Our People Strategy 2017-2021
Version 1 | March 2017

Review Schedule | March 2019

Message from our General Manager

Great people are the key to a great business. As such, this Strategy is of the utmost importance to our business, Singleton

It is through people that we realise our organisational vision of ‘Engaged people; Safe workplace; and a Performance based
culture’. Or ESP as it known to our people!

Our People Strategy supports the Community Strategic Plan (CSP) 2017-2027 which describes the vision for our community as
vibrant, progressive, connected, sustainable & resilient. While our 4-year Delivery Program sets out the high level priorities and
goals for the organisation, Our People Strategy presents a clear picture of how we, as the people who work for Singleton
Council, will achieve those goals.

Our goal is to have a highly motivated and engaged workforce led by talented leaders in a work environment that is attractive
and second to none to both current and prospective employees. We want to be the employer that everyone wants to work for:
an employer of choice.

To achieve this, we have developed a people strategy focused on building on our current position with a dedicated and skilled
workforce with the optimum combination of skills and performance levels required to deliver on our corporate goals. As we roll it
out over the next four years, we aim to create an organisational culture that promotes dynamic change, staff engagement,
personal responsibility and openness.

We acknowledge the enormous contribution that our employees have made to the organisation and I am delighted to present
Our People Strategy 2017-2021.

In the weeks, months and years ahead, as we turn words into action, this document will increasingly play a central role in our
work. I urge you to take the time to read it.

Jason Linnane
General Manager


Through the development of the Community Strategic Plan, Council undertook a very significant community engagement
process. The information, inspiration and aspirations of our community have been clearly identified. This has provided a very
solid foundation for Council to align the services and activities provided with our community’s needs and desires.

The aim of Our People Strategy 2017-2021 is to provide a framework for ensuring Singleton Council’s services to the
community are provided by the right people, in the right jobs, with the right skills and attitude, at the right time. It describes the
outcomes we are aspiring to achieve and provides clear deliverables to progressively achieve them over the next four years.

This can only be achieved if our people:

 place the needs of our community at the heart of all we do;

 understand our vision and values;

 have clear customer focus;

 align to our community aspirations;

 are motivated, contribute to a positive culture and work collaboratively and effectively;

 accept responsibility and accountability in their roles, are clear how their role fits in;

 have the right skills and continuously develop these to create and meet change;

 are flexible, adaptable and responsive;

 contribute to a safe and healthy work environment;

 create a welcoming, inclusive community;

 are led and managed well; and

 drive continuous improvement in the way we work.

Our People Strategy identifies our workforce challenges, and provides for a continuous business planning process to ensure
there is sufficient and sustainable capability and capacity to deliver the CSP objectives now and into the future.

Like many businesses, our ageing workforce and constant change in our operating environment provide some challenges.
There is a need to ensure Singleton Council is prepared and resourced to meet these demands and challenges.

Our People Strategy demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the strategies going forward address the potential gaps through
improvement of leadership, organisational processes, attraction, recruitment, professional development, talent management
and succession planning.

This Strategy has been developed by analysing data that was obtained from Singleton Council’s human resource information
system and contained within the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program FY16 Report to construct a profile of our
workforce. External data analysis, our Leadership Group, and key stakeholders have also provided us with an understanding of
the current and future workforce requirements which form the basis of the development of the People Strategy.

Our People Strategy 2017-2021 is not a benchmark, neither does it attempt to predict or influence the organisational direction
Singleton Council may take in the future. The information and data used are what is available at the writing of this document
and are subject to change.

The Purpose of this Strategy

Our People Strategy is Council’s tool to have the workforce in place to achieve our
organisation and the community’s objectives.

The Singleton Community Strategic Plan (CSP) and Delivery Program is the framework for the future workforce needs of
Singleton Council. The challenge for Council is to ensure we have the requisite resources and organisational capability (i.e.
Workforce, Assets and Finances) to deliver the CSP outcomes in the most efficient and effective manner.

Singleton Council’s People Strategy 2017-202 clearly defines how we plan to align our workforce and its capabilities, with the
CSP objectives. This includes managing our people and resources efficiently and effectively, reviewing the current organisation,
developing the current workforce and identifying the future workforce needs.

