Strategic-Workforce-Analysis-and-Reporting

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Australian Public Service
Strategic workforce analysis and
reporting guide
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APS Strategic Workforce Analysis and Reporting Guide
Australian Public Service Commission
Contents
Strategic workforce analysis and reporting explained ................................................................................ 2
The basis for undertaking strategic workforce analysis and reporting ................................................ 2
Undertaking effective strategic workforce analysis and reporting ........................................................ 2
Identifying and understanding workforce risks ............................................................................................. 3
Monitoring workforce data that is relevant to business delivery ...................................................... 3
Analysing workforce data to identify any workforce issues that could pose risk to the
delivery of business outcomes and outputs................................................................................................. 7
Consulting the business to assess potential impact of workforce issues on business delivery
........................................................................................................................................................................................ 8
Reporting to key business stakeholders on the workforce and any associated workforce
risks, to inform organisational decision making towards mitigating these risks ..................... 10
Managing workforce risks..................................................................................................................................... 13
Identifying strategy and initiative options to address workforce risks ........................................ 14
Setting aspirational targets.............................................................................................................................. 14
Benchmarking ....................................................................................................................................................... 14
Measuring, evaluating and adjusting ........................................................................................................... 15
Appendix A: Common workforce metrics ...................................................................................................... 16
Appendix B: Developing SMART goals (in the context of strategic workforce reporting)......... 38
Appendix C: Acknowledgement of the contribution of agencies and departments ...................... 40
APS Strategic Workforce Analysis and Reporting Guide
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Glossary
Term
Meaning
(within the context of the APS Strategic Workforce Analysis and Reporting
Guide)
Aspirational target
Target set within the context of an organisation (in isolation from other
organisations) that indicates the desired state of the workforce that will enable it
to effectively deliver its business outcomes and outputs.
Benchmarking
Comparison of workforce metrics with similar organisations, to gauge the
organisation’s performance within a broader context.
Critical job role
Job roles which are key (or may become key to the functions of the
organisation), are hard to fill, impact on the organisation’s business outcomes if
left vacant, require a long time to develop the required skills, have a large
number of staff (critical mass), or require niche or specialised skills.
Forecasting
Estimation of what the workforce will look like at future time points, based on
consideration of past trends and, taking a more complex approach, the impact
on the workforce of external factors such as labour market forces.
Job family
See ‘Occupational grouping’.
Lag indicator
Workforce metric that provides information about the past.
Lead indicator
Workforce metric that informs future activities.
Occupational grouping
A grouping of jobs that have similar skill and capability requirements.
Strategic workforce analysis
Examination and interpretation of workforce data, within the context of relevant
internal and external environmental factors, to identify workforce risks
Strategic workforce planning
Identification of high-level trends and developments that will affect the
availability of the workforce required to deliver organisational outcomes, and
actionable strategies to mitigate these risks.
Strategic workforce planning usually focuses on a three to five-year time
horizon, with many organisations focusing on a four-year time horizon aligned
to Portfolio Budget Statements.
Strategic workforce reporting
Communication of the outcomes of workforce analysis to key stakeholders in a
targeted way, to provide evidence to inform decision making towards mitigating
workforce risks.
Trend analysis
See ‘Forecasting’.
Workforce gap
Where the workforce available differs from the workforce required.
Workforce metric
A quantifiable measure of workforce activity or an aspect of its profile, and its
possible implications for organisational performance.
Workforce risk
Any workforce issue that could pose risk to delivery of business outcomes and
outputs.
Workforce risks arise where is a misalignment between the organisation’s
existing workforce and the workforce required to deliver its objectives.
Workforce trend
The pattern established by comparing the measurements of a workforce metric
over time.
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Strategic workforce analysis and reporting explained
Strategic workforce analysis is how you examine and interpret workforce data, within the context of
relevant internal and external environmental factors, to identify workforce risks. Ideally, this will have
been undertaken as a key component of mature strategic workforce planning. However, not all
organisations have progressed workforce planning and those who have may identify emerging issues
or issues not previously identified.
Strategic workforce analysis also provides evidence to confirm or negate existing assumptions about
the workforce that are used to inform or justify organisational decision making.
Strategic workforce reporting is how you communicate the outcomes of workforce analysis to key
stakeholders in the organisation in a targeted way, to provide evidence that is meaningful to them and
informs their decision making. It is reporting in a way that can be readily understood by key
stakeholders who may not be familiar with the language commonly associated with workforce data. It
is reporting with a purpose, and not reporting for the sake of reporting.
Effective, targeted strategic workforce reporting enables the appropriate workforce strategies to be
implemented, or existing strategies to be adjusted (or ceased) to ensure the required workforce is
achieved and sustained and workforce risks mitigated. Organisations with mature workforce planning
in place will ideally implement and adjust strategies as part of that process.
For strategic workforce reporting to be effective, it must be based on the outcomes of effective
workforce analysis. For strategic workforce analysis to be effective, it must be supported by
reporting that effectively communicates the outcomes to stakeholders.
The basis for undertaking strategic workforce analysis and
reporting
As an organisation’s workforce is one of its largest assets and investments, there is a business
imperative to understand, manage and plan for it properly. Strategic workforce analysis and reporting
provides information that builds understanding, and supports effective management and planning now
and in the future. It also provides a means of measuring the extent to which workforce management
and planning (and associated strategies and initiatives) are mitigating the risks to achieving the
workforce required to deliver business outcomes.
By establishing a shared language that links workforce metrics to business outcomes, strategic
workforce analysis and reporting also provides a platform for engaging more effectively with your
Executive and working in partnership with business.
Undertaking effective strategic workforce analysis and reporting
Effective strategic workforce analysis and reporting can be achieved by working in partnership with
key business stakeholders, and the areas responsible for strategic financial and workforce planning (if
these are separate functions). This ensures the information provided is relevant to the delivery of
business outcomes and supports strategic financial and workforce planning. It includes agreement on
what metrics are measured, why they are measured, how they are measured, how often, by whom, and
to what standard.
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There are two key considerations when undertaking strategic workforce analysis and reporting:
 identifying and understanding workforce risks to business delivery, and
 managing these risks to mitigate potential impact.
Many organisations have unique workforce characteristics and requirements, varying levels of
progression of strategic workforce analysis and reporting, and different approaches to strategic
workforce planning. An organisation’s approach, therefore, needs to be tailored accordingly to meet
the reality of its situation and maturity of its planning.
Identifying and understanding workforce risks
A workforce risk is any workforce issue that could pose risk to delivery of business outcomes and
outputs. They arise where is a misalignment between the organisation’s existing workforce and the
workforce required to deliver its objectives.
Workforce risks can arise from issues such as critical skills shortages, an increasing number of staff
exits, or significant workforce retirement intentions. However, such issues are only workforce risks in
so far as they have a potential impact on the organisation’s business delivery.
A key consideration of strategic workforce analysis and reporting is identifying and understanding
workforce risks. This involves a number of considerations, such as:
 Monitoring workforce data that is relevant to business delivery,
 Analysing workforce data to identify any workforce related issues that could pose risk to the
delivery of business outcomes and outputs,
 Consulting the business to assess potential impact of workforce issues on business delivery, and
 Reporting to key business stakeholders on the workforce and any associated workforce risks, to
inform organisational decision making towards mitigating these risks.
If your organisation has mature workforce planning in place, workforce risks should have been
identified as part of that process, and strategic workforce analysis and reporting should complement
these. However, ongoing strategic workforce analysis will enable you to identify emerging issues as
well as issues not previously identified.
Monitoring workforce data that is relevant to business delivery
Regular and consistent monitoring of relevant workforce data enables you to identify emerging
workforce issues. If these are assessed to be workforce risks, proactive mitigation can be initiated
before the full potential impact of the risks are realised. It also enables you to assess the impact of
strategies implemented through workforce management and planning.
Regular and consistent monitoring also aids the understanding of the current workforce for managers
and planners. It provides a firmer basis for workforce planning discussions, to better understand the
current demand and supply dynamics impacting the future workforce, and the drivers that may be
causing workforce gaps.
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Diagram 1 below highlights some examples of the data sources you might consider utilising to obtain
workforce data.
Diagram 1. Examples of workforce data sources
IT Systems
Surveys
Documents
•Human Resource Management Information System
(HRMIS)
•Performance Management System
•Financial system
•APSEDii
• Time keeping/Flex sheet /Attendance systems
•Exit Survey
•New Starter Survey
•Staff Pulse Surveys
•Employee Census
•Strategic Workforce Plans
•Environmental Scans of the labour market
•Corporate Plans (Strategic Plans and Business Plans)
A reliable HRMIS is the ideal source of workforce data. However, if your organisation’s HRMIS has
limited functionality, you may need to use alternative sources while considering how (and if) to
address these issues.
