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Why workforce management - why now?

<p>Increasing community expectations, complex policy challenges, tight fiscal pressures and the rapid pace of technological change are driving the need to improve the way governments serve their communities. At the same time, the APS needs to become smaller and more efficient.</p><p>The APS of the future will be significantly different from the APS of today.</p><p>It will require a workforce with a different capability profile that is harnessed more effectively and continually refreshed in tandem with the changing business environment.</p><h2 id="w1">Community expectations of government</h2><p>At its best, the workings of government are almost invisible to the community because services are seamless<a id="footnote-428-1-backlink" href="#footnote-428-1"><sup>1</sup></a>. The community deserves services that are designed around them rather than government structures.</p><p>When they access services, "they should not need a degree in constitutional law to navigate jurisdictions … and they expect their digital experience to be as easy as using Amazon or Google"<a id="footnote-428-2-backlink" href="#footnote-428-2"><sup>2</sup></a>. The APS should anticipate community expectations and modernise service delivery accordingly, while maintaining a relentless focus on getting the most from every taxpayer dollar.</p><p>The APS requires people who focus on service to the community, have creative new ideas and the discipline to execute them.</p><div><p>Ensemble Simplifions allows French citizens to directly participate in modernising their public service</p><p>REACH provides a People's Forum and feedback mechanism for Singaporeans<br><a href="http://www.reach.gov.sg">www.reach.gov.sg</a></p><p>Dutch citizens ask legislative questions via Twitter and make official complaints via email<br>@rijksoverheid</p></div><h2 id="w2">Doing more with less</h2><p>The <em>Smaller Government</em> agenda is focused on reducing the size of government and will ensure that the public sector is as streamlined, effective and transparent as possible<a id="footnote-428-3-backlink" href="#footnote-428-3"><sup>3</sup></a>. Currently, streamlining the APS is being achieved through a range of measures, including management of agency average staffing levels consistent with budget estimates and consolidation of&nbsp;functions.</p><p>The APS needs to strike a careful balance as it reduces its workforce. The challenge is to balance a healthy level of workforce renewal that brings in millennials and external people with fresh perspectives, while maintaining the benefits of an experienced workforce with deep content expertise and highly developed public service craft. This will mean making deliberate choices about building, acquiring and shedding capability according to business needs. More flexible workforce arrangements can translate these choices into action.<a id="footnote-428-4-backlink" href="#footnote-428-4"><sup>4</sup></a></p><div>[[{"fid":"639","view_mode":"page_image","fields":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"286 fewer Australian Government bodies since the 2013 election","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"286 fewer Australian Government bodies since the 2013 election","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"alt":"286 fewer Australian Government bodies since the 2013 election","height":224,"width":560,"class":"media-element file-page-image","data-delta":"1"}}]][[{"fid":"621","view_mode":"page_image","fields":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"$1.4bn in savings to date under the Smaller Government agenda","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"$1.4bn in savings to date under the Smaller Government agenda","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"alt":"$1.4bn in savings to date under the Smaller Government agenda","height":187,"width":560,"class":"media-element file-page-image","data-delta":"2"}}]][[{"fid":"629","view_mode":"page_image","fields":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"17,300 public servants left the public service between September 2013 and February 2015*","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"17,300 public servants left the public service between September 2013 and February 2015*","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"alt":"17,300 public servants left the public service between September 2013 and February 2015*","height":243,"width":560,"class":"media-element file-page-image","data-delta":"3"}}]]<p>*Does not reflect net loss as it excludes recruitment for the period.