Results against key human resource and people management indicators
To measure the commitment of staff to the organisation we analyse key people performance indicators, in particular retention, separation and unscheduled absence rates. These provide a guide to our organisational health.
Retention and separation
Over 2002-03 the retention and separation rates achieved workforce planning targets with:
- 115 separations (compared with 88 in 2001-02)
- a separation rate of 12.5 per cent (compared with 10.5 per cent in 2001-02).
A number of practices were in place to manage unscheduled absences such as monthly reporting and review of absence rates. We also participated in a survey on absence management in the public service conducted by the ANAO.
During the year, the overall unscheduled absence rate per full-time equivalent employee was 8.7 days (including IOTs), this is an increase from the 2001-02 result of 8.08 days per full-time equivalent employee. Irregular figures for the month of January were due to the Canberra bushfires which resulted in higher than usual absenteeism.
The department was involved in an ANAO cross-agency audit on Absence Management in the APS (Audit Report No. 52). This audit assessed the level and cost of unscheduled absence in the APS, the degree to which current absence management reflects better practice, and to identify areas for improvement. Various types of unscheduled absence including sick leave were examined. While we currently have in place a number of practices recommended by the ANAO, the report produced several additional recommendations suitable for consideration by the department and which will be further assessed in light of the department's wider workforce planning strategy in 2003-04.
During the year, a number of trends emerged as significant. A decline in corporate workforce numbers was accompanied by a decrease in regional programme workforce numbers. Recruitment (notably among temporary employees) decreased substantially while permanent separations rose. The age profile of the department remained relatively unchanged with over two thirds of staff aged 35 and over.
Results against the Investors in People audit
The department continues to meet the Investors in People standard. The auditors found evidence that the department had improved over the last 12 months in relation to the development and performance of its staff. The 'atmosphere' in the department was found to be generally positive notwithstanding the many structural changes that have occurred in recent times. The main area found to require continued effort is the integration of the regional staff into the department's culture and business.
The commitment demonstrated by the senior team was considered to be obvious to and well regarded by all of the staff. Ensuring that same level of commitment and skill amongst middle management will be necessary to maintain the current impetus for improvement. One of the most important targets will be improving understanding by middle managers that the strategy of developing people is directly related to improving business outcomes. This will include improving the quality of the performance exchange process, particularly the use of Plan on a Page as a tool for focused discussions.
Leading in DOTARS was found to have a significant positive impact on those who attend. Although staff were found to generally feel that opportunities for development were offered equally, there are some opportunities for improvement. The organisation could use the filling of vacant positions as developmental processes (and advertise them as such) and temporary staff could also be involved.
Results from the People and Workplace Survey
The model below at Figure 3 represents the six key elements of our people and workplace on which the 2002 People and Workplace Survey was developed. It was used as the framework to measure our progress towards achieving our organisation and people and workplace outcome and objectives and to measure our corporate health. The six elements of the People and Workplace Model overlap to give a broad definition of how capable, committed and productive our staff are.
The framework and structure of the model is based on key concepts being promoted within the department and is specifically aligned with the department's business direction and unique working environment and culture. The model was also developed to provide a common definition of what corporate health means to staff and assist in developing findings that can be actioned.
Figure 3: The six elements of the department's people and workplace model
The survey found that the management of the department was held in high regard by staff with 80 per cent of staff satisfied with their supervisors and around 70 per cent of staff satisfied with the performance of the secretary and other senior staff members. Individual and team morale was also very strong and staff have a high level of job satisfaction.
A cultural divide was identified between divisions which has since been addressed through the new group structure implemented on 1 July 2003.
The challenges from the survey arise in two main areas. The first is to focus initiatives on improving the productivity of staff, paying particular attention to staff perceptions of difficulties in procedures and processes. In this area there is also a need to address the performance feedback arrangements. The other challenge is to address the comparatively lower assessments of corporate health provided by middle management. Ratings by this group for most measures of corporate health are consistently lower than for other classification groups.