Equipping staff with the right capabilities and tools

We have made significant changes in our approach to capability development to better support an expert and credentialed workforce. Key features of the new model are:

  • contemporary development events that are profession-specific, industry-recognised and capable of delivering the right skills
  • learning pathways that enable staff to easily identify the capabilities, qualifications and development needed for current and future roles
  • investing in our staff to equip them with industry-standard skills and qualifications.

The new model aims to deliver a contemporary mix of internal and external tailored services, and structured and on-the-job development opportunities. Examples include:

  • Learning Express sessions which were launched across all ATO sites in mid-March 2016. These shorter, dynamic training sessions are offered to staff on a wide range of topics.
  • Challenging Leadership Potential programs, launched in June 2016, which are designed to build strong leadership capability among EL2 and SES Band 1 staff who have the potential and aspiration to take on broader or more complex roles. These programs are providing a pipeline of future leaders and ensures the ATO achieves the recommendations from the Unlocking potential report on enhancing workforce management in the Australian Public Service.
  • A new private sector secondments program that aims to broaden the capability and experience of the ATO workforce. The program is strengthening our relationships with private organisations, enhancing our understanding of commercial environments and developing our business acumen.
  • A new policy on Recruitment, Selection and Mobility, which was released in April 2016. The revised policy acknowledges feedback from staff that they want greater flexibility to move across the ATO to develop and broaden their skills and capabilities.
  • The ATO’s new performance framework, Compass, which supports all staff to be the best they can be. The Compass framework encourages frequent check-ins (conversations) between managers and staff as a means of strengthening capability and improving performance and engagement. Compass provides the support and tools for these conversations. Our approach is at the forefront of industry practices and has shifted the focus away from specific ratings to quality conversations and goal setting, tailored to the individual employee.

Recognising the key role that leaders play in shaping our workforce, this year we established the ATO Leadership Council to support and drive leadership development in the ATO and better manage succession.

Creating the workplace of tomorrow

Technology continues to change the nature of how our people work on more complex tasks, with changed expectations about how they collaborate with their colleagues and connect with their managers and leaders.

We want to ensure that our tools and environment remain contemporary, continuing to work the way people need them to, and our workplace is somewhere where staff want to be.

In March 2016, the ATO commenced the Future Workspace trial. We moved 162 people from 21 teams across the ATO into level 8 of our Melbourne Docklands building to trial the new workplace. Participants represented the different types of work undertaken by our staff. The space was co-designed with staff, with a focus on improving productivity, collaboration and wellbeing. To shape the experience, we visited other organisations, researched workplace trends, undertook workplace observational studies and co-designed the space with our people.

Findings have shown that this is the direction ATO staff want us to take.

We found during the trial that satisfaction with the workplace increased by 26.5%, the environment enhanced the wellbeing of our people through increased movement throughout the day, and there was an increase in work-related and social connections. The trial also found that 51.9% of ATO staff believe creating spaces like this would increase the ATO’s ability to attract and retain talent.

Examples of positive feedback include:

  • ‘The single biggest impact on my experience of work, and at work, since I joined the ATO, and the one that most embraces the re-invention.’
  • ‘I have found the Future Workspace to be incredibly flexible and refreshing. I enjoy where I work and find each day to be different.’