Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 2 2009 Contents 44
sustainable organisation thinks
not only of its products, services
and environment, but also its
people and culture.
The health and well-being of its
people is a priority for Defence Support
Group (DSG), as it is throughout the whole of
Defence. Defence Support’s workforce is integral to
the Group fulfilling its mission to be an innovative,
agile and cost-effective support service that enables
and enhances the delivery of Defence capability.
“People are our most valued resource in Defence
Support,” Deputy Secretary Defence Support, Martin
Bowles said. “And, at a time of continued high
operational tempo and improving efficiency, I am
concerned that increasing work demands will have a
significant impact on the health, well-being, morale
and productivity of our people.”
To ensure that Defence Support is actively
committed to support work-life balance, DSG
supports its people in a number of ways, including:
• promoting the Employee Assistance Program
• working on complex case management
• implementing the Managing Attendance
• reviewing and improving the DSG Health and
“In recognising that people are our most
valued asset we have an obligation to ensure the
health, well-being and safety of our workforce is
being effectively managed,” Mr Bowles said.
“A reasonable level of employee absence
is an expected element of working life in any
organisation. It is also a normal feature of a
healthy work environment that supports family
friendly practices that absences can and do occur
for a range of reasons.
“However, when an employee is absent from
the office, it not only impacts on our capability but
can also carry significant social consequences for
our people and their families,” Mr Bowles said.
At the end of 2007, People Strategies and
Policy Group and DSG’s Directorate of Integrated
People Solutions commenced a project to review
Defence’s 10 longest term complex cases with
the aim to find a mutually-agreed way forward.
Defence Support had six of these cases.
Mr Bowles confirmed that Defence Support
has successfully resolved five of these cases. “This
demonstrates that when key stakeholders are working
together cases can be quickly resolved and employees
supported during their time of need,” he said
In May 2008, Defence Support developed
and implemented the Managing Attendance
Strategy in support of Defence’s Civilian Absence
Management Framework. This strategy is aimed
at improving the health, wellbeing and productivity
of Defence Support’s people.
The strategy clearly sets out roles and
responsibilities for all Defence Support staff,
particularly managers, supervisors, commanders,
human resources staff, and rehabilitation/medical
case managers. It also encourages everyone involved
to work closely together to resolve cases, focussing
on early intervention and early return to work.
In late 2008, Defence Support presented
the strategy to Defence’s HR One Star network
who collectively agreed the strategy should be
implemented across Defence.
so what’s next?
“We now need to identify and implement
training to support managers, supervisors and
commanders in managing absences in the
workplace,” Mr Bowles said.
In late 2008, a working group was formed,
with participants from across the groups and
services, to work together to develop tools to
assist managers and supervisors effectively
manage absences across the organisation.
Health and Wellbeing
To ensure Defence Support staff are supported
in their work, the Group is also reviewing its
health and wellbeing program, to ensure any such
activities are effectively targeting improving the
health and general well-being of our employees.
”The ultimate aim is to invest in a culture
throughout the Group where health, wellbeing and
safety are priorities for everyone,” Mr Bowles said.
The program will incorporate established
programs already available in Defence such
as the Employee Assistance Program, or EAP.
This service is actively marketed and utilised in
Defence Support, with staff using this resource at
a utilisation rate of over 10 per cent - 2.6 per cent
higher than the Defence average.
People Workforce and Safety team in DSG’s
Chief Operating Officer Division also provide fact
sheets to support employees on a range of topics
such as coping with the holiday blues; how to cope
with the back to work blues; and tips on how to
prepare for Christmas leave.
Further information on DSG’s Managing
Attendance Strategy is available on the Supporting
our People website (http://intranet.defence.gov.au/
in Defence Support Group
DEFENCE SuPPoRT GRouP
aBOVe: Defence civilians working at Russell Offices
(L-R) Ms Jade Kitchener, squadron Leader amanda
Robinson and Mr David Darcy. Photo: ABPH Jo Dilorenzo
RIgHT: Defence civilians and military personnel work
on their own well-being at Russell Offices in canberra.
Photo: CPL Hamish Paterson
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