This People Strategy contains themes that sit primarily within the CSP Our Leadership Pillar: Services are provided by the right
people, in the right jobs, with the right skills and attitudes at the right time.

Our People Strategy is therefore a key input into the Delivery Program that enables business units to plan for and make
decisions on service delivery and resources required to deliver the CSP. This Strategy provides an ability to bring a renewed
strategic focus to Singleton Council’s current workforce related programs, policies and plans.

It contains detail on

 What our goals are

 What success looks like

 How we will achieve it

 What we will measure

together with information on how this will be managed in council’s routine business.

It gives our Leadership Team a strategic basis for making human resource decisions and provides a plan to address current
and future workforce needs, within and across our organisation.

The implementation of this strategy will help Singleton Council to:

 Make staffing decisions to provide services based on strategic priorities

 Identify potential resource or skill shortfalls and take steps to address these

 Identify and plan for new and emerging roles

 Recruit appropriate numbers of staff to meet future needs

 Develop workforce skills and capabilities that take time to grow

 Provide improved career development opportunities

 Reduce staffing costs through appropriate staffing levels

 Increase employee motivation and contribution through better job design

 Contain workforce-related costs including the cost of turnover, attraction of appropriate employees, absenteeism and


Our Workforce Profile

Source: The Australasian Local Government Performance Excellence Program FY16, PWC and Local Government Professionals, Australia NSW, 28 February 2017

Manager level and above is
now represented by 45%
women (as at March 2017)

The voluntary staff
turnover rate is now 12%
(as at March 2017)

Understanding Our Workforce

Learning and

• Training spend per FTE is $2,340

• 23% of employees receiving
assistance to complete tertiary studies

• Leadership Capability
Framework was developed in

Tenure Snapshot

• Average workforce tenure is 7 years

• 18% voluntary turnover

• 37% employees exit with less than 5
years’ service

• The average age of our permanent
employees is 44 years

• 45.5% of new employees resign
within the first year of employment

• Gen Y (42%) employees are far
more likely to leave Council
compared to Gen X (21%) and baby
boomer (16%) employees

• By June 2026, 27% of our managers
and 41% of our supervisors will reach
the retirement age of 65 years

• Succession planning program will be
implemented across Council in FY17

and Benefits

• New recognition and reward
scheme, the Especialist program,
was launched in January 2017

• The average salary is $62,120 which
is equivalent to a Grade 9 position of our
job classification

• The paid overtime spend in FY16 is
now 2.7% of total salaries and wages,
being $2,083 per FTE.

• Our salary system will undergo a
review in FY17 against industry
benchmarks to ensure market relativity


• 28% of employees joined
Council in the past two years

• Average time to fill is 43 days

• Approximately 16 applications are
received per vacancy

• New online recruitment system,
SCOUT, was rolled out in October

• 11% of new starters were recruited
from within local government


• Our workforce will be
invited to complete an
employee engagement
survey during May 2017


• Generational mix – 35% baby
boomers, 35% Gen X, and 30% Gen Y

• 21% of senior management roles
held by women in FY16

• 43% of new starters recruited in
FY16 were female

• High proportion (65%) of women are
represented at team leader level

• The rate of male employees leaving
in their first year of employment has
increased to 63%

• An Equal Employment
Opportunity Survey is
completed by our
employees during March,


• 37% of employees took 10.5 days or
more of sick leave

• 7.4 days sick leave taken in FY16
across our workforce

• 13% of employees have an excess
accrued annual leave balance of 8

• 17% of our workforce has 12 weeks
long service leave accrued

Our Key Risks

To effectively plan for the future, we need to understand the risks associated with our workforce. These risks are the things that
will inhibit or prevent us achieving the objectives in this strategy. Singleton Council’s Strategic Risk Register identifies the
following significant people risks:

Risk Description Impact | Consequences

Inability to attract & retain key staff Impact on service delivery
Impact on staff morale
Diminished workforce capacity
High turnover
Costs to recruit
Poor candidate pool
Damage to reputation

