A.6.1 The following tables are extracts from the ATO's Better Teams Report.

Table - Capability: build and sustain a capable, flexible and highly skilled workforce - Buddying, mentoring and networking
Develop EL1s so that all can project manage and lead cases.

Provide an opportunity to manage a case and prepare project plans, as well as taking greater responsibility for complex technical issues as well as the management of a case.

Encourage ELI's to take on extra responsibility — such as to lead and run a case. Consider staff strengths and weaknesses when allocating cases. Team leader plays a guiding/mentoring role but encourages independent thinking and ultimate decision making to be done by staff member.

Develop staff by providing opportunities to take responsibility for complex technical issues.

Staff provided with opportunity to take greater responsibility for complex technical issues, which can be demonstrated by:

  • Technical papers being prepared.
  • Delivering issues papers at workshops.
  • Leading discussions with the taxpayer meetings where appropriate.
Experienced staff act as buddy / mentor to less experienced staff. Help to integrate less experienced staff into the culture of the team and LB&I as well as providing support for technical issues.
  • Conducting joint presentations at workshops.
  • Introduce and assist with the development of detailed and realistic project plans for casework that clearly identify the tasks to be undertaken and alternative paths to resolution.
  • Experienced staff work with less experienced officers to guide and assist them in their interaction with taxpayers, including; providing helpful input to develop meaningful and well structured information requests; and helping them to develop the necessary skills to write well structured and clearly written position papers.
Inexperienced team members are allocated challenging and developmental work while still being mentored.

Staff given the opportunity to work with experienced officers and undertake more difficult cases as part of a teams learning culture. Mentors to introduce staff to tools and guides such as the Compliance Manual, the E2E process maps and technical data bases and provide them with practical support to enable the skills and knowledge that they acquire through use of those tools and training.

Teams harness key skills and appropriate resources to operate effectively — 'the right mix'.

Team and technical leaders identify each individual staff member's strengths and weaknesses through tasks and opportunities such as calling for volunteers at team meetings or holding one on one discussion with staff to encourage their input to and participation in particular tasks and activities.

Allocates work in a resourceful manner whilst considering staff interests and takes steps to build people and address insufficiencies in the team. Transparency with staff around the allocation of work and the reasons underpinning those plans and work allocation.

Teams build a learning culture that keeps staff up to date and prepares them for the job at hand.

Makes time to discuss every staff member's cases / work e.g. at team meetings to keep the whole team in the loop with what everyone else is doing. Encourages the sharing of information between team members. Promotes the importance of keeping up to date and continuous improvement (e.g. staff attending training courses, both formal and informal. Encouraging team members to research new areas of law / technical issues and present it to the rest of the team) and to be aware of networks and other resources (e.g. risk owners/risk managers) who can provide input and assistance.

Identifies the benefits of continuous learning by providing practical examples of case work.

Prepare for staff movements out of the team by allocating a variety of work to team members.

Work with all team members as part of regular team and individual discussions to ensure that business continuity is actively managed. Identify risks to plans due to unexpected absence or inability of any team member to continue with duties. Develop a realistic succession plan and ensure that work is done to enable that plan to be brought into action as necessary (e.g. pairing up staff members so that there is a back up or alternative person who is aware of what's happening and able to get up to speed quickly if required).

Team / technical leaders and team members assist with developing expertise and a greater understanding of the capability requirements of the position.

Source: ATO LB&I Better teams better practices information and checklist.

Table - Work satisfaction: Challenge staff, greater responsibility, independence and diversity
Team members are provided with a variety of work (varied products and taxpayers) over time.

The variety of challenging work should promote staff motivation and provide team members with a sense of achievement and greater job satisfaction.

Team members are actively involved in decision making. This encourages independence and responsibility and the confidence to put forth ideas in a technical environment.

This is most important for inexperienced and newer team members Team leader provides guidance and direction and focuses team thinking around the issues. Leaves ultimate decision making to the case officer and supports them appropriately to manage risks.

Encourages staff for their viewpoints and ideas and listens. Provides feedback throughout the process to facilitate learning. Upholds the importance of engaging other stakeholders into the decision making process and when formulating/following ATO views e.g. the risk hypothesis and assist/support the team member in engaging those other stakeholders and working with them collaboratively to bring issues to resolution.

Good performance is recognised, rewarded and acknowledged.

This helps to promote team bonding and building an effective team. Good performance is rewarded by providing opportunities to do higher level project work that broadens their skills and raises the individual's profile, attend relevant external seminars and development events.

The team leader acknowledges good performance at team meetings, recommendations for ATO reward scheme or acknowledgement by senior managers via topic, etc newsletters.

Underperformance is addressed and steps put in place to assist bringing the staff member up to the standards required within the team. Includes staff who work at the required standard, but work below their potential.

Discusses underperformance with staff member, including the reason for underperformance and puts in steps to improve the standard e.g. by recommending training, building experience through relevant case work and more importantly providing continuous honest feedback on work done. Any instance of underperformance is identified early to prevent it from becoming entrenched and affecting team's morale.

In addition, keeps a formal record of staff performance, has regular discussions at the first instance of underperformance and putting in measures to avoid problems of underperformance or at least their escalation.

Set achievable results — the team should be outcome focused with good practical process in place to achieve plan.

Team has a team plan/schedule outlining outcomes which staff can refer to as they go. Team leader actively discusses with the team how they are going to achieve the outcomes, taking team members input / views on the best processes / avenues.

Teams have a learning culture.

Assists the team to stay up to date with changes to procedures as well as tax legislation via 'staff PDA's'. Structured individual learning plans are in place and monitored and actively managed as a shared responsibility between the team leader and team members.

Staff to present on specific topics at team meetings e.g. chapters of the Compliance Manual. Knowledge debriefs shared at team meetings. Staff should also be encouraged and supported to attend 'dialogue days' tax technical conferences, site conferences and specific training events appropriate to their learning needs, recognising that learning is not just a narrow focus on technical or procedural

skills and knowledge and should incorporate an appropriate mix of developmental learning e.g. leadership skills, corporate or APS wide relevant training or other development activities.

Source: ATO LB&I Better teams better practices information and checklist.