Last updated: 
28 November 2019

Along with many other Australia Public Service (APS) agencies, we are releasing our APS employee census results. It is a measure to promote transparency about APS employee sentiments.

What is the APS employee census?

The APS employee census is conducted every year. It collects information on the attitudes and opinions of APS employees.

Information is collected on important issues including health and wellbeing, attendance, performance management, leadership, and general impressions of the APS. It is provided to all APS employees and is an opportunity for employees to have their say about working in the APS.

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) website has more information about the APS employee census

Our results

IP Australia’s 2019 census highlights report contains whole-of-agency results. This year’s response rate of 85 per cent is a good result. It provides us with assurance that our results are an accurate insight into our employees’ perceptions of working at IP Australia.

We are pleased to say that the 2019 results show improvements have been made in many areas since the previous year’s survey.

Pride in working at IP Australia

Our results show that employees are proud to work at IP Australia, with steady improvement on already high-performing measures such as:

  • an inclusive and diverse culture
  • a workplace where people feel connected and are contributing to our purpose
  • workplace conditions where flexibility to balance work and life commitments is promoted and supported.

These results are consistent with IP Australia’s Employee Value Proposition, promoting a sense of belonging in a diverse and flexible workplace, and contribution to high quality outcomes in administering IP rights.

Staff engagement

Staff engagement is a measure of the emotional connection and commitment employees have to the agency. Our overall staff engagement score is 73 per cent, which is a one percentage point improvement on last year and slightly above the APS average.

Innovation and collaboration

In terms of innovation and collaboration, we’ve had some improvements on last year’s results, with our overall innovation index three percentage points above last year. This result is above both the APS average and large agency counterparts.

  • Over half our staff believe “my agency inspires me to come up with new or better ways of doing things”. While there’s still room to improve, this is a seven-percentage point improvement on 2018.
  • “My agency recognises and supports the notion that failure is a part of innovation” On this measure, we improved 9 per cent on 2018’s results.

Areas for improvement

Analysis of census results around workplace culture and behaviours has led to a review of internal practices. As a result, we have developed and delivered an internal program to educate teams in ethical decision making, particularly in relation to procurement and recruitment activities. These sessions have been delivered across the agency with the primary goal of building awareness of anti-corruption measures, public service obligations and good decision-making processes. While the absolute numbers of respondents reporting negatively in these areas was small, any observation of corrupt behaviour is considered unacceptable. Internal controls and governance, particularly involving procurement and recruitment, have also been strengthened in response.

An issue identified in last year’s census was how we engage with risk. We have been working to improve our maturity in this area and we have seen a small improvement in this year’s results. We still have work to do to ensure appropriate risk taking is acknowledged and rewarded.

What we’re doing with the results

IP Australia is focusing on five key areas of the survey:

  • goal clarity
  • senior leadership
  • job-skills match
  • intrinsic reward
  • career progression.

While we already have strong results in these areas, by focussing on these five drivers we aim to further improve the engagement and wellbeing of our workforce and the innovation culture in our agency.