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APSC News February 2016: fostering a flexible, efficient, high performing APS

Welcome to the first edition of APSC News for 2016. It’s shaping up to be an exciting year, both in terms of opportunities and challenges.

The APSC has a big agenda for 2016. This year, we are making real and sustainable changes to workforce management that will set the APS up for the future. We are:

- overhauling the way the APS attracts, recruits and mobilises the best and brightest

- positioning talent management as a fundamental part of business so that we have the right people with the right skills ready to step in to fill critical gaps

- driving a high performance culture for all so that APS agencies can get the best from their employees

- reforming APS systems and processes so that agencies have the authority and flexibility to act

- building the strategic capability of APS HR areas so that HR is more mission-driven and people-focused.

Progress is already underway. We have stripped red tape from the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions, released the APS Talent Guide, established a partnership with industry experts on performance management, and launched a program to build the capability of HR practitioners.

Over the next 12 months, you will see us collaborating and partnering more closely with agencies of all sizes and shapes. Our new ‘show me how’ model will support agencies to embed skills and best practice initiatives.

We have also started the year with increasing momentum towards concluding bargaining. As of 1 February 2016, 35 new agreements have been finalised. Employees in most of the remaining agencies will have an opportunity to vote in the coming months. Wrapping up negotiations as quickly as possible will enable employees to shift the focus back to their work and planning for the future.

Did you hear?

'The talent is the real asset of the Australian Public Service, so we have got to have a focus on the APS, a respect for the quality and seek to promote and improve the quality of that workforce all the time.'

Prime Minister the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, 2015

The APS’s got talent

The APS does critical work for the Government and the community. This means we need our most talented people working on the most complex challenges and in the most critical roles. Show more

Attracting the best and brightest people from a range of backgrounds requires systems and processes that allow us to recruit the right people quickly and effectively. But we also need to get the most from all employees while they are working in the APS. This includes being able to actively differentiate and invest in our top talent.

The 2016 APS HR Summit ‘Growing tall poppies’ will explore current and evolving APS talent management practices, and the challenges and opportunities of talent management in the APS. The event will feature a range of high profile speakers and experts from the APS and the private sector. It will be held on Friday 26 February 2016.

For more information contact Kate.Jacey [at] apsc.gov.au.

Did you hear?

'I want the best and brightest people to aspire to work… in the Australian Public Service. To do this, we need to think carefully about the employment brand we project. This includes thinking about what distinguishes the APS from other organisations.'

The Hon. John Lloyd PSM, Australian Public Service Commissioner, August 2015

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The key to high performance

For many of us, the new year brings with it mid-cycle performance discussions. But, even if it doesn’t, there’s never a bad time to have a discussion about your performance. This time, go in prepared. Show more

Good performance conversations are key to unlocking high performance. They have multiple attributes in that they: are forward looking; have a strong development focus; connect employees to their organisation and other relevant stakeholders; and highlight the impact an employee’s performance has on the organisation’s success.

Before you have a performance conversation with your manager, ask yourself:

1. What are my strengths? What areas do I need to develop? What do I need to do to develop in these areas?

2. Am I performing at my best? What do I need in order to perform at my best?

3. How have I contributed to my organisation’s success? How could I contribute more in the future?

4. What motivates me? What de-motivates me? What makes me feel valued at work?

5. Am I suited to the job I’m currently doing? In what ways am I suited/not suited?

6. Where do I want to take my career in the next 12 months? Five years? 10 years?

Before the end of the conversation, agree to some measurable goals to aim for over the next few months and make time to speak with your manager again. Ideally, in addition to timely, regular on-the-job feedback, you should have a performance ‘check-in’ with your manager at least every couple of months.

For more tips on having good career conversations go to www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/talent-management-guide/toolkit/guide-to-career-conversations.  Hide content

Helping HR to help you

'Today’s HR organisation must be agile, business-integrated, data-driven, and deeply skilled in attracting, retaining and developing staff.'
Deloitte, 2015

The APSC wants to help HR areas to better support their business areas. In 2016, we will be launching a series of HR Snippets events: short, targeted HR-focused events designed to build capability and expand the networks of APS HR staff.

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If you have a pressing topic you’d like us to explore in one of our HR Snippets events, please let us know. Submit your ideas and register your interest early by emailing the APSC Events Team at elln [at] apsc.gov.au.  Hide content

Don’t forget!

It’s an election year! Familiarise yourself with the caretaker conventions before they hit:


  • The APSC is overhauling the APSjobs website to bring it into the 21st Century. Part of this will include a closer look at who the APS is as an employer, and the ‘brand’ we want to promote.

    In the coming months we’ll be talking to IT professionals, industry experts and agencies. But we also want to hear from APS employees and external users. Stay tuned to APSC News for details on how you can have a say.

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018