Management and accountability
Management of human resources
At 30 June 2014, Austrade employed 1,032 staff, 74 per cent of whom were employed in client-focused operations in Australia and overseas. Staff turnover was 13.5 per cent compared with 10.5 per cent in 2012–13. The gender balance was 45 per cent male and 55 per cent female. Further staffing information is provided in Appendix A.
Austrade’s human resources strategy aims to address key organisational capability and capacity challenges for the agency, and ensure compliance with governance requirements as well as alignment with leading practices in people management. The strategy is framed against six key result areas, which are discussed below.
Organisation and workforce design
Organisational design continued to be a strong area of focus for Austrade throughout 2013–14. The Human Resources Division worked closely with all areas of the agency to create effective and efficient work teams aligned with organisational priorities. This included the implementation of a new team structure for Austrade’s Trade Division and the transfer of staff from the former Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism following machinery-of-government changes.
A voluntary redundancy programme was put in place in early 2014 for Australia-based staff, in line with the Government’s commitment to reduce the APS staffing profile in order to meet future budget challenges.
Attracting, retaining and deploying the right people with the right skills is critical to the delivery of Austrade’s organisational objectives. Strengthening Austrade’s culture, developing capabilities and maximising resources remained a priority for Austrade during 2013–14.
Austrade staff collectively completed 1,060 internally provided learning and development programmes and 4,240 e-learning courses.
The following statistics illustrate the variety and uptake of learning and development programmes during the year:
- 62 new staff attended Austrade’s induction programme, 33 of whom were based in Australia and 29 were based offshore
- 14 trade commissioners participated in pre-posting training
- 20 staff participated in Austrade’s internal leadership and management development programme
- 35 staff participated in women’s mentoring programmes
- 133 staff attended an employee-focused ‘Wellbeing and resilience in the workplace’ programme in Australian offices
- 20 Export Market Development Grants scheme staff attended a ‘Manager as coach’ workshop
- 31 staff participated in inward investment skills workshops
- 21 staff participated in security training
- 39 offshore staff participated in workshops to develop problem-solving and consultative skills
- 1,032 staff completed a compulsory annual policy refresher e-learning course
- 1,032 staff completed the ‘Closing the gap’ Indigenous awareness e-learning course
- 215 staff accessed business writing skills e-learning courses
- 343 staff accessed Harvard ManageMentor e-learning courses to develop leadership and core business skills
- 105 staff accessed Microsoft e-learning courses.
The following scholarships were awarded during the year as part of Austrade’s scholarship programme:
- Beryl Wilson Austrade Scholarship for Women in International Business—This scholarship was established in November 2013, in recognition of Beryl Wilson, who was appointed in 1963 as Australia’s first female trade commissioner. The scholarship is awarded to a female student enrolled full-time in postgraduate international business studies. The inaugural winner, Louise Clunies-Ross from Perth, was announced by the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, Minister for Trade and Investment, in February 2014. For further information, see page 33.
- Overseas-Engaged Employees’ Scholarships—Introduced in 2013, these scholarships provide opportunities for staff to undertake development programmes at recognised education institutions to enhance their skills and capabilities in international trade, leadership and strategy. Five overseas-engaged employees from India, the United States, Vietnam, Japan and Singapore were the inaugural recipients of the scholarships. They are undertaking further study in areas such as leadership and global strategic management.
- Asialink Leaders’ Scholarships—Austrade continued its involvement in the Asialink Leaders’ Programme, providing three Australia-based staff with scholarships to participate in the 2014 programme. The programme helps to build knowledge of contemporary Asian societies and business culture and enhances recipients’ cultural intelligence skills to help them more effectively manage the complexity of Australia–Asia relations.
- Austrade Craig Senger Scholarship—The annual Austrade Craig Senger Scholarship, established jointly with Monash University in memory of Craig Senger, former Trade Commissioner in Jakarta, was awarded to Melissa Paciepnik. Melissa will begin an internship with Austrade in its Melbourne office in late July 2014.
