Management and accountability
Management of human resources
Throughout 2011–12, the management of Austrade's human resources was guided by its three-year global human resources strategic plan. In its third year of operation, the plan identifies priorities in the six key result areas of:
- organisational design and workforce planning
- organisational capability
- employment frameworks
- managing and recognising performance
- work environment
- culture and values.
A summary of achievements against planned priorities under each of the key result areas is provided on the following pages.
Organisational design and workforce planning
Following on from 2010–11, a major focus for Austrade with respect to human resources was the provision of strategic and operational support for the implementation of the new Austrade business model. Organisational design and change facilitation were particular areas of priority in the transition to the new arrangements.
Austrade continued to build on its workforce reporting throughout the year with the implementation of global vacancy management reporting and combined monthly human resources and financial reporting.
At 30 June 2012, Austrade employed 985 staff, 76 per cent of whom were employed in client-focused operations in Australia and overseas locations.
Staff turnover increased to a 13.5 per cent separation rate, compared with 11.2 per cent in 2010–11. The gender balance remained the same at 45 per cent male and 55 per cent female.
Austrade continued to provide a wide range of workforce capability development programs and opportunities to support the achievement of corporate objectives. These were delivered through a variety of methods, including face-to-face and online learning programs, coaching, mentoring, short-term developmental assignments and on-the-job learning.
During 2011–12, Austrade implemented a new online system to improve the management of individual performance planning, the development of talent and the delivery of learning programs. The new system has also strengthened Austrade's ability to monitor and report on capability development activity.
Throughout the year, Austrade employees completed 4,600 internally provided learning and development programs, of which 55 per cent were delivered online.
Capability development highlights for the year included:
- 88 staff attended induction programs held in Australia and offshore
- 14 trade commissioners participated in pre-posting training programs
- ‘Maximising Our Value' one-day business practice workshops were delivered to all staff
- 42 staff participated in investment training
- Work health and safety and corporate policy refresher online courses were delivered to all staff
- 25 staff attended anti-bribery workshops as part of the rollout to all staff which began in 2010–11
- 130 staff used the Harvard ManageMentor online learning modules which cover 42 leadership and management topics
- 3 staff participated in the Asialink Leaders Program that builds knowledge and networks for the ‘Asian century'.
Austrade revised its Capability Framework in 2011–12 to align more closely with its new organisational direction and priorities. The new framework identifies core capabilities required by all Austrade employees, as well as a detailed set of trade, investment and education technical capabilities. The framework has a range of uses, including as a tool for identifying learning and development priorities, to inform selection criteria for recruitment, and to assist employees with career progression.
Review of Austrade
A key focus for Austrade throughout the year was on the delivery of capability development strategies to enable staff to work in teams to implement the changes to Austrade's strategic direction, business practices and systems resulting from the review of Austrade. The centrepiece was a one-day ‘Maximising Our Value' workshop that was delivered to all staff. Additional targeted learning and coaching was also delivered to offshore and onshore teams to embed the changes.
Austrade's induction program for new staff involves completing a number of online courses and, where possible, attending a five-day workshop in Sydney. Throughout the year, Austrade's induction program was attended by a total of 88 new staff (40 onshore and 48 offshore). A series of checklists for new staff and managers was also developed to support the induction process.
Building leadership capability
Targeted and strategic leadership development opportunities were provided throughout 2011–12 to help build capability. Executive coaching and leadership development programs, including the Australian Public Service Commission's Career Development Assessment Centre, were made available to a number of staff in key leadership roles.
Short-term overseas assignments
Short-term overseas assignments provide opportunities for staff to develop their capability through challenging and diverse work experiences. In 2011–12, a total of 37 staff undertook short-term overseas assignments, with 22 of those staff from Australia completing an assignment at an overseas office, 13 staff from overseas completing an assignment in Australia, and two staff from Australia completing an assignment in another Australian office.
