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Performance statement – agency direction four

Professionalise our workforce

Our intended state:

  • we further professionalise electoral management and delivery. We do this through attracting, developing and retaining a professional and agile workforce
  • our approach to training is centrally-led and nationally consistent. Staff at all levels have clear learning pathways
  • we engage with our temporary staff through the electoral cycle, continually improving and optimising recruitment and training for the temporary election workforce

Intended result and
performance criteria in AEC corporate plan*

Link to purpose


Explanation of result

4.1 Staff are role capable and have a clear understanding of expectations and accountabilities

Effective lifecycle management of the AEC workforce is embedded in human resource systems and guided by strategy

Training and development activities evaluated and lessons from the 2019 federal election are implemented

A capability framework defines learning pathways for AEC staff at all levels



The AEC workforce is central to achieving our purpose and advancing our agency directions.

A new AEC Learning and Professional Development Strategy was released in June, which guides our approach to learning and development, future investment, workforce capability, and agility (see Developing People, section 5).

An AEC People Strategy is being finalised for release in 2020–21, along with associated action plans.

Approximately 99% of identified AEC APS staff completed mandatory corporate learning in 2019–20.

A further 99% of the AEC’s temporary election workforce who were required to undertake election-specific training for the Eden-Monaro by-election, completed this successfully.

New flagship AEC learning programs were developed for delivery in 2020–21.

A capability framework will be released in 2020–21 to encourage continuous staff learning and development, and to build capabilities for success.

*Source: AEC Corporate Plan 2019–2023, p.13.

What we did in 2019–20

We responded to bushfires and COVID-19 with both operational and workforce agility, and alongside other Commonwealth entities. The year was characterised by significant changes to our work environment. We updated our approach to work health and safety, and adopted new practices to keep staff and the public safe, while continuing to deliver high quality services to electors. These changes were informed by regular ‘pulse’ surveys of staff as they transitioned between AEC offices and working from home through COVID-19.

We continued developing our new people strategy and activities to support its implementation. This includes:

  • a strategic workforce plan to ensure the AEC has the right people and capabilities, at the right time
  • a refreshed AEC careers page, and enhanced recruitment and onboarding platform

During the year we:

  • delivered the job access program to increase workplace representation of people from diverse backgrounds
  • participated in Australian Government Graduate Recruitment to attract new talent using Affirmative Measure and RecruitAbility
  • planned the implementation of the NewAccess program—an evidence-based mental health coaching service, which from July 2020 will complement our early intervention initiatives

Learning and development activities for employees were also implemented, including the AEC’s Learning and Professional Development Strategy 2020–2025.

The following new flagship learning programs were planned for delivery in early 2020–21:

  • AEC National Induction Program— which guides the performance and professional development of new employees
  • Senior Leaders Program—which supports all Executive Level and Senior Executive staff to build leadership capability, and the skills and knowledge required for work within a dynamic environment of change and modernisation

These programs use best practice learning principles, can be delivered face-to-face and virtually, and will be evaluated for continuous improvement.

An Operational Leaders Program will also be delivered in 2020–21. This builds on the success of the AEC’s election training program and incorporates evaluation insights from the most recent electoral cycle.

To help employees learn and develop, a calendar of the mandatory and election specific training requirements— as required through the electoral cycle—was also released.