The Australian disability sector is a really interesting space where it’s not as common for people to get praised for the good work they do. At OnSide, we believe that when our Support Coordinators get positive feedback, it’s important to celebrate it. Equally, when we receive negative feedback, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow.
This is something OnSide’s new QLD Regional Manager, Gerard Corbett, also believes wholeheartedly. We sat down with him for a conversation about his past work experience with this NDIS, why he joined the team and how being proactive about gaining feedback is crucial to any organisation’s success.
Feedback is how we connect to each other
Gerard is no stranger to the disability sector. He began his career before finishing high school and has well over 25 years experience, in everything from forensic case management in the Victorian state government, to community engagement and communications in the NDIS.
“I’ve done a bit of everything,” Gerard reflects. “What I love most is working face to face with individuals, especially after spending the bulk of my career in community engagement. When the NDIS came along, I started in Victoria then supported the rollout across QLD. While I learned a lot, I didn’t love being behind the scenes so much.”
“OnSide excites me. I met Kollen [our Founder] a few years ago and liked that OnSide specialises in dedicated Support Coordination. The fact that the team also proactively seeks out feedback was a big deal for me because it’s essential to how we improve both as individuals and as an organisation.”
Feedback is how we tell the stories of participants
Often one of the deciding factors for how an NDIS participant selects a service provider is hearing the success stories from other participants.
“The best way to engage new participants is by sharing the stories of other participants,” Gerard reinforces. “It’s an integral part of my motivation to push feedback – It’s important to always come back to the customer in the work that we do.”
“I used to walk around LAC offices and ask NDIS planners to tell me a good story. More often than not people wouldn’t put their hand up. It’s likely they don’t take the time to reflect on the good they’ve done for people.”
For Gerard, what’s most exciting about the NDIS is that it enables people with disabilities to get meaningful outcomes and live life independently in the community. Support Coordination is a key component and people in the industry often forget what that actually means.
Feedback is for everyone
It’s not just customer feedback that makes a difference – it’s also crucial to get input from staff and the NDIS service providers in your network, like allied health staff, the NDIA and any community partners.
“We recently instigated a touch base with our QLD participants after the devastating floods in February 2022,” Gerard reflects. “Over the course of the day, I was on the phone speaking to people and we got both good and bad feedback, but overwhelmingly positive results for one Support Coordinator in particular. I filtered the feedback to the team and passed it to that Support Coordinator to celebrate her good work. It wasn’t about KPIs or dollars, but the quality of service she gave to her customers.”
Sourcing a wide variety of feedback from different people isn’t just about improving the quality of our service either – it’s also about upgrading any systems that might be letting us down as a team.
“Feedback is useful for everyone,” Gerard explains. “It’s about improving the overall customer experience. For staff, it’s great for mentoring and supervision, but for OnSide, it allows us to refine our processes across the board. That way growth will come, but more organically as a result of what people actually need, not what we think they need.”
At OnSide we’re all ears to your feedback
We want to know what you think about the work we do, which is why we encourage all of our customers, their families, staff and service providers to send us their feedback or call to discuss. It’s one of the many ways we live and breathe our values here at OnSide.