Queensland Australian of the Year nominee an inspiration

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Michael Lyddiard

It is with immense pride that we congratulate Konekt Occupational Therapist and Queensland Australian of the Year nominee Michael Lyddiard. Despite missing out on the nation’s top accolade, he is considered a winner in the eyes of many.

“The Queensland award finalists are remarkable individuals whose efforts are changing lives, changing communities and changing the future,” says National Australia Day Council CEO Chris Kirby.

Michael, as some of you know, is an ex-Australian Army Sergeant who was severely wounded in 2007 while disarming an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Not only did he successfully re-build his life to become an avid athlete, but the father of three also has become a valuable member of the Konekt team who looks after injured ADF personnel.

“I want to let them know we’re here to understand the whole picture,” Michael explains. “I understand their anguish through my lived experience and am able to encompass the physical and the mental issues.”

Despite his physical impairments, the aspiring Paralympian often competes against able-bodied athletes in gruelling events including Adventurethons, the Mark Webber Challenge in Tasmania – a five-day kayak, bike and run event – and the Yungaburra Triathlon near Cairns.

“Physical activity keeps me balanced and helps me fundraise to help others,” he says.

From patient to practitioner

When Michael first encountered the occupational therapists at Konekt in 2008, he was a patient with severe injuries. Today he is one of us, applying his personal experiences and professional Occupational Therapy qualifications to help rehabilitate others.

“Michael has certainly changed how I collaborate with clients,” says Fiona Smith, Konekt’s North Queensland area manager, who has gone from being his case manager and mentor, to being his colleague. “He’s in a unique position where he has lost a great deal and he understands what struggles people come up against.

“His ethos has been to prove to his three kids that if something bad happens, you pick yourself up and overcome what life throws at you. There have been ups and downs and struggles in adjusting to civilian life, but while he was once reticent, he now knows to ask for help when he needs it.”

Konekt, as Michael explains, has been a source of ongoing strength and support which at time “may be under-estimated”.

“From losing my identity and being at the lowest of my lows and not being able to feel emotionally, I was able to find purpose, meaning and love; love in what I do, helping others, who I work with and within myself.

“And trust me, when you lose your senses (sight, hearing and touch), touch and love for someone or something becomes one of the most important factors to drive one forward.”

Describing his work as an Occupational Therapist as “physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting at times”, Michael says it can also be empowering and enriching.

“As rehab consultants and managers in Konekt, I don’t think we see the true value and purpose in our roles all the time,” he explains. “But I can share this: Konekt saved me. A long time ago I was in a bad place – sitting on a mountain’s edge. From saving me, many people have been inspired and I’d like to think families too, because of my two rehabilitation counsellors’ actions, which were likely led by Konekt’s values.

“Although I wasn’t awarded the state title for Australian of the Year, I still want to do more as I know there is more in me.”

Konekt’s Chief Executive Officer Damian Banks says Michael is an inspiration to everyone he encounters.

“We are incredibly proud of Michael and what he has achieved,” Damian says. “Over the past eight years he has been on an amazing journey. He is a true inspiration to the people he helps in his OT role, his colleagues, his family and the wider community. He very much deserves this award and it’s something he won on his merits.

“Konekt is very fortunate to have helped Michael, and to now have him helping and inspiring us, and the people he helps with their own rehab.”

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Konekt Opens a Mildura Branch

mildura3Konekt has just opened a new Victorian branch in Mildura. The new branch is expected to deliver an unrivalled level of support to customers within the region.

Konekt Area Manager Heather Attard said “With the addition of the Mildura branch, and with the existing Renmark and Broken Hill branches, we will be able to better serve customers throughout the region with greater resources on the ground”.

Konekt CEO Damian Banks said, “We are delighted with the expansion of Konekt Victorian business, it’s great for our clients and customers.”

