03. Building the future workforce
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End of attention
Reshaping our workforce
The Budget Response Program (BRP) has been underway since the end of May. Some key milestones and significant outcomes have been achieved towards making the ATO more efficient.
A number of workforce redesign processes are ongoing as part of the efforts required supporting our future direction. In particular, we are considering:
- our workforce needs into the future
- impacts on teams and sites of workforce changes, and
- implications on other functions like licensing arrangements.
Laying this groundwork will assist in defining the pathway to reinventing our experience and culture as an organisation.
It has been pleasing to see that staff, leaders and key stakeholders are keen to work together to take a whole-of-business approach. This supports us to ensure we achieve what is right for the ATO and our customers, and not just what is the priority for a business line or team.
We have started to see the benefits of these changes and this is largely due to the willingness of individuals to make a contribution to the change.
Showing trust in our people
Recently, all staff have been granted access to social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter from their desktop computers.
These channels have been made available to allow staff to communicate socially as well as professionally – to connect with people, share ideas and promote best practice (Fig. 3).
In the past, allowing broad access to social media from work computers was considered too risky. As part of our way forward, we will show more trust in our people. This is one way for us to work with staff to how to manage risk, instead of trying to eliminate it.
We are also encouraging staff to think about how these tools can help evolve the way we do business with our clients and each other.
Maintaining staff engagement
In any organisation undergoing large-scale transformational change, maintaining good levels of employee engagement is as challenging as it is important for success.
As noted earlier, results from the most recent APS Employee Census, conducted over May and June, showed some positive results – as well as areas for improvement. Our participation rate was nearly 73% and our scores in the four elements of engagement (job, team, supervisor and agency) have all improved from 2013.
The ATO has been managing a lot in recent months – our Reinventing the ATO program, the budget response and subsequent redundancies, changes to our property and accommodation, as well as our normal everyday work. So, a marked improvement in response to statements such as ‘my job gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment’ and ‘my job gives me the opportunity to utilise my skills’ is great to see.
The information we get from this survey is invaluable – it shows where our efforts are paying off and what needs more attention.
Leaders taking the lead
The APSC Capability Review highlighted a need for greater senior leadership visibility and engagement, in particular with those identified as potential future leaders in the organisation.
The Leadership Dialogue Series has now been in place for a number of months and is proving to be a great way for managers to clarify information and learn from senior ATO leaders. Aimed at Executive Level staff, it is one of the ways we’re addressing this need for leaders to be more active and visible in the office.
They are providing an opportunity for leaders to have an open dialogue with staff and talk about the issues everyone is facing as we go through a period of significant change.
The format encourages free and open discussion in small groups – a chance to ask questions and get direct answers from senior leaders.
It also provides those leaders with important insight into the successes and challenges being experienced on a day-to-day basis across the office.
Fig. 3 – Supporting our people to connect