Safety Month

Task KPI or Wellbeing KPI

With Safe Work Australia month upon us, reflect upon the workplace practices that may inadvertently be contributing to aggression in the workplace.

Ultimately the aim of the support an organisation provides is to enhance the overall wellbeing of the people they support. The support should be person centred which is often easier said than done.

Let’s consider organisations that provide residential services. KPI usually focus on tasks that must be completed within a shift. Examples include showering, dressing, feeding, programmed activities and the like.

Margaret is 83 years old. Margaret’s husband passed away last year. Finding it harder to manage at home on her own, Margaret has recently moved in to a residential aged care facility. Margaret appreciates the support she gets but also misses the control she had in her own home.

Staff have a list of tasks to be performed on a daily basis for the benefit of Margaret. On the list is helping Margaret to have a shower. Does Margaret actually need to have a shower today especially if she would rather not?

Having a shower today or not having a shower today should not be the focus. Margaret’s wellbeing should be.

(Of course with this example, if Margaret refuses to bathe for a prolonged period then it becomes a different issue.)

The well-meaning team of staff supporting Margaret haven’t noticed just how often they are insisting that Margaret does things that she would rather not do. If staff are insistent several times every day and Margaret feels that no one is listening to her polite refusals, would it really be a surprise if Margaret becomes aggressive wanting to be heard?

Sometimes organisations provide the support they want to provide and not the support that the individual wants to be provided. This might occur for a range of reasons, eg. it is more cost effective with the limited resources available to deliver the care in a particular way.

Margaret tried endlessly in vain to tell carers what she would like. She felt the carers and the organisation did not listen. Margaret became frustrated and felt she had lost control. Margaret eventually escalated to the use of aggression as a means of communication.

Should we be focusing more on the overall wellbeing of the person rather than the individual tasks that contribute to overall wellbeing?

Empower your staff to use their professional judgement to focus on the wellbeing of the people they support, and not be too focused on the task at hand.

Shifting the focus of KPI from specific tasks, which are relatively easy to measure, to KPI around wellbeing of both clients and staff may be daunting.

The cultural shift towards wellbeing will result in happier people. Happier people are less aggressive. Less aggressive people are safer people for everyone to be around.

Stay safe!


Should you wish to discuss strategies to manage aggression or violence affecting you or your team, please do not hesitate to contact Holland Thomas & Associates.

Travis Holland 1






Travis Hol­land
Man­ag­ing Direc­tor
Hol­land Thomas & Asso­ciates
Travis Holland email address