Workforce planning strategy a key priority at Whitehorse

Article image - Workforce planning strategy a key priority at Whitehorse Whitehorse’s 2009 Workforce Planning Committee (l–r) Anton Cozzi, Anne Rout, Pauline Bennett, Karyn Mackew, Tony De Fazio, Mary Kyriakou, Marie Johnson, Peter Smith and Marc Giglio.

Similar to councils around the nation, the City of Whitehorse understands the importance of recruitment and staff retention to its day to day operations and ongoing strategic planning processes.

Located in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs, Whitehorse’s 1,200 employees serve a population of over 150,000 people.

Manager Organisational Development, Pauline Bennett, said that Whitehorse City Council’s strategic planning is a combination of Council and Business Planning, Financial Planning and Workforce Planning.

Through its Workforce Planning Model, Council aims to achieve optimum workforce performance by increasing its competitive advantage through establishing itself as an employer of choice.

Commencing its Workforce Planning process in late 2007, the first step was workforce analytics – to establish how well Council was managing its workforce.

Using workforce forecasting it then identified what needed to change to meet challenges both now and into the future. Lastly, it formulated its workforce strategy –
how it will get there.

A Workforce Planning Committee was formed in April 2008, with representatives from divisions across councils, and particularly from divisions with difficult to recruit positions. This committee established 28 ‘job families’, with all workers allocated to one family. Within each ‘family’ critical jobs have been identified and succession planning commenced.

Of the specific jobs identified as critical, some 57 per cent of these didn’t have successors.

The committee also prioritised divisional job families, deeming those difficult to fill as red, becoming hard to fill as amber and relatively easy to fill as green.

Specific strategies now in place to address this include the following:

  • sector branding (Municipal Association of Victoria initiative)
  • salaries and benefits benchmarking
  • flexible working arrangements for staff
  • recruitment initiatives
  • retention initiatives
  • health and wellbeing program.

Pauline Bennett said that as well as providing a range of benefits to staff, this workforce planning approach has enabled Council to have greater engagement with, and retention of, its current team.

“It means we are delivering on our key performance indicator of having the right people at the right time in the right place,” she said. “In addition it has reduced overall costs for Council.”

For further information contact Pauline Bennett on (03) 9262 6333.