Attracting and retaining high calibre people across the organisation is a priority at the Treasury. Its commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I) plays an important role in this.

Flexible working at the Treasury – an important platform for advancing diversity and inclusion

Attracting and retaining high calibre people across the organisation is a priority at the Treasury. Its commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I) plays an important role in this. In June, a refreshed flexible working policy was launched to clarify the options available to people in all roles, along with helpful guidance for people leaders.

A December 2017 ‘stocktake’ on diversity and inclusion practices within state sector agencies revealed that 97% have flexible working policies. Included amongst these is the Treasury, which in recent months identified the need to refresh its policy to clarify what flexible working can and does mean for Treasury people, and give guidance for helping to determine the options and how to take these up.

Shaping D&I practices

The policy and guidance were launched in June following an organisation-wide message from Chief Executive and Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf, communicating the importance of the policy as a platform from which to improve the Treasury’s diversity and inclusion.

Closely involved with advancing good practice across both the public and private sectors, Gabriel is committed to establishing the Treasury as an exemplar of all things D&I. It’s fair to suggest that, in addition to having a ‘helicopter view’ on opportunities and challenges across a range of sectors, he has a role in influencing how effective D&I practices can be shaped. And he is, of course, an advocate for D&I.

Gabriel is also very committed to flexible work options. He has communicated his commitment clearly to Treasury staff. He commented in his blog that he normally starts from the position that “all jobs can be made to work flexibly rather than finding reasons why it won't be possible”. He also encouraged his staff to talk to their manager if they are interested in exploring a flexible work option.

The Treasury’s refreshed flexible working policy clarifies the opportunities and options available to all people in all roles, with the guidance helping people managers and their teams determine what could work well for the individual, their manager, their team, and the Treasury as a whole. In fact, people leaders are currently having conversations with their people to see what kinds of flexible working could work for them in their situation.

In the spirit of flexibility, the Treasury’s default attitude is to say ‘yes’ and make it work, and if the options are not possible, then to explore other possibilities.

Giving a range of options

Flexible working can take a range of forms: there may be changes to how the role is performed or shared; adjustments to how many hours someone works and when; provisions made to work from different locations; shifts in the level of responsibilities a person has; or differences in their leave arrangements. 

To help introduce the refreshed policy, the Treasury’s People and Wellbeing team developed resources to support conversations between people and their leaders, posted both the policy and guidance on the intranet (a widely-used channel, given that the organisation is mostly desktop-based), and provided further helpful resources at a leaders’ briefing shortly after launch day.

The Treasury has changed its recruitment practices to ensure applicants know the organisation is committed to flexible working through its job ads and interviewing questions.  It also goes the extra mile to determine preferences and consider all options to make it work for the individual and the Treasury.

The Treasury endeavours to join and work with other leaders in the public sector in embracing and implementing D&I and flexible working practices, and continues to collaborate with other government agencies in this area.

The Treasury’s Claire Keenan notes,

“I’m really impressed with the array of flexible work options available at the Treasury. Choosing where, when and how I can work best, and knowing that I’m trusted and supported to be high performing, is hugely motivating for me.  Flexi-working also helps me give my best to my life outside of work, which means my whanau benefits too.”