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Top 3 benefits your council can achieve from implementing the NSW Local Government Capability Framework

By Nicola Vass - 15th February 2018  |  Capability Framework , Government

You may have heard about the new NSW Local Government Capability Framework, developed with involvement from both elected and employee local government representatives across the state and approved by the LGNSW Board in August 2017.

Don’t worry if it’s all new to you, you’re not alone. Soon enough you’ll understand why implementation of this framework is not only a good idea but will revolutionise local government councils.

The framework builds on the NSW state government’s Public Sector Capability Framework, to provide clarity on what good looks like in the local government sector. It can be used by any council, adding to the workforce development practices current in your council. It should come as no surprise that early adopter councils are keen to implement it.

So what is it and why is it so good? To begin with, the capabilities it describes apply to both elected members and council employees. They are detailed for every level of general staff, management, and elected members. Together the capabilities set out the knowledge, skills, abilities and attributes expected of the workforce and elected members.

Utilised well, adopting the capability framework will align your workforce and elected members in delivering the best service for your local community.

How you adopt the capability framework is flexible. Some councils are looking at implementing just the workforce capabilities first and the elected member capabilities later. Likewise, you could focus on embedding the management capabilities first and then roll out the employee ones after that.

Want to know more about this workforce performance game changer and be at the forefront of best practice council HR management?

Read on to find out the top 3 benefits that can be achieved by adopting the NSW Local Government Capability Framework.

1. An increase in overall operational efficiency

We can sometimes get caught up in a ‘do more with less’ cycle.

Councils must continually look for ways to deliver services to the community in the most cost-effective manner possible, without compromising the quality of service.

And it’s HR’s role to create the environment for the organisation to achieve this.

The Capability Framework underpins your council’s performance development process, providing an agreed set of behavior standards for staff to meet. When implemented well, the Capability Framework can help increase operational efficiency as performance development is standardised. This, in turn, helps manage under-performers with transparency and impartiality. The framework also helps identify skill and experience gaps that must be bridged on the road to cultivating a high-performing, responsive team.

With the standardised set of capabilities, all workforce development processes become more streamlined, and the quality of HR services improves. Properly developed position descriptions based on a common language also make it easier for staff to move between roles within your council, as well as between councils. A more agile workforce means gaps in skills can be filled more readily and employees are actively engaged through career path choices.

While this benefits HR’s effectiveness, it’s also a win for employees and elected members because expectations are clear and individuals can more easily identify their own areas for skill development and performance improvement.

2. Attract, develop, and retain talent

Attracting talent in public sector

Recruitment mistakes are not cheap!

By using the framework correctly, you can clearly see the attitudes and behaviours that you want in your council. This in turn helps you to attract the right talent, provides motivation for skills development and presents a clear path for career progression.

According to a 2015 study by the Australian Human Resource Institute, one of the main reasons employees choose to leave is due to lack of career progression or opportunities. There are many other studies that also support this finding.

It is important to note that when you are lucky enough to have a high performer working on your team, it is just as important to develop their skills as it is to develop anyone else’s. Proper use of the capability framework means employees are able to easily self-assess and identify development opportunities. It also means that expectations of employee performance are clearly expressed and can be referred to at any time.

Using the NSW Local Government Capability Framework to support your HR activities helps ensure that councils will be united by a common language. This helps with mobility as opportunities can be clearly identified for employees to progress their careers within the council or across the sector.

The capability framework helps you to attract the right talent, grow the talent you already have, and keep your talented staff.

3. Ignite every position’s purpose

When positions are well-documented, articulated, and underpinned by the Capability Framework, it helps sets the overall direction and establishes priorities for employees. Position Descriptions are an excellent tool to align the role with capabilities, organisational objectives, and purpose, but they need to specify the right capabilities, at the right level, and only list a handful of accountabilities.

They help staff know what they should be working on, what they should be working towards, and what they should be working on first. When everything is aligned well, it allows greater opportunities for people to maximise success in delivering great service and support to the NSW community.

The Capability Framework assists each person within the public sector to find purpose in their role. Having clarity on your role and how it fits the organization, and how it leads to your next career step, all facilitate a sense of meaning and motivation. All employees, managers, and elected members will have a better understanding of their role within the council. It aligns every position in the council with the direction of the organisation.

Do each of your employees know what winning looks like for the council and how they contribute towards this? If they don’t already, with clear and well-written position descriptions and clear performance goals, they will!

A framework to better serve the community

The world and community expectations are constantly changing, and new technology is disrupting many traditional jobs. The workforce needs to adjust and be flexible to meet these challenges. Change is inevitable — to be successful, our workforce needs to be able to adapt quickly. We must avoid getting fixated on our employees’ technical capabilities. When hiring, defining and developing is focused on the core capabilities that are transferable between roles, mobility is much easier to achieve and the future of our workforce is secured.

If, after reading this, you think adopting the framework may have some merit for your council, get in touch. We can help you understand the issues and when you’re ready, develop an Adoption Roadmap.

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