culture Archives - Afea Care Services

Introducing: The Afean Way

Our company culture takes on a new look

At Afea, our company culture is really important to us. We even have a book dedicated to our goals, mission and values called our Culture Book.

We know we have a strong culture, but we wanted to come up with a clearer definition for it. Which is why we developed ‘The Afean Way’.

What makes us different?

When people join Afea, they realise it’s not like other companies.

According to our People and Culture Manager Joseph Assad: “The way we do business is unique. It’s different to how other businesses operate.”

What makes Afea different is a variety of factors. It’s the way we operate, it’s the way we behave, and it’s the way we think.

We narrowed down those differences to 9 principles that characterise and define the Afean Way.

What is the Afean Way?

At the centre are our values – Authentic, Purposeful, Responsible and Understanding. These values are at the core of every decision we make.

Surrounding these values are 9 principles that characterise the Afean Way. They are:

   -Care & Compassion

   -Can-Do Attitude

   -Being Present with Intent

   -High Performance and Goal Focused

   -Going Above & Beyond

   -Growth and Continuous Improvement

  -Discipline and Commitment

   -Flexible and Adaptive

-Family Focus

The Afean Way

When new employees join, they often have heard a lot about our culture and resonate with what it stands for.

“When they’re here, they feel it as well. They feel that family focus. They feel that we’re present and have good intentions, that we care and are compassionate. Going further, that we’re disciplined, have a high-performance culture and are goal focused. We have a can-do attitude. We’re continuously improving and growing,” Joseph said.

How does our culture impact our daily operations?

Everyone who works at Afea lives by these principles and the senior management team takes notice.

“We have ‘Employee of the Month’ awards for each of our Chatswood and Parramatta offices. The individuals presented with those awards have demonstrated alignment with our culture,” Joseph explained.

People like Milan who won a recent Employee of the Month Award. In his nomination, they described him as being always helpful with a positive attitude. He always goes above and beyond to help everyone out, no matter how busy he is.

Another example is Sally, who hasn’t been at Afea for very long but has already found her home. Her nominee described her as having a happy attitude that is contagious. As a leader, she always supports her team and they trust in her.

How does culture lead to success?

According to Joseph, it’s sometimes hard to measure culture.

“Sometimes it’s just a feeling. Defining it is difficult. We live it and feel it,” he said.

However, our culture has led to many recent successes. Earlier in the year, we were ranked one of Australia’s Best Places to Work in the Australian Financial Review BOSS Magazine.

We also won Employer of Choice for Sydney Metro in the 2021 Business Awards, Delivered by Business NSW.

These awards are thanks to the contribution of staff who make our organisation a great place to work. It shows the value our people hold in our culture.

What’s more important is how our culture affects the way we care for our clients. We hear every day the difference our Afea support workers and coordinators make in the lives of the families we support.

Ultimately, the Afean Way helps us to fulfil our core mission – To be the Most Trusted Care Provider.

Want to join us at Afea?

Our Finance Manager is celebrating 8 years with Afea!

Sam reflects on his time with Afea  

Finance Manager, Sam, Celebrates 8 years with Afea

Finance Manager, Sam, is a CPA (Certified Practising Accountant) and has been with Afea Care Services since 2012. He is always smiling and joking with his colleagues, and nothing is ever too hard to accomplish for him and his team.

He is very supportive to everyone he comes in contact with. Around the office, he is the go-to man for anything to do with numbers or the NDIS.

After eight years, Sam is still passionate about working with Afea.

He says: “Since the beginning, I was given a lot of support both in my professional and personal life.

While I was working full time and giving my all to the company, I also wanted to learn. With support from Esha and Gaurav, I completed my CPA while still working full time.

I remember at that time I didn’t have enough space at home to study. Afea gave me the trust and freedom to use the office space to study over the weekends.”

Sam’s biggest passion when he comes into work each day is providing the best service possible to all Carers, office staff and, of course, our valued Afea and Inebura Clients. In his spare time, he is a family man and loves being with his wife and two daughters.

We thank Sam for all of his contributions and continued positivity he has brought to work for the past eight years. Congratulations on completing another year with Afea, we can’t wait to see what you do next!

How we came to be a work family, not a work place

I started my business when I was 24 and overnight I fell into a leadership role with no real management experience. With no mentors by my side and no guidance on how it be a great coach, I learnt the hard way, making many mistakes along the way. What I was doing was following the textbooks to develop my teams, but I had freedom from reporting my performance to anyone else. 

I came into work with a really standard mindset and approach which is the textbook stuff. Staff perform – fantastic, retain them. When staff don’t perform, put them into a performance management plan. Whether it was our employment lawyers or the business textbooks, the advice did not take into consideration that we are interacting and engaging on a human level. We are so much more complex, and the black and white suggestions for driving performance are just that, too black and white with no shades. One of my realisations as the business grew and we continued to have a diverse workforce is that every person has this ‘work mask’. That mask can sometimes be thicker depending on the environment. I continued to wonder, how do I get people to relax and as much as possible and come to work in their most authentic self?

I knew that we all have the potential to be really creative and give our best only when we don’t hold layers of limitations on ourselves. I also understood that these limitations are only imposed when we feel judged.

I knew this because I have experienced having those times where I felt so judged I felt my mask becoming thicker. In those very times I felt it to be most challenging to be creative and add any value. 

What has helped me realise my potential as a leader is that I never worked long enough in any other business to know that there are subtle ‘workplace behaviours’ that everyone mutually agrees to and conforms to in the workplace. I never learnt how to differentiate between my work and personal life. There isn’t a line that I can draw between these aspects of me and overtime I have become incredibly comfortable with that.

As my comfort levels grew and I loved being myself at work so much, I loved that I would be bringing all aspects of me into the workplace. I have no baggage and constraints on how much I choose to give of myself. I wanted everyone to experience this and feel the joy that comes when we can truly be ourselves, our whole selves. All those aspects, that are playful, spontaneous, passionate and purposeful. I also came to experience that the more playful I allowed myself to be at work, the easier it was for me to retain focus when I needed it. If we give ourselves permission to allow the variety of expressions it will come through in our work, which is exactly the quality of work we need. Our work outputs also benefit from shades.

People that work in our business soon come to realise that they can be whoever they are at home, here. They can have days when they are feeling off and not be penalised. They can have times of the year when performance deflates, and they won’t be punished or performance managed. They are supported instead.

I think having the carrot and stick approach only creates fear. Fear is a great motivator in the short term. However, this is non-lasting and not sustainable. Acceptance, tolerance, compassion… all of these virtues in leadership are much more lasting ways to support our thriving workplaces and gives permission for people to bring more of themselves into work.