Department of Health

Element 2 involves engaging and informing staff of the project drivers, background and aims, and links to organisational strategic priorities. It uses staff engagement forums, focus groups and informal meetings.


  • Actively engage allied health staff to facilitate and enable change.
  • Inform stakeholders of the project and drivers for workforce reform.
  • Inform stakeholders of the links between the VAWM and organisational priorities.
  • Build stakeholder capacity for accepting change.
  • Enhance staff participation in the Victorian Assistant Workforce Model (VAWM).
  • Conduct a needs analysis.


Element 2 activities occur throughout the nine-month suggested timeline for the implementation process.


Element 2 draws on the VAWM’s overarching principles of change management and consultation.

  • Look for opportunities for informal communication during project implementation to engage stakeholders.

    Use informal communication to promote the benefits of the Victorian Assistant Workforce Model (VAWM) and highlight its significance to stakeholders.

    One method of informal communication to develop an ‘elevator pitch’ – a concise description of the project that can be communicated in 60–90 seconds.


    • Link into existing scheduled staff meetings to inform staff of the project. This may alleviate concerns that the project is affecting clinical time.
    • Use a range of non-verbal communication methods, for example flyers and emails.
    • Seek opportunities for informal communication.
    • Engage and prepare project champions to promote the VAWM at different sites and departments.
    • Tailor messages to individual stakeholders or stakeholder groups.
    • Liaise with managers to determine the best way to engage staff.
    • Use the frequently asked questions page to prepare possible responses in advance.

    Activity outputs

    • Elevator pitch developed.
    • Informal communication strategies developed.
    • Non-verbal communication strategies developed.
  • Engage with allied health managers to embed a positive organisational culture in which allied health assistants (AHAs) are considered an important part of the allied health workforce.

    Early consultation with managers is important, as their support for the Victorian Assistant Workforce Model (VAWM) can directly influence staff attitudes and participation.


    • Give managers the Supervision and delegation framework for allied health assistants.
    • Prepare agendas and relevant documents, such as the VAWM overview publication for meetings with managers.
    • Communicate via face-to-face meetings, either individually or at already scheduled allied health manager meetings, and via email contact.
    • Prepare a summary of project aims, progress to date and actions required by managers and their staff. This will be useful for managers unfamiliar with the VAWM.

    Activity outputs

    • Managers informed of Supervision and delegation framework for allied health assistants.
    • Managers informed of the VAWM and timeline for implementation.
    • Face-to-face meetings with managers conducted.
    • Email contact established with key stakeholders.
  • Holding staff engagement forums allows you to present the broader context of allied health workforce reform and provide an overview of the Victorian Assistant Workforce Model (VAWM).

    The aim is to create a sense of urgency to encourage managers, allied health practitioners and allied health assistants to participate in the project.

    Speaking notes template and guide to holding staff engagement forums and focus groups:

    Activity outputs

    • Staff engagement forums promoted.
    • Staff engagement forums adapted to the organisation.
    • Staff engagement forums conducted.
  • Conduct focus groups to gather information on staff beliefs and attitudes towards the project.

    Focus groups also encourage discussion, build excitement and provide an opportunity for staff to learn about the assistant workforce.

    Focus groups provide qualitative data, as well as the organisational context for AHA tasks.

    Activity outputs

    • Focus groups promoted.
    • Focus groups adapted to the organisation.
    • Focus groups conducted.
    • Qualitative data from focus groups documented.
  • Engage staff during the investigate and analyse phase to ensure high levels of staff participation in data collection activities.

    During this phase, you must also ratify allied health assistant (AHA) tasks with allied health managers. You may need to engage managers and advocate for AHA roles.


    • Consult with managers before you start data collection.
    • Give stakeholders written material such as flyers or emails to promote the activities.
    • Send reminder emails during the data collection period.
    • Reinforce that staff involvement will directly influence the outcomes of the project.
    • Engage and use project champions for each activity.
    • Have a physical presence throughout the data collection period.
    • Respond quickly to queries if they arise.
    • Anticipate managers’ viewpoints and workshop possible issues before attending meetings with managers.
    • Consider the practicalities managers face if new roles or tasks are created.
    • Identify examples of how tasks can be incorporated into sites/programs/services.
    • Organise face-to-face meetings rather than relying on email or phone contact alone.

    Activity outputs

    • Managers consulted before data collection activities commenced.
    • Data collection activities promoted.
    • Allied health managers engaged to ratify AHA tasks.
  • Engage with the steering committee and key stakeholders during the plan and finalise phase to facilitate decision making and ensure successful outcomes.

    Give feedback on outcomes to participating staff to embed an allied health assistant (AHA) culture within the organisation and so that staff feel informed.

    You may wish to make a final presentation to the steering committee as part of this.


    • Present the results of the needs analysis using a PowerPoint presentation to provide a transparent rationale for the goals in the AHA workforce strategic plan.
    • Provide a written summary of the results or a visual representation of the results using graphs, charts or tables.
    • Use the facilitation techniques outlined in the Staff engagement forum and focus group guide to promote and guide discussion.
    • Provide clear timeframes for feedback and review.
    • Use executive support during this process.
    • Highlight the potential for positive change and the possibilities to enhance service delivery.
    • Link into existing meetings to disseminate results.

    Activity outputs

    • Data analysis and AHA workforce strategic plan presented to steering committee and stakeholders.
    • AHA workforce strategic plan feedback sought from key stakeholders.
    • Final report and strategic plan disseminated.
    • Feedback on project outcomes provided to key stakeholders, including allied health staff.
    • Next steps determined with steering committee and stakeholders.
    • Project handed over to appropriate stakeholders.

Reviewed 06 June 2023

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