Our people are at the core of our ability to support the government, our ministers and the community. Our leaders and staff uphold and promote the APS Values and demonstrate leadership, integrity and responsiveness. These qualities define the department’s culture, and were evident in our 2014 APS employee census results.
‘This is a great place to work. Our APS census results are really positive and they show that our people are committed to their jobs, they are happy with our leadership and we really enjoy working together.’
James, People Branch, September 2014
The department’s People and Capability Strategy links with the Strategic Plan 2014–2017 and sets out our actions to maintain a positive culture and an engaged, capable, innovative and adaptive workforce.
The strategy guides our work practices at all levels. Everyone in the department is a leader—in our teams and in our daily interactions with colleagues and with our clients and stakeholders. All employees are encouraged to embed the priorities and leadership behaviours outlined in the strategy in their day-to-day work and interactions with each other.
The 2014 APS employee census provided a rich source of data on employee engagement, with 89 per cent of the department’s employees responding. Managers discussed the census results with their teams and recorded ideas for local-level actions in response to the results. Extensive demographic analysis—including gender, age, location, classification level, diversity status, tenure, employment status, education and type of work—was undertaken to explore the census results more deeply and identify agency-level and tailored responses.
At 30 June 2015 the department had 1867 employees—1805 ongoing and 62 non-ongoing.
|30 June 2014||30 June 2015|
|30 June 2014||30 June 2015|
|30 June 2014||30 June 2015|
|New South Wales||64||83||147||67||82||149|
|Australian Capital Territory||805||687||1492||825||677||1502|
|30 June 2014||30 June 2015|
|Indigenous Australian Government Development Program Trainees||1||3||4||2||3||5|
|APS Level 1||0||0||0||0||2||2|
|APS Level 2||2||1||3||4||2||6|
|APS Level 3||40||31||71||45||38||83|
|APS Level 4||118||92||210||111||87||198|
|APS Level 5||175||130||305||188||124||312|
|APS Level 6||237||200||437||241||206||447|
|Executive Level 1||253||239||492||261||228||489|
|Executive Level 2||91||75||170||96||66||162|
|Information Technology Specialist||2||14||16||2||13||15|
|Senior Government Lawyer||11||8||19||14||9||23|
|Principal Government Lawyer||16||6||22||17||7||24|
|SES Band 1||19||25||41||20||25||45|
|SES Band 2||11||6||16||8||6||14|
|SES Band 3||2||0||2||1||1||2|
The department’s People and Capability Strategy sets out five people priorities:
- A positive culture—A culture that embraces our vision and values, develops good leaders, helps to create our identity and guides the way we work to support the department to deliver on our priorities.
- An engaged workforce—People who are productive, have a clear understanding of how their work contributes to achieving the government’s goals, and feel valued.
- A capable workforce—People who have the capabilities they need to work effectively, deliver the government’s priorities, and understand that effort and achievement are rewarded.
- An innovative workforce—People who continually learn and explore new ways of thinking and working.
- An adaptive, responsive workforce—A workforce that has developed both specialised and broad skills, and readily adapts and responds as demands require.
All staff had the opportunity to contribute to the development of the strategy. Department-wide workshops gave employees the chance to share ideas about how to implement the people priorities, offering practical ways that the department and our leaders, teams and branches and our people individually can contribute to each priority.
The People and Capability Committee steered the development of the strategy and will continue to guide its implementation. Environmental scanning and analysis of our workforce data were used in the development process to strengthen the strategy.
Leading at all levels—our leadership statement
Good leadership shapes everyone’s experience in the workplace. It helps keep our people engaged and builds a positive culture, and provides people with the clarity and focus they need to deliver the department’s objectives in the best possible way.
In our department we expect our leaders to display positive leadership behaviours and exemplify what it is to be a good leader. These principles are outlined in a leadership statement, which we expect to be embodied not just in our senior managers, but in people of all levels across the department.
By committing to the qualities and behaviours in the statement, our leaders aim to create an environment where we can get the best out of our people.
Our leaders are expected to demonstrate the following behaviours:
- Empower—We encourage our people to develop their skills and build their confidence. We provide opportunities for learning and mobility within the department.
- Communicate—We share information, communicate well about change, listen to our people and give feedback. Our communication is genuine, timely and clear.
- Work creatively—We look for new and innovative ways to deliver our work and support and encourage our people to do the same.
- Collaborate—We work collegiately and collaboratively with people across our department, the APS and our stakeholders. We encourage teamwork and enable our people to engage with a range of stakeholders.
