If you’re a public servant at an APS6 level, you could be forgiven for thinking the sector’s focus on professional development and all-round workplace happiness isn’t aimed at you.
While the APS6 cohort is often called the engine room of the Australian Public Service, it’s the executive levels – EL1 and EL2 – where so much attention is paid to career advancement and high-end training.
Breaking into the Senior Executive Service is, after all, the (often elusive) goal of so many of the ELs – and one that can be taken advantage of higher up the chain of command.
But what about those at APS6?
“They’re generally the least content of the cohorts,” says Kellie Chamberlain, who has just launched a development program specifically for APS6 and state and territory public servants working at comparable levels.
“It’s the ‘good as sliced bread’ effect, where everyone knows APS6 staff are doing a great job; they have some autonomy and can have middle management roles; but they’re left alone with little attention paid to their wellbeing.”
A new program aims to change that.
Called GOVguild, the program provides an exclusive network of APS6 professionals who are dedicated to enhancing their experiences and finding fulfilment in the APS.
The program is accessed through bought memberships, and Ms Chamberlain says the approach is based on principles of positive organisational psychology, modern motivation theory and workplace wellbeing.
“It strategically complements the APS planning and performance cycle with a consistent, strengths-based performance process,” she said.
“Members support each other through a vibrant peer network where they exchange ideas, perceptions, aspirations and discoveries.
“This exchange facilitates the development of their competence towards mastering a good work life.”
GOVguild seeks to provide members with various proven tools and techniques, including design thinking, mentoring, practice, reflection, analytics and insight.
“These tools and techniques help members develop the mindsets, practices and habits necessary to build and maintain meaning, autonomy and mastery in their work,” Ms Chamberlain said.
Describing herself as GOVguild’s founder and orchestrator, Ms Chamberlain has more than 25 years’ experience in strategy, transformation and performance in public, private and not-for-profit sector organisations.
She has worked in and for the APS for more than 12 years and across several agencies, including the Australian Public Service Commission, Defence, Home Affairs, Comcover, Comcare and more.
“Since leaving, I realised that there was a need in the APS that wasn’t being met, and that is providing serious support, over numerous career and personal development facets, to those working at the APS6 level,” she said.
“It’s very niche, I know, but I think it’s very important. APS6 is very important.
“The program is ideal for positively energising APS6 employees who would like to shape their future, design and build the APS experience they want.”
A prerequisite for members is they must be passionate about personal and professional development and be dedicated to making a positive impact in their lives, workplaces and communities.
“If they are open-minded, collaborative, and willing to engage in meaningful conversations and activities with others, this program will be a valuable tool for them,” Ms Chamberlain said.
“But they must be committed to upholding the APS values, which are also mirrored in GOVguild’s principles, including integrity, trust, inspire, and gratitude.”
More information can be found at GOVguild.