End User representatives
The frequency and impact of natural disasters is on the rise, while the volunteer workforce who are available and able to assist communities during these crises is reducing. High turnover of volunteers creates high operating costs (recruiting, training and equipping volunteers) as well as reduced organisational effectiveness.
The core volunteer issues being addressed in this study include retaining and engaging volunteers beyond their initial training period and increasing their skills to better handle emergencies.
The project has two research themes:
- Valuing volunteers - reconciling volunteer expectation and experiences. This aims to understand the primary motives for volunteering in emergency services, and the main reasons for volunteer turnover.
- Redesigning leadership – this involves a pilot Leadership Development Program, which provides hands on leadership training to enable volunteer leaders to understand their own leadership deficits and possibilities, providing them with skills to motivate their subordinates and to refine a program of leadership training for creating the next generation of volunteer leaders.
The pilot program teaches leaders to adopt more supportive approaches towards leading other volunteers. In doing so these leaders can manage their brigade or unit in a way that better supports motivation, job satisfaction and retention of volunteers. This program has been piloted with volunteer leaders from the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW State Emeregency Service.
The project has produced three conference papers.
|2016||Report||Improving volunteer recruitment and retention: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).|
|2015||Report||Improving the Retention and Engagement of Volunteers in Emergency Service Agencies Annual Report 2014. (2015).|
|2015||Report||Improving the retention and engagement of volunteers in emergency service agencies: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).|
|27 Mar 2014||Sustainable volunteering||386.63 KB (386.63 KB)||capability, recruitment|
|10 Apr 2015||Sustainable Volunteering 2015 NSW RAF Presentation||2.65 MB (2.65 MB)||volunteering|
|10 Jul 2015||Ensuring volunteering is sustainable||150.91 KB (150.91 KB)||non-traditional recruitment, resilience, volunteering|
|17 May 2016||Improving the retention and engagement of volunteers in emergency service agencies||2.63 MB (2.63 MB)||communication, emergency management, volunteering|
Using the principles of diversity acceptance and organisational inclusive behaviour
|Valuing volunteers: reconciling volunteer expectations and experiences in emergency services||Bill Calcutt||University of Wollongong|
|Out of uniform: building community resilience through non-traditional emergency volunteering||Prof John Handmer||RMIT University|