- Adapt—We adapt to change in a proactive and constructive way. We encourage our people to embrace change and see it as an opportunity.
- Engage with risk—We address risk positively and find the best solution to deliver our priorities.
- Trust and encourage curiosity—We show confidence in our people and share responsibility with them. We are open to discussion of new ideas and ways to improve our performance.
- Expect and recognise high performance—We set high standards and make sure our expectations are clear, work with people in a constructive and open way, and award and recognise them when they perform well.
Learning and development
During 2014–15 the department continued to invest in the development of its people, with an emphasis on strong leadership and management skills as well as core skills such as writing and strategic thinking.
A new corporate learning and development plan was developed in 2014 that clearly articulates the department’s approach to learning and development and identifies five capability development priorities—leadership, management expertise, core skills, succession planning and talent development. Staff development strategies are based on a combination of on-the-job and formal training methods, and we evaluate their effectiveness through internal surveys, programme evaluations and APS employee census results.
A management development programme began in early 2015 for 100 APS 6, EL 1 and EL 2 staff. The programme was specifically designed for the department and aims to strengthen the capability and confidence of our managers in areas such as risk and financial management, performance management and innovation. Participants and their managers have given the programme positive reviews, and employees have reported notable positive changes in their managers’ capability. The programme will continue in 2015–16.
Senior leadership development continued to be a priority for the department. A programme of 360-degree feedback assessments was run for SES and EL 2 staff to identify individual development needs and benchmark leadership capability for the department. The programme provided feedback from various sources, including external stakeholders, and focused on areas of strength as well as opportunities for improvement.
Remuneration and conditions of employment
A new enterprise agreement is currently being negotiated, consistent with the government’s workplace bargaining policy and a set of bargaining principles established by the department’s Executive. Through the enterprise bargaining process, the department aims to achieve a fair and responsible outcome for employees and the department and an enterprise agreement that rewards people for their work and helps to create a high-performing workplace culture.
The department issued a notice of employee representational rights on 30 July 2014, formally inviting employees to appoint a bargaining representative to represent them during the bargaining process.
Until a new enterprise agreement is in place, all non-SES employees are covered by the preserved DEEWR Enterprise Agreement 2012–2014. The agreement provides a range of core conditions of employment and flexible working arrangements. When the department was created on 18 September 2013, a determination was signed under section 24(3) of the Public Service Act 1999 that preserved the conditions of employment that non-SES and SES employees had in place prior to that date.
Twenty-three non-SES employees have arrangements that recognise specific capabilities and additional responsibilities. Seventeen of these are supplementary section 24(1) determinations and a further six retained individual flexibility arrangements that were in place prior to the preservation of the DEEWR enterprise agreement.
At 30 June 2015, 56 SES employees had section 24(1) determinations in place establishing their employment terms and conditions.
Table 19 shows the salary ranges available for employees by classification level. Salary ranges are unchanged between the 2013–14 and 2014–15 years.
|APS Level 1||27,172—49,516||27,172—49,516|
|APS Level 2||53,190—56,680||53,190—56,680|
|APS Level 3||59,400—61,870||59,400—61,870|
|APS Level 4||64,615—69,103||64,615—69,103|
|APS Level 5||71,342—76,271||71,342—76,271|
|APS Level 6||80,204—88,197||80,204—88,197|
|Executive Level 1||98,624—109,001||98,624—109,001|
|Executive Level 2||116,056—139,311||116,056—139,311|
|Information Technology Specialist||114,451—119,901||114,451—119,901|
|Senior Government Lawyer||98,624—120,814||98,624—120,814|
|Principal Government Lawyer||132,400—142,794||132,400—142,794|
|SES Band 1||140,000—245,000||140,000—245,000|
|SES Band 2||206,000—279,000||206,000—279,000|
|SES Band 3||270,000—300,000||270,000—300,000|
Note: The Secretary is not included in these figures as remuneration arrangements for departmental secretaries are set out under a separate instrument.
|30 June 2014||30 June 2015|
|Section 24(1) determinations||Enterprise agreement||Total||Section 24(1) determinations||Enterprise agreement||Total|
During 2014–15, no SES employees were granted performance pay. The enterprise agreement for non-SES employees does not provide access to performance pay.
The department provides a range of flexible working arrangements to assist employees to balance their personal and professional lives, including part-time working hours, flex-time, purchased leave, parental leave, cultural leave and community volunteer leave. Employees can also access studies assistance.
Flexible working arrangements allow the department to respond to new and changing business needs, and increase productivity through improved employee engagement. The 2014 APS employee census showed that the department had higher levels of employee engagement than the APS average.
