Shaping the culture of the ABS
Since 2015, the ABS has identified organisational culture as one of six critical success factors for organisational transformation. The inclusion of organisational culture was in response to a number of independent reviews which called for cultural change to position the ABS for the future, with a shift to become a more open, engaged and outward-looking agency, working in partnership with others. In 2017, the ABS developed a culture change strategy and conducted a benchmark assessment of its actual and desired future culture using the Organisational Culture Inventory (OCI). This work culminated in the development of ‘ABS: Our Culture 2018–2021’ – a statement which outlines organisational expectations and articulates associated high-performance behaviours.
Leaders have particular responsibility to demonstrate and encourage behaviour that reinforces our cultural intent at all times. ABS SES officers and Directors have committed to uphold this responsibility and embody behaviours that lead to high performance in individuals and teams.
In 2018–19 the Australian Statistician drove leader-led culture change through a range of activities, including:
- executive leadership coaching, workshops, interviews and 360-degree feedback assessments
- regular leadership summits themed around the desired behaviours articulated in the ‘ABS: Our Culture 2018–2021’ statement
- culture action sessions with staff at all levels to identify and act on data-driven local culture change initiatives
- identification of high performance EL2 behaviours and routines which have been shared with staff and are expected to be displayed across the ABS
- embedding high performance behaviours, aligned with our cultural aspirations, in the ABS’ new Job Design model.
An evaluation of the culture change work indicates the SES feel well prepared to lead the cultural element of ABS Transformation. Results from the 2018 APS Employee Census indicated improvements in both the internal satisfaction with the organisation’s culture and the processes in place to support this change.
The ABS will repeat the OCI process in 2019 to track progress towards our preferred culture. We will also continue our commitment to recognising behaviours that support the ongoing culture change, via our Recognition Program.