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Konekt expands further into psychological health services with agreement to acquire CommuniCorp Group Pty Ltd

Konekt Limited (KKT), Australia’s largest provider of organisational health, risk management and return to work solutions, today announced that it had entered into a contract to acquire CommuniCorp Group Pty Ltd, which operates nationally.

Konekt Limited Chief Executive Officer, Mr Damian Banks, said “We are delighted to welcome the CommuniCorp team to the Konekt group of companies. The market leading consulting and culture development solutions offered by CommuniCorp will broaden Konekt’s overall ability to meet the needs of our growing National customer base. Konekt’s strength in Corporate, Government and Insurer markets will be enhanced with the expertise and relationships built by the CommuniCorp business.”

CommuniCorp specialises in developing positive workplace mental health, wellbeing and resilience capabilities across Australia, offering services in mental health and wellbeing training, resilience training, psychosocial risk assessment and mental health advisory services.

Konekt and CommuniCorp have a number of shared long-standing customer relationships which will provide opportunities on both sides to further extend our service offerings to these customers and new prospects.

Mr David Burroughs, Dr Laura Kirby and Dr Chris Stevens have grown CommuniCorp into a preeminent provider of advice for Australia’s largest organisations. Konekt is pleased that all of the CommuniCorp team will be joining the Konekt Group.

“Our business has grown well over the past few years, and we see this move as the next step in our growth trajectory. Konekt has enviable customer relationships and there is significant demand for the advice and consulting services CommuniCorp provides within this customer base. The acquisition will see the continuity of the CommuniCorp brand in the marketplace” said Mr David Burroughs, Chief Executive Officer of CommuniCorp.

The acquisition will be funded from Konekt’s existing cash and credit facilities, and there will be a small EPS dilution in the year to 30 June 2016, with transaction costs outweighing earnings for the final month(s) of the year (May-June) post Completion. The transaction is expected to be EPS accretive in the 2016-17 full year.

The transaction is expected to close within four weeks and based on the expected completion timing, the acquisition is anticipated to contribute revenue to Konekt of approximately $0.25m in the remainder of FY16.

Konekt continues to focus on organic growth as well as assess acquisitions consistent with its criteria. ​

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Konekt expands ACT presence with agreement to acquire SRC Solutions

9 February 2016
Konekt expands ACT presence with agreement to acquire SRC Solutions

Konekt Limited (ASX: KKT), Australia’s largest private sector rehabilitation provider, is expanding its ACT presence through the proposed acquisition of SRC Solutions.

Konekt, the market leader in injury management and return to work services, has entered into an agreement to acquire SRC Solutions, a leading provider of return to work services in the ACT. SRC Solutions has a number of significant federal and local government relationships which will further strengthen Konekt’s strong position in the government and insurance markets.

Damian Banks, Konekt’s Chief Executive, calls the acquisition “synergistic.”

“SRC Solutions is the right match with Konekt, both from a business perspective and culturally,” Mr Banks says. “Both groups are staffed by dedicated and passionate health and rehabilitation professionals. And we have a clear focus: to deliver safer, healthier, productive workplaces.

“This acquisition will further strengthen Konekt’s overall ability to deliver services and meet the needs of our growing ACT customer base. Our strength in federal government work will be enhanced by the expertise of SRC Solutions’ business, the combined team and our strong reputation in the local market.”

Konekt has a clear plan to continue growing its business in the ACT, which is a high performing region for the group. “SRC’s consulting staff have extensive experience, product and industry knowledge which, combined with the expertise and knowledge of Konekt’s consulting team in the ACT, means we can provide a unique service proposition to the local market,” Mr Banks adds.

Louise Hughes, SRC Solutions’ CEO, says the two companies hold similar values and principles and the combined group will benefit both staff and clients.

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Konekt further bolsters presence in return to work services – agrees to acquire leading NSW regional-based Insight Services Group

Konekt Limited (ASX: KKT), Australia’s largest private sector return to work provider, has announced it has agreed to acquire the NSW regional-based Insight Services Group, a rehabilitation return to work services provider.

