Are you a manager in the APS looking for ways to help your staff develop their skills and experience? IP Australia recently found that sending a staff member on a short, flexible mobility opportunity can provide many benefits for both staff and agencies. Kylie Murray and her manager Brian Thorpe share their experience.
Kylie Murray works at IP Australia as a business analyst, focused on continuous improvement within the agency. Her background is in anthropology and her passion is user-centred design. It’s something she has been wanting to develop within her work at IP Australia. So as part of her performance management discussions, she had brought up the desire to develop those skills and learn more about applying them.
The Digital Transformation Agency's govX team was tasked by the new National Resilience and Recovery Agency to do some community engagement and research. The team wanted to find out exactly how communities were impacted by natural disasters such as bushfires and what was required to recover. It was a big job and govX knew they would need some support. So they decided to use the oneAPS Opportunities pilot to find someone in the APS to help them for 6 weeks.
Kylie found out about the govX position from a co-worker and realised this would be the perfect opportunity to apply and develop her skills to help people. Brian Thorpe, delivery manager for the Business Systems Section at IP Australia, and Kylie’s manager, agreed. He could see the value for Kylie and for their agency.
Benefits for the individual and the agency
‘User-centred research is something here at IP Australia that we haven’t had too much of a focus on,' Brian said. 'It’s something we definitely can do more of, especially in some of the major programs that we have going forward. I could see that Kylie could use this experience and her expertise to really drive what we’re going to do here.'
'With a major release coming up that we relied on Kylie for, we had to work around a few different areas to get some other resources, Brian said. It was about focusing short-term pain for longterm gain. ‘Seeing Kylie come back really invigorated by her experience was really worth it' he added.
Apart from the experience in applying her user-research skills in a new environment, Kylie learnt a great deal that she is hoping to bring back to IP Australia from the oneAPS Opportunity.
'In business analysis work we do a lot of interaction with business side, but we don’t have a lot of tools for virtual interaction or visualisation,' she said. 'A lot of the tools used in the govX program will come in as very useful in our work. We might be able to use some of that technology moving forward. Having the experience of what works will be useful.'
Kylie’s return to her team after 6 weeks wasn’t difficult. 'It was as if I hadn’t left. Everyone welcomed me back and the arrangements that were put in place while I was away went well' said Kylie.
It has been a very positive experience for Kylie in terms of how she feels about her career at IP Australia moving forward. 'I feel much more motivated in my direction, and what I want to do next within IP Australia. I’m aware of major projects coming up and how the methodologies that the govX team used could help refine those projects. I feel much more excited about working here.'
Helping managers to support staff development
As a manager, Brian also found it a positive experience and is mentioning oneAPS Opportunities to other staff as part of performance management.
'It opened up my horizons as well to sharing that as a manager. Kylie happened to come across it in an email sent out by another team member, and I hadn’t been focusing on those opportunities for her enough. It’s something I’ll definitely be sharing as a manager to let people know about these opportunities.'
Brian thinks that oneAPS Opportunities is something that smaller agencies should be aware of. 'We’re a small department, so there aren’t as many opportunities to act in different positions or try different things. This is another way to do that. That experience can be beneficial not just for the staff member but for the team and the organisation.'