The sources highlighted above provide a broad range of data and you will need to consult your key
business stakeholders to determine what is useful and relevant for your organisation.
Business stakeholders will also have an intuitive sense of the potential workforce issues and risks
based on their experience, and these can be tested with the evidence produced through the regular
monitoring of workforce data.
Benchmarking can also assist with testing assumptions. For example, increasing the representation of
women in the workforce has been a key concern for the ICT industry. Therefore, an organisation with
a lower proportion of women than men might consider this a workforce risk. However, industry
benchmarking may reveal it to be higher than the industry average and investing in strategies to
increase the representation of women may not be effective or possible.
Workforce metrics
In business, a metric is used to gauge some quantifiable component of an organisation’s performance,
such as return on investment, or revenue.
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In strategic workforce analysis and reporting, a metric is used to gauge some quantifiable measure of
workforce activity or an aspect of its profile, and the possible implications for organisational
performance.
To be effective, metrics should be meaningful, measurable, and relevant. They should be agreed to
and consistently used across the organisation. When determining which workforce metrics to
measure, you might consider the following points:
 Purpose – Determine, in consultation with your key business stakeholders, what you want to know
about the workforce, and which metrics will be most useful in providing this knowledge. For
example, you might measure tenure by examining the level of corporate knowledge.
 Audience – Identify the key stakeholders who will use the data to inform their decision making,
what information they have requested, what they believe their workforce issues are, and which
workforce metrics are most influential to their decision making.
 Data source – Determine whether there is an existing data source for each of the selected metrics,
or whether new data will need to be captured in the first instance.
 Data integrity1 – Ascertain the strengths and weaknesses in the data. These will determine what
metrics you are able to measure confidently, and to what extent you can draw valid conclusions
from them. It will also assist in identifying steps to improve the quality of the data.2
 Definitions –Workforce metrics can be defined and calculated in various ways. Therefore, it is
useful to gain agreement from your key business stakeholders (in keeping with APS reporting
requirements) with a view to maintaining them consistently over time. This ensures a common
understanding, and allows comparative analysis to be undertaken, which in turn assists with trend
analysis and forecasting. It also ensures that workforce issues are genuine and not due to
discrepancies in the data.
Example
Full-time equivalent (FTE) data can be misunderstood due to variations in the way it is defined and
calculated3. From the perspective of Total FTE4 or Average Staffing Level (ASL)5, it will not include
staff on leave without pay, and is effectively a measure of workforce affordability. If based on data
in the Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS), it may include staff on leave
without pay, and is effectively a measure of workforce cost and/or maximum potential workforce
capacity.
1
When assessing the quality of the data, the ABS Data Quality Framework may be a useful resource, it can be found at the
following link: http://www.nss.gov.au/dataquality/resources.jsp.
2
Adapted from the definition in a Guide to People Metrics 2010, The State of the Services Authority, 3 Treasury Place,
Melbourne.
3
Refer to Appendix A for a definition of FTE (Full time equivalent) as referred to throughout this document.
4
Refer to Appendix A for a definition of Total FTE as referred to throughout this document.
5
Refer to Appendix A for a definition of Average Staffing Level (ASL) as referred to throughout this document.
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Workforce metrics can be grouped into common themes. Some examples of workforce metrics
commonly monitored by organisations are provided in Table 1 below. Organisations might consider
starting with a few basic metrics, and expanding and refining these over time.
Table 1. Examples of commonly monitored workforce metrics
Workforce metrics commonly measured and monitored over time (by workforce theme)
Workforce
availability
Workforce profile
Workforce mobility
Workforce
capability
Workforce
intentions and
satisfaction
Full-time equivalent
(FTE)
Location
Recruitment
Performance
management
Employee
engagement
Headcount (HC)
Occupational
grouping / Job
family
Secondments
Education and
development
Intentions
Employment type
(ongoing, nonongoing, contract)
Classification level
Transfers
Qualifications
Employment status
(full-time, part-time)
Age
Resignations
Skills and
capabilities
Absence
(planned,
unplanned)
Gender
Retirements
Learning and
development
Diversity
Redundancies
Tenure
Tenure
Some workforce metrics can be an indicator for more than one workforce theme. For example, tenure
can indicate the level of workforce mobility and can also be indicative of workforce capability in
terms of corporate knowledge and experience. While you will generally select metrics with a
particular purpose in mind, it is worth considering the alternative uses with a view to expanding and
developing your analysis and reporting over time. Some metrics can be combined to enable a greater
granularity of analysis. For example, resignations by age provide a more detailed profile and greater
level of meaning in relation to who is leaving the organisation, than resignations alone.
Lead and lag indicators
Workforce metrics are sometimes referred to as lead or lag indicators. Lead indicators inform future
activities while lag indicators provide information about the past. The results of a recruitment
intentions survey would be lead indicators because they can be used to inform future recruitment
activity or forecast workforce growth. The absence rate for the past quarter would be considered a lag
indicator because it is based on past absences.
Lag indicators are useful in establishing trends (comparison with previous lag indicators), to assist
with forecasting the future state of the workforce if no action is taken. They can also be useful in
understanding seasonal fluctuations and peak periods of business activity, and the ongoing impact of
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particular events or strategies and initiatives. They can also assist with establishing targets, such as
attendance and unscheduled absence targets. For lag indicators, it is important to identify if there are
any anticipated future impacts that may limit the effectiveness of a lag indicator as a predictor of the
future, such as a slowing economy in relation to staff exit rates, for example. For lead or lag
indicators, it is important to clarify the time point they were captured.
While it is worth considering the time horizon informed by workforce metrics, it does not determine
their value as strategic measures. Workforce metrics are of strategic value if they support delivery of
the strategic goals and objectives of the organisation.
Forecasting (Trend Analysis)
Trend analysis is the process of estimating what the workforce will look like at future time points
within your planning horizon. It takes into consideration past trends and ratios for metrics such as
staff exits, age and absence, etc. Trends are ideally based on three years of historical data, calculated
on a monthly basis to flatten out any unusual highs and lows and seasonal fluctuations. These highs
and lows, and the reason for them, need to be considered when determining an agreed and realistic
rate.
Taking a simplistic approach to trend analysis, you can then use this rate to estimate the effect on the
workforce into the future if you take no action today. This is based on an assumption that all else will
remain the same and patterns will remain stable. A more complex approach considers the impact on
the workforce of external factors, such as labour market forces (unemployment rate, skills shortages
and budget forecasts, etc.).
Analysing workforce data to identify any workforce issues that could pose risk to the delivery
of business outcomes and outputs
Strategic workforce analysis involves examining your workforce data in depth, to achieve a more
sophisticated level of understanding and identify potential workforce risks. It examines what is
happening (within the context of the broader internal and external environment), where, how and why
it is happening and, importantly, what it might look like in the future if left unattended.
Example
Measuring the organisation’s staff exits indicates the rate at which employees are leaving the
organisation. However, to understand the nature (or root cause) of staff exits, a more detailed and
broader level of analysis is required.
Examining the exit rate at a more granular level, such as occupational groupings, may reveal that
staff exits are particularly high in certain groups. If low rates elsewhere offset the higher rates, the
organisation’s rate will mask these potential workforce risks.
Examining exit rates over time may indicate a recent spike, a steady increase over time, or a systemic
high level. The timing may coincide with an organisational change program or some other significant
event. Extrapolating a trend into the future will provide a forecast of staff exits if no further action is
taken.
Examining the destination of exiting staff may reveal that some areas of the organisation are supply
sources for others. Combining staff exit data with performance data may reveal whether high
performers are exiting at a higher rate, while consulting staff exit survey results is also likely to
provide additional strength to your analysis.
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The more granular the level of detail, the greater the number of relevant metrics you combine into
your analysis, and the greater the number of additional sources you consult, the stronger the analysis
and level of understanding achieved.
Consulting the business to assess potential impact of workforce issues on business delivery
Once you have a thorough understanding of any workforce issues, you can assess the potential
implications for delivery of business outcomes and outputs. Herein lies the real value of strategic
workforce analysis and reporting as it provides the basis for taking action.
In order to translate workforce data into information that is useful to the business, it is recommended
you consult your key business stakeholders, who are effectively your subject matter experts. They
have an intimate knowledge of the business and business demand, and can therefore make linkages
between the state of the workforce and how this translates into associated risks to business.
To better understand workforce risk, it may be useful to consider the workforce in terms of
occupational groupings (job families) and/or critical job roles, if this approach to workforce
segmentation has been progressed within your organisation. For example, high-level staff intentions
to exit within roles that have long lead times for developing new staff pose greater risk to business
than roles that are more easily and readily filled.
