The new employment brand for the Australian Public Service is “Shape Australia. Create your Future.”
The tagline that will grace upcoming recruitment campaigns and, it is hoped, get high-achievers excited about working for the Commonwealth in a “flexible” new workforce, was announced last night at the National Gallery of Australia.
Tom Collins from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science came up with the winning words, which were chosen through a competition run by the Australian Public Service Commission, beating other highly commended runners up who all combined the same themes: having a hand in the future, working for the nation, and doing something for yourself career-wise at the same time.
As Collins took the stage to speak of his genuine pride in the APS and the work that he does, his entry appeared behind him, rendered in sensible white sans-serif text on a black background, divided from the Australian Government logo by a white diagonal slash.
“There is no greater privilege for an Australian than serving their country and there is no more fulfilling a career than one in which an individual can exercise their skills, creativity and insight,” said Collins. “When drafting my entry, those two things came to mind. They were, after all, my reasons for joining the Australian Public Service. That and the fact that I had no chance of passing the Army’s physical.”
He said the APS couldn’t just try to attract the “best” people because it needed those who would also “put the public first, even at cost to themselves” and had a genuine social conscience.
Only four “slightly cynical or negative” entries were received by the APSC out of about 700, deputy public service commissioner Stephanie Foster told the small gathering of public servants, hosted by the Institute for Public Administration Australia (ACT Branch).
The head of the APS, Martin Parkinson, said the competition was the first of its kind and open to every single person in the service. He quoted from some of the overwhelmingly positive responses.
“I’ve assisted in the success of something greater than just me; I’m part of a great team,” said one entry. “When I talk about working for the APS, I always talk about how inspiring the staff are; their dedication, knowledge and commitment inspire me every day,” said another.
Parkinson was joined on the judging panel by APS commissioner John Lloyd and two marketing executives, Holly Ransom and Irina Hayward, while his associate secretary for Indigenous affairs, Andrew Tongue, came in as an “associate” judge.
“That is, he walked in the room and we couldn’t get him out during the judging process,” explained the secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The panel felt the winning tagline “provided a compelling message about APS employees creating their own future while also helping to shape the future of the country” and comparative testing alongside the runners up found “a wide audience of diverse and talented people” liked it, he added.
“Interesting, not only those who want to work in the APS but those who are already amongst our midst [responded to the winning entry]. But even more interestingly, I think, is that it appealed most of all to our new graduates, and we didn’t anticipate that when we chose it,” Parkinson said.
“I think it reinforces the connection between APS employees and Australians. I think it imparts the contribution the APS makes in shaping Australia and the responsibilities that go with it. That we must be reflective of the community which we serve, that we must work across borders and through barriers, that we must always think of the future, and that we must impartially serve the government of the day, and through it, the people of Australia.”
“And it says that your future is in your hands. It’s your creation. It’s what you do today that matters tomorrow.”
The launch of a new refreshed “employment brand” to entice high quality candidates to the APS was a recommendation of Unlocking Potential, the latest blueprint for internal administrative and human resources reform to hit the Commonwealth.
Three videos made by agencies to “showcase” their efforts to implement the recommendations of Sandra McPhee’s report were also judged, albeit through an audience vote rather than the long process to arrive at the new tagline.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources won the crowd’s favour with a slick video featuring various employees around the country talking about their role and the many facets of the department’s job, which seemed inspired in many ways by Australian Defence Force recruiting campaigns.
Second place was the Department of Communication and the Arts, which got The Mandarin’s vote for its short video explaining how it has taken a new approach to performance management inspired by the report’s recommendations. The Australian Taxation Office got similar support for its ideas, which included a virtual careers expo.
Foster said the APSC was “overwhelmed” by the number of entries it received from agencies keen to make a whizzy video about what McPhee’s report means to them, when it put the call out.
The APSC will make the videos available soon — all of them, not just the three winners, according to Foster — but in the meantime, we present a Department of Finance recruiting video that has gone slightly viral and even been discussed in Senate Estimates, mainly due to the somewhat awkward dialogue of the grads who star in it:
Sadly, the video has been receiving some rather harsh reviews on the social web, but APS production values have come along way, as demonstrated by this even older Department of Finance grad program video from 2011, dug up by Public Sector Informant editor Markus Mannheim:
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