Workforce planning and employee retention
Ensuring we maintained a capable and adaptable workforce continued as a priority over the year in order to meet business objectives.
The department undertakes regular analysis of our workforce movements and demographics and reports the outcomes to the Executive and People and Capability Committee along with recommended changes to department policy. This includes analysis of risks associated with employees’ movements to ensure key skills are being retained in the department. The overall separation rate for the department remained low compared with long-term averages.
The flexibility of the department’s workforce was demonstrated during the year in the way we successfully delivered the job services tender and related work associated with the jobactive programme. These outcomes were achieved primarily by existing departmental employees, who were able to move from their usual roles into the tender team and apply their expertise in managing employment contracts. At the same time, they gained valuable experience and skills they could take back to their work groups.
Building and maintaining our workforce capability and implementing effective succession planning strategies will be continuing priorities for the year ahead to ensure that we can meet the challenges associated with the delivery of jobactive.
The department started developing an enterprise workforce plan that aims to identify workforce risks such as retention and loss of critical skills, as well as articulate strategies to develop capability, manage performance, plan for succession and manage talent, and articulate how to position the workforce in 2015–16 to best deliver business outcomes. The workforce strategies required to mitigate these risks are set out in a people and capability implementation plan.
We will continue to monitor and manage recruitment actions in 2015–16 to ensure that roles are advertised at appropriate classification levels, consistent with work-level standards.
Entry-level recruitment programmes
The department offers a range of entry-level recruitment programmes, including the Employment Graduate Programme, Employment ICT Internship Programme, Indigenous Cadetship Programme, and Indigenous Australian Government Development Programme. These programmes allow the department to build and maintain capability and offer participants the chance to gain specific skills and knowledge through on-the-job training and formal learning and development opportunities.
The Employment Graduate Programme is a 10-month programme offering workplace learning and development tailored to working in the department and the wider APS. The programme allows graduates to experience two job rotations in areas that will enhance their knowledge and capability. The 2015 programme started in February with 27 participants.
The department welcomes our 2015 graduates
Every February the department receives a shot of energy and enthusiasm as a new set of graduates join. This year we welcomed 27 graduates with backgrounds in a range of fields including ICT, legal, economics and applied statistics and generalist disciplines. Of the 27 graduates, two are based in the state network—one in the New South Wales state office and another in the Western Australia state office—and two are in the Shared Services Centre. The rest are based in the national office.
Our graduates started with a two-day orientation programme that gave them a snapshot of the department’s priorities for the year ahead and an overview of our policies and procedures. It was also an opportunity to network with their cohort, their teams and graduate alumni.
Over the 10-month programme, they participate in two work placements, the second of which will start in July. They will build their APS skills through a blend of on-the-job learning, learning from each other during graduate-specific sessions, and learning from our leaders at ‘Grad-Meets’ sessions. The learning and development opportunities we offer graduates include training courses in essential writing in the APS, Indigenous cultural awareness, presentations and public speaking, and constructive conversations. They can also participate in the Australian Public Service Commission’s series for graduates, which incorporates A Taste of Government, The Great APS Graduate Debate, Q&A—An APS Panel Discussion and Candid Reflections from Inspiring APS Leaders.
In consultation with their supervisors, graduates also have the opportunity to enhance their skills specific to their discipline and/or work area through training of their choice. They also run an active fundraising programme to support a community-based organisation of their choice.
The department’s graduate programme is rated very highly by graduates. It was ranked eighth on the list of the best Australian Government agency programmes in the Australian Association of Graduate Employers’ survey of the 2014 graduate intake. Overall, the department ranked 40th out of 100 organisations across all industries.
The department’s ICT Internship Programme provides work experience opportunities for university students to complement their studies. The department employed three ICT interns in 2014 and one in 2015. Subject to successful completion of the programme, interns may be offered a position in the department’s Graduate Programme—ICT Discipline.
The Indigenous Cadetship Programme offers career development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students by providing an opportunity to study full-time as well as gain work experience in a government agency. At 30 June 2015, the department had one cadet.
The Indigenous Australian Government Development Programme is a joint initiative of the Department of Employment and the Department of Education and Training, managed on their behalf by the Shared Services Centre. It is widely taken up by other APS agencies and offers participants ongoing employment and the opportunity to undertake a Diploma of Government together with other professional and personal development activities. At 30 June 2015, the department had five participants in the programme.