Establishing a working group may be useful to engage with your key business stakeholders, and also
provides a good foundation for the ongoing management of any change process required to mitigate
workforce risks. A working group to progress workforce planning may already exist, and could be
utilised for this purpose in order to strengthen the link between workforce analysis and reporting, and
workforce planning.
Consulting key business stakeholders also assists to engage them in the process and broaden their
perspective. It positions them to better understand their workforce requirements and influence the
state of the workforce to manage potential workforce risks. It also helps to ensure the organisation is
focusing on what is most important to the delivery of business, and that it is implementing responsive
and targeted workforce strategies and initiatives.
Example
A high staff exit rate is generally considered a workforce risk due to loss of experience, skills and
capabilities, and corporate knowledge. It can also indicate increasing cost in terms of recruitment and
the time to fill a higher number of vacancies and develop a larger number of new employees.
A high exit rate for a particular sector of the workforce could be of significant risk if it is critical to
the delivery of business outcomes and outputs. If a high proportion of exiting staff have a long tenure
with the organisation, the risk may be higher due to the associated loss of corporate knowledge.
In some workforce sectors, high exit rates may be appropriate given the demanding nature of the
work. It might also indicate where ‘burn out’ is occurring, thereby enabling the organisation to
reorganise work or create career paths that limit the loss of corporate knowledge.
There are other sectors where it might also be expected, and therefore not necessarily considered a
risk, such as the age group approaching retirement, or for non-ongoing employees or employees on
long term leave who resign after utilising all of their leave entitlements.
It is through consultation with key business stakeholders that you will be able to draw such
conclusions.
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It is also important to understand the point at which the organisation realises a return on its
investment in the recruitment of a new employee.
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Reporting to key business stakeholders on the workforce and any associated workforce risks,
to inform organisational decision making towards mitigating these risks
Any workforce issues or risks need to be communicated to the relevant key business stakeholders, to
inform them in their business planning and decision making.
A commonly cited barrier to progressing strategic workforce planning is a lack of executive buy-in.
Transitioning from traditional transactional-style HR reporting to strategic workforce reporting (with
direct linkages to the business), can provide business managers with evidence based information and
analysis that they can easily understand and absorb. Strategic workforce reporting is one method by
which HR can gain credibility and influence in organisational decision making.
Reporting format and frequency will vary depending on the purpose, the needs and circumstances of
your organisation, and the needs and preferences of your key business stakeholders. However, it can
be useful to establish a regular reporting schedule (such as monthly and/or quarterly) as agreed with
your key business stakeholders. The data you report on will also vary and again, it is useful to consult
your key business stakeholders.
Effective workforce reporting utilises techniques to most effectively present information, in order to
solicit inquiry and discussion from the targeted audience.
When considering how to approach workforce reporting, you might consider the following points:
 Data integrity – Note any strengths and weaknesses in the data so that your key business
stakeholders are aware of any limitations, as they will be using the data to inform their decision
making. This will also help gain support for taking steps to improve the data.
 Audience – Understand how your key business stakeholders like to receive information and what
drives them; what their priorities, interests and background are. This will influence the focus of
your reporting, as well as the format, style and language you adopt. Key business stakeholders will
generally prefer reporting that utilises business language rather than HR language. Consider also
what reports your audience already receives, and how strategic workforce reporting might fit in
relation to these.
 Purpose – Determine the key messages you want to communicate to your key business
stakeholders, why you are presenting the report, what outcomes you are seeking, and what action
might then be taken.
 Format – Consider how to most effectively communicate your key messages, based on the nature
of the data (and associated messages), the outcomes sought, and your audience’s needs and
preferences. Consider the complexity of the data (and associated messages).
 Frequency – Determine how frequently to report, based on the nature of the data (and associated
messages), the outcomes sought and the audience’s needs and preferences. Determine how
frequently other reports are provided, and how strategic workforce reporting might fit in relation to
these.
 Definitions – Obtain consensus and clarify the definition and method for calculating each
workforce metric (e.g. in an appendix to your report). This will ensure transparency, prevent
misunderstanding and promote consistency. Appendix A provides a reference point for workforce
metrics commonly monitored by organisations, including definitions and formulas for calculation.
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Levels of strategic workforce reporting
There are generally three levels of strategic workforce reporting: monthly, quarterly and issue-specific
(or deep dive) reports as required. There are general recommendations for each type, however it is
important to consider the needs and circumstances of your organisation, and the needs and preferences
of your key business stakeholders, so they can be adapted accordingly. While the three levels of
reporting will differ, and aim to meet different business needs, ideally they should still support and
complement each other.
 Monthly reporting – The aim of monthly reporting is generally to provide an overview of the
workforce, and how it has changed over the month compared to the previous month. It usually
highlights any trends or other workforce risks that have emerged during the month, and commonly
targets select stakeholders from key business areas.
Monthly reports can be effective in engaging your stakeholders, by stimulating their interest and
providing regular exposure to workforce data. They enable potential risks to specific business areas
to be monitored, and promote understanding of workforce risks and opportunities.
In general, it is recommended that monthly reports:
 are succinct;
 draw comparison with either the previous month or the same month in the previous financial
year, and the financial year-to-date; and
 utilise graphs, charts and tables.
 Quarterly reporting - Quarterly reporting generally provides a more detailed level of analysis
(within the context of strategic workforce considerations). It usually focuses on a broader range of
workforce themes and is commonly targeted at a broader group of key business stakeholders from
across the organisation.
Quarterly reporting provides an opportunity to raise issues that could pose risk to business
delivery. It provides an opportunity to present a more strategic level of analysis, and make
recommendations for action.
In general, it is recommended that quarterly reports:
 are analytical, detailed and thorough;
 provide an overview of the wide range of workforce themes;
 highlight any prevailing workforce gaps and other workforce issues;
 draw comparisons with either the previous quarter or the same quarter in the previous financial
year, and the financial year-to-date;
 indicate performance against workforce targets and relevant benchmarks;
 utilise graphs, charts and tables along with supporting written analysis; and
 include any recommendations for further action, where this is required.
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 Issue-specific reporting - Issue-specific reports are ‘deep dive’ reports that provide an
opportunity to examine in depth a particular workforce gap, trend or other workforce issue (within
the context of strategic workforce considerations). The issue generally poses significant risk to the
delivery of business outcomes and outputs. Issue-specific reports are provided on an ‘as required’
basis, but generally no more than once or twice per year due to the level of analysis and
preparation involved. They are commonly targeted at a specific audience, depending on the issue.
The following table provides tips for framing and planning strategic workforce reporting on a
monthly, quarterly and issue-specific basis.
Table 2. Tips for framing and planning strategic workforce reporting
Tips for framing and planning strategic workforce reporting on a monthly, quarterly and issue-specific
basis
Aspect of reporting
Level of reporting
Monthly reporting
Quarterly reporting
Issue-specific reporting
Length
1-2 pages (A3 or A4)
No more than 15 pages
No more than 30 pages
Presentation
Graphical summary
Written report including
graphs, charts and tables
Deep-dive report
Audience
Select key business
stakeholders
Key business
stakeholders, more
broadly
A specified audience for a
particular purpose
Metrics
High level workforce data
of note that can change
within the period of a
month, as well as any
workforce issues that
require monitoring on an
ongoing basis.
Quarterly data on
workforce availability,
profile, mobility and
capability, as well as any
strategic workforce
considerations for the
quarter.
Detailed reporting on a
particular workforce trend
or other workforce issue
that requires deeper
analysis.
Data comparison
Data commonly
compared to the previous
month, the same month in
the previous financial
year, and the current
financial year-to-date
Data commonly
compared to the previous
quarter, the same quarter
in the previous financial
year, and the current
financial year-to-date
Data comparison points
are drawn as relevant to
the issue
Reporting period
The previous month.
The previous financial
year quarter:
Time period relevant to
the issue
Q1: July – September
Q2: October – December
Q3: January – March
Q4: April – June.
Circulation
Within the first week of
the following month.
Within the first two weeks
of the following quarter.
Once a year.
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While it might generally be appropriate to circulate monthly reports directly to the audience, it may be
useful to table quarterly and issue-specific reports for presentation and discussion at Executive
meetings. This ensures visibility of the issues and promotes discussion at a strategic level.
Example
It might be appropriate to report on staff exits quarterly, however if an increasing trend begins to
emerge in a particular business division, it may need to be included in monthly reporting to the
relevant Executive. This would flag the trend as an issue possibly requiring further investigation in
relation to impact on business.
If the trend continues, it may become the focus of an issue-specific report that analyses the issue
further; to consider the implications for business delivery (for the division and the organisation), and
consider possible strategy options.
