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Defence 2022 workforce initiatives

Developing staff

Defence continues to invest in building the intellectual edge of its workforce to meet the challenges and harness the opportunities of the rapidly evolving strategic environment. Defence offers a comprehensive continuum of skills and capability programs, which range from short micro-learning experiences to transformative leadership programs, to subsidised formal qualifications. For example, in 2019–20, 16 cohorts (630 participants) completed the Leading for Reform program, designed to enhance the ability of Executive Level (EL) leaders to model One Defence Leadership Behaviours and implement reform.

Other recent innovations in Defence learning include:

  • In collaboration with the Naval Shipbuilding College, Defence established a tailored educational sponsorship program for engineering undergraduates. This program seeks to build a pipeline to meet future skill needs of both Defence and defence industry within the shipbuilding enterprise and deliver 30 to 40 work-ready graduates to the shipbuilding enterprise annually. The first cohort will commence their careers at the start of 2022.
  • The Defence Online Academy was launched in July 2019 as an innovative strategic approach to learning that emphasises learner autonomy and leadership engagement. The academy offers learning pathways for the development of both future-focused and specialist skills. The Defence Online Academy had 909,000 site views in 2019–20.
  • Flexible virtual delivery options for leadership programs supported continuity of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and enabled Defence to maintain and expand industry and academia partnerships for the provision of learning services.
  • Defence implemented the Build on You program, a digital suite of micro-learning experiences. In May and June 2020, 1,000 learners, most working remotely, benefited from this program. The broader adoption of digital learning platforms, when layered with face-to- face learning, has yielded significant benefits in terms of cost, inclusiveness and learning outcomes.

Cultural reform

Defence continues its drive to be a diverse and inclusive employer of choice—respectful, trusted and proven to deliver. In 2019–20 our focus remained on reforming, refining and reinforcing culture through the six key cultural reform priorities of Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture 2017–2022:

  • leadership accountability
  • capability through inclusion
  • ethics and workplace behaviours
  • health, wellness and safety
  • workplace agility and flexibility
  • leading and developing integrated teams.

Implementation of cultural reform within Defence is undertaken at all levels of the organisation.

On an enterprise level we launched the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2019—2022, which contains 61 targeted actions to support Indigenous recruitment and retention, community engagement and Indigenous business.

Cultural change is being implemented through Groups and Services via programs including:

  • Next Generation Navy, which formally places the leadership of people and culture at the forefront of Navy’s strategy. The program is supported by five cultural pillars: value our people; develop leaders who value their team; enhance resilience; instil a sense of purpose; and drive to professional mastery. These pillars were most recently used as a foundation to develop and deliver a range of support to Navy people and their families during COVID-19.
  • Army’s cultural initiative Good Soldiering, which promotes an enduring culture of optimal performance as individuals, as teams and as an Army. It is founded on a platform of trust, exemplary character, values, and achieving inclusion through teaming.
  • New Horizon, Air Force’s cultural program, which focuses on the Air Force values of respect, excellence, agility, dedication, integrity and teamwork. These values ensure a fair, safe and inclusive work environment that supports the One Defence Leadership Behaviours required in a ‘Fifth-Generation Air Force’.

With the organisation moving into the third year of Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture 2017–2022, Defence is focused on enhancing its data measurement framework. This framework will help to evaluate cultural reform progress and identify where to focus future efforts and resourcing. To complement this, Defence has extended its collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Commission for a further two years. The collaboration has been important in monitoring cultural change efforts and making recommendations on how to optimise Defence culture.

Embedding culture into reform programs

The ADF Military Police Reform Program 2018–2020 established a Joint Military Police Unit in January 2020. Framed as essential to the delivery of effective policing within a unified structure, culture was a key consideration of this reform program from the outset.

Leading up to the establishment of the Joint Military Police Unit, staff were required to submit executive summaries outlining their interpretation of and contribution to cultural reform. This exercise proved useful in developing a widespread understanding of the significance of culture and generated various ideas for realising cultural reform, which were captured in a Cultural Reform Intent Statement and aligned Cultural Reform Plan.

As at 30 June 2020, the implementation of the Cultural Reform Plan is ongoing. However, the effectiveness of the Joint Military Police Unit has already been demonstrated through its support to Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST 2019–2020 and Operation COVID-19 ASSIST while continuing to provide law enforcement and investigative support to the ADF.