The APS Employee Census surveys all APS employees to track their perceptions about leadership, workplace conditions, culture and environment. The Census results assist with framing priorities and areas of focus for future Library workforce and workplace initiatives.

The Library has a proactive approach to Employee Census results, sharing them with all staff and actively consulting through a staff Consultative Committee. The Committee includes nominated staff representatives, union delegate representatives and the NLA Executive, and is chaired by the Library’s Director-General, Dr Marie-Louise Ayres.

In 2018 the Library established a Feedback in Action (FIA) program to analyse significant trends from the Library’s APS Census results, and to draw on these to frame initiatives that respond to key aspects of the Library’s workforce culture and employee engagement.

The first initiative from the Library’s FIA program was a revised Performance Management Framework, implemented in early 2020.

A ‘Working Well Together’ working group was formed to address elements of the 2019 census results.  This working group remains a top priority for the Library, and during 2021 it will focus on embedding APS Values and agreed workplace behaviours.

The Library actively promotes participation in the Employee Census and in 2020, 73% of eligible staff participated in the Census.

Insights from the 2020 Census

Historically, the Library has scored on par or above APS benchmarks for engagement, well being and innovation scores, but with the gap narrowing over time.

At the time of the 2020 Census the Library was part-way through the implementation of an agency wide organisational redesign.  The Library’s census results reveal that staff who had been through the placement process felt much more positive than those who had not.

The Library’s 2020 Census results for engagement (72%) and wellbeing (59%) were below APS benchmarks. Innovation was not surveyed in the 2020 Census.

Things we are doing well

  • Enabling staff to look for new ways to improve the way work is performed
  • Selecting/enabling a workforce who have commitment and pride in the Library’s work and goals
  • Skills of and cooperation within workgroups to get the job done
  • Enabling staff to understand the connections of their role, the agency’s purpose and outcome for the Australian public.

Things we have improved on from last year

  • Regular internal communication
  • Workgroup Performance:
    • Workgroups have the appropriate skills, capabilities and knowledge to perform well
    • Workgroups have the tools and resources they need to perform well
    • People in workgroups use time and resources efficiently
    • Supervisors ensure that workgroups deliver on what they are responsible for.

Areas we could improve

  • Promotion of and caring about the health and wellbeing of staff
  • Effective communication, both internally generally and between the SES and other employees
  • SES identification and development of talented staff
  • Taking action to maintain changed ways of working implemented during COVID-19
  • Encouraging a personal attachment to the APS
  • Consulting about change.

The Library is enhancing its capability building and wellbeing programs for 2021, which will address some of the issues raised under the Health and Wellbeing themes and will continue to support the Working Well Together working group and FIA program.

The trends of significance identified by the Library’s Consultative Committee to be explored through the 2021 FIA program are yet to be finalised.