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Deployment and mobility
Austrade’s secondments programme provides staff with the opportunity to undertake short-term placements with other government organisations and industry associations both in Australia and overseas. These secondments help staff to develop a greater understanding of Australian industry capability and the export sector onshore, or a greater understanding of key industry sectors, government priorities and Austrade’s work offshore.
In 2013–14, four overseas-engaged employees participated in secondments in Australia with Meat & Livestock Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia and the South Australian Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy. Two Australia-based employees participated in secondments overseas with the Confederation of Indian Industry in Ahmedabad and the Consejo Empresarial Mexicano de Comercio Exterior, Inversión y Tecnología in Mexico City.
Short-term overseas assignments in Australian and overseas offices meet operational requirements while also providing both onshore and offshore staff with significant development opportunities. In 2013–14, 29 staff participated in short-term overseas assignments, 10 of whom were assigned to Asian offices.
Trade Commissioner Development Programme
The two-year Trade Commissioner Development Programme develops the strategic, leadership, communication and tradecraft skills required to be a high-performing trade commissioner. Now in its second year, the programme gives participants the opportunity to experience how trade commissioners develop Australian business internationally. The programme consists of a three-month onshore component followed by a two-year offshore placement as an assistant trade commissioner. Throughout the programme, participants undertake a range of learning activities based on Austrade’s 70/20/10 development approach, where 70 per cent of learning is on the job, 20 per cent is through coaching and feedback, and 10 per cent is through formal courses and reading.
During 2013–14, the first cohort of the Trade Commissioner Development Programme progressed to the second year of the programme. Four participants were placed in Dubai, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Osaka in 2013.
The second cohort commenced in April 2014 with four participants. Three of the participants start their offshore placements in July 2014 in the Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Johannesburg offices. The fourth participant will start in the Manila office in 2015.
Alexandra Chittenden | Trade Commissioner Development Programme, Frankfurt
Alexandra will be stationed at Austrade’s Frankfurt office from July 2014, where she will be participating directly in daily post operations and will also be supporting the passports and consular team. She holds degrees in economics and arts (applied linguistics) from the Australian National University and has studied German and Arabic.
She said, ‘I am really looking forward to learning more about Austrade’s work in the investment attraction space from such an experienced team. One key skill that I will be taking to Frankfurt is being able to multi-task. This will come in handy given the broad scope of responsibilities at the post’.
Alexandra began her career at Austrade as an economic analyst in the Sydney office, and served as Executive Officer in Austrade’s Growth and Emerging Markets team. In that role, she provided operational, analytical and policy support and was the link between onshore and offshore teams in the region.
Building cross-cultural and language capabilities
Austrade continued its investment in developing cross-cultural and language capabilities in its people. A range of measures have been put in place to enhance staff capabilities and improve their awareness and knowledge of the issues of working and managing across cultures, including cross-cultural workshops and access to a suite of cross-cultural resources and online tools.
Austrade’s language policy continues to encourage, reward and support staff in the maintenance of languages important to Austrade’s business requirements. Austrade’s priority languages are Arabic, Indonesian, Cantonese, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish (Table 20).
|Language||Total number of speakers|
Austrade’s induction programme for new staff involves a range of learning activities based on Austrade’s 70/20/10 development approach. Staff complete a curriculum of e-learning courses to complement on-the-job training, before attending a four-day induction workshop in Australia.
In 2013–14, 62 new staff attended induction workshops. Of these staff, 29 were based offshore and 33 onshore.
To support the transition of staff from the Tourism Division of the former Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism to Austrade, a customised induction programme was delivered to 80 staff in early 2014, consisting of a combination of briefings, training and e-learning programmes.
In 2013–14, Austrade redeveloped its mentoring framework and reviewed individual mentoring programmes to assess their effectiveness and value. Staff continued to have access to a range of programmes, including individual and women’s mentoring programmes. These programmes provide participants with a formal structure for addressing specific work, career and development issues, as well as supporting additional global networking.
