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

We’re making great progress on a range of initiatives to reform and modernise the APS workforce. Our work to accelerate the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees got a very practical boost this week with the first of a series of mentor training sessions. We reached a milestone of 100 new Enterprise Agreements on 19 May, providing those agencies with streamlined and contemporary terms and conditions. We’re getting ready to launch a new campaign to help agencies and managers reduce unscheduled absence, and working with agencies to respond to the ANAO’s key learnings on managing underperformance. All of these issues contribute to how well we are positioned for the future of work – and those of you based in capital cities outside Canberra will have a chance to engage with your colleagues on that topic at our annual leadership conferences over the course of the next few months. Finally, if you haven’t yet told us what you think in the annual APS census, you have two more weeks to do so – so jump on line, take the survey, and help make your APS a better place to work.

The APS Indigenous Mentoring Program – Kicking off in Canberra!

The APS-wide Indigenous Mentoring Program kicked off this week with mentor training sessions and a breakfast networking event in Canberra. Indigenous and non-Indigenous mentors from across the APS, at levels ranging from APS5 to SES, have partnered with an Indigenous Mentee to support their APS careers.

A mentoring partnership offers a great opportunity to develop skills, share knowledge, form networks and work together towards future goals. This initiative enhances mentors’ and mentees’ understanding of their own professional and cultural identity, as well as the cultural differences of others.

Nominations for the Program remain permanently open. If you’re an energetic and experienced leader who would be proud to share your skills and knowledge with Indigenous APS employees OR if you’re an Indigenous APS employee who is keen to develop professionally and personally, we would love to hear from you!

Events similar to those held in Canberra this week will be held across the country during June.

For more information, go to our Indigenous Careers website or contact the Indigenous Capability Team at indigenous [at] apsc.gov.au

100 Enterprise Agreements made in Commonwealth public sector bargaining

Enterprise Agreements made a century last month, with a total of 101 EAs voted up at time of print. This milestone gives sustainable wage increases, improved productivity and continued valued conditions of employment for staff in agencies who have voted yes in the current bargaining round.

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Second and even third pay increases are coming up for employees in a number of agencies, who have received competitive salary increases and the continuation of valued terms and conditions since 2015.

Over the year to December 2016, annual wages growth across the economy was 1.9 per cent. This is in line with the trend of subdued general wages growth across the economy in recent years. The average of 2 per cent per annum available under the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2015, subject to affordability, is reasonable and competitive in the current economic climate.   Hide content

Positively influencing unscheduled absence

Absence management is a hot topic across the APS. While poorly managed absence creates productivity losses, a proactive approach leads to positive outcomes for individuals and organisations.

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We have identified five factors that can positively impact unscheduled absence in teams and organisations, and we are developing a campaign to promote these across the APS.

- Expectations on attendance are clearly communicated.
- Managers are equipped to respond to unscheduled absence.
- Timely and simple absence data is available to employees and their managers.
- Managers act early to identify if there is a problem.
- Where there is a problem, managers and employees work together to develop a joint plan.

Managers are supported in taking a proactive approach through data, evidence, tools, strategies and case studies in this absence management toolkit. The toolkit provides clear guidance on strategies to manage attendance, boost employee engagement and support wellbeing. This includes processes for managers to work through when dealing with unscheduled absence. This toolkit is constantly evolving and we invite you to access it on a frequent basis.  Hide content

Do you know…

…when you should report misconduct in the APS? This article will help guide you through what to do if you see a colleague behaving inappropriately.

The APSC also has a dedicated webpage set up to answer your questions on Integrity. Check it out, post a question and read the questions previously asked – and their answers!

Australian Government Leadership Network (AGLN)

A sell-out crowd, torrential rain and an incredible mix of speakers made for an engaging and eventful AGLN conference in Townsville last month. Treasury Secretary John Fraser spoke about the necessity of a flexible and agile APS workforce, while Lieutenant Colonel Gabrielle M. Follett, Commanding Officer 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion shared learnings from the challenge of leading teams in times of change.

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The AGLN conference series brings together APS staff of all levels and agencies to exchange ideas, share knowledge and contribute to the development of public sector initiatives.

APS staff are invited to attend one of the remaining six conferences and explore the events that are planned throughout the year via the AGLN website.  Hide content

Spotlight on underperformance

ANAO’s recently released report Managing underperformance in the Australian Public Service offers some useful insights into the management of underperformance across the APS.

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It identifies some practical things we can do to improve outcomes. Some are procedural, such as streamlining excessive or duplicative underperformance process within agencies, or better using probation provisions. Others go more to the capability of managers to manage underperformance, and the training and incentives to support them to do so.

Agencies can access the APSC’s guiding principles on performance management, Optimising employee performance in the APS to assist their efforts. The principles aim to shift the focus away from compliance with end of year assessment requirements, towards regular and effective outcomes-focused performance conversations.

In addition, the APSC offers performance management skills training for managers.   Hide content

State of the Service

The 2017 APS Employee Census is off to a great start.

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As at 1 June 54% of employees have responded.  The agency leading the way with the highest response rate at this point is DSS where 87% of employees have responded.

You have two weeks left to have your say. Let’s make it the biggest say yet!

Any questions about the census can be directed to the APSC’s Workforce Performance team on 1800 464 926 or at stateoftheservice [at] apsc.gov.au   Hide content