</p></div><h2 id="w3">Harnessing technological change</h2><p>Since 2008, the internet has been the community's preferred way of contacting government<a id="footnote-428-5-backlink" href="#footnote-428-5"><sup>5</sup></a>. Today, 59% of Australians interact with government online, almost twice the proportion reported in 2008<a id="footnote-428-6-backlink" href="#footnote-428-6"><sup>6</sup></a>. Technology is also providing new opportunities to reinvent the way the Australian community accesses government services. A survey by the DTO found that only 60% of people and 67% of businesses agreed that they could successfully do all their government interactions digitally<a id="footnote-428-7-backlink" href="#footnote-428-7"><sup>7</sup></a>.</p><p>The move towards digital service delivery requires a shift in the APS workforce capability mix.</p><p>Digital transformation will increasingly change the type of work performed in the APS. Some current work will be automated, roles will be redesigned and new roles will be created.</p><p>This transition will require more flexible employment arrangements that enable new capability to be managed in line with shifting business needs. This includes bringing in new capability for time-limited project work and rapidly redeploying existing critical capability.</p><hr><h3>Accelerated pace of technology<a id="footnote-428-8-backlink" href="#footnote-428-8"><sup>8</sup></a></h3><p>[[{"fid":"662","view_mode":"page_image","fields":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"92% Australians use the internet","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"92% Australians use the internet","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"alt":"92% Australians use the internet","height":78,"width":278,"class":"media-element file-page-image","data-delta":"4"}}]][[{"fid":"657","view_mode":"page_image","fields":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"70% go online with mobile phones","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"70% go online with mobile phones","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"alt":"70% go online with mobile phones","height":136,"width":294,"class":"media-element file-page-image","data-delta":"5"}}]][[{"fid":"651","view_mode":"page_image","fields":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"50% go online with a tablet","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"50% go online with a tablet","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"alt":"50% go online with a tablet","height":112,"width":240,"class":"media-element file-page-image","data-delta":"6"}}]]</p><div>[[{"fid":"652","view_mode":"page_image","fields":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"59% of Australians interact with the government online","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"page_image","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"59% of Australians interact with the government online","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"alt":"59% of Australians interact with the government online","height":131,"width":346,"class":"media-element file-page-image","data-delta":"7"}}]]</div><hr><div>We simply can't deny that the best interactions with governments are the ones that do not require a visit to a government office. Our mission is to overhaul the way the government delivers services to ensure that people can get the information they need when they need it.<br>– Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield<br>October 2015</div><h2 id="w4">Complex policy challenges</h2><p>The Government and the APS face policy challenges that are increasingly complex. These challenges cut across levels of government and multiple agencies, and are further complicated<br>by the interconnected nature of today's world.</p><p>Developing first-rate policy responses that meet community needs will require ongoing workforce renewal to ensure a regular injection of fresh ideas and energy. This means making the best use of the APS's most talented employees, directing their efforts to critical challenges and providing meaningful work that keeps them focused and engaged.</p><h2 id="w5">Competition for talent</h2><p>There is a tight labour market in Australia for<a id="footnote-428-9-backlink" href="#footnote-428-9"><sup>9</sup></a>:</p><ul><li>cloud specialists</li><li>IT developers</li><li>digital analysts</li><li>HR business partners</li><li>business analysts</li><li>procurement and purchasing specialists</li><li>digital marketing analysts</li><li>social media marketing and communications specialists.</li></ul><p>These skill sets are needed in the APS to harness technology, transform business models and contract non-government providers to deliver services.</p><p>Against this backdrop the APS has ongoing and urgent professional skills gaps. Since 2008, the APS has reported skills shortages in vital areas such as ICT, communications and HR, particularly workforce planning. Additionally, the trend towards engaging other organisations to deliver services on behalf of government through arrangements such as outsourcing or partnerships will create an increased demand in the APS for people with highly developed project and contract management skills.