Case Study - Vic Roads - Growing talent, delivering results
VicRoads is a Victorian statutory authority. It employs more than 3,000 people and its annual expenditure exceeds
$2 billion. VicRoads, like many organisations, has an ageing workforce. Their workforce planning strategy asked—‘What do the numbers look like?’ ‘What would happen if we do nothing?’ The answer strengthened their resolve to effectively manage their ageing workforce, to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills from one generation to the next and to consider attraction of new skills into the organisation, to support those transitioning to retirement.
VicRoads implemented a number of specific strategies to balance the age demographic in their workforce, attract and retain the right skills, and to implement positive age-management and wellbeing practices to help retain and extend the working life of valued staff. This approach aligns with Comcare's Statement of Commitment to Investing in Experience.
- We know our workforce and plan for the future
VicRoads regularly collects and analyses demographic and other data at the business area level, including staff surveys, to improve retention. Measures of success are defined and reported back to the business areas and are also documented in their Annual Report. Measures of success include: lower staff turnover and increased length of stay; increased productive workforce availability; reduction in technical and professional capability gaps; improved performance in health, safety and wellbeing.
- We recruit the best, regardless of age
VicRoads recognises the need to attract excellent people and has developed an Employee Value Proposition to promote the organisation as an employer of choice. The VicRoads graduate program is part of their talent-management strategy. The program is designed to attract the skills the organisation needs now and into the future. VicRoads takes on around 60 graduates of all ages as part of their 18-month program. Importantly, all new staff within VicRoads receive the same induction as the graduates.
- We believe in lifelong learning and we encourage skills and knowledge transfer
VicRoads measures staff satisfaction in relation to learning and development opportunities. Specific initiatives that encourage life-long learning and knowledge transfer include: a leadership capability mentoring program where an experienced staff member works alongside another staff member to support knowledge and skills transfer; the use of online knowledge sharing tools; a cross-sector exchange program with other road authorities and government departments and capability capture tools that ensure the succession management strategy secures the continuity and accumulation of requisite corporate knowledge.
- We are proactive in retaining our staff
VicRoads measures engagement regularly at the business level. To encourage staff retention, VicRoads fosters flexible work practices appropriate to the demographic profile of the organisation. A one-stop-shop on the staff intranet helps managers and team members understand the options available to them. Managers are supported and educated to have constructive conversations with their staff and to facilitate flexible working arrangements or to support staff who wish to transition into another type of job. VicRoads encourages respect for older workers through a 50-year service award as part of its rewards and recognition program.
- We support our employees in the transition to retirement
VicRoads provides specific support to their mature age staff which is formally endorsed through their Enterprise Agreement. The transition to retirement strategy includes Transition to Retirement workshops involving Centrelink benefits counselling/life planning and superannuation planning seminars for all staff, with the option to have one-on-one sessions with any of the above experts. Over 200 Transition To Retirement (TTR) workshops held across Victoria were attended by participants with an average tenure of 28 years. The 2010/2011 financial year resulted in an increased take-up of transitional work arrangements namely: purchased annual leave (up 11 per cent) and reduced working hours (up 40 per cent).
- We practice age diversity
VicRoads has formal policies and procedures in place to prevent age discrimination in the workplace including adherence to Victorian Government Employment principles for Recruitment and Selection including open and fair competition and selection based on merit.
- We provide a safe working environment
VicRoads conducts local monthly health and wellbeing activities to improve and maintain the physical and mental health and wellbeing of staff and facilitates access to health and wellbeing opportunities outside of the work environment (gyms and health centres). VicRoads promotes and enhances occupational health and safety within the workplaces. All employees complete OHS awareness training and the staff intranet provides a one-stop-shop for information about health, wellbeing and flexible working conditions within the organisation.
- We involve our staff
VicRoads involves staff through their Enterprise Agreements (Transition to Retirement states “the parties to the agreement are committed to supporting employees who are approaching retirement to do so in a graduated way” and “employees who have indicated their intention to retire from VicRoads may consider participating in a retirement transition arrangement”) through Consultative Committees; and feedback forms for sharing and improving survey results; and live forums which include blog posts and enterprise social networks (Yammer).
- We promote and share better practice
VicRoads has agreed to share detailed case studies with the Government’s Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation and with their peers to promote and disseminate better practice in workplaces throughout Australia.
Access to flexible options is key to retention of an ageing workforce. VicRoads estimates that 60 per cent of its workforce will be 40 years and over by 2016, increasing to 91 per cent by 2026 (if nothing changes). VicRoads plans to:
- Identify, access and provide training support for its ageing workforce interested in (but not limited to) transitioning to training and mentoring roles.
- Continue to monitor and manage technical capability mix and projected supply/demand/development needs.
- Continue to monitor external factors as predictions (low fertility rates etc.) show that over 80 per cent of all internal and external recruitments from 2020 on, will be for those aged 45 years and older.
- Invest in improving management of a multi generational workforce.