For the estimated 9,700+ young Victorians who experience homelessness every year, simply having a safe place to call home is their sole daily focus.
Fortunately, there’s a group of passionate people helping to provide stability for at-risk young people and young families. Hope Street Youth and Family Services is one of the longest-running youth homelessness services in Victoria. Hope Street provides a range of services to help their clients find safety, build emotional resilience, and develop sustained connections in their communities.
“It’s a rewarding and dynamic job”, says Donna Bennett, CEO of Hope Street Youth and Family Services. And one that requires a fair amount of agility from her team.
“Our people have so many activities they’re juggling at once,” explains Donna. “It can range from assisting young people with housing and mental health, to coping with relationship breakdowns and family violence. Our people need to be able to seamlessly move from one area of their work to another.”
Without a comprehensive collaboration strategy and information management system in place to and support this highly fluid and often time sensitive work-load, the Hope Street team were finding themselves struggling with duplication of files, inaccurate information, and time-consuming searches for content.
“It felt like right across the organisation, people were using out of date documents. We were putting a lot of time, energy, and resources into maintaining documents, trying to ensure they were the correct version, and that our team could easily find them,” she says.
Time, Donna says, that could be better spent on making a positive difference to their clients.
“We were putting a lot of time, energy, and resources into maintaining documents, trying to ensure they were the correct version, and that our team could easily find them.”
Hope Street sought the help of FiveP Australia, a leading provider of digital products and consulting services to organisations seeking to transform their ways of working with the Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 platforms.
As well as migrating Hope Street’s existing content into Microsoft 365 and deploying Microsoft Teams, FiveP also implemented several of their Microsoft Teams-based solutions to improve collaboration and information flow including Tabei Resource Centre. With enhanced search and refine capabilities and quick previewing of published information right within Microsoft Teams, Tabei provides Hope Street’s people with the information that they need, wherever and however they work – whether in front of their computer, or on the go on their mobile device.
Also incorporated into the solution was FiveP’s Teams Navigator, a smart governance app that improves the way users search for, organise, and collaborate on content, whilst automatically enhancing overall organisational compliance in the background of all content creation and collaboration.
A single source of truth unlocks collaborative culture
“One of the frustrations that we continually experienced was the duplication of files,” says Donna. “We found people were setting up their own mini shared drive networks and when people searched for something, the results would pick up a number of documents, most of which were out of date,” says Donna.
Centralising this information and equipping their team with Navigator and Tabei Resource Centre via mobile devices has significantly reduced the friction felt when trying to access information on the go and has made noticeable improvements in the way they collaborate.
“Our people are now able to find up to date documents really quickly, they’re able to make changes and collaborate, and it’s all happening in real-time, wherever they are.”
“As a CEO I need to be able to support our executives in the work that they do,” Donna explains. “It’s important for me to respond to them quickly, to be able to look at documents that they’ve drafted, and quickly provide feedback.”
Before implementing Navigator, Donna and her team had been spending a lot of time maintaining and updating documents and ensuring their team had access to the correct files. Donna says the move to Navigator has eased a lot of this frustration and made collaboration more seamless.
“I love that two people can be looking at the same document and see the changes happening in real-time. It makes communicating and collaborating very easy.”
Fostering a sense of connection and belonging
For an organisation like Hope Street that is built on strong relationships, having technology like Tabei and Navigator enhancing their Teams experience has helped them collaborate and maintain important social connections.
“We’re a very collaborative workplace,” Donna explains. “Our team need to be able to constantly liaise with each other around the work they do with their clients. Navigator has been critical in being able to collaborate seamlessly.”
“Our goal has always been for our people to seamlessly move from one area of their work to another, and now they’ve got the tools to do it.”
A hopeful future
Hope Street is now looking to make more improvements in the hope to help even more at-risk young people and young families. And Donna is confident that her team have the right technology and resources in place to achieve their goals.
“I feel very privileged to be in the position where I can guide and support our people in achieving meaningful, life-changing outcomes with young people. Our goal has always been for our people to seamlessly move from one area of their work to another, and they’ve now got the tools to do it.”
Watch the video to hear more of their story from Hope Street CEO Donna Bennett.
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