of where this profiling method has been applied to peer workers previously. We are very grateful to Mind for committing to this exciting initiative and to the peer workers who gave so generously of their time.

What did we find? Confidentiality concerns do not enable us to go into minute detail about the findings, but here are some key points.

  • We discovered that the group evaluated their success by assessing the client’s satisfaction with their interactions, as well as the achievement of practical outcomes – employment, housing, etc.
  • The role has a strong teamwork component to it – in order to succeed you need to have a commitment to your colleagues.
  • A very effective preparation for a role like this is life experience – having interacted with an extremely wide range of people from different settings. Lived experience of mental ill-health was also critical.
  • From a skill point of view, a non-judgmental commitment to effective communication and listening was key.
  • The attitude necessary to do this job well was a highly empathic and caring approach coupled with the ability to establish and maintain professional boundaries.
  • Personality profiling showed that the participants were very caring and supportive, with high levels of modesty. “It is all about the client.”
  • Other personality results showed the group to be highly approachable, creative and extremely altruistic – a generosity of spirit, with a strong disinclination to becoming angry.
  • Values profiling showed a strong inclination to “making the world a better place” within a committed teamwork environment.

Mind will be able to use this information and the recruitment kit which was created from these results to recruit to peer worker roles with more confidence in future.  As peer worker roles have been developed in a range of organisations there has been considerable conjecture about what combinations of experience, competencies and psychological characteristics are good preparation for effective performance.  The slogan for high performance modelling is “no more guessing” and that is the confidence that the method provides for those who use it.

Get more information on High Performance Modelling.

Andrew Marty
Managing Director
SACS

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