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Evaluating workplace strategies

Human capital management is effected through the strategies and initiatives agencies employ to influence their human capital. Evaluating human capital management is a process of measuring the impact of these strategies against what they are expected to affect directly and aspects of the workplace that affect human capital. While it is crucial to assess the delivery of strategies (formative evaluation), it is arguably more important to measure the impacts they have on human capital more broadly (summative evaluation). That is, what effects do human capital strategies have on the knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees?

While the data is limited, evaluation of workforce strategies in the APS appears to be patchy. For example, data from the 2014 agency survey shows that while 83% of agencies (covering 96% of the workforce) conduct periodic evaluation of the performance management system, only 13% (covering 46% of the workforce) formally evaluated their unscheduled leave strategies. Additionally, as mentioned earlier in this chapter, only 10% of agencies (covering 11% of the workforce) attempted to evaluate on-the-job training in 2013–14.

Broader, cross-APS initiatives have been evaluated. For example, the APS Telework Trial21 was evaluated at both the agency and APS level. The APS Absence Management Toolkit also has a built-in evaluation component. The toolkit is discussed in Chapter 8. While the APS has a strong history of programme evaluation and external evaluation (in particular through the role of the Australian National Audit Office), it is important that this approach be applied to evaluate the effectiveness of human capital and/or workforce strategies. This evaluation is a necessary component of human capital management and enables agencies to determine where to make human capital investments to get the best return for their investments.

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21 Australian Public Service Commission 2013, State of the Service Report 2012–13, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, p. 7.