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Strategic priority 2, 2017–18

SHAPING THE APS WORKFORCE


[Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2017–18, page 9.]

Activity: Drive strategic workforce planning

Key performance indicator: Agencies have increased capability to undertake strategic workforce planning.

Measure: Assessment of the workforce planning capability across the APS, using surveys and focus groups.

2017–18 results: The 2018 agency survey continues to provide an opportunity for agencies to assess their own workforce planning capabilities.

Workforce Planning Community of Practice forums were established in early 2017–18, and during the year, the forums facilitated discussion on workforce planning challenges and the sharing of best practice throughout the APS.

Agency participants provided feedback that the forums are useful and offer opportunities to share information and improve knowledge of workforce planning in the APS. These Community of Practice events have successfully raised awareness about the available strategic workforce planning tools, and agencies noted in their feedback that this has made a positive contribution to their workforce planning capability.

Measure: HR metrics are provided to APS agencies within agreed timeframes to assist in strategic workforce planning.

2017–18 results: In 2017–18 a range of human resource metrics were made available to agencies to assist in understanding the APS workforce and strategic workforce planning:

  • a biannual APS Statistical Bulletin summarising a range of employment data
  • access to more detailed workforce data through the APS employment data internet interface (APSEDii)
  • employment opinion data measuring employee feedback on leadership, engagement, performance management, learning and development and many other workforce management practices
  • the 2016–17 State of the Service Report, providing data and information on changing workforce trends and workforce capability
  • the 2017 Remuneration Report, providing an analysis of agencies’ annual remuneration data and movement and benchmarks to APS-wide data.

Measure: Feedback from key stakeholders demonstrates a high level of satisfaction with the accessibility, quality and timeliness of advice and data provided.

2017–18 results: Feedback at the Workforce Planning Community of Practice forums indicated a high level of satisfaction with the APSC’s workforce data. Agencies noted that APSC data, metrics and information products have helped them to more meaningfully analyse and benchmark their workforce.

APSEDii was refreshed with new functionality and greater controls to protect privacy. Feedback received through the Workforce Planning Community of Practice and other forums strongly supported the open data and the functionality of the dashboard.

Measure: Results from the annual agency survey shows improved agency self-assessment of capability.

2017–18 result: The 2018 agency survey responses indicated just over a third of agencies had improved their workforce planning capabilities in the preceding year.


Activity: Embed talent management

Key performance indicator: Talent management is aligned with workforce planning and succession management, and informs decisions about the leadership pipeline.

Measure: Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries Talent Councils operating effectively.

2017–18 result: The Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries Talent Councils operated effectively.

Measure: Tool for measuring potential in the EL2 cohort piloted and rolled out.

2017–18 result: Following a 2017 pilot, an Executive Level Identification Tool was made available across the APS on a fee-for-service basis.

Measure: Feedback from key stakeholders indicates they are using talent management to shape the workforce for the future.

2017–18 result: The Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries Talent Councils are actively involved in cross-APS talent management that is building a leadership pipeline for the future.

Measure: Results from the annual agency survey shows improved agency self-assessment of talent management maturity.

2017–18 result: In 2016–17, ninety-four per cent of agencies were looking to improve their capability in effective talent management over the next three years.


Activity: Build diversity and promote inclusive cultures

Key performance indicators:

APS workforce more closely reflects the diversity of the Australian community.

APS workplaces are inclusive, with employees’ experience of work reflecting an inclusive culture.

Measure: APSED diversity data.

2017–18 result: Indigenous and cultural diversity measures have improved over time, and disability rates have been stable.

Diversity groups’ representation at 30 June 2018 was as follows:

  • Indigenous Australians, 3.3 per cent
  • disability, 3.7 per cent
  • NESB immigrants, 5.3 per cent
  • immigrant children with NESB parents, 9.0 per cent.

Source: APS Statistical Bulletin, June 2018.

Measure: Census results reflect a positive effect in the perceptions of all employees, and employees from specific diversity groups.

2017–18 result: Findings from the 2018 APS Employee Census showed that three-quarters of respondents agreed their agency is committed to creating a diverse workforce and 85 per cent of employees agreed that their supervisor supports people from diverse backgrounds. Almost 90 per cent of APS employees agreed their work group behaved in an accepting manner towards people from diverse backgrounds.