The acquisition is part of Konekt’s strategic expansion focus, and follows Konekt’s recent announcement that it is acquiring two South Australian businesses – Applied Innovative Services (AIS) and Innovative Training and Recruitment (ITR), and Insite Injury Management Group (Insite).

“We continue to focus on organic growth and review acquisition opportunities that will strengthen Konekt’s position and value for customers, staff and shareholders,” says Konekt Chief Executive, Damian Banks.

“As with the South Australian businesses, Insight Services Group (Insight) both complements our existing operations and aligns with our strategic direction. There are many synergies. Like Konekt, Insight is a well-established, Australian based business with a strong brand and well forged local presence.

“This proposed acquisition will enable additional growth opportunities in key market segments, servicing local, state wide and national customers, and it will enable Konekt to deliver enhanced services for customers. It also further bolsters our position as the largest and highest quality provider in Australia. Together these three acquisitions are expected to contribute additional revenues of more than $4.5 million to Konekt in FY16.

Established in 2002 by owner Greg Barton, Insight provides return to work, injury prevention, hearing testing, training and ergonomics solutions. It has a strong presence in regional NSW and the ACT, with its head office located in Orange, NSW and further offices in the Central & Far West of NSW, the Riverina, South Coast, New England and the ACT, in addition to metropolitan Sydney.

“The merged business will particularly allow us to strengthen our presence in some important regional centres,” says Damian. “In addition, Insight has complementary service offerings that will sit perfectly within Konekt.”

Insight’s rehabilitation division is the only return to work provider with a specialist psychological team based in regional NSW. In addition to providing highly effective rehabilitation of psychological injury cases, Insight is able to provide independent psychological treatment through the Insight Health division.

“Regional NSW has been served by Insight for over 13 years, and we have a proud record of achievement servicing insurance and government sectors, together with large and small local businesses,” says Greg Barton. “The power of partnering our unique geography with Konekt’s customers was compelling. As part of the Konekt Group we will be able to deliver our customers a wider range of services in our local markets. I am looking forward to growing the combined business.”

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Konekt expands in South Australia: Two strategic businesses a perfect fit

Konekt Limited (ASX: KKT), Australia’s largest private sector rehabilitation provider, is expanding its South Australian presence through the proposed acquisition of two businesses.

The group has entered into agreements to acquire two businesses – Applied Innovative Services (AIS) and Innovative Training and Recruitment (ITR), and Insite Injury Management Group (Insite). Based in South Australia, both businesses have additional operations in the ACT and Northern Territory (AIS), and NSW (Insite).

These businesses form part of Konekt’s strategy to strengthen its position in the South Australian market, whilst adding to capability in NSW and the ACT.

“We see the addition of these businesses as part of our strategy to broaden our workplace health solutions and grow our presence in the South Australian market – a market undertaking significant realignment,” says Konekt Chief Executive, Damian Banks.

“The past 12 months have been challenging for rehabilitation providers, as a result of significant marketplace changes. These businesses will provide Konekt with critical mass and will see Konekt, together with AIS, ITR and Insite, positioned as the largest and highest quality provider in the South Australian market – by any measure.

“We see these businesses as a perfect fit. Both AIS and Insite have a strong history of performance with ReturnToWorkSA and are significant providers to the state-based scheme, while Konekt is strong in the self-insured and government markets in South Australia. These complimentary customer portfolios and consultant skill sets means that together we will be a considerable force in the South Australian market.”

AIS and ITR operate from five locations in SA and one in the ACT and are the market leader in South Australia. They have long standing relationships with a number of local customers and are a significant provider to ReturnToWorkSA. ITR has an enviable position within the South Australian market – including being one of the few companies approved to provide Return to Work Coordinator certificate training.

“We are proud of the record of achievement of AIS and ITR since its inception 16 years ago. Growing from one employee to the current market-leading position has been a fantastic team achievement. This sale represents the next logical step in our growth. I will be joining the Konekt team – and am looking forward to our joint future together,” says AIS and ITR Chief Executive, Danielle Mik.

