IP Australia puts staff engagement first in ‘Strategic Roadmap to 2030’
Most organisations will agree that people are their most valuable assets. This holds particularly true for IP Australia, where many staff are long-serving members of the department. The average IP Australia employee stays with the organisation for almost ten years. For employees who have been with the organisation more than ten years, the average tenure rises to over 17 years while the longest-serving staff member has been with IP Australia for almost 45 years. In 2014 however, IP Australia discovered a worrying trend that its staff were beginning to feel disconnected from the organisation. These findings led IP Australia to commence a program of work to address the issues and foster a unified and open culture, driven by a supportive leadership team.
© Sergey Zolkin
The solution focused on improving the communication between IP Australia and staff members, ensuring employees felt they had an important role within the organisation. To do this, leadership groups established a combination of face-to-face and online meetings. These meetings were designed to give employees a chance to offer feedback in an environment where co-workers and managers would listen and take the feedback into account. In mid-2018, IP Australia delivered its Strategic Roadmap to 2030 as a result of an internal communication campaign to develop a long-term strategic direction for the organisation.
The primary stakeholders within this campaign were the staff of IP Australia. Beyond this, IP Australia also considered some secondary stakeholders such as, the Department of Industry, relevant Ministers, the IP attorney profession including their regulatory bodies, customers of IP Australia including those wishing to apply for patents and understand intellectual property principles within Australia, and academic professionals in the field of intellectual property business law.
© Oskar Yildiz
The Strategic Roadmap to 2030 sets out a number of goals and objectives to achieve within its 12-year implementation period. The overarching goal of the project was to engage and connect with IP Australia staff and to clearly define the organisational purpose and future direction of IP Australia. To achieve this, three key goals were highlighted within the Strategic Roadmap across the three time-phased horizons of invest and innovate, develop and deliver, and lead and influence. The first goal was operational excellence – to have high performing core business and international operations. Objectives underneath these goals related to improving quality and productivity, making improvements to the workforce and increasing revenue and investment. The second goal was service excellence – to create high performing customer services that support IP Australia’s core business. The related objective was to improve technology and business processes. The third goal was a value add – to leverage the organisation’s expertise to deliver value to the IP system, stakeholders and the broader economy. The objectives of this goal aimed to develop stakeholder services, improve the use of data, position IP Australia as a leader within its field and have a clearer policy, international services and opportunities.
As the program is still in the early stages of implementation, it is difficult to determine the success of the campaign at present. However, IP Australia has already started to ensure their employees are engaged within the organisation. The initial planning stages and data gathering to form the Strategic Roadmap involved continued efforts to engage employees, the enabling of organisational culture and creating a clear future direction for IP Australia with collaboration between all levels of staff. This proved to be the most impressive aspect of this process thus far.