Injury or illness to staff, volunteers or contractors

Poor engagement
Personal issues
Lost productivity
Impact on service delivery
Fines & penalties
Damage to reputation
Increased insurance premiums
High turnover of staff

There are a number of operational people risks also:

 Insufficient employees with the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide Council services

 Lack of quality candidates for critical roles

 Insufficient succession planning and talent management, leading to potential skills and service gaps

 Ineffective leadership and/or management skills

 Loss of skills, knowledge and/or services as mature age/long-term employees leave and younger workforce is


 Loss of corporate knowledge

 Ageing workforce

 A disengaged and/or demotivated workforce

 Increased levels of unplanned leave

 Culture misalignment

 Competitive market for specialist skills

 Lack of communication and/or understanding of the organisational values, priorities and strategic direction

Council’s ability to put in place the necessary workforce to achieve the community’s aspirations for the future is affected by
several internal and external factors. The factors that will impact on the supply of the workforce include:

Internal Factors External Factors

Operational expenditure – cost of employment Local Government (State) Award salary increases

Workforce demographics Changes in service level in response to community priorities

Length of service
Changes in employment and/or workplace health and safety

Turnover Competition from other Councils/businesses

Skills shortage Reputation

Attraction and retention capacity of Council

Service planning, cultural change required for integrating
focus and purpose of the organisation

People-related policy, strategy and plans


Our Key Challenges

The National Local Government Workforce Strategy 2013-2020 and the NSW Local Government Workforce Strategy 2016-
2020 provide evidence of the key challenges we face and the imperatives to improve the leadership and performance of our
workforce. Our key challenges include:






We will be operating in a tight fiscal environment over the next four years to ensure that we remain ‘fit for the future’ which
requires our people to do more with more, same with less, or more with the same. Given that our workforce expenses
account for 29% of Council’s operating budget, improved efficiencies and productivity is important for us.

Council has three tools to guide the organisation and our people to greater levels of efficiency:

 Business excellence framework – a focus on business improvement using the fundamentals of Business

 Service delivery reviews – Council has a two year program of service delivery reviews for every service package
the Council provides.

 Systems thinking and process mapping – a clear understanding of ‘how things are done’ at Council and system
view and process maps for Councils core function.



Community service expectations are constantly
increasing. Our communities utilise and expect a wider
range of services. The community is better informed and
more knowledgeable. We are increasingly expected to
deliver services, customer support and information
outside business hours and on weekends.



Changes to Government policy, legislation and
regulations are going to have an impact on our
operations. Most of these changes (Local Government Act
etc.) will have a direct impact on our workload, costs and
existing resources.


In light of the imminent retirement of baby boomers generation, we need to ensure that workers of retirement age are
encouraged to remain in, return to, or join Singleton Council if we are to continue to benefit from the wisdom they possess,
and deliver quality services to the community.

By 30 June 2021, we predict that 11% of Council’s workforce will reach the retirement age of 65 years and have the option
to retire. If we do not focus on succession planning, we could encounter a situation where  our service delivery to our
community and customers might be impacted due to a loss of corporate knowledge and experience.

Productivity Improvement

Community Expectations Policy and Legislation

The Ageing Workforce




Services and work processes are constantly evolving to take advantage of technology, including:

 Advancing our information technology systems, in conjunction with NBN capability, allows greater capacity for
remote access and flexible working arrangements

 Increasing mobility of our workforce through provision of technology solutions such as tablets
 Better communication with our workforce through improved access to information via SharePoint and Skype
 Electronic forms making it easier for our people to report incidents and interact within and outside the organisation

Successful adoption of new technologies, new management systems and new methods of work will assist in gaining greater
efficiencies and providing better services. There is an opportunity to invest in and engage with modern technology as
enabling tools to efficiently and effectively carry out tasks and provide services to our community, including continued use of
social media, online recruitment systems or systems that help manage various functions (such as performance review,
succession planning and training administration) and making meaningful workforce data readily available to enable
evidence-based decisions.

It is critical that our people keep pace with technology changes and that Council takes advantage of the efficiencies and/or
improvements to service that these technological changes present.


Effective leadership is important to ensure that a
constructive environment and culture is created, that our
people are motivated, skilled and focused, that services
are transformed and that the community benefits from the
Council’s work.

