APS News March 2017: fostering a flexible, efficient, high performing APS

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Welcome to the March edition. There’s lots happening across the APS, and this month we’re showcasing a couple of fresh approaches to performance management. Speaking of showcasing, three terrific workforce initiatives were presented at a joint IPAA/APSC event on 1 March, with the audience voting up a staff engagement project called “That’s my story” by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. And of course we announced the winner of the BRANDit competition, which got some free advertising at this round of Senate Estimates! More on all of this below.

If you have new and innovative things happening in your workplace, we’d love to hear about them – please connect with us through LinkedIn.

The APS: 2017 and beyond

We’ve had an opportunity to engage APS staff across the country through our annual presentation on the State of the Service report, “The APS: 2017 and beyond”. So far, in order of appearance, we’ve been to Perth, Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Townsville and Darwin, with Hobart finishing off the series on Monday 6 March.

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The presentations have highlighted areas of strength, such as employee engagement, clarity of purpose and satisfaction with remuneration and terms and conditions. We’ve also talked openly with audiences about the areas that need action. These include communication, management of change, perceptions of senior leadership and bullying and harassment.

Overall, the data shows that APS is in good shape, with the opportunity to get better. Public servants play an important role in the success of Australia, and we need to use the data and analysis available to us to lift our game where needed.

A summary of the data and key themes will be available on our website shortly.  Hide content

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The new APS tagline “Shape Australia. Create your future.” was announced on 1 March at a joint APSC and Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) event. This is part of a broader suite of initiatives to ensure we are attracting a diverse and talented workforce from Australia's highly competitive marketplace. An important part of this is a contemporary and compelling employee value proposition that reflects the variety and excitement of work in the APS. For more information, please visit our website.  

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More than 700 hundred entries were submitted by individuals from almost 50 agencies across the APS, demonstrating the creativity and optimism of our workforce. The winning tagline highlights the the dual opportunity we enjoy as public servants - the capacity to make a difference to Australia's future, and to build fulfilling careers.

For more information, and to see the five finalist entries, please visit our website . And start thinking about how you can use this new tagline in your own agency’s context.   Hide content

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APSjobs replacement project

Another part of our new approach to market is a refreshed APSjobs website. We hope to launch the new system in the second half of 2017, using the latest technology to make APSjobs the go-to destination for government jobs. It will be user-friendly, mobile accessible and designed to integrate with agency HR systems to reduce duplication of effort.

If you have any great design ideas, please get in touch with Alana Walsh at alana.walsh@apsc.gov.au.   

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Unlocking Potential: one year on

The joint APSC/IPAA event on 1 March also provided an opportunity to showcase the work agencies are doing to implement the recommendations of Unlocking Potential: If not us, who? If not now, when?

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This report on workforce management was launched in April 2016 by Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service. It laid out a blueprint for a contemporary, competitive APS workforce through optimising talent, driving high performance, attracting and recruiting the best, improving flexibility and re-designing our approach to HR.

A number of agencies answered our challenge to submit examples of initiatives and experiments in best practice workforce management, and three finalists were showcased at the event. The video of the event will be up on the IPAA Canberra website this week. The audience voted pretty conclusively in favour of the Department of Agriculture and Water and their “That’s my story” campaign. It’s great viewing!   Hide content

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Spotlight on performance management

Another great entry submitted to the Unlocking Potential challenge was the Department of Communications and the Arts’ approach to performance management. It’s something completely different, “brain-friendly” and entirely people focused. Watch it here.

IP Australia has also implemented a performance management approach that removes tick-and-flick cyclical reviews and focuses instead on regular conversations. Called Achieve, it has proven to be a winner for both managers and employees at IP Australia.

What the staff at IP Australia like most about Achieve is how it moves away from the annual performance review approach towards regular ongoing conversations. They say it has turned performance discussions into positive exchanges that empower staff to be equal partners in how they reach their goals.

More information on the Achieve approach in IP Australia.

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Pay rises across the APS

February and March sees employees in nine agencies receive their second pay rise under enterprise agreements voted up in this round of bargaining, including:   

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  • Department of Health
  • Australian Federal Police Executive Level
  • Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority
  • Australian Sports Commission
  • National Transport Commission
  • Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
  • Department of Employment
  • Department of Infrastructure & Regional Development
  • Royal Australian Mint.

These employees are enjoying a competitive wage increase and the continuation of their valued terms and conditions. In this round of bargaining, 87 agreements have been voted up – this includes five new EAs voted up so far this year.

People who are voting no are being left behind. Inform yourself before you vote by reading the facts about the Bargaining Policy.  Hide content

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APS development calendar for State based employees - building your core skills

The APSC is committed to providing mixed agency workshops in State and regional areas. There are a number of programs scheduled for delivery in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Traralgon. Register now to build your capability in essential skills for working in the APS.

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New learning program - Creative thinking at work

Increasingly, the APS needs skilled employees who can generate ideas and innovative approaches for delivering outcomes at work. This workshop is held over two days, is aimed at APS6s – EL2s, and has been developed to help people understand and unlock their ability to generate unique ideas and solutions to engage with workplace opportunities and challenges.

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Orientation support for new Senior Executive

People who are new to the Senior Executive service are invited to the orientation program. Running over four months, the program helps people newly appointed into Senior Executive roles to be better supported to handle complex accountabilities required at this level. It also offers further help for people who are new to the APS.

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