For all levels of reporting:
 consider using graphs, charts, symbols or pictures to visualise the data and draw attention to key
messages
 where possible, build a story showing how one workforce issue may lead to another which, in turn
may lead to the emergence of a workforce risk;
 consider using forecasts to analyse the extent to which workforce trends may become workforce
issues or risks;
 focus on facts;
 ensure calculations are accurate;
 keep it as succinct as possible, given the level of data complexity;
 reference internal and external style guides;
 reference relevant other documents and sources of information; and
 prepare for presentations.
Managing workforce risks
A further key consideration of strategic workforce analysis and reporting is managing identified
workforce risks to delivery of business outcomes and outputs. This encompasses a number of
considerations, such as:
 Identifying strategy and initiative options to address workforce risks,
 Setting aspirational targets,
 Benchmarking, and
 Measuring, evaluating and adjusting.
If your organisation has mature workforce planning in place, the strategy options for addressing
workforce risks are likely to have been identified and implemented as part of that process. However,
based on the ongoing identification of emerging workforce risks (through strategic workforce analysis
and reporting), existing strategies may need to be adjusted (or ceased), and new ones implemented.
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Identifying strategy and initiative options to address workforce risks
Regular monitoring of workforce data informs workforce plans, enabling them to be adjusted and
reviewed on an ongoing basis. Strategy development and implementation will be most effective if you
explore the success likelihood of all options, and the limitations and costs in relation to the expected
benefit. This will enable you to better engage with, and gain support and commitment from the
appropriate key business stakeholders. It is helpful to ensure that each strategy and initiative has
associated targets aligned to them, so that you can report on their outcomes, and monitor and adjust as
appropriate.
Example
If strategic workforce reporting indicates that staff exits are particularly high in an occupational
grouping that is critical to business delivery, this enables strategies to be targeted appropriately at
that occupational grouping. This ensures resources are invested where they are needed most, and will
have the most impact.
By monitoring staff exits on a regular basis, you will be in a position to report on whether there has
been a return on your investment of resources. That is, you will be able to provide evidence that
indicates whether the strategies targeted at the occupational grouping are succeeding.
Setting aspirational targets
You might consider setting aspirational targets to indicate the desired state of the workforce that will
enable the organisation to effectively deliver its business outcomes and outputs. These targets are
ideally set within the context of the organisation, in isolation from other organisations. Consultation
with, and endorsement from key business stakeholders will be invaluable in this process, given their
intimate knowledge of the business and the workforce required.
Targets should be set so that they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timebound)—see Appendix B for further explanation.
Example
An organisation may set its target for staff exits at a rate that it considers will ensure:
-
sufficient retention of corporate knowledge,
-
allow for a level renewal and refreshment of capability, and
-
maintain costs associated with replacing staff at an acceptable and affordable level.
However, if staff exits are particularly high in a business division that is critical to business delivery,
the critical target will not be the target rate for the organisation, but for the business division itself.
Benchmarking
You may also consider benchmarking against similar organisations, to gauge the organisation’s
performance within a broader context. Comparison against similar organisations can be a means by
which improvements in performance are sought, and best practice is ensured. Benchmarking can be
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undertaken internally (against other cross sections or divisions of the organisation) and externally
(against other APS organisations6 or private sector companies). In either case, for effective
comparison to be drawn, you must ensure that the definitions and calculations associated with your
organisation’s metrics are the same as those used by the organisation you are benchmarking against.
Benchmarking will be most effective if you identify those organisations that produce similar outputs,
have similar constraints, and similar workforce requirements. For example, it may not be realistic for
a call centre function to benchmark itself against APS-wide metrics, however benchmarking against
similar occupations will be more relevant. Even for similar occupations, the context may be quite
different. For example, call centres in a public service context might be quite different to call centres
in a private sector context. While benchmarking can be useful, it will very rarely if ever provide direct
comparison between identical metrics in identical contexts.
Benchmarking workforce metrics may assist you to communicate your key messages more
effectively, by drawing attention to similar organisations and highlighting strengths that provide
opportunities for development within your own organisation. It also provides an opportunity to draw
from the experiences of, and lessons learned by other organisations you identify as benchmark
exemplars.
Measuring, evaluating and adjusting
For workforce reporting to be valuable and credible, it needs to tell your key business stakeholders
how the organisation’s workforce is performing in line with expected outcomes and aspirational
targets. Workforce data supports this evaluation process as it can be used to measure the effectiveness
of strategies, and determine whether there are any adjustments required.
Performance against targets should be monitored regularly to ensure that strategies and initiatives are
succeeding. It is a good idea to provide ongoing progress reports to your key business stakeholders to
ensure there are no surprises, and adjustments can be made as required.
6
The Australian Public Service Employment Database Internet Interface (APSEDII) is a useful resource to assist with
benchmarking against other APS organisations. The APSEDII provides querying capability on a database of staff employed
within the APS under the authority of the Public Service Act 1999 and can be accessed through the APSC website at:
https://www.apsedii.gov.au/APSEDIIFirstPage_index.htm.
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Appendix A: Common workforce metrics
Workforce theme: Workforce availability
Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Employment
type
(Category)
Employment
type profile
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
The breakdown of the organisation’s total workforce by
employment types within the workforce.
For each employment type:
Headcount (Employment type)
Employment types include:
Ongoing—Permanent employees.
Non-ongoing—Non-ongoing employees engaged for a
specified term or task.
Casual—Non-ongoing staff engaged for duties that are
irregular or intermittent.
Contractor—Workers paid through a third party.
Percentage breakdown
For each employment type:
Headcount (Employment type) /
Headcount (Total
workforce)*100
Useful for understanding the mix of your
workforce in relation to types of employment
arrangements.
Useful for organisations that frequently utilise
or have large proportions of non-ongoing
employees (or contractors or casuals).
Can be useful for examining seasonal or
cyclical workload and ability to respond to
surges in workforce demand.
Can also be presented as the percentage of the total
workforce by employment type.
Note:
The total workforce includes employment types not
included in total headcount.
Headcount
Total
headcount
Developed in
consultation
with APS
agencies.
The number of employees directly employed by the
organisation at a point in time.
Includes:
- All full-time and part-time, ongoing and non-ongoing
employees engaged for a specified term or task,
including those on leave, such as maternity leave, long
service leave, etc.
Excludes:
-*Non-ongoing staff engaged for duties that are irregular
or intermittent (casuals).
-*Workers paid through a third party (contractors).
Number of ongoing employees +
Number of non-ongoing
employees (specified term/task)
Indicates the number of employees working
for the organisation, regardless of hours
worked, other working arrangements or
leave.
Useful for workforce profiling as other
workforce metrics are also provided in terms
of headcount (recruitment and exit rates, for
example).
Headcount is useful when measuring data
that relates to individuals (such as age,
gender, diversity, etc.).
*If you opt to include casuals and contractors in your total
headcount, this should be specified clearly.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Headcount
Total
headcount
(Ongoing)
Adapted from
‘Total
headcount’.
The number of ongoing employees directly employed by
the organisation at a point in time.
Number of ongoing employees
Indicates the size of the core workforce for
the organisation, regardless of hours worked
and other working arrangements or leave.
Average
headcount
Adapted from
‘Total
headcount’.
The average number of employees directly employed by
the organisation over a specified period.
Total headcount (end of period)
+ Total headcount (beginning of
period) / 2
Removes unusual variances that can be
associated with data at a point in time, and
therefore gives a more accurate reflection of
the level of staffing over the period.
Adapted from
‘Total
headcount
(Ongoing)’ and
‘Average
headcount’.
The average number of ongoing employees directly
employed by the organisation over a specified period.
Total headcount (Ongoing)(end
of period) + Total headcount
(Ongoing)(beginning of period) /
2
Removes unusual variances that can be
associated with data at a point in time, and
therefore gives a more accurate reflection of
the level of ongoing staffing over the period.
(Continued)
Average
headcount
(Ongoing)
Average headcount is the average of total headcount at
the end of the period and total headcount at the
beginning of the period.
Average headcount (ongoing) is the average of total
headcount (ongoing) at the end of the period and total
headcount (ongoing) at the beginning of the period.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Full time
equivalent
(FTE)
Total FTE
-Agency
Survey.
The number of full-time equivalent employees directly
employed by the organisation at a point in time.
Number of full-time equivalent
employees + Total part-time
hours / Standard full-time hours
Indicates the number of active full-time
equivalent employees (based on aggregated
hours worked by all full-time and part-time
employees) at a point in time, and is
generally used to manage employee budget
allocation and ensure adequate staffing.
Part-time employees are converted to full-time
equivalent.
Includes:
-all active full-time and part-time, ongoing and nonongoing employees engaged for a specified term or task
paid through payroll (part-time employees are converted
to full-time equivalent based on the hours they work).
Excludes:
-Overtime.
-*Non-ongoing staff engaged for duties that are irregular
or intermittent (casuals).
-*Workers paid through a third party (contractors).
-Employees on unpaid leave—see ‘Note’ below.