Since 2017 there has been a small positive increase in perceptions of workplace inclusion by employees who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or with disability. The shift in perceptions occurred primarily among employees identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.


Activity: Improve recruitment outcomes

Key performance indicator: Right people are recruited and transition successfully to the APS: productive, aligned with values, contributing strengths.

Measure: Feedback from users indicates that the new Induction portal supported an effective Induction process.

2017–18 result: Nil. While designed and developed in 2017–18, the induction portal was not launched until early 2018–19.

Measure: Feedback from agencies indicates greater satisfaction with recruitment outcomes and processes.

2017–18 result: In progress. Research project on contemporary recruitment practices indicates agencies have made progress in using existing system. New Management Essentials website information includes streamlined documents on recruitment.

Measure: New APSC guidance about better practice recruitment is published and used by agencies and employees.

2017–18 result: In progress. We have reviewed recruitment practices in a range of agencies. A webpage is under development that will include information and guides on contemporary and innovative recruitment practices, including links to existing guides.

We have conducted a survey and focus groups with recent job applicants in order to better understand their recruitment experience.


Activity: Foster contemporary approaches to work

Key performance indicator: All levels of the APS are engaged in discussion around contemporary approaches to work.

Measure: Feedback from key stakeholders indicates that strategic workforce planning and implementation is geared towards contemporary approaches to work.

2017–18 result: Work began on identifying flexibilities in the existing framework. This work was superseded when government began considering a more significant review of the APS, including its governing legislation.


Activity: Promote modern approaches to performance and attendance management

Key performance indicator: APS agencies have implemented more effective attendance management approaches.

Measure: Reduced rates of unscheduled absence.

2017–18 result: The Executive agreed to deprioritise these activities early in the year. Resources were shifted to the emerging APS reform agenda.

Key performance indicator: APS agencies have implemented more effective performance management approaches.

Measure: Results from the annual agency survey show increased use of modern attendance management approaches.

2017–18 result: The Executive agreed to deprioritise these activities early in the year. Resources were shifted to the emerging APS reform agenda.

Measure: Results from the annual agency survey show increased use of modern performance management approaches.

2017–18 result: The Executive agreed to deprioritise these activities early in the year. Resources were shifted to the emerging APS reform agenda.

Measure: Census results show improved employee perceptions of performance management.

2017–18 result: Results from the 2018 APS Employee Census show that 48 per cent of employees found their overall experience with performance management in their agency useful for their development, up from 45 per cent in 2017.

Performance analysis: strategic priority 2
DRIVE STRATEGIC WORKFORCE PLANNING


The Commission works with APS agencies to support workforce planning by providing tools and guidance and by facilitating knowledge sharing.

In 2017–18 the APS Job Family model was updated to include, among other things, more contemporary APS roles. By the end of the reporting year the Commission had grown its Job Family data holdings from about 90,000 to 110,000 APS employees, representing over 70 per cent of the workforce. We will continue to work with agencies to improve APS roles and associated Job Family representation over time.

The APSC also provides for agencies access to a range of data for benchmarking purposes and produces publications such as the biannual APS Statistical Bulletin, the annual Remuneration Report and the annual State of the Service Report. In 2017–18 a refreshed version of APSEDii (the Employment Data internet interface) was released to the public, allowing open interrogation of APS employment data in an aggregated and de-identified format.

In 2017 the Commission established a Workforce Planning Community of Practice to facilitate knowledge sharing across the APS. By the end of the reporting year the Community of Practice had representation in 80 per cent of APS agencies. The initiative has received strong positive feedback.

Embed talent management

Implementing talent management more broadly in the APS will ensure the service has people with the vision, capability and diverse perspectives to lead it in the future. In an increasingly complex operating environment, having a strong and diverse leadership pipeline is crucial if the APS is to effectively support the government and Australia’s citizens now and in the future. During 2017–18 the Secretaries Board endorsed a proposal for SES talent to be managed at a cross-APS level, with active support from agencies. For the larger group below the SES, the Secretaries Board agreed that talent would be best managed at the portfolio or agency level, under the guidance of agency executive boards.