Insite Chief Executive, Leah Brown said: “Insite has a long legacy of innovation and expansion since its commencement. Growing, changing and expanding into NSW has provided opportunities for both staff and customers. This sale offers an opportunity for us to grow, yet recognises our strong history.”

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Konekt purchases liquidated business of AW Workwise

Konekt has acquired the business of AW Workwise from the liquidator, Jirsch Sutherland. AW Workwise and Worksafely are well respected businesses and brands in the NSW and Victorian markets and have a number of long standing relationships across government and corporate sectors. Konekt is contacting former staff of AW Workwise to offer job opportunities, if you are interested in discussing these opportunities please contact Konekt. If you were a customer of AW Workwise and require delivery of services we would be delighted to help you. Please contact your local Konekt office.

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Beating back-to-work blues

Top tips for a stress-free return to work

 Christmas holidays are coming to an end and Australians are returning to work – and organisational health expert Konekt has some key tips on returning to work stress-free.

“After having some relaxing time off over Christmas and breaking with routine, it’s quite normal to feel a little flat when the holidays are at an end,” says Konekt psychologist Amanda Johnston.

“However, you don’t need to return to work with a feeling of dread. Generally these feelings are temporary, a period of adjustment while you reacquaint yourself with your day-to-day routine. And there are a number of things you can do to beat the post-holiday blues and ease back into work.”

Look after yourself

  • Get a good night’s sleep – and reset your body clock, as you’ll no doubt be getting out of bed earlier to get to work. (And remember, tired muscles are more prone to injury).
  • Plan some ‘me’ or ‘relaxation’ time: This helps to keep your mind and body ‘sane’. “The time and the way you do this may need to change when you return to work, but it is critical that you still make time for it,” Amanda says. “It also gives you something to look forward to each day, and this can assist you to get through some of the less pleasant aspects of life.”
  • Exercise: People are able to better cope with stress when their bodies are healthy. Incorporating periods of physical exercise into your routine will help to improve muscle control, make you feel happier, healthier and increase self-esteem.
  • Eat well: Try to improve your diet and avoid stimulants where possible. Excess caffeine or nicotine can make you feel anxious or on edge.
  • Drink plenty of water: Discs and joint capsules deflate when we are dehydrated.

Organise

  • Make an effort to have your first weeks back as organised as possible – e.g. place reminders / appointment details in your calendar or diary for the first two to three weeks. “Whether it be lunches, travel to and from work, or even what you’re wearing for the day, effective time management regulates your tasks and reduces the uncertainty of not having enough time to complete the task required,” Amanda explains. “Plus it allows for ‘time off/relaxation’ periods.”
  • Plan something enjoyable: This could be a get-together with friends, a weekend away or even your next holiday. “It’s important to have pleasurable activities to look forward to,” Amanda says.

Take regular breaks

  • Move your body: Ensure you have regular breaks during the day; get up out of your chair to have a stretch or walk around to keep the blood circulating and mind alert. “Micro-pause breaks and postural reversal (e.g. stretching to the opposite posture of what you have been doing) can help you stay fresher and more energised for longer,” explains Konekt’s chief ergonomist, Mary Vetere.
  • Get outside: If you work indoors it can be a good idea to get outside in the sunshine. Perhaps take your lunch outdoors, go for a walk, or get a coffee (weather permitting of course!)

 Communicate

  • Seek support from others: If you have any issues, don’t try to cope alone. “If you begin to feel stressed, discuss this with your immediate supervisor or manager to make sure they’re aware,” says Konekt psychologist Kit Underdown. “That way you can work together to develop strategies to manage any stressful situations as they may arise.”

“Recent research conducted by Konekt (the Konekt Market Report) shows that around 12 per cent of reported workplace-related injuries are psychological injuries, such as stress, anxiety, depression and adjustment disorder. So it’s important for employees and employers to have strategies in place to address these issues early.”

