Lyndoch Living: does bullying and intimidation just vanish?

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My favourite slogan from a new-media inspiration, ProPublica, which refuses to just walk away from wrong doing. Image: ProPublica.

Carol Altmann – The Terrier

Does bullying and intimidation just disappear?

It’s seven months since a leaked staff survey at Lyndoch Living revealed poor staff morale and serious allegations of intimidation and bullying that went right to the very top – nothing has been heard of it since.

Was anything done within Lyndoch to address these allegations, and to lift poor staff morale?

This is another question to add to the list for tomorrow’s (27/10) Annual General Meeting, which we cannot attend as it’s by invitation-only Zoom (Lyndoch says a recording will be uploaded later to its website).

It’s a question that should concern us all.

Long-term readers will know that The Terrier has written a series of stories questioning why more than 80 staff had left the aged care home in the past two years, amid allegations of staff being targeted, bullied and devalued.

The special survey was held in response to these stories and the results leaked in March confirmed the toxic environment.

A majority of respondents raised issues of being overworked and under-valued, and claimed management favoured some staff over others.

Two-third of respondents said Lyndoch did not uphold its values, starting from the CEO down.

The survey then went on to report this bombshell:

“A small sample of around 10-15 respondents stated that the CEO’s culture of intimidation, manipulation and bullying greatly impacted their safety, health and wellbeing.

They said they witnessed her bullying others and making decisions in regard to her own self-interests and not the organisation as a whole.”

Sadly none of the allegations in the survey came as a surprise to me, as by March I had spoken to dozens of people who all told the same heartbreaking and terrible stories of being managed out, pushed out, demeaned, isolated, or cut loose.

Lyndoch’s culture, like that of the Warrnambool City Council, had gone bad.

South-West MP Roma Britnell who sought a meeting with Lyndoch Living over the staff survey results. Image: Liberal Party Victoria.

South-west MP Roma Britnell, a former nurse, had been similarly contacted by people seeking her intervention and in March she demanded a meeting with the CEO and Lyndoch board.

Then Covid-19 hit.

And the meeting between Ms Britnell and Lyndoch never happened.

So, I have to ask again, does bullying, intimidation and low staff morale just disappear?

Of course it doesn’t.

As of today, I have never had a response from Lyndoch to requests for a comment on this staff survey, the allegations, or what actions it has taken to address the allegations, but CEO Doreen Power told the local newspaper at the time that she would “take on board” the findings.

Ms Britnell, in a statement, said she continues “to have discussions with Lyndoch Living on a range of matters”, which – I guess – is hopeful.

In the meantime, Lyndoch is about to launch another anonymous staff survey – this one is held every two years – to again take the pulse on staff wellbeing and whether everyone is heading “in the same direction”….rather than, perhaps, out the door.

“I encourage you to be completely honest,” Ms Power has written in an email to staff.

Well, yes, but what happens after the staff are honest, as they were the last time they were surveyed?

That’s what I am hungry to know, as are all those who have left Lyndoch these past five years in less than happy circumstances.

Allegations of bullying and intimidation at Lyndoch Living were revealed in a special staff survey leaked in March.

This next survey is being run by Alignment Partners, owned by a fellow named Michael Webb, who has worked in the past with Lyndoch on management-type issues.

So many surveys.

I made a promise to those who entrusted me with their stories that I would not look away until the issues and allegations were addressed and we, as the community who owns Lyndoch, could take comfort that they were being addressed.

It’s the same promise I made to Warrnambool City Council staff who filled out survey after survey for a decade and saw nothing change…until everything blew open.

We may not be able to Zoom in on the Lyndoch AGM tomorrow, but we are watching.

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1 thought on “Lyndoch Living: does bullying and intimidation just vanish?”

  1. I am at a loss of how to address this in a succinct manner so I am resorting to bullet points.
    * Past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour- we have the evidence of what eventuated in the prior employment of the current CEO
    * Decades of behaviours do not dissipate overnight, Lyndoch Living, together with a number of other organisations, has had work environments that are not healthy and have behaviours of concern. It has been attributed to ‘workplace culture’ and how you change ‘ingrained’ workplace culture is to identify diseased limbs, remove them and promote healthy regrowth.
    * Bullying, intimidation and harassment is not acceptable behaviours however I have found that what was perceived by the complainant as bullying etc was NOT bullying or intimidation, it was discipline or a management style they were not receptive to.
    I AM NOT saying bullying and intimidation does not happen, it does but it is important to elicit what exactly happened, ie how, when, why, what; then make a determination.
    Unfortunately some people throw the word ‘bully’ around as they know it gains our attention quick smart and we will react; but I have always sought further information and what was alleged as bullying was not demonstrated.
    Being in an environment that supports bullies creates more bullies, it is a fact. People bullied can, and do, turn into bullies and they don’t even realise they have crossed that line.
    * All of this angst is not doing anyone a favour, it is actually causing further distress and negativity to a sector in our community whom we should be nurturing and supporting ie our elderly people, their carers and the dedicated staff but how can we do that if we, the community are LOCKED OUT and the current CEO and her board, have in my opinion, done a disservice by adhering to this ‘closed door ‘ policy.
    Know govt organisations are aware of what is happening, they have had numerous concerns from many people and they are monitoring what is happening.

    We continue to watch, ensure legislation is adhered to and workers, residents and carers’ rights are respected.

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