The Commission continued to support the Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries Talent Councils during 2017–18, providing assistance and advice for regular council meetings and overseeing two talent assessment rounds. Following the 2016–17 pilot of an Executive Level talent identification tool, the Commission made the identification tool and guidance available to agencies on request.

Build diversity and promote inclusive workplaces

During 2017–18 the Commission continued to build diversity and inclusive workplaces by supporting progressive implementation of the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, Balancing the Future: the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy 2016–19, and the As One: Making it Happen—APS Disability Employment Strategy 2016–19.

The following were among our achievements:

  • The Indigenous Recruitment Guide. Published in March 2018, the guide provides information on culturally inclusive recruitment practices and clarification of provisions that support Indigenous employment.
  • The Indigenous Mentoring Pilot. This initiative established 152 partnerships across 44 Commonwealth agencies to support the retention and advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.
  • The excELerate Pilot. Developed in collaboration with APS agencies, this career development program for high-performing Indigenous employees at the APS 5–6 level aims to build readiness for Executive Level positions. The first intake of 43 participants from 22 agencies began in June 2018.
  • The Diversity and Gender Equality Awards. These were held in November 2017 to showcase and recognise the commitment of agencies, employee networks and individual employees in supporting diversity and inclusion throughout the APS.
  • The GradAccess Pilot. This involved developing and implementing a centralised recruitment pathway for people with disability into APS graduate programs. The pilot uses section 27 affirmative measure of the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016 and is in partnership with a number of agencies.
  • The RecruitAbility Scheme. A review of the scheme was carried out and the recommendations are being progressively implemented to better support agencies, ensuring that the scheme is applied appropriately to contemporary recruitment methods.

Supporting senior leaders

The Commission continues to support senior leaders through forums designed to help promote positive change across the APS, to build diverse and inclusive workplaces.

  • The Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council. Working closely with the Council, the Commission engages in agreed projects and provides guidance on the strategic direction for diversity and inclusion.
  • The Indigenous SES Network. The Commission provides secretariat support to the Network and the network’s steering committee.
  • The APS Disability Champions Network. The Commission provides secretariat support to the network, helping to progress initiatives aligned to the APS Disability Employment Strategy 2016–19.

Facilitating information sharing and promoting best practice

The Commission engages with agencies and the private sector to facilitate the sharing of information and to promote best practice in order to progress diversity and inclusion goals.

  • Officer-level briefing forums. These are held for agencies’ diversity officers following Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council meetings to inform them of the outcomes as well as act as a communication channel for diversity areas throughout the APS.
  • HR inclusion forums. The first quarterly forum was held in May 2018. The purpose of the forums is to offer agencies’ human resource practitioners guidance and the opportunity to share inclusive HR strategies and practices.

The Indigenous Liaison Officer Network

The Commission coordinates regular meetings of agencies’ Indigenous liaison officers to build shared capability and confidence in supporting agencies’ Indigenous employees.

Improve recruitment outcomes

During 2017–18 the Commission designed and developed an induction portal for improving recruitment outcomes. The project will be launched in early 2018–19.

Foster contemporary approaches to work

The Commission began work on identifying flexibilities in the existing employment framework. This work was superseded when government began considering a more significant review of the APS, including its governing legislation.

Promote modern approaches to performance and attendance management

The Commission’s Executive agreed to de-prioritise these activities early in the year. Resources were shifted to the emerging APS reform agenda.

Nonetheless, the Commission continued to promote modern approaches to performance and attendance management primarily through the showcasing of work being done by agencies. The Commission supported a ‘community of practice’ and facilitated a number of forums for each of these areas. These meetings allowed for the sharing of agency knowledge and various approaches, tools and experiences, as well as hearing from external subject matter experts.

Additionally, articles on attendance management and further showcasing of work being undertaken by agencies were included as part of the monthly APS News newsletter. There was significant engagement from readers, especially on the article ‘Clear expectations, when is a text OK?’ which was one of the most read stories in APS News.

In 2017–18, the Commission refreshed online guidance to support the management of absences. The online guide provides practical guidance to boost engagement and create a high-performance culture.

Last reviewed: 
18 October 2018