Mentoring programs were delivered to 31 female staff in Austrade throughout the year as part of a women's mentoring program. Outcomes included improved influencing and communication skills and career planning.
Austrade also coordinated and supported a traditional one-on-one mentoring program where mentees were matched with an appropriate mentor for a 12-month period. A new Cultural Mentor Program was also launched in 2012, matching 10 staff in Australia and 10 staff from overseas in a structured program to share information on a number of topics during the year.
Twenty-one employees undertook 25 language proficiency tests in one or more languages during the year, as part of Austrade's revised language policy, which recognises the importance of maintaining language skills. Five staff members are undertaking language training as part of the Austrade Studies Assistance scheme.
Austrade's employment frameworks aim to reflect good practice, government policy and legal compliance to ensure a positive work environment for staff and minimise employment risk in the countries in which Austrade operates.
Senior Executive Service (SES) employees are engaged on individual employment contracts. Non-SES, Australia-based employees are covered by the Austrade Employee Collective Agreement.
The Workplace Relations Committee, established under the Austrade Employee Collective Agreement, met during the year to consult on workplace matters affecting non-SES, Australia-based employees. The Enterprise Bargaining Committee, comprising Austrade management and the Community and Public Sector Union (union officials and workplace delegates) also met several times throughout the year as part of the bargaining process for the incoming Austrade Enterprise Agreement 2012–2014.
Overseas-engaged employees are engaged under terms and conditions of employment consistent with local labour law and good employment practices in the relevant overseas locations in which Austrade operates. To ensure that Austrade continues to meet local labour law standards and provide a positive work environment, terms and conditions of service for overseas-engaged employees were reviewed during 2011–12 in a number of these locations.
Managing and recognising performance
In 2011–12, the guiding principle for individual performance plans was to focus on recognising and rewarding behaviours that contribute to Austrade's organisational priorities and value-add, and that are consistent with Australian Public Service values and ethical standards. As in previous years, the activities and measures in performance plans also reflected the principles of ‘know, share, succeed'. As 2011–12 was a significant year for embedding organisational change, performance plans for managers focused on leadership of organisational change and the desired behaviours necessary to achieve this.
A new performance plan template was developed to ensure consistency across the organisation and to incorporate specific ‘leadership of change' and governance measures for managers.
Performance bonus payments
APL1–5 employees and overseas-engaged employees engaged for longer than 12 months were eligible for bonus payments in 2011–12 for exceptional performance in the previous performance cycle. SES employees (APL6–8) were not eligible to receive a bonus.
Depending on performance outcomes, overseas-engaged employees could receive a bonus payment of between 2 and 12 per cent of their base annual salary. Up to 10 per cent of Australia-based employees (APL1–5) were eligible to receive a bonus payment of up to 5 per cent of their base annual salary for exceptional performance.
A total of 506 employees received bonus payments in 2011 for the 2010–11 performance cycle, with the amount paid across the classifications ranging from $110 to $14,873 (Table 10).
Austrade recognises high performance through its annual Global Austrade Staff Awards. Austrade also participates in APS-wide recognition programs, such as the awarding of Australia Day Achievement Medallions and the Public Service Medal.
