End User representatives
This new project began in July 2017, and has two parts:
- Adapting the sector
- Changing management practice
Adapting the sector
This section of will investigate why change is needed, and explore the developments that are likely to occur over the next decade that will require adaption by emergency service organisations. Current models, frameworks and processes will be reviewed, with a survey conducted with key stakeholders to understand the key barriers to organisational change. Outcomes will highlight the best ways to enable change and overcome barriers, or emphasise if new approaches are needed.
Watch the October 2017 project update for Adapting the sector.
What is emergency volunteering going to look like in 2030? How (and by whom) is it going to be organised?
How can the emergency management sector best enable the value of volunteering for communities - before, during and after an emergency - into the future?
This component is designed to engage stakeholders in finding answers to these questions. It is motivated by recognition of a transformation occurring in the way people volunteer in Australian society that presents both challenges and opportunities for volunteer management and community engagement. Adapting the sector is a foresight project. It will develop and explore future volunteering scenarios to consider their implications for today’s decision-making across urban, urban fringe, rural and remote settings. The research aims to support stakeholders in the emergency management sector to adapt to the transformation of volunteering and better position their organisations to enable and enhance the value of volunteering for communities - now and into the future.
Changing management practice
When a natural disaster strikes or an emergency arises, Western Australia (WA)’s regional and metropolitan communities rely on the assistance provided by State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers. SES involves around 2000 volunteers, but the turnover rate is roughly 25% annually. SES volunteers receive extensive and very costly training in various disaster management areas, which requires the expenditure of substantial financial, time, and human resources. The high turnover rate means that that these resources are not used efficiently and puts the delivery of a crucial emergency service in jeopardy. In addition, the recent socioeconomic changes gave rise to a ‘new’ styles of volunteering that are more diverse, fluid, episodic and digitally-enabled. This presents significant challenges to current volunteer management practices, such as recruitment and socialisation.
The present research project aims to improve the current volunteer recruitment, socialisation, and retention strategies. First, volunteer experience will be investigated through the various stages of engagement with the service: in the pre-recruitment stage, we will study expectations and stereotypes about volunteering held by prospective volunteers. At the recruitment stage, we will investigate the effectiveness of recruitment materials and strategies, including for the attraction of more diversity. At the socialisation stage, we will investigate induction and on-boarding processes, the development of volunteer identity, person-organisation fit. At the deployment stage, we will investigate volunteer motivation, wellbeing outcomes, psychological contract perceptions, and design of volunteer work. Throughout this investigation we seek to understand how a culture for inclusiveness shapes volunteer experiences, but also affects the diversity of volunteer base.
The findings of the research will inform and guide the design of better recruitment, retention, and wellbeing practices and will be broadly applicable to emergency services in Australia.
Watch the October 2017 project update for Changing management practice.
|2017||Conference Paper||Research proceedings from the 2017 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).|
|Diversity and inclusion: building strength and capability||Celeste Young||Victoria University|
|Out of uniform: building community resilience through non-traditional emergency volunteering||Prof John Handmer||RMIT University|
|Improving the retention and engagement of volunteers in emergency service agencies||A/Prof Michael Jones||University of Wollongong|