Five days. Eight stations. Hundreds of smiling faces.
From October 3 through October 15, 2019, almost 150 new VCH Home Support staff members attended the inaugural Home Support Welcome Fairs held in Vancouver. These fairs marked the launch of Phase 1 of the Home Support transition at VCH, which will see 1,500 incoming staff join the organization by April 2020.
In March 2019, VCH and Fraser Health announced that contracted home support services would be delivered by the health authorities after current contracts expire. This change will enable VCH to ensure a more consistent care experience and better coordinated care for clients who received home support, many of whom also receive other VCH community services.
The transition of contracted home support services will occur in Vancouver and Richmond communities of care. There are currently three providers operating in Vancouver and one in Richmond. Provider staff and clients will join VCH in a phased approach, with Bayshore Home Health going first in November, 2019; Paramed in January 2020; SE Health in February 2020 and Greater Vancouver Community Services Society in April 2020.
Bayshore staff and clients will officially move to VCH on November 13, 2019. The new home support base of operations will be the GoldCorp Building at 2750 East Hastings Street.
In preparation of their first day, incoming Bayshore Home Health staff attended one of five welcome fairs at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, Creekside Community Centre or City Square. At these fairs, new staff had the opportunity to meet with the Vancouver Community Home Support leadership team, complete records and benefits forms, obtain immunizations, obtain photo ID, complete fit testing and sign up for the e-learning hub.
To engage incoming Home Support staff and help direct them throughout the fairs, each new staff member was given a VCH Home Support Passport to navigate the eight onboarding stations. At each station, a current VCH staff member from the corresponding VCH department was available to answer questions and to help guide the new employees before stamping their passport. Once all eight stations were completed, staff exchanged their passports for a welcome gift, including a coveted OneVCH water bottle!
“I love this - we are lucky"
At the VCH Online Learning Registration station, incoming community health worker Yuling Lam expressed her excitement for the training opportunities offered at VCH. Lam says she found the Welcome Fair she attended at Creekside Community Centre to be a great introduction to the organization for her and her colleagues.
“The Online Orientation courses are very helpful," she says. “Today I was given good information so I can update and refresh my learning." She was also grateful to have VCH staff on site to help walk her through the onboarding steps.
“These kinds of programs and courses are not offered everywhere," Lam says. “I'm excited."
An informal survey conducted by the People & Culture team at the end of each Welcome Fair revealed that staff had a positive experience. When asked to rate the fairs out of a score of five (5: exceeds expectations; 1: not satisfied), the average score received was 4.75 out of 5.
New staff were pleased with the onboarding process and their experiences meeting team members at VCH.
“It is very nice having staff talking about the organization and values," says community health worker Josephine. “This is a completely new experience for me. The first step of having someone talking about culture and introducing the organization already made me feel welcomed!"
Shaily Desai and Laurence Cojocoru, Home Support schedulers, were also happy with the process.
“The event has been smooth and very prepared," says Desai. “Everyone has all the answers."
As the next phases of the Home Support Transition roll out over the coming months, VCH Welcome Fairs will be repeated - providing a warm and welcoming experience for all incoming staff, as well as opportunities to ask questions and receive support prior to their first day at VCH.
The success of the fairs would not have been possible without the collaborative team effort of departments across VCH and PHSA, including: Employee Engagement (recruitment, labour relations, people and culture); Occupational Health and Safety; IMITs; Employee Records & Benefits; Payroll Clinical Education; Vancouver Community operations; regional home support and home support repatriation teams; and Integrated Protection Services. The fairs were also supported by numerous volunteers who generously gave their time to help out.
Natalie McCarthy, Regional Director of Strategic Community Initiatives and Home Support Repatriation project lead comments, “Like the Town Halls that went before, these Welcome Fairs truly reflect the caring and commitment of VCH toward its home support workforce. Each and every VCH staff who attended worked hard to make the experience warm, welcoming and fun for our new team members. Smiles, hugs and rounds of applause for handing in a completed passport were common occurrences, and almost universally we heard participants say 'I can't wait for my first day.' This speaks volumes about the amazing team of VCH leads from all areas who made this such a positive experience!"
VCH continues to work with the current contracted providers to ensure the transition of home support services is seamless for clients and staff.
Stay tuned for more information on this project, and in the meantime, please visit the webpage at www.vch.ca/homesupport.
Photos by Jessica Purver, Julia Sumera, Tanya Tang.