Chapter 4 People management

The goal for the DMO is to ensure that the size, shape, skills and culture of the workforce meet the business requirements of the organisation, so that the DMO becomes more business-like, accountable and outcome driven.

The achievements of DMO staff during 2007-08 were significant. They met the challenges of increased budget allocation, ongoing operational deployments, and increasingly large and complex project delivery in a work environment characterised by key skill shortages and ongoing scrutiny by the Government, the media and the community. The DMO continued to emphasise the importance of professionalising, reprioritising work, improving business practices, leading project and sustainment reform, and improving working relationships with industry.

The DMO's people strategy

In 2007-08, the DMO's strategy to address workforce challenges focused on building organisational capability and productivity through effective attraction, retention and professionalisation. The DMO enhanced the attractiveness and the effectiveness of its employment offer through targeted employment branding, and by offering competitive workplace conditions and an investment in learning.

Performance against people priorities

Priority 1—Continuing to establish and improve industry recognised and accredited programs to professionalise the workforce in project management, engineering and technical professions, commerce and business, and logistics.
The DMO continued to work in partnership with peak professional bodies to provide certification and professional recognition programs for DMO job families. Over the year, 140 personnel have progressed to certification. Progress has been made to professionalise materiel logisticians. New units of competency have been developed and are currently proceeding through national endorsement. A suite of vocational qualifications based on the competencies has been developed and accredited. The qualifications, along with the new practitioner and introductory training courses, provide a framework to professionalise the DMO and Defence industry materiel logistics workforce. Professionalisation of the procurement and contracting workforce has been a priority and will continue to be so into 2008-09. A training roadmap has been developed and the population of it has commenced. A suite of contract risk modules have been developed, advanced negotiation skills training introduced, and Australian Defence Contracting template training reintroduced. The focus has been on addressing the high risk areas first.
Priority 2—Continuing to invest in the leadership skills and managerial abilities of the DMO's executive, managers and supervisors.
The DMO leadership programs have been designed to develop professionalism, leadership capability and exemplary standards of behaviour. The highly successful Catalyst and Gateway courses, introduced in 2006, have been redesigned and combined into a comprehensive leadership program that includes precursor development centres and ongoing coaching and mentoring support. Over 2007-2008, 182 staff from APS 5 to Executive Level 2 and military equivalents participated on Catalyst and Gateway, and 246 attended the Compass and Executive Compass development centres The Velocity leadership program for high performers was introduced in 2008. It targeted 20 high-potential managers and provided enhanced leadership development for future executives. The development of project managers to undertake leadership of the most complex projects remained a focus. The Project Simulation in February 2008, run in conjunction with Boeing, provided continuing development for extant complex project managers. The Executive Masters in Complex Project Management was offered for the first time in 2008, with 16 Defence participants in the first cohort. The program was developed by the DMO in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology. The program has been accredited by the College of Complex Project Management.
Priority 3—Strengthening performance assessment and management policies and practise to support the goal of greater accountability of staff at all levels.
The DMO has reinforced its culture of managing poor performance and rewarding and encouraging good performance by:
  • identifying and managing poor performance through individual Employee Performance Agreements. Managers who rate an employee as not effective or partially effective have been supported through professional human resources guidance and direction. The numbers of staff rated as ineffective or partially effective (approximately 2 per cent) increased slightly, indicating that poor performance is not being tolerated and is being actively managed.
  • education programs to remind staff, supervisors and managers within the DMO of their performance obligations. This includes the inclusion of a performance management presentation and group discussions on DMO leadership programs.
  • effective performance was rewarded through bonuses paid under Australian Workplace Agreements, reward and recognitions schemes including CEO Commendations, Divisional and Branch awards and Australian Day medallions, and pay progression at performance assessment time.
Priority 4—Refining innovative workforce planning and forecasting techniques and capabilities to better align the DMO's workforce with the demands of the Defence Capability Plan.
The DMO Workforce Plan 2007-2012 was developed in 2007-08. It identified eight key themes that will affect the DMO's workforce now and into the future, as well as the risk analysis and risk mitigators against each theme. Workforce decision making and initiatives over the year have been driven by these mitigating actions. The mitigating actions undertaken include refinement of the workforce planning and forecast modelling techniques to align the workforce with the Defence Capability Plan, analysis of workforce requirements against structures and functional requirements at business unit level.
Priority 5—Further developing programs to target skills gaps in the DMO's workforce, including remuneration incentives to retain highly skilled staff and older workers, refinement of the existing materiel graduate and Cadetship schemes, and implementation of the new DMO Traineeship scheme and tertiary scholarship scheme.
The DMO has run several programs to attract vocational and tertiary students and graduates in critical skills shortage disciplines. These programs include the Materiel Vocational Employment Scheme (MVES), the Materiel Cadetship Scheme (MCS) and the Materiel Graduate Scheme (MGS). The MVES was introduced in 2008, while the successful MCS and MGS were refocused on critical skill groups, particularly engineers. Marketing for these programs have very successful with applications increasing by over 40 per cent in 2008. Retention rates remain high, with 80 per cent of graduates retained since 2004. The DMO continues to establish its profile as a preferred employer. Marketing strategies include attending university career fairs and events, such as the national careers forum which involves participants from all university and graduate employers, and profiling the DMO in key education, school and university publications.
Priority 6—Implementing a new strategic recruitment capability and bolder DMO employment branding to improve the success rate of recruitment actions for highly skilled workers, especially for project management, engineering and commercial roles.
In 2007-08 the DMO has expanded the strategic recruitment capability, including implementation of university partnering and sponsorship arrangements. This service includes improved profiling, employment branding, more innovative attraction and recruitment strategies, and the provision of an internal recruitment consultancy service. Advertisements reflect the DMO's focus on professional development, work/life balance and career opportunities, and new people-focused imagery.
Priority 7—Implementing the DMO's workplace health and safety strategic plan to better guide initiatives and activities to reduce time off work due to injury and illness.
The DMO Safety Strategic Plan was endorsed by the Executive in 2007-08. It presents a comprehensive plan to coordinate and report against all safety initiatives and reflects the DMO's commitment to safety. Key features of the plan are outlined later in this chapter.