This factsheet has been developed as part of a series to help agencies attract and retain diverse ICT staff. For more information on ICT workforce planning, please see the Whole-of-government strategic ICT Workforce Plan 2010–2013 or email ictskills [at] apsc.gov.au.
A wide range of flexible working practices (or ‘work–life balance strategies’) are used in the APS, such as home-based work, job-sharing, part-time work, flexible working hours and purchased leave. These mainstream arrangements, while not targeted at the needs of people with disability, particularly benefit those who have difficulty physically accessing workplaces, those experiencing episodic illness, and those whose disability makes extended work hours difficult. For example, the benefits of home-based work for people with disability are:
- flexible working hours (which allow people who require the assistance of personal carers to more readily combine visits by carers with their work responsibilities)
- savings in travel costs and commuting time (particularly for those whose physical disabilities make access to public transport difficult and who have to rely on expensive taxi transport)
- greater control over the scheduling of work hours (to combine work commitments with medical appointments and rest breaks).
Flexible work arrangements also benefit Indigenous employees, given that they are more than twice as likely as employees APS-wide to have caring responsibilities (52% and 25% respectively), and that 38% have cultural and/or community obligations that take them out of the workplace.
What’s the difference between an Indigenous Employment Strategy and a Reconciliation Action Plan?
An Indigenous Employment Strategy (IES) details what the agency is doing to improve the way it employs and retains Indigenous staff. Its focus is on agency-specific workplace environment, recruitment, development and retention issues affecting Indigenous employees. The APSC has developed an Indigenous Employment Strategy Kit which is designed to assist agencies develop their own Indigenous employment strategies.
A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), on the other hand, is a tool to help organisations build positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. A RAP represents a framework for identifying specific actions and realistic targets to contribute to the improvement of the lives of Indigenous Australians in a wider sense, not solely focussed on agency business.
While there are distinct differences between IES and RAPs, there are also some common objectives. The more extensive each framework is, the more similarities are likely to be found. Commitment from agencies to the implementation of their own RAP in concert with an IES is likely to result in substantial improvements in Indigenous employment outcomes in general and improved staff retention for the agency in particular.
Managers play an important role in supporting staff with mental illness in the workplace. Training programs, such as the beyondblue National Workplace Program, as well as employee assistance programs and/or expert case managers, help managers (and all staff) identify helpful behaviours to support their colleagues.
Tele-working can support more flexible work arrangements for staff. For more information on tele-working see:
- Tele-working Policy for ICT Staff
- Telework Australia
If you would like to join the Govdex community Agency Tele-working Policies please email ictskills [at] apsc.gov.au
What’s measured matters
Ensure all separating employees, especially Indigenous staff and staff with disability, complete an exit survey. Collate and analyse results to identify retention issues.