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Global Austrade Staff Awards
Global Austrade Staff Awards recognise outstanding performance by individuals and teams in their efforts to assist Australian businesses to grow in international markets, show excellence in consular assistance, facilitate investment into Australia, and assist Australian education providers to promote their services internationally. In 2011–12, Global Austrade Staff Awards recognised the contributions of five individuals and seven teams. The award recipients were:
- Anna Plawinska – for coordination of the Australia Unlimited branding rollout in Europe, and for consistently displaying high levels of initiative and commitment to Austrade's values
- Debbie Kerrins – for exemplary leadership in managing career and talent
- David Tonkin – for exemplary leadership in the development and, in conjunction with Human Resources, the delivery of the anti-bribery training program
- Tracy Harris – for outstanding leadership of the Australian Education Seminar Series
- Tibet Kara – for exceptional initiative and innovation in relation to her work for the mining and energy sector, in particular for the staging of the first Istanbul inwards mining mission
- Cairo evacuation consular team – for outstanding work in the national interest, particularly in relation to the evacuation of Australians from Cairo
- China International SME Fair 2010 team – for work undertaken to ensure that the trade fair was a successful event and for raising awareness of Australian SME capability in China
- Investing in Research mission team – for the successful pilot mission to discuss specific research and commercialisation projects regarding technology
- Japan earthquake and tsunami response team – for displaying exceptional initiative and innovation in assisting Australians to leave Tokyo after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami
- Global Practice team – for outstanding contribution to their teams as champions of excellence in Austrade's business practices
- Mining Indaba Africa project team – for excellence in the promotion of Australia's mining industry at the Mining Indaba investment event
- Vietnam team – for outstanding contributions to the Prime Minister's program and visit to Hanoi for the 17th ASEAN Summit and the accompanying Business and Investment Summit.
Australia Day Achievement Medallions
Austrade participated in the Australia Day Achievement Medallions program in 2011–12. The program 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.
This year, an Australia Day Achievement Medallion was awarded to Marcia Kimball for her work in ensuring that Austrade's Human Resources Division anticipates, understands and meets the needs of the organisation in a changing and complex environment.
Public Service Medal
As part of the Australia Day 2012 honours list, Tom Yates, former Consul-General and Trade Commissioner, Tripoli, was awarded a Public Service Medal for his outstanding service in organising the evacuation of Australian citizens from Tripoli, Libya, in February 2011, and for his ongoing assistance to business. Mr Yates received his award from HE Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales, at an investiture ceremony held at Government House, Sydney, in May 2012.
Long service certificates
During the year, long service certificates were presented to staff across Austrade in recognition of 10 or more years' service to the organisation.
This section outlines Austrade's approach to managing its work environment.
Work health and safety
In accordance with subsection 74(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 and Schedule 2, Part 4 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, details of Austrade's work health and safety initiatives, outcomes, statistics and investigations, where relevant, are reported in Appendix D.
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 came into force on 1 January 2012. Austrade undertook a range of activities during the year to ensure compliance with the new Act. These are also reported in Appendix D.
During the year, Austrade began preparations for participation in the 2012 Indigenous Australian Government Development Program delivered by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. The program, to commence in October 2012 and finish in December 2013, aims to increase Austrade's capability to effectively recruit and develop ongoing Indigenous employees.
Disability action plan
Austrade aims to create an environment in which services and facilities are accessible to all employees, consistent with the principles of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
Austrade continues to work closely with the Australian Public Service Commission to develop and share ways of improving the attraction, recruitment and retention of people with disability.
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 a new National Disability Strategy which sets out a 10-year national policy framework for improving life for Australians with a disability, their families and carers. A high-level report to track progress for people with a disability at a national level will be produced by the Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services to the Council of Australian Governments and will be available at www.fahcsia.gov.au.
The Social Inclusion Measurement and Reporting Strategy agreed by the Government in December 2009 will also include some reporting on disability matters in its regular How Australia is Faring report and, if appropriate, in strategic change indicators in agency annual reports. More detail on social inclusion matters can be found at www.socialinclusion.gov.au.
Culture and values
During the year, Austrade established an Ethics Committee. The committee, which reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer, is chaired by Jeff Lamond, external consultant and former Australian Public Service Merit Protection Commissioner. Other committee members include senior managers from Austrade's International Operations, Australian Operations, Education and Corporate Operations and Human Resources, as well as the Chief Ethics Officer, who is also the Group Manager, Legal, Security and Procurement.
The committee met three times during the year to review Austrade's ethical governance framework and examine the appropriateness of individual policies, such as those applying to conflict of interest declarations and social media.