Management and leadership development
Building future leadership capability is a key priority for Austrade. In 2013–14, Austrade’s internal leadership and management programme, Achieving Austrade’s Priorities, was completed by 20 staff at Austrade Performance Level (APL) 3 and 4 and Austrade Overseas Performance Level (AOPL) 3 and 4. Participants were from 10 countries. The six-month programme included a work-based project and two residential workshops.
Austrade also provided opportunities for leadership and management development for its Senior Executive Service (SES) and high-potential APL 4 and 5 managers. Opportunities included attendance at targeted Australian Public Service Commission programmes, formal external programmes provided by executive business schools, short-term assignments, coaching and mentoring.
SES and selected APL 4 and 5 managers also had the opportunity to obtain targeted developmental feedback through participation in Austrade’s 360-degree survey programme.
Austrade’s talent management process provides a formal framework for defining, identifying, developing and deploying high-potential talent to meet Austrade’s organisational and strategic goals.
During 2013–14, initiatives included the development of comprehensive talent profiles based on data from multiple sources for SES Band 1 and 2 and a range of non-SES employees, predominantly at the APL 4 and 5 levels. Succession plans were developed for identified critical roles, and targeted development opportunities and training were provided to selected staff to support the succession plans.
Austrade’s employment frameworks comply with government policy and meet legal requirements in Australia and in the other countries in which Austrade employs staff. The frameworks reflect good practice, ensure a positive work environment for staff and provide competitive conditions of service to employees across the range of markets in which Austrade operates.
To ensure that Austrade continues to meet employment law requirements, contracts of employment for overseas-engaged employees were reviewed across a number of locations during the year.
Austrade’s SES employees and overseas-engaged employees are employed under individual employment contracts. Australia-based non-SES employees are covered by the Austrade APL 1–5 Enterprise Agreement 2012–2014, which has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2014.
The Workplace Relations Committee, which represents Austrade’s Australia-based APL 1–5 employees, met four times during the year for consultations between management and employee representatives on workplace matters. The committee’s consultations covered a wide range of workplace issues, including Austrade’s financial position, the management of structural changes, and the Government’s bargaining policy for the next enterprise agreement. A subcommittee of the Workplace Relations Committee developed the Austrade Diversity Plan 2014–2017, which has been published on the Austrade website, www.austrade.gov.au.
Staff consultations for the next enterprise agreement occurred in May 2014. The existing agreement remains in place until a new one is agreed by staff and approved by the Fair Work Commission.
Managing and recognising performance
In 2013–14, performance plans were based on Austrade’s performance management framework to ensure that individual activity was aligned with the achievement of organisational objectives and deliverables.
As in previous years, the focus was on operational delivery and results, client and stakeholder value, governance and compliance, leadership, corporate citizenship, and capability and resource management. Managers and staff were provided with guidance on recognising and rewarding behaviours and outcomes that contribute to organisational priorities and that are consistent with the APS Values and Employment Principles.
Performance bonus payments
Performance bonus payments for overseas-engaged employees were removed from July 2013 to align with arrangements for APL 1–5 and SES employees. However, overseas-engaged employees employed for longer than 12 months were still eligible for bonus payments in 2013–14 for performance in the 2012–13 performance cycle.
Depending on performance outcomes, overseas-engaged employees could receive a bonus payment of between 2 per cent and 12 per cent of their base annual salary.
A total of 404 overseas-engaged employees received payments in 2013–14 for the 2012–13 performance cycle, with the average amount payable across the classifications ranging from $81 to $16,821. For more information, see Table 21.
Note: Low minimum payment figures are due to the payment of pro-rata bonuses to staff who worked only part of the performance cycle. AOPL 1–5 bonus paid on ‘fully proficient’ to ‘exceptional’ rating. APL 1–5 bonuses were not payable.
Austrade’s internal employee recognition programme is designed to ensure that excellence continues to be acknowledged and rewarded throughout the agency.
