APSC Strategic Centre for Leadership, Learning and Development
What is the Strategic Centre for Leadership, Learning and Development?The Strategic Centre for Leadership, Learning and Development was established in July 2010 in response to recommendations in Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration, which identified a requirement to improve talent management, and strengthen learning and development to ensure a sustainable APS.
Our vision is that:The APS has the leadership and core capabilities required to meet current and future policy, delivery and regulatory challenges. To achieve this vision, we are working towards four key objectives:
- Enhanced capability of APS leaders (current and future)
- Efficient and effective leader and core skills development
- Enhanced core skills of the APS workforce
- Enhanced agency leadership, learning and development performance.
This will contribute to a high performing public service, which
- Meets the needs of citizens
- Provides strong leadership and strategic direction
- Contains a highly capable workforce
- Operates efficiently and at a consistently high standard.
The Strategic Centre is a Group within the Australian Public Service Commission. The Strategic Centre works to an Advisory Board, which provides guidance and direction.
The Strategic Centre has seven key deliverables:
- Annual APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy
- Aligned contemporary leadership and core skills program design
- Quality assured providers
- Central procurement and brokerage of programs (where agreed)
- Rigorous strategy and program evaluation
- Intensive development of high potential leaders
- Though leadership, support and advice for APS agencies
Current priorities (May 2013)
During 2013, the Strategic Centre will be focused on implementing the priorities in the APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy 2012.
APS talent development.
Talent development provides intensive, tailored development for those with the performance and potential to succeed in more senior complex roles. Talent development aims to ensure that the APS has a sustainable pool of leaders for the future. Current areas of focus include:
- Design, development and delivery of a pilot Band 3 Talent Development Program.
- Design, development and delivery of a Band 2 Talent Development Program.
- Review of EL2 Talent Development.
The Strategic Centre’s leadership development initiatives are currently focused on developing central programs to assist the Senior Executive Service (SES) to develop and deepen the leadership capabilities needed in today’s complex APS environment. Current focus areas include:
- Design, development and central delivery of refreshed SES Band 1, SES Band 2 and SES Band 3 Leadership Programs.
- Continuous improvement of a refreshed SES Orientation program.
Management skills development.
Management skills are complementary to leadership capability, and success in the APS requires a combination of both skills. As employees move into positions of authority, management skills support sound decision-making and enable them to navigate APS systems and processes to support effective implementation. Current focus areas include:
- Decision-making and judgement in the Public Sector.
- People and organisational development.
Core and foundation skills development.
Core skills are those skills that are essential to an effective public service. A subset of core skills, foundation skills are those skills that are essential to operating effectively in the workplace. Core and foundation skills focus areas include:
- Structuring work (foundation skills).
- Compelling communication (foundation skills).
- Applying ethical and legal frameworks (core skills).
- Working within and across teams (core skills).
- Policy development and implementation (core skills).
Why was the Strategic Centre established?
The Strategic Centre was established in response to external pressures on the APS workforce, changes in contemporary practices in leadership, learning & development and in response to stakeholder feedback and current APS activity in these areas.
A capable and skilled workforce will be critical in meeting the future challenges presented by changing demographics, citizen expectations and policy complexity. Further, the APS will be faced with demographic challenges, including an aging workforce and skills shortages, both of which will be exacerbated by more intense competition for ‘knowledge workers’ as the Australian economy evolves. For example, 70% of the leadership group of the APS is due to retire over the next ten years.
Addressing these challenges is not new; the APS has been investing in improving its workforce management for decades. However, evidence shows that there is the opportunity to improve leadership development and talent management, through targeted and sustained interventions, which leverage economies of scale across the Service.
Further, there have been substantial advances in recent years in leadership development theory and practice. Increasingly leadership and management and development activity is being directly linked to business outcomes and efforts to understand the impact of these activities is being investigated. For example, a Corporate Leadership Council Human Resources study (2008)1 identified that leaders with top leadership skills are 50% more likely to substantially outperform revenue expectations than those with poor leadership skills and 80% more likely to outperform profit expectations. Through effective learning and development planning, we can anticipate in advance the required skills and develop programs to build and enhance the capabilities required of our workforce.
Contacting the Strategic CentreEmail: email@example.com
APS Leadership, Learning and Development Collaboration site (for APS HR & L&D practitioners)
To register please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Leadership Development Strategy
23 May 2012
The APS Leadership Development Strategy was released in June 2011.
The Strategy was developed using a Human Capital strategic approach; drivers in the external environment and APS business needs were analysed, and the strategy designed to fill the identified capability gaps. It is based on extensive Agency consultation and research into contemporary practice.
The strategy reflects the changing nature of the demands on APS leaders, identifies critical career points where the APS can focus development efforts, and sets out the principles for designing effective development that leads to sustained behavioural change.
The Findings report provides a summary of the findings from the consultation and research activities and identifies some of the requirements and opportunities to strengthen APS leadership, learning and development, and talent management.