Diversity and inclusion
The department is committed to diversity in all aspects of our work. Diversity and inclusion underpin the capability of our workforce. The department’s Diversity Strategy was finalised in 2014–15 and sets out the overarching framework to ensure that our workplaces support and embrace all elements of diversity. The strategy encompasses a variety of activities, including maintaining a workforce that is flexible, fair, equitable and respectful, promoting lifelong learning, leveraging ICT and equipment to support our people, addressing barriers to gaining access to career development opportunities and ensuring workplace adjustment requirements are met.
The strategy has a strong emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and people with disability, while acknowledging the need to maintain other areas of diversity such as gender, age and ethnicity. As part of a suite of people strategies, policies and plans, the strategy is aligned closely to the department’s Disability Action Plan, Agency Multicultural Plan and Reconciliation Action Plan, as well as the People and Capability Strategy and the strategic plan.
Disability Action Plan
The department’s Disability Action Plan aims to develop a culture of support and respect in the department for people with disability—one that reflects a person’s contribution and ability, and allows for workplace adjustments to be made to maximise their contribution. Through our flexible workplace practices, we are also committed to supporting our employees who care for people with disability.
At 30 June 2015, 3.38 per cent of departmental employees identify as having, or supporting a person with, disability.
Three areas of activity in the plan are to:
- raise awareness and understanding of disability issues among employees, build manager capability, and ensure our processes efficiently and effectively assist employees with disability or caring responsibilities
- attract, recruit and retain employees with disability
- improve leadership across the department including establishing the disability employee network and highlighting Executive engagement.
The department’s Disability Champion is state network manager Helen Willoughby, state manager of the NSW/ACT office. As the Disability Champion, Helen provides important leadership and support to our employees with disability. The Disability Champion represents the department externally and provides leadership across the APS by contributing to the APS Disability Champions Network and other related forums. Helen is deeply committed to the disability sector and uses her role to help improve the outcomes for people with disability by raising awareness of their work and needs as employees of the department.
‘As this department’s Disability Champion I want to ensure that our colleagues working with a disability are given every opportunity to thrive and succeed.’
Helen Willoughby, September 2014
The department supports a disability employee network that offers peer support, helps to raise disability confidence, and is the primary advisory group to the department’s People and Capability Committee on matters affecting employees with disability.
Agency Multicultural Plan
Our Agency Multicultural Plan 2014–15, launched in early 2015, aims to ensure equitable access to the department’s services and programmes. It supports our communication and engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and organisations. The plan is embedded in the department’s business processes to ensure that multicultural access and equity is incorporated into policy development and programme and service delivery. The department’s multicultural champion is Martin Hehir, Deputy Secretary, Employment.
Reconciliation Action Plan
The department is committed to achieving reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community. We are responsible for national policies and programmes that help Australians find and keep employment and work in safe, fair and productive workplaces. Through this work we contribute to the government’s priority of getting more Indigenous Australians into work to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2014–2016 includes a number of practical actions and targets to promote reconciliation within the department and create opportunities for our Indigenous employees. To enable Indigenous Australians to share equally in our vision of more jobs and great workplaces, the RAP sets out our commitment to:
- deliver policy and programmes that achieve strong outcomes for Indigenous Australians
- build the knowledge, awareness and cultural capability of our staff
- support the recruitment, retention and career development of our Indigenous staff.
Forty-eight departmental employees identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander—2.57 per cent of our total workforce—at 30 June 2015. All of these employees are engaged on an ongoing basis.
During 2014–15, we made significant progress in implementing our RAP, which is monitored by the RAP working group of the People and Capability Committee. Key achievements included:
- introducing ‘policy circles’ to enable different areas across the department to consult with working groups of Indigenous staff on how the programmes and services the department delivers are designed, evaluated or communicated about
- providing all staff with access to a cultural awareness e-learning course and opportunities to attend face-to-face cultural awareness training
- updating our cultural protocols to ensure that we work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people respectfully and in a way that recognises their culture and heritage
- holding the department’s inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employee workshop, which brought together staff from across the country to focus on career development and to assist employees to reach their potential
- providing encouragement and support to Indigenous employees to develop individual career management plans, including access to professional career coaches, job shadowing and co-mentoring with senior managers
- celebrating significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events such as National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.
The department’s Indigenous Leader, Queensland State Manager Robert Willmett, has an important role in advising on the department’s development and implementation of policies and programmes that improve the lives of Indigenous Australians and embedding a commitment to reconciliation into our work. He also has a key role in representing the interests of the department’s Indigenous employees to the Executive, including taking part in key governance committees and jointly chairing the Indigenous Staff Committee.
‘I’m proud to be the department’s Indigenous Leader. Indigenous business is our business. I’m keen to ensure this is a department where Indigenous staff enjoy working and feel they make a valuable contribution.’