</p><h3>Moderate or severe skills shortages in the APS<a id="footnote-428-10-backlink" href="#footnote-428-10"><sup>10</sup></a></h3><p>The APS offers interesting, varied and rewarding work and this should be part of a compelling employee value proposition used to attract the best and the brightest people to serve government and the community.</p><p>More flexible workforce management arrangements will also enable the APS to offer roles that appeal to the career preferences of today's workers and generate value to the business. This may include better catering for portfolio careers based on project work rather than linear upwards promotion, or providing greater flexibility around work hours and location.</p><h3>The agile employee</h3><p>Maintaining capability into the future will mean catching the attention and the imagination of the agile employee. Agile employees are increasingly in demand <a id="footnote-428-11-backlink" href="#footnote-428-11"><sup>11</sup></a>. Agile teams work at pace, 'sprinting' to produce new products or outputs<a id="footnote-428-12-backlink" href="#footnote-428-12"><sup>12</sup></a>. Once the objective has been achieved, agile teams disband and move onto new challenges. Agile working generally involves a high level of collaboration and a high level of mobility across projects and roles<a id="footnote-428-13-backlink" href="#footnote-428-13"><sup>13</sup></a>.</p><p>Agile employees are problem solvers, collaborative and resilient through change. They work best in small, cross-functional mission teams to address emerging business threats and opportunities. They are a resource that can be mobilised to work on complex or perennial challenges.</p><p>Their work is characterised by rapid decision-making, design thinking and controlled risk taking. Preliminary models or drafts are generated quickly and then tested for feasibility and impact – they test early and fail fast.</p><div><p>Our capabilities are well known across the APS and we are drawn into projects in any agency based on merit and our potential contribution.<br>– APS Graduate<br>future vision of an agile APS</p></div><hr><p><a id="footnote-428-1" href="#footnote-428-1-backlink">1</a> PwC and Canada's Public Policy Forum 2015, <em>Agile government: Responding to citizens' changing needs</em>, Ontario.</p><p><a id="footnote-428-2" href="#footnote-428-2-backlink">2</a> Paul Shelter in Burgess, V., 'Digital Transformation Office head Paul Shetler's mission to make government a delight to deal with', <em>Australian Financial Review</em>, 8 October 2015.</p><p><a id="footnote-428-3" href="#footnote-428-3-backlink">3</a> Cormann, M. (Minister for Finance), <em>Smaller Government–Transforming the public sector</em>, media release, 11 May 2015.</p><p><a id="footnote-428-4" href="#footnote-428-4-backlink">4</a> Ibid</p><p><a id="footnote-428-5" href="#footnote-428-5-backlink">5</a> Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration, <em>Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration</em>, Commonwealth of Australia, 2010.</p><p><a id="footnote-428-6" href="#footnote-428-6-backlink">6</a> OECD, "Special Feature: Employment reforms in central government since 2008," in <em>Government at a Glance 2015</em>, OECD, Paris, 2015; <em>Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration</em>, Commonwealth of Australia, 2010, p.11.</p><p><a id="footnote-428-7" href="#footnote-428-7-backlink">7</a> Dam, K., <em>How do Australians really feel about digital government services?</em> Digital Transformation Office blog. Available: <a href="https://www.dto.gov.au/blog/how-do-australians-really-feel-about-digital...(21 August 2015).</p><p><a id="footnote-428-8" href="#footnote-428-8-backlink">8</a> researchacma, <em>Report 1 – Australians' digital lives</em>, Communications report 2013-14 series, ACMA, Commonwealth of Australia, 2015.</p><p><a id="footnote-428-9" href="#footnote-428-9-backlink">9</a> <em>Australia's shortage of "super skills": focused and intensifying around highly-skilled professionals</em>, Hays, 2014. Available: <a href="http://www.hays.com.au/press-releases/HAYS_229247">http://www.hays.com.a... id="footnote-428-10" href="#footnote-428-10-backlink">10</a> Skills shortages displayed are those identified as moderate or severe by agencies. Australian Public Service Commission, <em>State of the Service Report 2012-13</em>, p.129.</p><p><a id="footnote-428-11" href="#footnote-428-11-backlink">11</a> Corporate Executive Board, <em>Why you need agile employees, not just hard workers</em>, Arlington, VA, 15 May 2013.</p><p><a id="footnote-428-12" href="#footnote-428-12-backlink">12</a> Willmott, P.,<em> "Want to become agile? Learn from your IT team"</em>, McKinsey &amp; Co., 2015. Available: <a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/want_to_become_agil... id="footnote-428-13" href="#footnote-428-13-backlink">13</a> Bell, M. 2001, "Workplace organisational models: changing workplace styles require new workplace services" in <em>The Agile Workplace: Support People and Their Work</em>, Gartner, p.56.</p>

Last reviewed: 
8 June 2018