Our staff are a highly capable, resilient and motivated workforce who contribute to achieving Finance's objectives. The successful delivery of our priorities depends on the effective engagement and management of our existing workforce as well as our ability to attract, develop and retain new staff who demonstrate stewardship, integrity, resilience and professionalism.
Our workforce operating environment is complex and challenging. During 2020–21, Finance continued to respond to, and deliver on, the Government's priorities, while also managing the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have continued to embed the lessons learned from the initial stages of the pandemic including applying feedback from staff on our flexible work policy and practices. Strengthening the capability and confidence of our managers to ensure staff are supported, have the tools and resources to deliver, and have access to flexible working arrangements is an ongoing focus for the Department.
In January 2021, the results of the 2020 APS Employee Census were released. Our response rate of 94 per cent—the top result for the equivalent agencies in the APS—provided a strong understanding of our staff's view of the Finance workplace culture, as well as areas for continued focus. Our results indicated our staff continued to be strongly engaged, productive and committed to the delivery of outcomes for the Government and for Australians. Our results provided positive feedback on the health and wellbeing support offered and promoted to staff by the Department. As part of the Executive’s commitment to the employee census results and Finance’s positive workplace culture, three key areas were identified for particular focus.
- embedding improvements—maintain focus on employee wellbeing, maintain flexible work practices that drive productivity and sustain use of digital platforms and processes
- communication and consultation—engage staff in the transition to the post-COVID environment and strengthen the focus on communication of priorities and goals at the local business area level
- purpose and commitment—continue to foster staff connection and strengthen commitment to organisational goals and purpose.
During 2020–21, the Department undertook work to further build a culture of integrity and assurance. A number of practical strategies were adopted to strengthen the awareness and understanding of Finance staff, at all levels, of their responsibilities across three key areas:
- awareness—ensuring staff know what is expected of them and what processes to follow
- capability—ensuring staff have appropriate skills and training to perform their duties
- transparency—ensuring relevant metrics and data are available to guide decision-making.
As part of the Department's implementation of our new Integrity Framework, the Finance leadership expectations were revised to include a fourth behaviour—Act with Integrity. The addition of this behaviour acknowledges the importance of leaders leading by example by acting with transparency, accountability and honesty to deliver quality outcomes and by contributing to Finance's culture of professional integrity through individual and collective actions and ethics.