What happens when you get Enhanced Lifestyles members together to discuss service quality? As it turns out, a lot of great feedback, insight into what really matters, and a lot of fun!
Wednesday 12 July 2023 was an important day for Enhanced Lifestyles: it marked our first Member Advisory Group (MAG) meeting. Here, a group of members came together to discuss service quality. This is an important subject for any NDIS provider, but it was especially important for us because of our roots. In case you aren’t familiar with the story behind Enhanced Lifestyles, here’s a brief summary:
Over thirty years ago, a group of people living with disability realised that no one was better equipped to choose the kind of support they needed than themselves. Honing their knowledge and skills, they became the architects of their own individualised disability services. Today, Enhanced Lifestyles remains a member-governed not-for-profit, our Board predominantly comprised of people who use our services. By designing support services based on lived experience, we deliver the services people want to live life the way they choose.
While Board membership is a fantastic opportunity and an important part of our member-governed philosophy, we understand that not everyone has the time or computer literacy to make a Board position work. That’s where MAGs come in.
What is a MAG?
We’re glad you asked! MAG meetings are a means for us to get input and feedback on a topic in the context of our organisation. It provides a forum for members to affect change that benefits other customers.
Some members prefer the MAG format over Board membership because of the smaller time commitment; MAGs are held every two months, and meetings are scheduled for less than two hours. They’re also held in-person and require no electronic documents, removing the need to wrangle technology.
Importantly, MAGs also provide a skill development opportunity. For example, members can nominate themselves for Chair or Vice-Chair. Even those who don’t opt for leadership roles will still get a lot out of sharing ideas, hearing different perspectives, brainstorming, and discussing topics with others.
One of our members, Angie, wrote a lovely comment about her experience at the first MAG: “It was a fun and informative meeting, I feel very privileged to be part of a group that has such passion and a wonderful community-oriented vision. Enhanced lifestyles are spot on with their vision and goals.”
Findings of the first MAG
As a reminder, the topic of our first MAG was service quality. Members took turns sharing what quality service means to them. Here’s what they value the most:
- When Lifestyle Attendants arrive on-time for their shift.
- Being able to rely on their Lifestyle Attendant to get the job done.
- When their Lifestyle Attendant is attentive to their needs.
- When a Lifestyle Attendant is consistent, not only with keeping to a routine, but also with the quality of supports.
- Having a Lifestyle Attendant ask what they want or need and then seeing this information reflected in tailored supports.
- Having a Lifestyle Attendant with a good attitude – it’s easy to tell when someone is passionate about what they do. By the same token, it’s also easy to tell when someone doesn’t want to be there.
The meaning of membership
Given that this was the first MAG, we also took the opportunity to ask our members what membership means to them. The feedback was beyond what we expected to hear. Here are some of the things our members said:
- With my membership, I feel like I belong and that I’m part of the team.
- Membership is about giving everyone a chance to have a say, and everyone’s contributions are valued and validated.
- Enhanced Lifestyles is not just a business and we’re not just customers, we’re part of something meaningful.
- I like that my needs and wants are heard and translated into action.
- It’s like a football club – I have a sense of pride, a sense of belonging, and I like that I am involved beyond the everyday.
At the end of the meeting, members Angie and Chris were elected as Co-Chairs, while Mandy was appointed to the role of Vice-Chair. The Chairs will be responsible for facilitating the discussion at future meetings.
We will hold MAGs every few months. The primary topic will vary each time, depending on what’s important to customers and our organisation. The next MAG will be held on 4 October, though the topic is yet to be confirmed. We’ll post more details as we get them so be sure to follow our LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram to stay up to date.
Joining a MAG
All Enhanced Lifestyles members are welcome to apply to join a MAG. Customers can easily become members by visiting this page and following the steps to apply. Then, once they’re a member, the customer can express an interest in joining a MAG.
So, if you know an Enhanced Lifestyles customer that might be interested in joining, please share this information with them. We’d love to hear their thoughts.