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4.6 Workforce management

To deliver the Scheme, the Agency needs a capable and committed workforce that is reflective of the broader Australian society. The type of skills mix that the Agency seeks changes to support an evolving operational environment. It is critical that we attract top talent and retain the required workforce.

As at 30 June 2020, the Agency workforce comprised 4,396 APS employees, 1,742 labour hire contractors and secondees, 4,917 PiTC and 495 NCC partners.

People Strategy

The Agency’s first People Strategy was developed in 2017 to guide us and our PiTC through the early years of the Scheme transition. During this time, the size and composition of the Agency workforce has grown and changed. In 2020, we refreshed our People Strategy as the organisation moves through transition.

To deliver the Scheme, the Agency needs a capable and committed workforce that is reflective of the broader Australian society. The mix of skills needed by the Agency continues to evolve, reflecting the needs of participants, carers and their families. It is critical the Agency attracts talented, knowledgeable and experienced staff as well as providing ongoing investment in building capability and training delivery. In particular, the Agency continues to expand and strengthen its focus on disability and cohort awareness to improve the quality of experience for participants.

The People Strategy 2022 has four key pillars built on the foundation of a solid people infrastructure. The four pillars are:

  • Workforce—establish an Agency workforce that reflects the community it serves with the capability and capacity to deliver the NDIS
  • Capability—support the Agency workforce to deliver consistent and positive participant experience performance
  • Performance—provide clarity of performance expectations and reward for outcomes
  • Engagement—build and embed a culture that cares about safety and staff wellbeing and drives for high performance.

 Shane Hryhorec is the CEO and founder of Push Mobility, which develops innovative disability equipment. It was one of the first assistive technology companies in Australia to sign up as a registered NDIS service provider.

Disability and diversity employment

In its second year of operation, the Agency’s Employee with Disability Network continued to play a key role in achieving our goal of being an employer of choice for people with disability and a leader for access and inclusion. The lived experiences of nearly 200 network members enable them to provide advice and guidance across the Agency’s operations. This includes internal operational policies and programs around recruitment, retention and support of workers with disability. The Employee with Disability Network is committed to working in partnership with the Agency to support workers with disability to achieve their career goals and aspirations by ensuring they can effectively and efficiently use their skills and experience to contribute to the Agency’s business outcomes.

In early 2020, the Agency established the Workplace Support and Disability Engagement Team, comprising a range of specialist disability support officers who oversee the implementation of workplace adjustments. During the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the team played a crucial role in ensuring workers with disability, many of whom had to transition to home-based work environments, had all their workplace adjustments and other additional support needs met.

The Agency continues to work with the Australian Network on Disability to ensure it is a Disability Confident Recruiter with training available for hiring managers.

The Agency’s graduate program, designed to build our future leadership capacity, has a strong focus on recruiting people with disability. In the 2020 intake, 60 per cent of the graduates shared that they live with disability.

Since its establishment in 2016, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network has continued to provide a forum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to connect with each other on a national basis. The Agency continues to deliver on the actions outlined in its second Reconciliation Action Plan, launched in May 2019. The Agency’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan outlines the Agency’s ongoing commitment to develop respectful and inclusive relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. The Agency has also continued to deliver on actions outlined in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy 2018–20. Key achievements delivered so far include the launch of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness training for all employees, the establishment of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Buddy Program, and continued participation in the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program and the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program.

The Agency is focused on supporting its workforce who identify as part of the LGBTIQA+ community. An LGBTIQA+ Inclusion Plan Working Group has formed to develop the Agency’s first LGBTIQA+ Inclusion Plan, which will outline how the Agency will attract, support and retain LGBTIQA+ people. This plan will be delivered in 2021. Early achievements in its development and design include the establishment of an LGBTIQA+ Employee Network and the appointment of a Senior Executive Service (SES) LGBTIQA+ Champion. The Agency holds membership with the national not–for–profit organisation Pride in Diversity.

Performance management

In 2019–20 the Agency introduced a refreshed Performance Framework for SES. This new framework will assist the Agency to move to a performance process that cascades the Agency Corporate Plan aspirations and goals to every level of the Agency. The move from 100 Day Plans to an annual performance cycle and annual goal setting provides strategic goal alignment, and focuses performance planning and assessment on achieving corporate strategic outcomes.

The new annual performance cycle includes mid-year and annual reviews and two informal check-ins. Mid–year and annual review ratings are based on ‘What’ and ‘How’, measures that align the Agency’s values and behaviours with performance. Regular check–ins and reviews facilitate ongoing quality conversations throughout the performance cycle that allow managers to check in on progress and whether goals and expectations need to be realigned to address changes in priorities. This change will be introduced to the broader Agency in the 2020–21 financial year.

Ethics policies

The Agency promotes ethical standards and behaviours relating to its workplaces and employment. All Agency staff are required to comply with the APS Values and Code of Conduct as set out in section 13 of the Public Service Act 1999. Possible breaches of the Code of Conduct are taken seriously, and action is taken when breaches occur.

The Agency has in place compulsory training programs, staff policies, and guidelines to help staff to understand their obligations and to support good workplace behaviour. Managers and staff have access to a network of officers trained to provide information and support to staff who have concerns about workplace behaviours, including bullying, harassment and discrimination. These officers receive a fortnightly allowance to undertake this role, as set out in the Agency Enterprise Agreement 2016–2019 and 2020–2023.

Material published on the Agency’s (internal) intranet includes information on the APS Values, the APS Employment Principles, the APS Code of Conduct and the Ethics Advisory Service, which is available to all APS employees who wish to discuss or seek advice on ethical issues that occur in the workplace.