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Our people


  • We continue to boost our leadership capability with the successful delivery of the final executive level 1 and executive level 2 MDBA leadership programs.
  • We increased the rate of employee participation in our learning and development activities provided in-house.
  • We continued to upgrade the CHRIS21 payroll system to enhance performance.
  • We developed an electronic performance management system called ePerform.
  • We reviewed and updated our online induction system.
  • We extended our early intervention and rehabilitation by providing targeted programs and actively working with staff following notification of injuries and diseases, or through preventative action.

Learning and development

The MDBA is committed to the continuous development of all employees, and offers diverse training opportunities throughout the year. Courses held in-house this year included: writing skills for subject matter experts; procurement and contracts; preventing and responding to workplace bullying; writing for the web; performance conversations that matter; inappropriate workplace conduct; diversity and cultural awareness; Australian Public Service ethics and values; ergonomic awareness and safe work practices; Finance 1 training; risk management; mental health awareness; and privacy awareness.

During 2014-15 there was an increase in employee uptake in external specialist training programs, including subjects such as: introductory meteorology course, science to policy leadership program, ArcGIS III performing analysis, ICEWARM hydrology and hydraulics for non-engineers, and understanding groundwater. There was also strong attendance at Australian Public Service Commission facilitated courses such as: SharePoint, strategic thinking, dealing with difficult situations and continued demand for external IT computer training.

We continue to support employees who choose to study at a tertiary level. During 2014–15, 21 employees were approved to receive study assistance. The most popular areas of study were business, financial management, environmental management, water policy, procurement and communications.


During the 2014–15 one cohort of executive level 1 employees participated in the MDBA leadership development program. This three month program combined structured learning in a series of facilitated workshops with experiential learning in the form of on-the-job projects relevant to our operational needs. The key objectives of the program were to:

  • build a strong leadership cohort across the organisation with the flexibility to support a matrix workforce structure
  • recognise and develop talented executive level staff for succession to senior executive service within the MDBA.

Personal Efficiency Program

Several groups from across senior and middle management levels in the MDBA went through the Personal Efficiency Program. The Personal Efficiency Program Worldwide facilitated the delivery of their highly acclaimed productivity solution which has at its core a set of principles designed to streamline work methods and decrease the time taken to complete tasks. Through implementing these structured behaviours and associated tools, the Personal Efficiency Program works to increase the productivity of participants by enabling the identification of time and capacity to undertake work with high value outcomes. Participants in 2014–15 acknowledged changes in their behaviour and linked the learning to improved outcomes.

Internal seminars

The MDBA internal seminar series continued to focus on supporting the professional development of our staff. This year our speakers presented on a wide range of topics including groundwater, managing flows, waterbirds, Aboriginal natural resource management, MDBA history, and modelling. We also continued to run our staff education seminars called ‘Understanding our business’.

Coaching program

Executive coaching is offered to staff at the executive level 1 and executive level 2 levels as a way to improve leadership capability and team management, as well as to enhance effectiveness.

Executive coaching is also an essential part of the leadership development program. The MDBA includes one on one coaching sessions for the executive level cohorts undertaking leadership development and as part of targeted support and development arrangements.

The employee coaching program has been strengthened by using training providers that consist of professional organisations with a range of specialities. Once a staff member is approved for coaching, they are matched to a suitable coach to provide the outcomes they are looking for.

Performance management

All MDBA employees are required to participate in the annual performance management and development scheme to assist the MDBA to achieve our organisational goals and meet employee expectations.

The performance management plan seeks to:

  • establish realistic and meaningful individual performance objectives for MDBA employees
  • connect with individual and team goals with the strategic objectives of the MDBA
  • act as a mechanism for seeking and providing feedback to employees, supervisors and managers that is constructive, fair and honest
  • promote continual informal and formal communication relating to work goals.

In 2014–15 we conducted three workshops for staff on effective performance feedback which were aimed at:

  • understanding their responsibilities in giving performance feedback
  • developing strategies required for meaningful performance feedback conversations
  • identifying the value of feedback in building capability
  • developing strategies and skills necessary to talk to staff when their performance is not matching the original agreed performance management plan
  • assisting and providing advice in development needs and longer career aspirations.

The MDBA encourages employee participation in the performance management process. The human resources team actively supports and assists employees and managers to resolve conflict and maintain workplace relationships by ensuring disputes do not escalate.

We also developed an electronic performance management system called ePerform. The new performance management module allows the MDBA to effectively manage the review process using a user-friendly interface. ePerform has been configured to suit the MDBA performance review cycle and aligns performance objectives to organisational strategy.

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Updated: 14 Jan 2016