Tips for managers

  • Work with your employees to review their workload upon returning from Christmas and assist them to prioritise what needs actioning most urgently.
  • Have regular catch ups: Managers should regularly meet with staff, even if it’s only a short catch up, to discuss activities and any issues.
  • Ask and listen: Ask your employees how they’re feeling and what’s been happening, and LISTEN to their answer.
  • Act: If you say you’re going to do something to assist a staff member, do it.
  • Improve communication in the workplace: Share information with employees to reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures; clearly define employees’ roles and responsibilities.
  • Show employees they are valued: Look at schemes to recognise good work, such as employee of the month.
  • Provide responsibility and accountability: Ownership and incentives assist in creating an ‘entrepreneurial’ work environment and place an element of control back into the worker’s hands
  • Cultivate a friendly social environment.
  • Be ergonomic: Ensure workstations are appropriately set up to avoid back and neck strains/pains or RSI and thus minimise risk of injury. “The Konekt Market Report shows that 60 per cent of workplace-related injuries are musculoskeletal, so it’s vital to make sure workstations are set up ergonomically,” advises Mary Vetere. “In addition, taking regular breaks, moving around and stretching are important to help prevent such injuries.”

January 2014

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Workplace related injuries costing Australian economy $60.6 billion each year

Early intervention can help mitigate economic and social cost, major new report shows…but Australia behind the eight ball

Workplace related injuries cost the Australian economy an estimated $60.6 billion each year (4.8 per cent of GDP); however, the economic cost could be mitigated if workers receive early intervention (treatment / rehabilitation) after suffering a physical or psychological injury – plus they will likely experience greater health and return to work outcomes. However, Australian organisations are dragging the chain, a major new report has shown.

The Konekt Market Report provides valuable insight into workplace injuries over the past five years, what the impacts are and how they can be mitigated. It is the largest report of its kind in Australia, with more than 95,000 compensable cases (where there is a compensation claim arising) and non-compensable cases* (no compensation claim arising) analysed over a five-year period. It was conducted by Konekt Ltd (ASX: KKT), Australia’s largest private sector rehabilitation provider.

“One of the key findings of this report is that the earlier a referral is made post injury, the greater the likelihood of a successful return to work,” says Matt May, Head of Product at Konekt. “The report confirms that the less time people spend in the compensation system, the better their health and return to work results.”

Further, the report clearly demonstrates the considerable opportunity presented by the non-compensable data. Overall, the non-compensable cases outperformed the compensable cases on all criteria including return to work rates, cost and duration of the claim. “Policy makers and the regulators need to be looking more closely at this as a best practice model for the compensable market,” says May.

Dr Peter Cotton, a clinical and organisational psychologist who has consulted with many Australian workers compensation authorities on the management and prevention of work-related psychological injuries, says that Australia is “behind the eight ball” when it comes to early intervention.

“Traditionally a lot of organisations are more reactive than proactive, and wait until a formal claim or complaint is made before acting,” Dr Cotton says. “There is enormous scope for this to change. If more Australian companies were on the front foot, it would make a huge impact. There are some great Australian success stories, but we need a lot more.”

Dr Cotton points to the Queensland Government’s ‘Resolve at work’ early intervention program which Konekt provides services for. This program was implemented for the public sector and provides for timely and early identification, reporting and management of workplace issues such as injuries. It ensures support for individuals and managers and is designed to create a supportive workplace.

“To date this program has saved the Queensland government around $9 million, which gives a return on investment of 1:8,” Dr Cotton explains. “It provides a far better outcome in dealing with cases which could have become psychological injury claims.”

But despite the benefits of early intervention, the Konekt Market Report showed that over the past year there has been an increase in the average time from accident / injury to referral for support and return to work services of 90 weeks.

“This is really alarming,” says May. “Compare workplace injury to sporting injuries – if a professional sportsperson is injured, the help they receive is immediate. So why can’t it be the same for workers?”