In May 2013, the CEO announced a revised employee recognition programme that came into effect for 2013–14. Following consultation and feedback from staff, a range of new recognition initiatives were implemented, including:
- career development workshops for staff and managers in Australia and overseas
- the overseas-engaged employee scholarship programme
- secondments to state governments and industry associations
- short-term overseas assignments for overseas-engaged employees
- an enhanced study assistance programme.
Global Austrade Staff Awards
The Global Austrade Staff Awards recognise outstanding performance by individuals and teams in four categories:
- promoting a team approach and spirit through their actions
- delivering value to stakeholders
- exemplary leadership
- working in the national interest.
In 2013–14, six individuals and five teams received awards:
- Amanda Hodges, Dubai
- Wendy Williams, Canberra
- Tomoko Ichikawa, Tokyo
- Stuart Rees, Melbourne
- Melissa Kuzareveski, Sydney
- Winnie Tang, Hong Kong
- Ozmine 2013 Indonesia team
- Resource and Infrastructure team
- Study in Australia Website Redevelopment team
- Finance and Risk Reporting team
- North Asia – Australian Teaching and Learning Showcase team.
Australia Day Achievement Awards
In 2013–14, Austrade again participated in the APS-wide Australia Day Achievement Medallion programme. The programme acknowledges the achievements of public servants, either on special projects that have made a significant contribution to the nation, or through outstanding performance in their core duties. Australia Day Achievement Medallions were awarded to 10 Austrade employees in January 2014:
- Betty Cook, Sydney
- Charles Kang, Seoul
- David Samuel, Colombo
- Deviana Nugraeni, Jakarta
- Frances Leadbeter, Sydney
- Kumar Sreekumar, Riyadh
- Marie Hill, Melbourne
- Mark Wood, Yangon
- Norma Ramiro, Buenos Aires
- Yuling Zhang, Guangzhou.
Culture and values
During the year, Austrade’s Australia-based and overseas-engaged employees participated in the Australian Public Service Commission’s 2014 State of the Service employee census and survey. The results will be published early in 2014–15.
The results of the 2013 survey, which were released in 2013–14, demonstrated that staff continue to be engaged with and committed to Austrade. Compared to the wider APS, Austrade staff members reported higher levels of job and agency engagement and were also more likely to indicate their intent to remain with the agency during the next two years. Staff were also positive about Austrade’s ethical behaviour and leadership, and the quality and visibility of senior leaders.
Austrade’s Ethics Committee met twice during the year to review Austrade’s ethical framework and monitor the effectiveness of management programmes to foster ethical behaviour, such as online governance training. The committee also reviewed relevant Austrade policies, such as the policy and procedure for the management of public interest disclosures. For more information on the Ethics Committee, see page 136.
Austrade continued to promote a strong safety culture throughout 2013–14. During the year, Austrade successfully completed its Work Health and Safety Management System to meet the Australian standard and the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. In accordance with Schedule 2, Part 4 of the Act, details of Austrade’s work health and safety initiatives, outcomes, statistics and investigations, where relevant, are reported in Appendix D. Austrade also undertook a range of activities during the year to ensure compliance with the Act. These are also reported in Appendix D.
Throughout the year, a subcommittee of the Workplace Relations Committee, in consultation with managers and staff, developed Austrade’s Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2014–2017. The plan focuses on practical actions to recognise and promote diversity in employment and increase employment opportunities available to Indigenous Australians and people with disability, as well as to improve the representation of women in senior management roles.
To assist with the career development of women at Austrade, the CEO announced during the year that female managers would participate in Executive Group meetings on a rotational basis. Cheryl Stanilewicz, State Director, Queensland and the Northern Territory, was the first female non-SES manager to participate in the Executive Group under this initiative. Deborah Lewis, General Manager Tourism, has also participated in Executive Group meetings. Through their participation, Cheryl and Deborah have represented women in operational management at strategic discussions and have been role models for other female managers in the agency.