Having the right kind of people leadership is crucial.


Making employment to Singleton Council more attractive
(especially to younger generations) requires our culture to
be contemporary and one that different generations
identify with.


Being an employer of choice is achievable through positive values-based culture, recognition for exceptional performance,
opportunities for professional development and benefits and conditions that are an attractive value proposition for existing
and potential employees.


As part of implementing succession planning activities in 2017/2018, Council’s Leadership Team needs to identify positions
at all levels of the organisation that are considered critical to the ongoing functioning of Council’s operations and services.
An extensive assessment will be undertaken to better understand our critical positions and their impact on our organisation
into the future.

The Use of Technology

Employer of Choice

Leadership Capability Generational Factors

Critical Roles

Delivering within our Means

Singleton Council, like many local government areas, has limited resources with which to provide an increasing number and
quality of services. With a clear understanding of what is required to take our organisation forward into the future, the challenge
for Singleton Council is to meet these requirements within resources available.

Budget FTE and Headcount Report


As at 30 June 2016, Singleton Council employs 196 FTE (full time equivalent) positions in a wide range of areas. In addition to
its permanent and fixed-term workforce, Council has also has a pool of casual employees (22) who in the main are employed to
meet variable and cyclical demand for services in areas such as the library, our visitor centre, and children’s services.




Fixed Term Casuals Headcount

Total 196 165 24 16 22 227

FTE Requirements 2017-2021


Over the past four years, from FY13 to FY16, Singleton Council has increased its FTE establishment by 7 positions or 3.7%.
However in FY16 the FTE establishment decreased by 3.4%. Our FTE will be continuously reviewed to ensure it meets the
needs of our community and the commitments under the CSP however it is not anticipated that without additional revenue
streams the FTE allocation would increase. Continuous improvement programs will be addressed to ensure that we live within
our means.

The costs for our workforce are calculated as part of the Long Term Financial Plan.

‘In a service-based organisation, such as local government, the
engagement and passion of your people is a critical success factor’

Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program FY16 Report

From Strategy to Action

People Strategies 2017 2021

Our people strategies have been identified and developed in response to our workforce challenges. The Community Strategic Plan
(CSP) was used as a pivotal reference document to guide and provide context for development of our People Strategies.

Singleton Council delivers services to its communities by means of its employees and the linkage of the CSP to the People
Strategy is clearly demonstrated by the CSP strategy: Services are provided by the right people, in the right jobs, with the right
skills and attitudes at the right time.

The people strategies are not a once-only fix-all to be used and then shelved. Our people strategies will be reviewed to
determine whether they are relevant and in step with any changes to community and customer needs and expectations, as well
as our changing environment and labour market.

Our Strategic Framework and Strategy Map

CSP – Our Leadership Objective

An effective and efficient operational Council

CSP – Our Leadership Strategy

Services to the community are provided by the right people, in the right jobs, with the right skills and attitudes at the right time

Underpinned by Our Values

Integrity Respect Excellence Innovation Enjoyment

Our Workforce Vision

Singleton Council is a great place to work where our values and safety are brought to life every day in everything that we do

Our People Strategy Themes

Employer of Choice Performance-based Culture Engaged Workforce Safe & Healthy Workforce

Our Goals

Council is a workplace that
recognises and harnesses
the full potential of our
people and has effective
employee recruitment,
engagement, development,
and retention practices.

Everyone who comes to work
at Singleton Council
understands what is expected
of them and how their
behaviours and performance
at work benefits our

We motivate and inspire
our people by fostering a
culture of genuine
engagement, innovation
and respect

Everyone who comes to work
at Singleton Council leaves
work in an equal or better
state of health and wellbeing
than they arrived.

People Strategy 1

Employer of Choice

What is our goal?

 Council is a workplace that recognises and harnesses the full potential of our people and has effective employee
recruitment, engagement and retention practices

What does success look like?