*If you opt to include casuals and contractors in your total
FTE, this should be specified clearly.
Note:
There may be variations in the way systems calculate
full-time equivalent. For example, Human Resources
systems will generally include employees on leave
without pay, whereas Financial systems won’t generally
include employees on leave without pay.
Example:
If standard (full-time) hours per
fortnight = 75 and there are 200
employees, including 20 parttime employees:
180 are full-time
-10 work 40 hrs/fortnight
[= 10*(40 / 75) = 5.33 FTE]
-6 work 30 hrs/fortnight
[= 6*(30 / 75) = 2.40 FTE)
-4 work 25 hrs/fortnight
[= 4*(25 / 75) = 1.33 FTE)
Full-time equivalent (versus headcount) is
useful when measuring workforce capacity
and workforce cost.
Therefore, Total FTE = 180(fulltime employees) +
[5.33+2.40+1.33] = 189.06
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Full-time
equivalent
(FTE)
(Continued)
Paid FTE
Adapted from
‘Total FTE’.
The number of full-time equivalent employees receiving
salary or wages by the organisation at the end of a pay
period.
Number of paid full-time
equivalent employees + Total
part-time hours / Standard fulltime hours.
This metric is used as the basis to calculate
the Average Staffing Level for the financial
year.
Part-time employees are converted to full-time
equivalent.
Includes:
-all active full-time and part-time, ongoing and nonongoing employees engaged for a specified term or task
paid through payroll (part-time employees are converted
to full-time equivalent based on the hours they work).
Excludes:
-Overtime.
-*Non-ongoing staff engaged for duties that are irregular
or intermittent (casuals).
-*Workers paid through a third party (contractors).
-Employees on unpaid leave.
Example:
If standard (full-time) hours per
fortnight = 75 and there are 200
employees, including 20 parttime employees:
180 are full-time
-10 work 40 hrs/fortnight
[= 10*(40 / 75) = 5.33 FTE]
-6 work 30 hrs/fortnight
[= 6*(30 / 75) = 2.40 FTE)
-4 work 25 hrs/fortnight
[= 4*(25 / 75) = 1.33 FTE)
Therefore, Total FTE = 180(fulltime employees) +
[5.33+2.40+1.33] = 189.06
Total FTE
(Ongoing)
Adapted from
‘Total FTE’.
The number of full-time equivalent ongoing employees
directly employed by the organisation at a point in time.
Number of full-time equivalent
employees (Ongoing) + Total
part-time hours (Ongoing) /
Standard full-time hours
Indicates the size of the core workforce for
the organisation at a point in time, in terms of
full-time equivalent employees, regardless of
hours worked and other working
arrangements.
Average FTE
Adapted from
‘Total FTE’.
The average number of full-time equivalent employees
employed by the organisation over a specified period.
Total FTE (end of period) + Total
FTE (beginning of period) / 2
Useful for monitoring average workforce
capacity and average workforce cost
(salary).
Average FTE is the average of total FTE at the end of the
period and total FTE at the beginning of the period.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Full-time
equivalent
(FTE)
(Continued)
Average FTE
(Ongoing)
Adapted from
‘Total FTE
(Ongoing)’ and
‘Average FTE’.
The average number of full-time equivalent ongoing
employees employed by the organisation over a specified
period.
Total FTE (Ongoing)(end of
specified period) + Total FTE
(Ongoing)(beginning of specified
period) / 2
Useful for monitoring average workforce
capacity and average workforce cost (salary)
associated with the ongoing workforce.
- Federal
Budget
website.
The number of full-time equivalent employees receiving
salary or wages (Paid FTE) by the organisation averaged
over the financial year.
Sum of Paid FTE (for each pay
period from the beginning of the
financial year up to and including
the current pay period) / Number
of pay periods (from the
beginning of the financial year
up to and including the current
pay period)
Measures workforce expenditure against the
estimated ASL prescribed in the Portfolio
Budget Statement for the organisation for
that financial year.
For each employment status:
Headcount (Employment status
category)
Percentage breakdown:
For each employment status:
Headcount (Employment status
category) / Total headcount*100
Useful for better understanding the
organisation’s workforce profile and
workforce availability, and for monitoring and
measuring access to and utilisation of
flexible working arrangements.
Average
staffing level
(ASL)
Average FTE (Ongoing) is the average of total FTE
(Ongoing) at the end of the period and total FTE
(Ongoing) at the beginning of the period.
ASL can be measured at various time points over a
financial year to enable tracking against the estimated
ASL prescribed in the Portfolio Budget Statement for the
organisation for that financial year.
Employment
status
Employment
status profile
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
The breakdown of total headcount by number of full-time
employees and part-time employees.
Can also be presented as the percentage of total
headcount by employment status.
Note:
Casuals and contractors should be recorded separately
to other full-time and part-time employees as they reflect
a contractual situation as opposed to workplace flexibility.
The organisation’s estimated ASL is usually
allocated across individual business units by
the organisation’s finance area to enable
business units to manage their individual
allocations.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Absence
Unscheduled
absence rate
-CLC Metrics
(‘Unscheduled
absence rate’,
pp. 314 –
315).
-SOSR.
The full-time equivalent number of unscheduled leave
days as a percentage of the total full-time equivalent
working days during the reporting period.
Total FTE unscheduled leave
days/Total FTE working
days*100
Provides an indication of the prevalence of
unscheduled leave in an organisation, and
may be particularly useful for organisations
that are significantly impacted by employee
absences.
Unscheduled leave is defined as leave taken in
recognition of circumstances that can generally arise
irregularly or unexpectedly, making it difficult to plan,
approve or budget for in advance, and which is inclusive
of planned medical procedures.
Can be useful for understanding the timing of
absences and anticipate staffing needs, and
can be indicative of costs and productivity
losses.
Note:
Total unscheduled leave days excludes leave taken by
non-ongoing staff engaged for duties that are irregular or
intermittent (casuals) or workers paid through a third
party (contractors).
Can also be indicative of workforce morale,
or potential impact on workforce morale.
Note:
By default, all other metrics based on total unscheduled
leave days also exclude casuals and contractors.
Unscheduled
absence rate
per employee
-CLC Metrics
(‘Unscheduled
absence days
per employee’,
pp. 312 –
313).
-SOSR.
The average number of full-time equivalent unscheduled
leave days per full-time equivalent employee.
Total FTE unscheduled leave
days / Total FTE*100
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Absence
(Continued)
Unscheduled
absence type
profile
-Agency
Survey.
The breakdown of total full-time equivalent unscheduled
leave days by leave type (leave types outlined below).
For each unscheduled absence
type:
Total FTE leave days
(Unscheduled absence type)
Particularly useful for organisations that have
identified an issue with unscheduled leave
and wish to understand it further so they can
implement targeted strategies or initiatives to
address it.
Can also be presented as the percentage of total full-time
equivalent unscheduled leave days by leave type.
Unscheduled leave types include:
Sick—A workplace absence, regardless of duration,
whether paid or unpaid, due to personal illness or injury
or to undergo a planned medical procedure.
Carer’s—A workplace absence, regardless of duration,
whether paid or unpaid, to provide care or support for a
member of the employee’s immediate family or
household who requires care or support.
Compensation—A workplace absence resulting from
personal injury or disease sustained out of, or in the
course of, employment (i.e. work related) and accepted
by Comcare.
Specific types of miscellaneous/other—A workplace
absence, regardless of duration, whether paid or unpaid,
that is taken upon the death of a member of the
employee’s immediate family or household
(bereavement), or to spend time with a seriously ill,
injured or dying person who is a member of the
employee’s immediate family or household
(compassionate), or in the event of an unexpected
emergency.
Unauthorised—A workplace absence, regardless of
duration, whether paid or unpaid, that given the
circumstances is not supported or approved by
management. For example an absence due to
participation in workplace disputes.
Percentage breakdown:
For each unscheduled absence
type:
Total FTE leave days
(Unscheduled absence type) /
Total FTE unscheduled leave
days*100
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Workforce theme: Workforce profile
Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Location
Location
profile
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
The breakdown of total headcount by geographic
location.
For each location:
Headcount (Location)
Particularly useful for organisations with a
widespread workforce.
Can also be presented as the percentage of total
headcount by location.
Percentage breakdown:
For each location:
Headcount (Location) / Total
headcount*100
Also useful in linking to the external labour
market (particularly regional and local labour
markets).
The breakdown of total full-time equivalent employees by
occupational group (or job family).
For each occupational group:
FTE (Occupational group)
Can also be presented as the percentage of total full-time
equivalent employees by occupational group (or job
family).
Percentage breakdown:
For each occupational group:
FTE (Occupational group) / Total
FTE*100
Useful for better understanding the
composition of the organisation’s workforce,
to monitor occupational groupings or job
families that are critical to business delivery,
or of particular risk due to labour market
shortages.
