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Management of human resources

The Commission’s human resources management operates within the context of relevant legislation, government policy and Commission‑developed policy. Day‑to‑day management is devolved to senior managers within a broad framework agreed by Management Committee. The Committee routinely monitors the performance of people management functions, including through standing reports to its monthly meetings.

Workforce planning

Management Committee plays the key role of ensuring alignment between the Commission’s resources and its future capability requirements.

The Commission regularly considers a range of workforce planning issues associated with the attraction, retention and development of staff. Regular recruitment activity was undertaken in 2018‑19, to further build capability across roles and classifications. The Commission also reviews its graduate recruitment process annually with a view to increasing the awareness of graduating university students of the Commission as a potential employer. Thirteen new employees were engaged during 2018‑19 through the graduate recruitment program (an increase from five graduates in 2017‑18).

An important input to workforce planning is the information obtained from departing employees through exit questionnaires and, where possible, personal interviews on exit. Such information is considered by Management Committee and applied to a variety of initiatives including conditions of service, developing employment agreements, employee retention strategies, and learning and development initiatives.

Remuneration and employment conditions

Remuneration for the Chair and Commissioners is set directly by the Remuneration Tribunal in determinations that are publicly available on the Tribunal’s website.

The Commission’s Senior Executive Service (SES) employees are employed under individual determinations under the Public Service Act 1999. SES remuneration is set in the context of public and private sector benchmarks, including those contained in the APS Remuneration Report published by the Australian Public Service Commission.

Information on key management personnel remuneration is set out in Note 1(c) to the Financial Statements and disaggregated reporting is in the appendix, under Cross-reference. Average remuneration for senior executives and other highly paid staff is also in the appendix, under Cross-reference.

APS salary ranges for non‑SES staff, which correspond to the Commission’s broadbanded classifications, are shown in the enterprise agreement (available on the Commission’s website). The appendix, under Cross-reference, provides details of salary ranges at 30 June 2019.

The remuneration and terms and conditions of the Commission’s non‑SES employees are covered by the Enterprise Agreement 2017‑2020, which came into effect on 5 September 2017. The agreement includes a number of provisions aimed at providing work‑life balance and a satisfying and rewarding environment for employees. At 30 June 2019, four individual flexibility agreements were in place, addressing allowances and working hour arrangements.

Performance management and pay

All employees participate in the Commission’s performance management scheme. The scheme seeks to:

  • clarify the understanding by individual employees of their work tasks, their responsibilities and the performance standards expected (through performance agreements)
  • provide feedback on performance and improve communication between supervisors and their staff
  • provide a basis for determining salary advancement
  • identify learning and development needs
  • assist in identifying and managing underperformance.

Ahead of each appraisal round — which occur at six-monthly intervals — training is conducted for employees and managers to ensure readiness for formal feedback sessions.

Under the Commission’s enterprise agreement, all salary increases are conditional upon employees being rated fully effective in their performance appraisal. Performance bonuses are not a feature of remuneration for Commission employees.

Consultative arrangements

The formal employee consultative mechanism is the Productivity Commission Consultative Committee. The committee comprises elected employee representatives, a CPSU representative, and management representatives. The committee met four times in 2018–2019.

In addition, there is direct consultation between management and employees, including through regular team meetings.

Learning and development

The Commission encourages employees to undertake learning and development across four core competencies:

  • management and leadership
  • conceptual and analytical skills
  • time and work management
  • oral and written communication.

The need for learning and development can be employee identified (including through individual development plans settled with supervisors as part of performance appraisals), be supervisor‑encouraged or directed, or reflect organisation‑wide initiatives.

The Commission’s Learning and Development Strategy and Action Plan 2018–2020 sets out a range of priorities and activities to foster and maintain a vibrant learning culture, and support the Commission’s work and employees’ career development. In 2018‑19, a number of internal learning and development activities were introduced or expanded as part of this strategy, including critical thinking, legal skills, and cultural capability training. Two internal courses were run to maintain and build technical skills in economic modelling, and Executive Level 2 staff participated in an in‑house leadership development conference.

The Commission continued to provide access to specific training and development activities for individuals, including one‑on‑one coaching to address particular development needs and extensive on‑the‑job training within the Commission. A program of internal seminars on a range of topical economic, social and environmental issues also contributed to staff development.

Employees may also seek to access studies assistance (in the form of paid leave and/or assistance with fees) in the pursuit of tertiary qualifications.

Work health and safety

A Work Health and Safety (WHS) Committee oversees the Commission’s work health and safety program. Committee membership includes management and staff health and safety representatives from both the Commission’s Canberra and Melbourne offices. The Committee met four times during 2018‑19.

Regular workplace hazard inspections are conducted by members of the WHS Committee. No formal WHS investigations were conducted during the year and there were no notifiable incidents. No notices under Part 10 of the Work Health Safety Act 2011 were given to the Commission during 2018‑19.

Training is provided for employees who have specific WHS related responsibilities.

WHS activities and offerings during the year included:

  • Commission‑funded flu vaccinations for 118 staff
  • mental health first aid training, with 34 staff participating
  • sessions on resilience and mindfulness
  • ergonomic work station assessments, as required.

An indicator of the effectiveness of the Commission’s WHS programs is Comcare’s workers’ compensation rate. The Commission’s rate for 2018‑19 was 0.15 per cent of payroll, compared to an overall scheme premium rate of 1.06 per cent. The Commission had no workers’ compensation claims accepted by Comcare in 2018‑19.

Employee Assistance Program

The Commission offers its employees independent, confidential and professional counselling, consultation and training assistance for work-related or personal issues.

Workplace diversity

The Commission is committed to building and maintaining a workplace culture that values and serves people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. The Commission continues to foster a culture that is supportive of employees achieving their potential and which values employee diversity.

As at 30 June 2019:

  • 52 per cent of staff were female
  • 1 per cent of staff identified as Indigenous
  • 21 per cent of staff were born outside Australia
  • 3 per cent of staff identified as having a disability
  • 27 per cent of staff were aged 50 years or older
  • 23 per cent of staff were under 30 years of age.

In 2018‑19, 50 Commission employees participated in cultural capability development, to increase their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to assist in communicating effectively with people in Indigenous communities.