The APS Leadership Development Strategy is a key deliverable for the Strategic Centre and will be reviewed yearly. The strategy is being implemented through the delivery of an APS Talent Development Program and a refreshed SES Orientation Program.
Talent development program materials
23 May 2012
Talent management is a systematic approach to ensuring a sustainable pool of talented people for critical roles, including the identification of roles that are critical to the business and the identification and management of high potential people from which these roles can be filled. Talent management strategies recognise that some capabilities (skills, knowledge, behaviours) are unique and that some jobs in organisations require more of these unique skills than other jobs.
Having targeted development processes in place to build these unique skills sets has the capacity to create competitive advantage for an organisation. Many private sector organisations, and the public sectors in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Victoria have all engaged in the development of talent management systems.
Research has shown that successful high potential programs lead to better organisational performance than that of peers not engaging in these programs. Corporate Leadership Council (CLC) research conducted in private sector firms indicated that successful execution of talent development programs directly contributes to increased organizational effectiveness and productivity, leading to up to as much as a 15.4% advantage in total shareholder return2.
While talent management practices have been in place in the private sector for almost a decade, talent management is not currently done systematically in the APS. The State of the Service Report (2009-10) reveals that only 10% of agencies reported having an active talent management strategy this year, similar to last year’s result of 8%. A further 31% reported developing talent management strategies this year.
The Strategic Centre is developing an approach to talent management for use by APS Agencies. A pilot APS wide talent development program is now underway. This program has been developed and conducted by the Strategic Centre for Leadership, Learning and Development (the Strategic Centre) in the Australian Public Service Commission, which has been asked to play a crucial role in supporting the Secretaries Board to address the leadership capability challenges of the future.
The APS Talent Development Program (pilot)
The Band 2 Talent Development Program is an opportunity to enhance the leadership capabilities of SES Band 2 officers who have the ability and aspiration to contribute to public policy making and administration, by taking up more senior leadership roles in the Australian Public Service. The first cohort is part of a pilot program, and consists of 23 SES Band 2 officers from 23 APS agencies.
A development planning workshop was held in late November 2011, with the program formally commencing in February 2012. The program offers participants a 12 month, individually tailored intensive development program based on a development plan agreed between the individual, their Secretary / Agency Head and the Strategic Centre.
What is the purpose of APS talent development?
APS talent development is focused on investing in ‘critical focus areas’. SES Band 3 roles have been identified as the first focus area. Talent development recognises that development is necessary and important for all leaders and seeks to make a differentiated investment in some individuals at a specific time and for a particular business purpose. The focus is on development, not appointment or selection.
Who is eligible to participate in the APS Talent Development Program?
APS employees from the relevant target group for each program who meet the nomination criteria are eligible to participate in the program. The target group for the pilot program is SES Band 2 employees.
APS employees interested in participating in a talent development program will need to meet the nomination criteria of having ‘high potential’. This is based around a combination of the following factors:
The talent development program may not be the right opportunity for every employee.
More information about the nomination criteria can be found in the Information Booklet.
Nominations for the Pilot SES Band 2 program currently underway have closed.
If you would like further information about talent development in the APS please contact:Janet Wilson
Director, Talent Management
Ph: 6202 3994
Email: email@example.com Natalie McManus
Assistant Director, Talent Management
Ph: 6202 3987
SES Orientation Program
SES orientation plays a critical role in assisting new Senior Executive Service (SES) employees to successfully transition into their new roles and provides the foundation for building the senior leadership capability the APS requires.
With this in mind, a new program has been designed to assist new SES to develop the skills and knowledge required to ‘survive’ the challenges of adapting to senior leadership in the APS, while also expanding their vision about what is means to be a leader and helping them to ‘thrive’ by finding their own meaning and purpose in their new role.
This SES Orientation Program was designed in collaboration and consultation with Agencies, who provided valuable input into the program content and structure. In particular, Agencies identified the importance of ensuring that the program complimented agency on-boarding. They also emphasised the importance of incorporating contemporary learning methods, providing a level of customisation to meet individual learning needs, reinforcing self-management skills and facilitating the development of a peer network. These elements are all integral to the refreshed program design.
The new program extends over six months and includes classroom based workshops, networking sessions, and self paced online modules. A key theme highlighted by Agencies was the critical role that managers play in supporting new SES to successfully transition into their new role during their orientation experience. The program design also incorporates coaching, mentoring and manager support as a key element over the six month orientation period.
1 CLC Human Resources, Improving Business Leader Effectiveness Survey, Corporate Executive Board, 2008
2 Corporate Leadership Council (2005) Realizing the Full Potential of Rising Talent
- APS Leadership and core skills strategy 2012-13
- Jawun Indigenous Community Secondment Program
- Leadership development strategy 2011-12
- Learning and development updates
- Review of Executive Level 2 talent management and leadership development
- Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Scholarships
- Strategic Centre Advisory Board
- Talent development programs