Indigenous Australian Government Development Programme
The Indigenous Australian Government Development Programme is designed to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to seek employment in the APS. The programme combines practical work experience with the ability to gain a diploma-level qualification in a nominated area. In addition to ongoing employment, during the programme, participants are provided with professional and personal development opportunities to further enhance their capability to undertake a career in the APS.
Austrade’s Indigenous cadet engaged under the programme in 2012–13, Naomi Smith, has been appointed to the position of assistant procurement officer with Austrade. Austrade is committed to continuing participation in the programme, and in 2013–14, engaged another cadet, Emma Johnston, to work as part of the International Education team. Austrade is working towards increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s workforce participation to 2.7 per cent of its overall workforce.
Indigenous Cadetship Support Programme
An Australian Government initiative, the Indigenous Cadetship Support Programme improves the professional employment prospects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It links Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary students with employers in a cadetship arrangement involving full-time study and negotiated work placements.
The programme helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students to gain the professional qualifications and experience needed for a range of jobs in the private, public and community sectors, and assists them to move into employment on completion of their studies.
Austrade was the first government agency to engage a cadet under the programme, providing a placement to Bryce Sentance in its Strategy and Governance team within the CEO’s office in Sydney. Austrade aims to continue its participation in the programme and planning is underway to provide an opportunity for a summer internship.
Reconciliation Action Plan
Austrade recognises the importance of working towards achieving recognition, respect and change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In 2013–14, Austrade implemented a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. The RAP provides a platform for Austrade to demonstrate its commitment to raising awareness and applying the principles of reconciliation in the workplace.
Austrade’s RAP aims to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff to learn more about each other, to promote awareness and realise the advantages in developing a diverse workforce. Austrade has also developed an Indigenous portal on its intranet that links to Indigenous resources and helps raise awareness of Indigenous cultures. An online e-learning course, ‘Closing the Gap’, was completed by all staff this year, and now forms part of the induction of new staff.
As part of its RAP, Austrade commissioned an Indigenous artist to paint an original image reflecting Austrade’s business—the connection of businesspeople. The image, which appears on the front of the portal, is of a corroboree—a term that embraces songs, dances, events and meetings of various kinds. The hands on the image reflect the collaboration of many businesses coming together for trade (see page 152).
Wellbeing and resilience in the workplace
As part of Austrade’s commitment to health and wellbeing, a facilitator from Austrade’s employee assistance programme clinical development team conducted face-to-face workshops with staff in Australian offices during October 2013—Mental Health Month. The workshops were timed around World Mental Health Day and provided practical strategies to help increase individuals’ resilience to change and responsiveness to life events.
Disability employment programme
Austrade supports the ‘As One—Australian Public Service Disability Employment Strategy’, which seeks to strengthen the APS as an employer of people with disability.
Austrade has joined the Australian Network on Disability to provide practical work experience for university students with disability as part of its ‘Stepping into’ programme, a national initiative that provides the opportunity for students with disability to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the field they are studying and to develop an understanding of the APS.
Austrade provided a placement for an intern under the programme in its Information Technology Services Division during the 2013–14 university summer break. Prior to the placement, the division undertook disability awareness training conducted by the Australian Network on Disability. The successful completion of the internship was a positive experience for the university student and for staff of the division. Austrade is working towards continued participation in the ‘Stepping into’ programme for 2014–15 internship periods.
Changes to disability reporting in annual reports
Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.
In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au. From 2010–11, departments and agencies were no longer required to report on these functions.
The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports will be available in late 2014 at www.dss.gov.au.
Austrade launches its first Reconciliation Action Plan
In October 2013, Bruce Gosper, Austrade’s CEO, officially launched Austrade’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in the Canberra office. He was joined by one of Canberra’s Aboriginal elders, Aunty Agnes Shea; Simon Gordon, General Manager Programmes, Reconciliation Australia; and Yidinji Joseph, a local Aboriginal artist whom Austrade commissioned to design the Aboriginal imagery to support its RAP. Yidinji and his son, Matthew Joseph, gave a moving didgeridoo performance at the launch.