Laura Sutherland
Founder & Director, Above & Beyond Group | 3D Recruit


Laura Sutherland is a People & Culture specialist, Board Director and Business owner. Her core professional purpose is to support employers to fulfil the potential of their organisations by harnessing their most valuable asset – their people.

Trained in Psychology, Laura started her career in Mental Health and Aged Care. She moved into Recruitment and Workforce consultancy 19 years ago, specialising specifically in these sectors.

After working for large corporates, Laura identified the need for a bespoke service to meet the unique demands of Aged & Community Care, and started 3D Recruit back in 2012. Since then, the business has evolved, offering end-to-end workforce solutions ‘Above & Beyond’ recruitment to support people to ”stick, stay and do well”, in other words improve attraction, engagement and retention of talent in our sector. 

Considered the go-to trusted advisor on workforce in Aged Care, Laura is committed to optimising our people power so that our whole industry can flourish into the future.

Transforming Aged Care’s Workforce crisis into opportunity: Turning data insights into strategic actions – from overwhelm to impact

The aged care workforce crisis presents a prime opportunity for industry transformation. The ‘’Age of Change’’ commands us to align strategy to tangible outcomes, re-design and align our workforce, and implement proactive strategies that pave the way for a resilient and sustainable future.

In the dynamic landscape of the aged care sector in Australia, the key to exceptional service delivery lies in understanding and optimising the employee experience. By harnessing the power of employee experience data (EXD) and the growing realm of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, providers can revolutionise their workforce planning strategies with deeper understanding, effective gap analysis, best practice benchmarks and predictive analytics to address current workforce challenges with a proactive and holistic approach to workforce planning that delivers their people strategy with meaningful impact. This presentation seeks to highlight the transformative potential of EXD and AI in shaping the future of the aged care sector in an employee experience context, through a proactive and holistic approach to strategic workforce planning.

In an environment flooded with data, the sheer volume is creating overwhelm among providers. A multitude of issues, from regulatory compliance, quality assurance, clinical care and consumer feedback, along with workforce challenges all demand attention. The crux of the overwhelm is knowing where to start amidst this barrage of challenges, and then navigating the path forward. This is further compounded by the scarcity of internal capacity within organisations, making it feel impossible to prioritise when everything is deemed urgent and important.

This presentation advocates for the impact of translating meaningful data insights into actionable workforce strategies with a high return on investment (ROI). The cornerstone to achieving workforce transformation is combining employee experience data (EXD) with the growing capability of predictive analytics and AI to implement a proactive workforce plan that accomplishes several key objectives:

  1. Alignment with Strategic Objectives: A well development workforce plan aligns with the overarching strategic pillars of the organisation, providing a roadmap for organisational performance with measurable impact.
  2. Holistic Approach: Adopting a holistic approach to workforce planning activities enables quick wins at a tactical level, improves lifecycle activities in the day to day operational level, and designs strategically aligned programs of work that front foot sector and labour market challenges with proactive long term solutions to ensure the organisation remains ‘fit for the future’.
  3. Capacity and Capability Augmentation: with internal capacity and/or capability is constraints, the time is now to leverage the power of technology and AI solutions combined with subject matter expertise to ‘share the load’ and move workforce planning from reactive to proactive for organisational sustainability.

In the context of the ACCPA’s National Conference theme, “the Age of Change,” this presentation underlines the need for a paradigm shift for employers in Aged Care. It emphasises that the current workforce crisis should not be viewed solely as a challenge but as a catalyst for positive transformation.  The fusion of EXD and technology represents a powerful force in contemporary workforce planning, moving the approach from reactive to proactive to enable the execution of organisational strategy. By combining and leveraging these technologies, organisations can gain unparalleled insights into their workforce, enabling them to make informed decisions that drive productivity, engagement, and ultimately, the quality of patient care outcomes and bottom-line results. As we navigate an increasingly complex and competitive landscape, this presentation is call to action for organisations to embrace this synergy and emerge as agile, forward-thinking leaders in the sector – offering the opportunity for best practice workplace experiences for our people and quality of life for our aging population.