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APSC News August 2016: fostering a flexible, efficient, high performing APS

#GradHack

The first ever APS #GradHack will be staged on 8 September at the Australian Institute of Sport Arena in Canberra, as part of the APS Grad event series.   Show more


“But what is #GradHack, and why should I get excited?” we hear you ask.


#GradHack aims to accelerate the development of ideas and solutions to current APS challenges. We will bring together this year’s APS graduates to collaborate in teams of 20 over three hours. Collaboration and problem solving is intensive and high-pressured. But the benefits are numerous. Grads with various qualifications and backgrounds will work together to come up with unconventional solutions. They will then pitch and promote their ideas to their colleagues and senior APS staff via stalls in a marketplace. The top three solutions will be decided by vote.


Dan Gregory from The Impossible Institute and recent host of the APSC’s Shut Up and Innovate event will facilitate #GradHack. Dan is a leader in the field of marketing and has won global awards for creativity and effectiveness.

To find out more, or to register, visit www.apsc.gov.au/events.   Hide content


Turning up the volume: new Indigenous employment service offer

The Commission has commenced rolling out Turning up the volume to APS and non-APS agencies. This renewed service offer shifts the focus away from a "bums on seats" mentality and towards retention and advancement. We'll also be taking a partnership approach to innovate and leverage expertise and experience across the APS. Show more

The new program of activities will include:

- an Indigenous Employment Advisory Service drawing on expertise across the APS with advice provided to agencies on Indigenous Employment strategies

- employee engagement

- mobility, secondment and mentoring services across agencies

- targeted return activities for ex-APS employees, including an Indigenous Alumni network to maintain contact with potential rehires

- a pilot career model for APS 6 – EL 2 employees to increase career growth and advancement.



Keep an eye on indigenouscareers.gov.au and our Facebook page for more information.   Hide content


No ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for employee performance

Optimising employee performance is about lifting everyone’s performance, so all employees are doing their best and growing towards their work goals and career aspirations. Show more

We know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to performance management. Lifting everyone’s performance works best when approaches to performance management are designed around the specific needs, circumstances and direction of an organisation. The APSC recently released guiding principles to inform the design of APS agencies’ employee performance frameworks. The principles provide scope for agencies to customise their approach to performance to their own circumstances. The principles can be found at: www.apsc.gov.au/managing-in-the-aps/performance.



The principles will be finessed over time as we learn from the experiences of agencies. If you have feedback or something to share please contact the Employment Reform team at employmentreform [at] apsc.gov.au   Hide content


APS Commissioner visits Defence program that employs people with an intellectual disability

Last month, the Hon John Lloyd PSM visited Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane to meet employees participating in the Defence Administrative Assistance Program (DAAP). Show more

DAAP is an initiative that employs people with intellectual disability at Defence bases across Australia, with 72 individuals currently participating in the program.


These individuals perform a variety of administrative duties during their working day, which not only provides them with opportunities to learn new skills but also alleviates some of the administrative pressures for Defence employees.


During his visit, Commissioner Lloyd noted that the DAPP program “clearly has tangible benefits for both participants and the base.


“The enthusiasm and commitment of the staff at Gallipoli Barracks is most impressive. Other APS agencies could learn a lot from this initiative,” Commissioner Lloyd said.


Emmanuel Bukalan, a Defence graduate who participated in the Commissioner’s visit, spent time with the DAAP team and believes it is important for larger organisations such as Defence to be the champions for workplace reform initiatives. “Having met with the local DAAP team and now working alongside them on a day to day basis, I fully support the program. I feel it is a thoughtful and practical approach to provide meaningful work for people with disability, whilst supporting Defence capability,” Emmanuel said.



APS Commissioner, John Lloyd with DAAP employees at Gallipoli Barrack in Brisbane.   Hide content


Secretaries Equality and Diversity Committee

The inaugural Secretaries Equality and Diversity Committee convened in July, with committee members sharing ideas and priorities for improving equality and diversity within the APS. Show more

Chaired by Dr Martin Parkinson PSM, the committee agreed to:

- develop agency specific action plans to support implementation of the APS Gender Equality Strategy

- adopt the panel pledge to highlight and actively address underrepresentation of women in professional forums

- identify measures within their agencies that will progress the G20 summit target to reduce the gender workforce participation gap by 25% by 2025.



In addition to these actions, it was agreed that the APSC, in partnership with the Office for Women, will work with agencies to assess their current gender balance and set tailored gender equality stretch targets across leadership levels.


Secretaries also noted the launch of the CORE Cultural Learning foundation course developed by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. This program will be freely available to APS agencies. Secretaries noted the need to work with portfolio agencies to improve Indigenous representation.


It was also agreed to progress work in each agency to develop best practice policies on family and domestic violence leave.


The next Secretaries Equality and Diversity Committee will be held later in 2016.   Hide content


Heads Up

Did you know that 20% of Australian workers experience a mental health condition? Or that around 7 people die from suicide each day? Or that just under 7% of employees in any organisation will develop clinically significant depressive symptoms in any one year – and that on average, every full-time employee with untreated depression costs an organisation $9,665 per year? Implementing an effective early intervention program can result in a five-fold return on investment, due to increased employee productivity. Show more

Heads Up is an initiative that helps to support Australian businesses to create more mentally healthy workplaces and better support individuals with mental illness. It does this through online resources and tools that assist managers and teams to develop tailored mental health and wellbeing strategies.



As well as promoting a positive, productive workplace culture and minimising risks to employees’ mental health, mentally healthy workplaces can lead to increased productivity, improved staff engagement and enhanced staff retention.


Comcare, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Attorney General’s Department and the APSC are currently using the tool. Check out www.headsup.org.au for more information and to access the resources available, including tools for creating your own action plan.



APS Commissioner, the Hon John Lloyd PSM, and Deputy Commissioner, Stephanie Foster PSM, at the Heads Up Canberra Business breakfast in April 2016. They are here with Kate Carnell AO, Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, the Hon Jeff Kennett AC, Chairman of beyondblue, and Mr Ian Govey AM, former Australian Government Solicitor.   Hide content


Touch footy wrap up

NAIDOC Week gave the APSC’s Indigenous Employment Team many reasons to celebrate, with the team again co-hosting the annual APS NAIDOC Week Touch Football Carnival. It was also time to kick-start the new Indigenous Employment service offer for 2016-2018, Turning up the volume. Show more

Despite the freezing temperatures and pockets of snowfall, Commissioner Lloyd and Aunty Jude Barlow got the event underway with a warm welcome to participants, including the APSC’s own intrepid team.


The Department of Health won the carnival, which was contested by 24 public service agencies at Deakin playing fields in Canberra. The event was both a battle for the highly contested trophy as well as a highlight in an extensive program of NAIDOC Week activities across the APS.


The carnival celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture by raising awareness through sport. It is organised in partnership with the Department of Education and Training and Touch Football ACT.   Hide content