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People management

DVA supports managers and staff with a full range of people management services to achieve its purpose.

Workforce planning

Since 2017 DVA has been implementing an ambitious agenda of veteran-centric reform to transform the delivery of services to the veteran community and the way in which we operate.

In recognition of this transformation, we have undertaken significant work to create the DVA Workforce Strategy 2018–2023.

The strategy is updated biannually to ensure that DVA is continually working towards attracting, retaining and developing a workforce that is capable of delivering high-quality and connected services to all generations of veterans and their families and the wider veteran community.

To effectively support DVA's long-term operational objectives, the Workforce Strategy summarises what we are doing now, what our next priorities are, and how we measure our progress.

The strategy identifies five key themes:

  • Our people, our processes
  • Building our future
  • High-performing DVA
  • Inclusive, valued and innovative
  • Capable and empowered.

All workforce-related initiatives, policies, strategies and actions are reflected under one of the key themes.

The department’s effectiveness in attracting, retaining and developing our workforce is measured in the annual performance statements.

Employment arrangements

All employee remuneration and benefits are provided under the DVA Enterprise Agreement 2019–22, individual flexibility agreements, or determinations under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. DVA does not have any Australian workplace agreements in place.

The DVA Enterprise Agreement 2019–22 commenced on 25 February 2019. The nominal date of expiry is three years from the commencement date.

The enterprise agreement contains provisions allowing the Secretary and an employee to make an individual flexibility agreement varying the effect of the terms of the enterprise agreement. At 30 June 2019 DVA had in place 27 individual flexibility agreements providing enhanced individual remuneration or benefits.

DVA also had in place 31 determinations made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act delivering remuneration and conditions for senior executive service (SES) employees.

Information on the salaries available to staff is in Appendix B: Staffing overview. Performance pay is not available to DVA employees.

Non-salary benefits provided to SES employees and a small number of high-performing employees may include parking facilities at the workplace or an allowance in lieu of $1,550 per year, and airline lounge membership. Medical Officers have access to up to five days paid leave per year to undertake professional development activities and are able to claim up to $4,595 per year in reimbursement for costs associated with their professional development.

Learning and development

DVA is committed to developing its workforce to be capable and empowered to deliver on DVA’s objectives, now and in the future. Our approach is defined in the Learning and Development Strategy, which focuses on four key learning and development areas:

  • Leadership—DVA’s leaders are focused on the wellbeing of veterans and their families, value people, promote a culture of respect and positivity, have shared and common goals, and demonstrate inspiring and brave leadership
  • Experience—70 per cent of capability building happens in the workplace through the experience of day-to-day tasks, challenges and opportunities
  • Social—20 per cent of capability building happens in social settings through coaching, mentoring, networks and collaboration
  • Education—10 per cent of capability building happens through attending structured courses and programs, and reading or listening to online lectures, podcasts or other educational sources.

DVA’s leaders are supported through various e-learning and face-to-face initiatives including Supervising Teams, Building and Leading High Performance Teams, the Mentoring Program and transformational leadership initiatives including the Leading Transformation Program (LTP) and the ENGAGE initiative. LTP is targeted at DVA’s front-line leaders at the executive level with the aim of ensuring that DVA leaders are skilled and capable to lead transformation effectively and behave in a way that encourages and enables change in people, systems, processes and culture necessary to achieve the further shifts towards veteran-centricity. ENGAGE is targeted at SES leadership and complements LTP. ENGAGE aims to give DVA’s SES a deeper understanding of their performance environment and levers to improve this; to develop a shared vision and clear narrative around DVA transformation; and to shape personal leadership habits to better bring effect to change and transformation.

Experience is targeted through on-the-job tasks and problem solving, appropriate delegations, stretch assignments, opportunities to supervise, participation in transformation groups and activities, and our Intra-Agency Network Program.

Social learning is targeted through the Performance Feedback Scheme, job shadowing, and opportunities to work with role models, including through our formal Mentoring Program and one-on-one coaching initiatives.

Education is targeted through structured activities. The DVA Enterprise Agreement 2019–22 allows employees access to at least five days of structured education activities per year.

DVA evaluates the effectiveness of our learning and development strategies through evaluation surveys, the APS employee census, and the Performance Feedback Scheme. These evaluation methods help DVA to target its strategies to secure the skills and knowledge required and ensure that learnings are applied in the workplace.

DVA's Graduate Program is a structured, 11-month development program designed to give graduates exposure to the broad range of important work that the department undertakes. The program prepares graduates for successful careers within the APS.

The program is based in Canberra and provides networking opportunities to encourage collaboration and excellence within DVA and across government. Those activities are complemented by training and on-the-job development which ensures that graduates acquire practical skills in a supportive and challenging environment.