Effective workplace communication with employees with psychiatric disability
- Implementation guide
- Psychiatric disability
- Talking about talking and listening
- Talking about learning
- Talking about the job
- Talking about tools
- Talking about safety
- Talking about quality and quantity
- Talking about teams and workmates
- Talking about problems
- Talking about changes
- Talking about futures
Welcome to Work Talk.
The team who put the manual together and the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs who funded its production hope you find it useful in your work supporting employees with disability.
The aim of the manual is to bring together information about and strategies for effective workplace communication in Disability Employment Services. It focuses on the communication between the employee with disability (called 'supported employees' here, but your service may use a different term) and staff who work with supported employees directly (again, we've used the term 'support staff' but your service may use terms like 'supervisor', 'team leader' or 'job coach'). If you have a different role, you may find the examples and case studies less familiar or directly relevant but we hope you will still be able to make use of the strategies we suggest for your workplace communication with supported employees, specifically those with psychiatric disability.
Work Talk introduces a fictional business service, Merrinvale Enterprises. Throughout the manual you will meet a number of people connected with Merrinvale, including some of its supported employees and support staff (who Merrinvale calls 'supervisors'). Merrinvale provides the 'stage' for case studies and scenarios that illustrate the communication situations support staff may encounter in their everyday work with people with psychiatric disability.
The implementation guide includes information and background about Merrinvale and its staff.
Using Work Talk may assist services in addressing some of the requirements of a number of the Disability Service Standards. For example, it may be useful in demonstrating steps taken to provide appropriate and relevant training for staff.
This manual has four sections:
- this introduction
- an implementation guide
- an introduction to psychiatric disability
- the series of 10 communication and learning topics that make up the bulk of the manual.
The learning topics are based around communication situations you are likely to encounter in the workplace.
In each of the learning topics you will find four sections:
- some background information or theory about effective workplace communication strategies
- a case study or example. The case studies and examples are set in a fictional service called Merrinvale Enterprises and describe some of the interactions that members of the support staff have with supported employees and/or their reflections on those interactions
- strategies for achieving effective communication and learning in the situation described
- a page or two for you to add your own notes or thoughts.
You may be asked to use this manual in a number of ways:
- as a self-paced learning resource that you work through on your own
- as a basis for discussion and learning about a particular topic or topics at a staff meeting or in a short training session
- to help you develop your strategies for particular situations or with particular supported employees
- as the basis for a training session for other support staff.