Staff development is the key

Article image - Staff development is the key Members of Ashburton’s executive and management teams attended Mental Health First Aid training facilitated by Kylianne Farrell from Move for Mental Health.

With an area that extends to half the size of Victoria and staff dispersed across four towns in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia, staff culture and development at the Shire of Ashburton presents a unique set of challenges, not least an extended distance between colleagues.

In addition to distance, the Shire’s towns experience highly transient communities due to the extensive fly in/fly out (FIFO) population, meaning the Shire of Ashburton must work against a high staff turnover and thus a constantly changing organisational culture.

Despite the obstacles, the Shire has committed to ensuring that as an organisation it prioritises employees’ health and well-being, and creates a workplace that is supportive and inclusive.

To achieve this goal, over the past 12 months the Human Resources team has taken an enterprise-wide approach towards organisational development.

This has been achieved by driving key programs relating to learning and development and engagement through a mix of online and in person workshops delivered to staff in Tom Price, Onslow, Paraburdoo and Pannawonica.  

Through the implementation of an annual performance review program with key performance indicators, values assessments, blended learning models, and ongoing support, the Human Resources department has been able to increase internal mobility and drive a culture of continued education and development.

In addition to the performance review program, the Shire has also implemented a bi-annual Chief Executive Officer facilitated ‘introduction to local government’ for all new employees, ongoing manager training, and a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) course for all leaders to help employees effectively manage the harsh realities that can often come with living in a small rural town.

These programs, in addition to a continuing rotation of personal, team, managerial and executive training opportunities, have allowed the Shire to develop an organisation of consistent development and success.