A Letter from The MD – Understanding Our Mission

10 May 2017 Alex McDonald


I will never forget my first trip to a residential care facility. Located on the outskirts of Western Sydney, my visit like most, was to check in on a close family member. In my case, my beloved grandmother.  

She had always possessed an ability to affably engage with complete strangers and seamlessly cover all topics of life. Never was this more apparent than when I first came to visit her care facility. Before being taken to her room, and within seconds of arriving, I was presented to the staffing entourage.

In what remains the most one-sided conversation of my life, I was quizzed about every detail of my personal life. The staff knew all about my fiancé, previous girlfriends, my employer, my hobbies and childhood friendships. In short, they knew all there was to know about me.

My grandmother had been onsite for just four days – clearly a very active four days! I was astonished that in this short period of time, the staff had taken the care to know so much detail about her life – and I was just one of her four grandchildren.

Clearly, we were among friends. Professionals who not only cared deeply for my grandmother, but also for the wellbeing of my extended family. In what was an incredibly difficult moment for us, the staff created an environment of immense warmth and my family and I are forever grateful for the personalised care they provided.

It was this experience that sparked my passion for the Aged Care Industry, and inspired the beginning of a rewarding career.

For the last seven years, I have worked as a senior executive within the Australian Aged Care Industry, spending the last four years as the Australian Managing Director for two of the world’s largest clinical foods businesses. My work in the sector continues to inspire me and has given me some of my proudest career moments, and valued lifelong friends.

Working daily with providers, I have experienced firsthand the complexities the Australian Aged Care Industry is facing.

Vast amendments to regulatory, educational, political and funding instruments have materially impacted the ability for providers to interact with their care recipients as they would wish. These changes have especially impacted the backbone of the sector - its staff.  

The 2016 Aged Care Employment Census found that the largest threat facing the industry is the ability to lure and retain skilled talent. The industry is growing at a rate of knots, yet industry churn is forecast to reach almost 50% by 2018. Added to this, a recent internal poll revealed staff satisfaction ratings are below 50%, with half of the care staff expressing a desire to exit the industry within five years. Total costs for loss of staff have never been higher and the frequency of advertised jobs is also at an all-time high. The average middle management job tenure has declined to 14 months, yet time to fill roles has almost doubled in three years.  

In the face of this, facilities are still expected to source talent that matches the premium offering residents and their families want. At the same time, the Aged Care Industry is recruiting from one of the shallowest talent pools within the Australian services industry. A pool that is rapidly decreasing in size.

In short, the sector faces huge challenges that require innovative solutions. Solutions devised by individuals who both understand the sector and have proven search success. That’s where we come in - I know The Orchard Talent Group can deliver these solutions.

Our mission is to alleviate talent pain points for care providers across corporate, clinical and regional functions. Leveraging our partnership with Australia’s largest independent executive search firm, Derwent Executive, we use C-Suite and Board Room executive search methodologies to identify and secure the right talent at all levels of our clients’ organisation.

As Managing Director, I want to bring real and lasting talent solutions to the industry I am so passionate about to ensure organisations can continue to deliver their essential services to our community.

If The Orchard Talent Group can provide the same level of personalised service to our clients that was offered to my family almost a decade ago, we have achieved our mission.

Welcome to The Orchard Talent Group.