 Our leaders role model Council’s values, setting high standards of behaviour and conduct for all employees

 Our leaders will be effective change agents and have the skills to engage and empower staff to make a real and

tangible difference

 Our culture is built on mutual trust and respect recognising the value of a collaborative, diverse and inclusive

 Our workforce embraces change as an opportunity to unleash potential and re-shape the way we do business
and drive continuous improvement

 Our organisation is viewed as an employer of choice attracting highly talented, qualified and diverse applicant
pools for all roles

How will we achieve it?

 Embed and enhance our values through an ongoing program of consultation, training and awareness

 Foster a continuous improvement environment by embedding continuous improvement in all Council activities
and benchmarking gains

 Promote Singleton Council as an employer of choice by promoting the success of our people and fully utilising
our communication capacity

What we will measure?

 Turnover trends all employees – overall % and by gender (as agreed annually)

 # complaints relating to the conduct or behaviour of Council employees

 % participation in cultural awareness programs

 % completion of mandatory training

 % completion of recruitment and marketing programs

 % recruits leaving in first year

 # of applicants received for advertised positions; % of acceptances

 Time to fill/hire

 Overall staff engagement score (annual staff survey measure)

People Strategy 2

Performance-based Culture

What is our goal?

 Everyone who comes to work at Singleton Council understands what is expected of them and how their
behaviours and performance at work benefits our community.

What does success look like?

 Our leaders drive all levels of organisational performance and the achievement of Council objectives.

 Our leaders lead and inspire an energised, high performance culture and get the best out of people

 Our workforce is highly skilled and has the capability to deliver Singleton Council’s key objectives

 Our workforce structure is aligned and supports the strategic direction of Singleton Council with resources and
budget allocated appropriately

 Our people actively seek and participate in capability development and knowledge sharing activities

 Our people understand the skills required for career progression and are empowered to access available
development and career opportunities

 Our people embrace new technology and look for ways to maximise collaboration, productivity and efficiency in
line with our business operating system.

 Our people demonstrate personal leadership and effectiveness at all levels across Council and in all aspects of
their work.

 Our policies and practices drive organisational efficiency and effectiveness and minimise the barriers that restrict
decision making vital in a contemporary and modern workplace environment.

How will we achieve it?

 Foster skilled workforce and build capability through investment and increased participation in learning and
performance development

 Actively commit to workforce planning through implementation of succession plans and a knowledge management

 Improve end-to-end organisation development and human resources processes through a contemporary
improvement of policies and processes

 Provide enhanced technology, tools and systems that support our workforce through a proactive and ongoing
review and implementation program

What we will measure?

 Overall staff engagement score (annual staff survey measure)

 Workforce profile – gender balance, age profile and employment status

 % of identified tools, policies and processes completed

 % of employees participating in development programs al learning and development

 % increase of employees accessing online learning

 % succession plans in place for all identified critical positions (as agreed annually)

People Strategy 3

Engaged Workforce

What is our goal?

 We motivate and inspire our people by fostering a culture of genuine collaboration, engagement, innovation and

What does success look like?

 Our leaders are highly visible and accessible, providing staff with information to enable them to do their jobs and
take opportunities to celebrate success, innovation and continuous improvement.

 Our people actively participate in meaningful two way communication processes, seeking regular formal and
informal feedback and embracing a shared responsibility for individual, team and organisational performance

 Our people understand the valuable role they play in delivering the community vision and are empowered to
contribute to Singleton Council’s success

How will we achieve it?

 Acknowledge and reward our people through a well communicated program of formal and informal


 Develop and evolve our approach to staff engagement, collaboration and communication through increased access
and participation in learning and development training programs

 Continue to develop and deploy tailored programs and support tools that build leadership and management

 Support our people in their leadership and managerial responsibilities through proactive continuous improvement in

learning and development opportunities as well as implementation of policies, procedures and tools

 Promote and support the development of emerging leaders through active and targeted development programs

What we will measure?

 Overall staff engagement score (annual staff survey measure)

 % participation in communications and engagement learning and development opportunities

 Implementation of our Especialist Reward and Recognition Program

 % improvement in Leadership 360 scores

People Strategy 4

Safe & Healthy Workforce

What is our goal?

 Everyone who comes to work at Singleton Council leaves work in an equal or better state of health and wellbeing
than they arrived.

What does success look like?

 Our …

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