A key element of DOFA's strategy to deliver high quality outputs
for its Ministers is to effectively manage its people. For this
reason, and to further the goal of being a high performance organisation,
DOFA has implemented and developed a principles based employment
framework that enhances flexibility.
The cornerstones of DOFA's employment framework are:
- a broad banded classification system
- flexible and competitive remuneration arrangements appropriate
to DOFA's employment market
- choice of either a collective or individual agreement for expressing
terms and conditions of employment
- a performance management system that applies to all staff.
The framework is integrated into all DOFA's business areas to
help it to attract, retain and reward staff with competitive remuneration
and non-monetary benefits and allow staff maximum flexibility to
balance work and family commitments.
Flexibility and Choice in Remuneration
All DOFA staff below the SES level can choose either the collective
agreement (certified agreement) or an individual workplace agreement
(AWA) for expressing terms and conditions of employment. Both types
of agreement give access to pay rises as skills and responsibilities
increase, as well as flexible working arrangements to help balance
work and home commitments. Also they both provide financial and
other assistance to promote ongoing learning and development, as
well as regular feedback to help improve performance. At 30 June
2000, 56 per cent of staff were covered by AWAs compared to 32 per
cent of staff at 30 June 1999.
A Focus on Performance Management
DOFA's performance management framework applies to all staff, with
performance bonuses awarded to staff rated competent or superior.
It aims to improve both individual and organisational performance,
and comparison of the last three years' performance management cycles
highlights that the average rating of staff performance has risen
steadily. On a ten point scale, the average performance rating for
staff below SES has moved from 6.45 in 1997-98 to 6.61 in 1998-99
to 6.68 in 1999-2000. In addition, the percentage of staff assessed
as borderline or unsatisfactory has dropped, with almost 98 per
cent rated competent or better in 1999-2000 and receiving performance
Planning for the Future
DOFA has initiated a number of strategies to ensure it maintains
a sustainable workforce to meet its needs. These strategies include
identifying current and future key jobs and ensuring that high quality
backup candidates are available through training and various recruitment
and retention activities.
One mechanism to identify and retain DOFA's key leadership and
management talent is the Long Term Incentive Plan. The plan was
developed to retain employees in business critical positions and
reward them for sustained high performance. The plan involves paying
a retention bonus to participants if they remain employed by DOFA
for three years and are assessed as eligible for a performance bonus
in each of those years. Retention bonuses are paid at the conclusion
of each of the third, fourth and fifth annual performance cycles
in the plan.
During 1999-2000, only three employees out of 55 participating
in the plan left DOFA. This equates to a turnover rate of less than
6 per cent, significantly less than for the whole of DOFA.
Graduate Recruitment and Development
DOFA has an ongoing commitment to employ high quality graduates,
and conducts an annual graduate recruitment programme. In 1999-2000,
DOFA recruited 27 graduates across a range of disciplines and from
a variety of locations across Australia. DOFA gives graduates challenging
opportunities to develop and prove their abilities, with targeted
training and development plans. DOFA also runs development centres
for new graduates to help them identify their strengths and areas
for development. Graduates then can liaise with their manager and
plan their development and career growth.
Training and Development Strategies for
DOFA has an ongoing commitment to all staff to continue staff development
over their careers, with a range of development options available.
The Performance Management Framework encourages all staff to identify
career opportunities and goals each year, and to actively pursue
strategies to achieve them.
Other options available for staff development include using the
flexible working arrangements, participating in special project
teams, and gaining experience in other organisations. Staff are
able to study at outside institutions and negotiate reimbursement
for their successful completion of business-related studies and
time off to study.
A key priority for DOFA is to improve leadership at every level.
As part of a department-wide leadership programme, managers and
staff identify strengths and areas for improvement, using results
from diagnostic leadership tools. Then they develop an individual
plan that will encourage leadership growth. DOFA has five leadership
behaviours: creativity, will to win (desire to make a difference),
ability to learn, people management, and expertise in a particular
field. Because these behaviours are fundamental to contributing
to DOFA's outcomes, they feature in DOFA's recruitment, leadership
development and performance management programmes and activities.
During 1999-2000, DOFA renewed its membership of the Leadership
Consortium, a Melbourne based organisation, which comprises several
well known private sector companies and public sector organisations.
The consortium aims to improve leadership among its members through
a targeted and tailored programme of course work, reading, formal
seminars and a work-based project. DOFA uses the consortium's Leadership
Development Programme to provide officers with leading edge development
and networking opportunities. Participants are required to work
on a strategic project that Management Board identifies. The outcome
not only is a development opportunity for participants, but assists
DOFA to address key challenges facing its business.
DOFA values and capitalises on the diversity of its workforce and
has mechanisms in place to give effect to workplace diversity principles.
Commitment to diversity is underpinned by DOFA's Workplace Diversity
Plan, the Certified Agreement, Australian Workplace Agreements and
the performance management framework. DOFA's workplace diversity
programme identifies strategies to increase employment of people
with disabilities and Indigenous Australians. For example, DOFA
placed graduate recruitment advertisements in the Koori Mail to
encourage applications from Indigenous Australians. DOFA provides
high quality, accessible facilities for people with a disability,
and its flexible approach to home based work is an advantage for
staff with specialised needs.
DOFA recently implemented new procedures to capture up-to-date
and relevant staff information (for both current and new staff)
which, supported by the new Australian Public Service Employment
Database, will allow it to compare more comprehensively performance
DOFA made good progress in employing women, particularly at senior
levels. The number of women in DOFA at the senior officer level
rose to 39 per cent in 1999-2000 (8 per cent higher than the APS
average), while the number of women at the SES level rose from 22.5
per cent in 1998-99 to 38 per cent in 1999-2000. This is 16 per
cent higher than the current average across the APS. DOFA has a
women's network that meets monthly and offers a programme of supportive
activities, including an annual conference and regular seminars.
Currently 50 women participate in the network.
Balancing Work and Home Life
One of DOFA's initiatives supporting diversity in the workplace,
is the Work and Home Life Balance programme. Encouraged by the receipt
of a Mother Friendly Workplace Award from the Nursing Mother's Association
of Australia in June 1999, DOFA established a Work and Home Life
Balance project in July 1999. It aims to develop an environment
where people can achieve high performance within a supportive, flexible
workplace, while maintaining a healthy balance between work and
To reinforce DOFA's long term commitment to this initiative, it
included work and home life balance aspects as a key result area
in the business planning framework and in individual performance
agreements. DOFA also developed family friendly policies and practices,
and staff can work from home. Other family friendly initiatives
include family oriented social club activities, library resources,
maternity leave information kits and onsite facilities for expressing
and storing breastmilk. DOFA also supports the health management
and well being of staff through a Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds Programme.
Although work and home life balance is a matter of individual
responsibility and personal choice, DOFA believes it can assist
by creating a work environment that promotes and supports people's
physical, emotional and psychological well being. In this way, DOFA
staff are encouraged to achieve their full potential, perform at
high levels and have more control over their choices in seeking
to balance their lives.
DOFA's Occupational Health and Safety performance, including its
compliance with the relevant legislation, is in Appendix
F. Staffing statistics are in Appendix