Robert Willmett, September 2014
The department’s Indigenous Champion, Group Manager Jo Wood, plays an important role in our efforts to increase, retain and develop the Indigenous presence in the department. As chair of the RAP Working Group, she takes forward the key actions in our RAP, and she is actively involved in representational and leadership work across the APS.
National Reconciliation Week celebrations in the department
National Reconciliation Week, which ran from 27 May to 3 June 2015, was celebrated across the department, with staff participating in a range of events in all parts of the country.
There was a lot of activity in the state network, including morning and afternoon teas, visits to places of significance and cross-agency activities. The Western Australia office co-hosted a forum with Crown Perth to talk about jobactive and how it will support Indigenous employment, and staff from the South Australia office attended a National Reconciliation breakfast.
The national office kicked off its celebrations with a lunch-time visit to the National Museum of Australia for a guided tour of the First Australians: Gallery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The department’s Indigenous Champion, Jo Wood, led a group of more than 35 staff who absorbed the history of the first Australians through stories and interactive displays.
An all-staff event was the centrepiece of the week. Australian entertainment industry veteran Lex Marinos gave staff an insight into his experience growing up in regional Australia and the close affinity he has had with Indigenous Australians throughout his life and career. The event was officially opened by Ngambri Elder Paul House, and the department’s Indigenous Leader and the Secretary spoke about the importance of reconciliation for them personally and for the department.
The HarmonE choir joined in the celebrations with two performances—‘Stomping the Ground’ and ‘Sesere eeye’, a traditional song from the Torres Strait Islands. Lisa Charles, the department’s Senior Indigenous Adviser, presented Vicki Rundle, Group Manager, People and Communication, with artwork for the department on behalf of the Indigenous Staff Network and the Indigenous Staff Committee. The artwork, titled Networks, was developed in collaboration with the Indigenous Staff Network and will remain on display in the department.
Work health and safety
The department is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all employees with the aim of minimising the risk of injury and disease. The department’s health and safety arrangements are in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
The Work Health and Safety Committee focuses on continuous improvement in the management of workplace health and safety and provides an effective consultative mechanism for employees and departmental representatives.
The network of health and safety representatives was refreshed during the year following significant accommodation relocations of many work groups. The department continued to meet all employer obligations and to effectively manage health and safety risks.
Work health and safety incident reporting
A total of 63 incidents were reported in 2014–15, with ‘falls, including slips and trips’ accounting for the highest proportion (30 per cent) of all reported incidents (see Table 21). There was an increase in reported incidents of ‘other muscular stress’ (12.7 per cent of total reported incidents), which was partly related to the accommodation moves.
Between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015, the department notified Comcare of three incidents pursuant to section 38 of the Work Health and Safety Act. This compares with two incidents reported to Comcare in the period 18 September 2013 to 30 June 2014. The three notifiable incidents were quite disparate in nature and were unforeseeable. Two of the affected employees required minimal time off work; the third employee continues to receive rehabilitation support to assist their return to work.
There were no investigations of the department under Part 10 of the Work Health and Safety Act.
|Mechanism of incident||DEEWR incidents (%)||Department of Employment incidents (%)||(%)|
|Falls on the same level (including trips and slips)||34||30||30|
|Miscellaneous and uncategorised mechanisms||5.6||15||12.7|
|Unspecified mechanism of injury||1.9||10||9.5|
|Repetitive movement with low muscle loading||17||7.5||1.6|
|Being hit by moving objects||0||7.5||8|
|Other muscular stress||11.3||5||12.7|
|Single contact with chemical or substance (excluding insect and spider bites and stings)||0||5||1.6|
|Hitting objects with the body||3.8||2.5||8|
|Other and multiple mechanisms of injury||1.9||2.5||3.2|
|Fall from a height||0||2.5||1.6|
|Exposure to variations in pressure (other than sound)||0||2.5||0|
|Exposure to mental stress factors||7.5||0||0|
|Other contact with chemical or substance (includes insect and spider bites and stings)||3.8||0||0|
|Contact or exposure to heat and cold||3.8||0||3.2|
|Contact with electricity||1.9||0||0|
|Slide or cave in||0||0||1.6|
The department’s unscheduled absence rates compare favourably with other policy agencies. We remain committed to building employee engagement and removing barriers to participation in the workplace. During the year, a positive attendance pilot began in several areas of the department, which involves manager participation in positive attendance training, meetings with senior managers to discuss ways to boost attendance, and the provision of regular and detailed attendance information to managers.