Occupational
grouping/
Job family
Occupational
group/Job
family profile
-WFP Guide.
-Job Family
Model.
-SOSR.
Useful to understand the trends presenting
within the data for different locations, across
various workforce themes.
Also useful for monitoring over- or underresourcing and workforce allocations, etc.
Useful to understand the trends presenting
within the data for different occupational
groupings or job families, across various
workforce themes.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Work function
Work function
profile
-Internal
(APSC) input.
The breakdown of total full-time equivalent employees by
work function (ongoing functions versus temporary
projects).
For each work function type:
FTE (work function type)
Useful for considering the impact on the
workforce of temporary projects and
analysing real staffing levels over time.
Can also be presented as the percentage of total full-time
equivalent employees by work function.
Note:
Consideration might also be given to reporting on the
number/percentage of total full-time equivalent
employees on long term temporary transfer (e.g. greater
than 90 days) to projects (temporary work functions)—by
project—and the number/percentage of temporary
vacancies (resulting from the temporary transfers) that
are being back-filled.
Classification
level
Classification
profile
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
The breakdown of total headcount by classification level.
Can also be presented as the percentage of total
headcount by classification level.
Note:
Consideration needs to be given to whether this metric is
measured on the basis of substantive classification
(which excludes temporary assignment at another
classification level) or actual classification (which includes
temporary assignment at another classification level), or
both.
Percentage breakdown:
For each work function type:
FTE (work function type) / Total
FTE*100
For each classification level:
Headcount (Classification level)
Useful for monitoring the composition of the
workforce.
Percentage breakdown:
For each classification level:
Headcount (Classification level) /
Total headcount*100
May also be indicative of changing levels of
work complexity, workforce cost, labour
market shortages, and attraction issues, etc.
Useful to understand the trends presenting
within the data for different classification
levels, across various workforce themes.
While substantive classification reflects the underlying
composition of the workforce itself, it does not accurately
reflect the workforce currently required.
Reporting on both substantive and actual classification
provides a clearer picture in relation to workforce supply,
workforce demand, and workforce cost. It also provides
information about the development opportunities
available to staff.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Classification
level
(Continued)
EL to APS
Classification
Ratio
-APS agency
input.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Staffing
rate—
managerial’,
pp. 458 –
459).
-SOSR.
The number of EL employees for every APS employee.
Total headcount (APS
classification levels) / Total
headcount (EL classification
levels)
Useful in understanding the proportion of
managers to line staff, and for monitoring
changing leadership patterns over time.
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Age staffing
breakdown’,
pp. 422 –
423).
The breakdown of total headcount (ongoing) by age
group.
For each age group:
Headcount (Ongoing)(Age
group)
Useful for assessing the potential risk posed
by likely age retirements and associated loss
of corporate knowledge, skills and
experience.
Age
Age profile
Note:
You may also consider reporting on:
-number of SES employees for every APS/EL employee.
-or number of EL 2 employees to employees at lower
classifications.
Age groups include:
Under 20 years
20-24 years
25-29 years
30-34 years
35-39 years
40-44 years
45-49 years
50-54 years
55-59 years
60 years and over
Percentage breakdown:
For each age group:
Headcount (Ongoing)(Age
group) / Total headcount
(Ongoing)*100
Also useful in understanding employee
preferences and behaviours, to inform
employment value propositions, for example.
Can also be presented as the percentage of total
headcount (ongoing) by age group.
Approaching
retirement age
rate (50+)
-CLC Metrics
(‘Staffing
rate—50+
years old’, pp.
430 – 431).
The number of ongoing employees in the age range
considered to be approaching retirement (50 years or
older) as a percentage of total headcount (ongoing).
Headcount (Ongoing)(50 years
or older) / Total
headcount(Ongoing)*100
Useful for assessing the potential risk posed
by likely age retirements and associated loss
of corporate knowledge, skills and
experience.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Age
(Continued)
Average
workforce age
-CLC Metrics
(‘Average
workforce
age’, pp. 424 –
425).
The average age of total headcount (ongoing).
Sum of all ongoing employees’
ages / Total headcount
(Ongoing)
Useful for assessing the potential risk posed
by likely age retirements and associated loss
of corporate knowledge, skills and
experience.
Also useful in understanding employee
preferences and behaviours, to inform
employment value propositions, for example.
As a single metric, provides a quick and
simple indication of workforce age, but does
not provide any indication of the dispersion
of ages around the average.
Gender
Gender profile
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
The breakdown of total headcount by number of men and
number of women employees.
For each gender:
Headcount (Gender)
Can also be presented as the percentage of total
headcount by gender.
Percentage breakdown:
For each gender:
Headcount (Gender) / Total
headcount*100
Useful for monitoring the composition of the
organisation’s workforce, and to assist with
promotion of workforce diversity.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Diversity
Workforce
diversity profile
-SOSR.
- Statistical
Bulletin.
The breakdown of total headcount (ongoing) by diversity
group.
For each diversity group:
Headcount (Ongoing) (Diversity
group)
Useful for monitoring the composition of the
organisation’s workforce, and to assist with
promotion of workforce diversity.
Diversity groups include:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) 1—People
born overseas who arrived in Australia after the age of
five and whose first language was not English.
Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) 2—
Children of migrants including: those who were born
overseas and arrived in Australia when they were aged
five or younger but did not speak English as a first
language; those who were Australian born but did not
speak English as a first language and had at least one
NESB 1 parent; and those people who were Australian
born and had neither parent speaking English as a first
language.
Percentage breakdown:
For each diversity group:
Headcount (Ongoing) (Diversity
group) / Total
headcount(Ongoing)*100
Disability
Can also be presented as the percentage of total
headcount (ongoing) by diversity group.
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Workforce theme: Workforce mobility
Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Recruitment
Recruitment
rate
-CLC Metrics
(‘External hire
rate’, pp. 34 –
35).
The number of ongoing employees recruited during the
period as a percentage of average headcount (ongoing)
for the period.
Recruitment headcount
(Ongoing) / Average headcount
(Ongoing)*100
Useful for monitoring the volume of
recruitment activity, and the rate at which
new employees are entering the
organisation.
Provides an indication of the relative
‘newness’ of the workforce, and can also be
indicative of the rate of turnover.
Internal and
External
recruitment
rate
-SOSR.
The percentage of competitive selection exercises (for
ongoing positions) filled by internal applicants, and the
percentage filled by external applicants.
Number of competitive selection
exercises (Ongoing positions)
filled by internal/external
applicants / Total competitive
selection exercises (Ongoing
positions) filled*100
Provides an indication of the extent to which
the organisation’s employees are capable of
taking up new positions in the organisation.
Is indicative of how appropriately employees
have been developed and the availability of a
broad internal succession pool.
Can also be indicative of the level of
insularity of the organisation, and its capacity
to compete effectively as a preferred
employer.
Net
recruitment
rate
-CLC Metrics
(‘Net hire
ratio’, pp. 36 –
37).
The number of ongoing employees recruited during the
period for every ongoing employee terminated during the
period.
Recruitment headcount
(Ongoing) / Termination
headcount (Ongoing)*100
Indicates whether the organisation’s
workforce is growing (net recruitment rate
greater than 1) or contracting (net
recruitment rate less than 1).
Promotion rate
-CLC Metrics
(‘Promotion
rate’, pp. 60 –
61).
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
The number of ongoing employees promoted during the
period as a percentage of average headcount (ongoing)
for the period.
Internal promotions (Ongoing) /
Average headcount
(Ongoing)*100
May be indicative of the level of employee
performance and management and
leadership skills and capabilities, or issues
associated with the organisation’s
performance management process, or its
capacity to compete effectively as a
preferred employer.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Recruitment
(Continued)
Average time
to finalise
selection
exercises
-SOSR.
The average number of working days to finalise
competitive selection exercises (for ongoing positions),
from the date of advertising to when an offer of
employment is made.
Sum of total working days to
finalise all competitive selection
exercises (Ongoing positions) /
Offers accepted(Ongoing
positions)
Useful for measuring the efficiency of
selection processes, however does not
account for the delay factor between an offer
being made and the successful candidate
commencing in the position.
Note:
A selection exercises does not necessarily equate to one
position. For example, a bulk selection round is counted
as one selection exercise, even if more than position is
filled through this process.
Secondments
Average time
to fill selection
exercises
-SOSR.
The average number of working days to fill competitive
selection exercises (for ongoing positions), from the date
of advertising to the date the successful candidate
commences in the position.
Sum of total working days to fill
all competitive selection
exercises (Ongoing positions) /
Offers accepted(Ongoing
positions)
Useful for measuring the time it takes to
have new employees on board for positions
that are vacant, and accounts for the delay
factor between an offer being accepted and
the successful candidate commencing in the
position.
