Annual Report 2016-17

Employee engagement

The department continues to align its business and workforce planning strategies to meet current requirements and to plan for the future workforce. The department uses workforce analytics and data to understand its workforce profile, trends and future requirements.

At 30 June 2017 the department employed 34,037 people, of whom 30,244 (88.9 per cent) were ongoing, 729 (2.1 per cent) were non-ongoing and 3,064 (nine per cent) were intermittent/irregular. The department’s workforce varies in size from year to year. This reflects changes in government priorities, the commencement and cessation of Budget measures, service delivery demands (including responses to natural disasters), ongoing efficiencies and natural attrition. Staff are therefore employed on a full-time or part-time basis and through a combination of permanent and temporary employment arrangements to accommodate fluctuating requirements. This is not unusual for a large, diverse, service delivery organisation.

The department supports staff to balance work and personal commitments through access to flexible working hours. At 30 June 2017, 8,776 (25.8 per cent) of staff worked part-time (excluding intermittent/irregular work arrangements).

Appendix C presents statistics on staff by classification, location, employment status, employment type, gender, disability, diverse background and whether identified as being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. It also sets out staff salary ranges and employment arrangements.

In 2017, 85 per cent of the department’s employees completed the APS Employee Census. Census results showed that the levels of staff engagement dropped slightly on three of the four measures shown in the table below. Results indicated positive perceptions of managers and high levels of digital literacy in the department. The table also shows levels of employee engagement since 2014.

Table: Levels of employee engagement
Engagement element index scores(a) 2014 2015 2016 2017
Job engagement index scores 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.3
Team engagement index scores 6.3 6.4 6.4 6.3
Supervisor engagement index scores 7.0 7.2 7.2 7.2
Agency engagement index scores 5.5 5.7 5.7 5.4
  1. The engagement index uses a 0 to 10 point scale, with 10 being the highest level of engagement.

Strategic workforce planning

The department undertakes strategic workforce planning, job design, people change, and learning and development initiatives to meet the challenges of evolving government priorities and changes to services and channels.

Strategic workforce planning also ensures that the department’s workforce has the capabilities, understanding and support needed to achieve government and recipient outcomes.

The 2017-19 Department of Human Services Strategic Workforce Plan provides a high level overview of the department’s operating environment and identifies key workforce planning priorities to support the department to meet current and emerging operational priorities.

The department uses the APS Job Family Model to underpin strategic workforce planning and job design activities. This level of workforce segmentation helps the department understand its workforce, identify demand for critical roles and address labour market shortages. Areas the department has identified as workforce priorities include service delivery, compliance and regulation, technology, strategic policy, research, and program and project management.

The department’s workforce planning processes are used as an evidence base for executive decisions on people strategies. The strategies include:

  • developing tailored workforce strategies for different workforce segments or business areas
  • understanding the mix of employment types necessary to deliver services to the Australian people
  • building a capable and engaged workforce with the skills necessary to meet evolving commitments to the community and government
  • building a diverse and inclusive workforce that is representative of the Australian community.

Workforce planning also occurs at the group level and within a number of specialist divisions to ensure workforce strategies are aligned to the specific workforce needs of each business area.

People change management

The department supports staff through organisational change by providing people change management advice and guidance. A range of practical tools, processes and techniques help to build change management capability across the department, particularly amongst managers and team leaders.

Job Placement Scheme

The Department of Human Services Agreement 2011-14 formalises the department’s commitment through the Job Placement Scheme to retain and redeploy staff whose roles may be affected by organisational change. The scheme aims to ensure that valuable skills and capabilities are retained. During 2016-17, additional proactive redeployment practices were introduced to support the timely placement of redeployment candidates. These changes saw a positive increase in the number of redeployment candidates being successfully placed within the department in a shorter timeframe.

In 2016-17, 226 people on the Job Placement Scheme were found permanent placements or left the department.

Page last updated: 14 November 2017