The power of a “Thank you”.

Carolyn Lancaster is the Volunteer Coordinator for RSL LifeCare, an aged care provider with 28 facilities, 630 volunteers, 3500 staff and 7500 residents.

Recently, Carolyn participated in Talk on Purpose with a team of people from various areas of the organisation. Her talk was one of 12 x 3-minute talks recorded and shared over two days at their annual leadership conference. The conference was held virtually thanks to Synergy Effect with 150 leaders in attendance.

RSL LifeCare’s Purpose: To enrich veterans and seniors lives and create connected, supportive and vibrant communities.

“Our volunteers are integral to enriching residents’ lives,” says Carolyn. “They play a role that staff simply can’t. Volunteers offer the emotional and social wellbeing that so many residents need, especially those without families, who might never receive a visitor.”

When COVID hit, the volunteers adopted creative ways to keep connected to residents. Hundreds of people (young and old) wrote letters, sent cards and phoned residents. In Carolyn’s talk (below), she shares a heart-warming story of how residents were entertained with sing-alongs over Zoom.

Carolyn has estimated that their 630 volunteers deliver over 60,000 hours of unpaid service worth around 2.5 million dollars each year.

“Although they don’t get paid, every volunteer is priceless. Our communities are built by volunteers, so it’s vital we acknowledge their contribution, care for them and thank them every day. Without volunteers, I don’t know how our residents would have coped since the pandemic hit.”

Carolyn is fully aware there are many not-for-profits that volunteers might offer their time to. Through doing the course, she was able to identify her own unique purpose for her role as it connects to the company purpose.

Carolyn’s Purpose: To ensure RSL LifeCare is the workplace of choice for volunteers in Australia.

“I want our volunteers to join and stay with us throughout their volunteering life so residents can rely on them for long-term friendship and connection. To stay, they must feel their contribution is valuable and that they are valued by staff and residents. I want our people to use the power of saying “thank you” to let them know this. That’s what I am here to do. It’s both a rewarding and fulfilling job and one that I look forward to every day.”

 “Thank You.” Two small words that are so easy to say and that have so much power.

About Talk on Purpose

If you have an event or conference coming up and would love to share the stories of your people, Talk on Purpose is for you. Or if you’re a leader struggling with a team that is feeling depleted, disconnected and lacking direction, the course is a way to instantly rejuvenate and reconnect your team. If you’re keen to know how, please book a Purpose Conversation with me. No cost. No obligation.

Here’s what some of the RSL LifeCare participants said about the course:

I loved the course!  I learned so much about the value of focusing on our purpose at work and how it aligned with the company’s purpose. It was so great to connect with staff from other departments of the organisation – we were really brought together as a team as we shared our stories. Carolyn Lancaster, Volunteer Coordinator

43% of the 150 leaders who attended the conference, said “YES! they would like to participate in the next Talk on Purpose course after seeing these talks.” Post Conference Survey

100% of participants said they would recommend the course to a colleague.

“The purpose of the course to develop the skill of storytelling and better understand RSLLC’s purpose. But it was so much more than that. Getting to know a diverse range of colleagues was an unexpected and lasting benefit. I really understand what motivates them and am in awe of their amazing capacity to care for others. This will help me in my role to support our frontline staff better.” Kerry, Marketing

“I was not really keen on participating due to perceived time constraints. However, I came to look forward to the sessions and gained some great friends in the process. The writing of the story had a debriefing effect for me post a traumatic episode in my life.” Jan, Facilities Manager

“I gained confidence in presenting in front of an audience. Focusing on what really matters in a story, and discarding the ‘wordy’ stuff. Taking time to think about what purpose actually means to me, and how do we live that at RSLLC each day.” Lauren, Aged Care Manager

“It has helped improve my writing and use of words. It also gave me confidence to submit a script to an international festival.” Adrian, Activities Director

“Staff from across the entire state and different departments got to know each other. It really reduced the feeling that we are all working in silos. It helped build a great sense of community and we all become more empathetic towards each other.” Marc, Corporate Affairs