Applicant rate
(internal and
external
recruitment
processes)
-CLC Metrics
(‘Applicant
ratio’, pp. 72 –
73).
The average number of applicants for internal and
external recruitment processes.
Total applicants
(Internal/external recruitment
process) / Total offers accepted
Useful for gauging the resource requirement
for conducting recruitment processes, and
can also be indicative of the level of demand
for various positions and the organisation’s
capacity to compete effectively as a
preferred employer.
Secondment
rate (in to and
out of the
organisation)
Developed in
consultation
with APS
agencies.
The number of secondments of ongoing employees (in
to/out of the organisation) as a percentage of total
movements of ongoing employees..
Secondments (In/out) / Total
movements*100
Useful for examining the availability of skills
development opportunities for employees
through secondments out of the
organisation.
Also useful for measuring the level of
secondments to the organisation, which
provide an alternative source for filling
temporary skills demands and a source of
new ideas, creativity and innovation.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Transfers
Internal
transfer rate
-SOSR.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Lateral
mobility’, pp.
58 – 59).
The number of permanent lateral movements of ongoing
employees as a percentage of total movements of
ongoing employees.
Lateral movements / Total
movements*100
Useful for examining the availability of skills
development opportunities for employees
through lateral moves across the
organisation.
External
transfer rate
(in to and out
of the
organisation)
-SOSR.
The number of permanent external movements of
ongoing employees (in to/out of the organisation) as a
percentage of the total movements of ongoing
employees.
External movements (In/out) /
Total movements*100
Useful for tracking the level of mobility in to
and out of the organisation.
Agency exit
rate
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Termination
rate’, pp. 120 –
121).
The number of ongoing employees who left the
organisation during the period (voluntarily and nonvoluntarily) as a percentage of the average headcount
(ongoing) for the period.
Exits (Ongoing) / Average
headcount (Ongoing)*100
Useful for monitoring likely impact on
departure, vacancy and replacement costs,
including loss of corporate knowledge, skills
and experience, and potential impact on
workforce morale and workload.
Exits
Includes:
-Age retirements (s.30 of the PS Act)
-Retrenchments (s. 29(3)(a))
-Invalidity retirements (s.29(3)(d))
-Other terminations of employment (ss
29(3)(b),(c),(e),(f),(g) and (h))
-Compulsory moves to a non-APS agency (s.72(1)(b))
-Resignations, and
-Deaths
-Promotions and permanent transfers to other
organisations
Can also be indicative of organisational
insularity, and ineffective performance
management processes.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Exits
(Continued)
APS
Separation
rate
-SOSR.
- Statistical
Bulletin.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Termination
rate’, pp. 120 –
121).
The number of ongoing employees who left the APS
during the period (voluntarily and non-voluntarily) as a
percentage of the total average headcount (ongoing) for
the period.
Separations (Ongoing) /
Average headcount
(Ongoing)*100
Useful for monitoring likely impact on
departure, vacancy and replacement costs,
including loss of corporate knowledge, skills
and experience, and potential impact on
workforce morale and workload.
Includes:
-Age retirements (s.30 of the PS Act)
-Retrenchments (s. 29(3)(a))
-Invalidity retirements (s.29(3)(d))
-Other terminations of employment (ss
29(3)(b),(c),(e),(f),(g) and (h))
-Compulsory moves to a non-APS agency (s.72(1)(b))
-Resignations, and
-Deaths
Can also be indicative of organisational
insularity, and ineffective performance
management processes.
Excludes:
-Promotions and permanent transfers to other
organisations
Exit profile
-SOSR.
-Statistical
Bulletin.
The breakdown of total exits of ongoing employees
during the period by exit type.
For each exit type:
Headcount (Ongoing)(Exit type)
Exit types include:
Resignations
Age retirements
Promotions and permanent transfers (to other
organisations)
Terminations
Retrenchments
Invalidity retirements
Compulsory moves to a non-APS agency
Deaths
Percentage breakdown:
For each exit type:
Headcount (Ongoing)(Exit type)
/ Total exits (Ongoing)*100
Useful for examining the reason why staff
are exiting to ensure workforce strategies
effectively target potential workforce risks.
Can also be presented as the percentage of total exits of
ongoing employees by exit type.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Exits
(Continued)
Voluntary exit
rate
-CLC Metrics
(‘Voluntary
termination
rate’, pp.124 –
125).
The number of ongoing employees who left the
organisation voluntarily during the period as a percentage
of the average headcount (ongoing) for the period.
Voluntary exits (Ongoing) /
Average headcount
(Ongoing)*100
Useful for monitoring employee-initiated
exits, to help identify gaps in the
organisation’s employment offer, or to
identify emerging trends and issues that
need to be addressed in particular business
units or occupational groups or job families.
For each exit reason:
Voluntary exits (Ongoing)(Exit
reason)
Useful for examining voluntary exit drivers to
ensure workforce strategies effectively target
potential workforce risks.
Includes:
-age retirements
-resignations
-promotions
-ongoing transfers
Excludes:
-voluntary and involuntary redundancies
-invalidity retirements
-terminations
-Machinery of Government changes
Voluntary exit
profile
-CLC Metrics
(’Termination
reason
breakdown’,
pp. 122 –
123).
-SOSR.
The breakdown of total voluntary exits of ongoing
employees during the period by reason for exiting.
Can also be presented as the percentage of total
voluntary exits of ongoing employees by exit type.
Reasons may include:
-Desire to gain further experience
-Lack of future career opportunities in current agency
-Desire to try a different type of work/career change
-Lack of recognition in current agency for doing a good
job
-Lack of opportunity to work on innovative projects in
current job
-Current remuneration package
-Interests do not match responsibilities of current job
-Senior leadership in current agency is of a poor quality
-Promotions in current agency not based on fair and
transparent recruitment processes
-Desire to relocate
Percentage breakdown:
For each exit reason:
Voluntary exits (Ongoing)(Exit
reason) / Total voluntary exits
(Ongoing)*100
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Exits
(Continued)
New starter
exit rate
-APS agency
input.
The number of exits of new ongoing employees with
short tenure (<1 year) as a percentage of the total
number of new ongoing employees with short tenure (>1
year).
Exits (Ongoing)(Tenure < 1
year) / Headcount
(Ongoing)(Tenure < 1 year)*100
Useful in comparing the number of exits of
new starters to the total number of new
starters who could have possibly exited
during the period.
Retention rate
-CLC Metrics
(‘Retention
rate’, pp. 116 –
117).
-Statistical
Bulletin.
The percentage of all ongoing employees present at the
beginning of the period still with the organisation at the
end of the period.
[Headcount (Ongoing)(Start of
period) – Terminations
(Ongoing)] / [Headcount
(Ongoing)(Start of period) *100
Useful for monitoring the extent of departure,
vacancy and replacement costs being
incurred, and ensuring adequate resourcing,
retention of corporate knowledge, and
monitoring of existing retention strategies.
Note:
To obtain an accurate retention rate it is necessary to
exclude employees who have both started and ceased
during the period.
Can also be indicative of the organisation’s
level of insularity, and ineffective
performance management systems.
You may also consider reporting retention rates for high
performers, high potential employees and employees in
critical job roles, if these are identified by your
organisation.
Tenure
Average
workforce
tenure
-CLC Metrics
(‘Average
workforce
tenure’, pp.
470 – 471).
The average tenure for the total number of ongoing
employees at the end of the period.
New starter
tenure
-CLC Metrics
(‘Staffing
rate—< - year
tenure’, pp.
474 – 475).
The number of ongoing employees who have been
employed by the organisation for less than 1 year as a
percentage of total headcount of ongoing employees.
Retention rate is sometimes preferred by
organisations as a more positive way of
measuring turnover than the Separation rate.
Sum of tenure [(Total headcount
(Ongoing)](End of period) / Total
headcount (Ongoing)(End of
period)
Useful for monitoring loss or potential loss of
experience and corporate knowledge.
Headcount (Ongoing)(Tenure <1
year) / Total headcount
(Ongoing)*100
Useful for monitoring the percentage of the
workforce with less than one year of tenure
(and associated workforce challenges).
Can also be indicative of organisational
insularity and turnover, or organisational
growth.
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Workforce theme: Workforce capability
Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Performance
management
Performance
appraisal
participation
rate
-CLC Metrics
(‘Performance
appraisal
participation
rate’, pp. 164 –
165).
-SOSR.
The number of ongoing employees who received a
performance rating during the period as a percentage of
the number of ongoing employees eligible to receive a
performance rating.
Number of performance ratings
(Ongoing)(End of period) /
Headcount (Ongoing)(Eligible for
appraisal at end of period)*100
Provides an indication of the extent to which
individual performance is being managed, to
ensure it aligns with organisational
expectations.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Performance
rating
distribution’,
pp. 166 –
167).