“It has been proven that, for most individuals, working improves general health and wellbeing and reduces psychological distress. Even health problems that are frequently attributed to work – e.g. musculoskeletal[1] and mental health conditions – have been shown to benefit from activity-based rehabilitation and an early return to suitable work[2].”

Types of injuries

According to the report, the majority of injuries were musculoskeletal (60 per cent) whilst 12 per cent of referrals were for psychological injuries. Interestingly, there were almost three times more referrals for mental injuries in the non-compensable data. However, reporting of mental injury cases is more often delayed than other injuries.

“At least 20 per cent of Australia’s workforce suffers from mental health issues, but not all make it to the claim stage, particularly as there are more avenues opening up to manage mental health concerns, such as online support services,” Dr Cotton says.

“And whilst there is greater awareness of mental health issues and the stigma associated with such problems has reduced, we still need to do more to manage psychological injury more effectively. That includes moving from reactive to proactive approaches, resolving conflict early before it progresses to a claim or complaint, providing vital training to managers, and creating psychological / social quality – i.e. a better quality ‘people environment’ where workers are given good support and the workplace is more protective.”

Without such approaches the cost on society can be significant, Dr Cotton adds.

“These claims are very costly, and the individuals may end up on long term benefits without a return to work outcome,” he says. “A significant percentage are high risk, particularly if solutions aren’t provided early.”

The timing of the initial return to work is critical. It’s been found that if an individual is off work for:

–          20 days, the chance of ever returning to work is 70 per cent

–          45 days, the chance of ever returning to work is 50 per cent

–          70 days, the chance of every returning to work is 35 per cent[3]

Other findings of the report include:

  • The average age of a worker being referred for rehabilitation services is 41, with 51 per cent of all referrals being for people between 30 and 49 years of age
  • Males account for two thirds of all serious workers compensation claims lodged [claims requiring an absence from work of one working week or more] [Safe Work Australia, 2013]
  • There were more females in the group with mental injuries compared to the group with other injury types
  • The rate of compensable referrals which did not result in a return to work was 12 per cent, double that for non-compensable referrals at 6 per cent
  • For mental health injury, on average there was an 84 per cent return to work, compared with 89 per cent for other injuries
  • Those with lower socioeconomic profiles had a significantly longer average delay to referral time [102 weeks] compared to those with the higher socioeconomic profiles [84 weeks]

 About the Konekt Market Report

The Konekt Market Report is the largest of its type and looks at latest trends in the Australian workers’ compensation market by analysing data across more than 95,000 Konekt cases from the past five years (between 1 July 2008 and 26 June 2013). The report is one of the most comprehensive reviews of both compensable and non-compensable cases in Australia, and allows a genuine insight into the impacts on costs, durations and outcomes.

The report was undertaken by Konekt Limited, the largest private sector provider of organisational health and risk management solutions in Australia, in partnership with Cortex Solutions, one of Australia’s most experienced and respected researchers and personal injury management consultants in the area of workers compensation, to analyse the data and to ensure the integrity of the findings.

Of the 95,470 referrals, 74,395 (78%) are referrals related to cases in the workers’ compensation system [workers’ compensation referrals and 21,075 (22%) are referrals direct from employers [non-workers’ compensation referrals].

[1] Musculoskeletal injuries are injuries that affect muscles, tendons and ligaments, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissues
[2]  Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
[3] Johnson, 2002, cited in AFOEM, 2011, P. 12

December 2013

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Konekt appointed by the Commonwealth Bank

Konekt is pleased to announce that it has been appointed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to provide a range of health care services nationally.

The appointment represents an important step for Konekt, in the continued delivery of optimum health care with reduced expenditure to a growing number of Australia’s largest employers.

The Commonwealth Bank now joins a group of large national companies currently benefiting from safer workplaces and significant cost containment by partnering with Konekt.

2 March 2012

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