The breakdown of total performance appraisal ratings for
ongoing employees by rating category.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Employee
upgrade rate’,
pp.158 – 159).
The number of ongoing employees whose current
performance rating is higher than the previous cycle, as a
percentage of the total number of ongoing employees
who participated in the process.
Performance
rating profile
Performance
rating
improvement
rate
Can also be indicative of the effectiveness of
the performance management process and
the level of employee engagement.
For each performance rating:
Headcount
(Ongoing)(Performance rating) /
Total performance ratings
(Ongoing)*100
Provides an indication of the extent to which
individual performance aligns to
organisational expectations.
Can be useful in identifying training and
development needs and opportunities.
Can also be indicative of the effectiveness of
the performance management process and
the abilities of managers to deal with
underperformance.
Headcount (Ongoing)(Improved
performance rating) / Total
performance ratings
(Ongoing)*100
Can be useful in monitoring the success of
learning and development strategies.
However, can be affected by changes in
employees’ positions. For example, a
recently promoted employee might receive a
lower performance rating than they did in the
last cycle when they were in a position at a
lower classification level.
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Qualifications
Highest
educational
qualification
profile
-Statistical
Bulletin.
-SOSR.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Educational
attainment
breakdown’,
pp. 180 –
181).
The breakdown of total headcount (ongoing) by highest
educational qualification received.
For each qualification type:
Headcount (Ongoing) for which
qualification type is the highest
qualification received
Provides an indication of the level of
educational attainment of the workforce.
-SOSR.
The breakdown of time spent on learning and
development by ongoing employees, by type of learning
and development.
Learning and
development
Time spent on
learning and
development
type profile
Can also be presented as the percentage of total
headcount (ongoing) by highest educational qualification
received.
Qualifications may include:
-Less than year 10
-Year 10
-Year 11
-Year 12
-Basic vocational qualification
-Skilled vocational qualification
-Associate diploma
-Undergraduate diploma
-Bachelor degree
-Postgraduate diploma
-Masters
-Doctorate
Can also be presented as the percentage of total time
spent on learning and development by ongoing
employees, by type of learning and development.
Types of learning and development might include:
-coaching and mentoring
-e-learning
-formal training and education courses
-on-the-job training
-academic study
-conferences and seminars
-classroom workshops
Percentage breakdown:
For each qualification type:
Can assist in understanding the academic
training or certification level requirements of
key functions.
Headcount (Ongoing) for which
qualification type is the highest
qualification received / Total
headcount (Ongoing)*100
For each learning and
development type:
FTE working days spent on
learning and development type
by ongoing employees
Useful in examining preferences, and level of
demand for different methods of providing
learning and development, to assist with
development and implementation of future
learning and development strategies.
Percentage breakdown:
For each learning and
development type:
FTE working days spent on
learning and development type
by ongoing employees / Total
FTE working days spent on all
learning and development types
by ongoing employees*100
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Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Learning and
development
(Continued)
Participation
rate in learning
and
development
programs
-CLC Metrics
(‘Development
program
penetration
rate’, pp. 145 147).
The number of ongoing employees who participated in
learning and development programs as a percentage of
the total number of ongoing employees who were eligible
to participate in learning and development programs.
Headcount (Ongoing) who
participated in learning and
development programs /
Average headcount
(Ongoing)*100
Provides an indication of the extent to which
eligible employees have the opportunity to
participate in learning and development
programs and the extent to which they utilise
these opportunities.
Employee
satisfaction
with learning
and
development
(by learning
and
development
type)
-SOSR.
-CLC Metrics
(‘Employee
satisfaction
with training’,
pp. 212 -213).
Staff survey results provide insight into the level of satisfaction of employees with access to
and quality of different types of learning and development activities.
Provides an indication of the effectiveness of
different types of learning and development,
and the level of access.
Useful in informing development and
implementation of learning and development
strategies.
Workforce theme: Workforce engagement and intentions
Category
Metric
Sources
referenced*
Definition
Formula
Purpose
Employee
engagement
Staff survey results provide insight into employee attitudes and intentions and can assist with assessing levels of motivation, interest and
enthusiasm for work, career aspirations, resignation and other exit intentions, etc.
Employee
intentions
Each organisation will have developed its own methodologies for measuring employee engagement and intentions, based on their own needs
and circumstances.
*Sources referenced in the development of the workforce metrics outlined in Appendix A include:
-SOSR (State of the Service Report 2010–11).
-Statistical Bulletin (APS Statistical Bulletin 2010–11).
-CLC Metrics (‘The Metrics Standard: Establishing Standards for 200 Core Human Capital Measures’, Corporate Leadership Council, 2005).
-Agency Survey (2012 State of the Service Agency Survey).
-Budget website (Australian Government Budget 2011-12 website: http://www.budget.gov.au/2012-13/content/bp1/html/bp1_bst6-10.htm).
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-WFP Guide (‘Australian Public Service Workforce Planning Guide’, Australian Public Service Commission, December 2011).
-Job Family Model (‘Australian Public Service Job Family Model’, Australian Public Service Commission, December 2011).
Note: For a number of metrics outlined in the table above, a measurement unit of either headcount or full-time-equivalent number of employees is specifically suggested. This is
based on the nature of the aspect of the workforce being measured, and the general purpose for measuring it. However, organisations will ultimately choose the unit of
measurement that best suits their own needs and circumstances for each of the metrics and, in some cases, may utilise both.
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Appendix B: Developing SMART goals7 (in the context of strategic
workforce reporting)
Paul J. Meyer describes the characteristics of S.M.A.R.T. goals in Attitude is Everything.8
Specific
The first term stresses the need for a specific goal over and against a more general one. This means
the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific, they must
tell a team exactly what is expected, why is it important, who’s involved, where is it going to happen
and which attributes are important.
A specific goal will usually answer the five "W" questions:
 What: What do I want to accomplish?
 Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
 Who: Who is involved?
 Where: Identify a location.
 Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Measurable
The second term stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment
of the goal. The thought behind this is that if a goal is not measurable, it is not possible to know
whether a team is making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to
help a team stay on track, reach its target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that
spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.
A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:
 How much?
 How many?
 How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable
The third term stresses the importance of goals that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable
goal may stretch a team in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme. That is, the goals are neither out
of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When you
identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come
7
Source: Wikipedia viewed 14 june 2012 http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria#cite_note-1
Meyer, Paul J (2003), ‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals’, Attitude is
Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond, Meyer Resource Group Incorporated.
8
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true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states
that an attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring
themselves closer to the achievement of their goals.
An attainable goal will usually answer the question:
 How: How can the goal be accomplished?
Relevant
The fourth term stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A Bank Manager's goal to
"Make 50 vegemite sandwiches by 2:00 pm" may be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and TimeBound, but lacks Relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a
champion voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team,
and your organisation will receive that needed support.
Relevant goals (when met) drive the team, department, and organisation forward. A goal that supports
or is in alignment with other goals would be considered a relevant goal.
A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:
 Does this seem worthwhile?
 Is this the right time?
 Does this match our other efforts/needs?
 Are you the right person?
Time-bound
The fifth term stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target
date. A commitment to a deadline helps a team focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or
before the due date. This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being
overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organisation. A time-bound goal is
intended to establish a sense of urgency.
A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:
 When?
 What can I do 6 months from now?
 What can I do 6 weeks from now?
 What can I do today?
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Appendix C: Acknowledgement of the contribution of agencies and
departments
The following agencies and departments were consulted in the development of the APS Strategic
Workforce Analysis and Reporting Guide.
The Australian Public Service Commission thanks those agencies and departments who contributed
feedback and input, which has been invaluable in the development of this guidance.
APS Workforce Planning Working Group:
Attorney-General’s Department
Australia Agency for International Development
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Australian Communications and Media Authority
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
Australian Taxation Office
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Department of Defence
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Department of Finance and Deregulation
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Health and Ageing
Department of Human Services
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
IP Australia
APS Workforce Planning Practice Group:
Airservices Australia
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Australian Crime Commission
Australian Electoral Commission
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APS Strategic Workforce Analysis and Reporting Guide
Australian Public Service Commission
Australian Federal Police
Australian Institute of Family Studies
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australian National Maritime Museum
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency
Australian Research Council
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
Australian War Memorial
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Comcare
ComSuper
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
Department of the House of Representatives
Department of Infrastructure and Transport
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Department of Regional Australia
Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Geoscience Australia
Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia
Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal
Murray-Darling Basin Authority
Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
National Archives of Australia
National Film and Sound Archive
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Australian Public Service Commission
National Library of Australia
Office of Parliamentary Counsel
Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman
Productivity Commission
Safe Work Australia
The Treasury
Therapeutic Goods Administration
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