What can we do now?
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Individuals need to play key roles in the recruitment process
It is clear from the recruitment challenges that departments and managers must move beyond current thinking and processes to a much more proactive and strategic approach. All levels in the Public Service must show leadership.
The Clerk, as Head of the Public Service, Will
- Make recruitment and diversity an ongoing commitment for Deputy Ministers, with real targets, as part of their performance contracts.
- Establish a Public Service youth committee. This would mirror successful departmental examples and be a sounding board for proposed recruitment and retention strategies and initiatives. Committee members could also be external spokespersons, as part of Post-Secondary Recruitment, and internal motivators to move departmental thinking and action forward.
- Participate in youth symposiums to integrate perspectives of new recruits in policy and program development.
- Engage regional councils. Most regional councils have already addressed horizontal human resource needs, so their engagement in recruitment would be a natural extension of achievements to date. They would bring to bear common regional issues such as local labour markets and potential competition or collaboration with other employers.
- Be more active in corporate recruitment campaigns by playing a visible leadership role on behalf of the Public Service.
Deputy Ministers and Other Leaders at the Departmental Level Will
- Ensure that executive performance contracts include specific accountabilities that complement their own. This will ensure wide accountability that extends to all hiring managers.
- Adopt a leadership model (example in Appendix B) in the department by appointing an individual or team to act as the focal point on recruitment, in conjunction with all relevant branches, regions and groups. The departments of Justice and Finance have implemented the model outlined in Appendix B with excellent results. This role will be reflected in the key commitments in performance contracts with Assistant Deputy Ministers.
- Establish their department as a Public Service champion for a specific interest that is in demand and share best practices. As an example, Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada could play a corporate support role for Aboriginal recruitment.
- Actively support the Deputy Minister champion's effort to review the human resources community, including challenging assumptions that favour traditional hiring, especially among officials at the more senior levels.
All Public Service Leaders Will
- Conduct visits to feeder establishments, such as high schools, colleges and university campuses, to get the message out to students, faculty and key teaching staff that the Public Service is hiring. Whenever possible, they will seek opportunities to speak to classes in disciplines that are important to the Public Service and to support other elements of the curriculum to revitalize the image of government.
- Involve recently hired younger people for on-campus recruitment to talk about their work and workplaces. The Public Service can do the same to ensure that what it has to offer is being communicated by someone with the credibility that comes when their message is relevant to the audience.
- Conduct outreach to mid-career people in the voluntary sector and elsewhere who may be interested in, and well-suited to, Public Service careers.
- Offer permanent jobs, where appropriate, to qualified new recruits and assess their potential during the probationary period, instead of using term assignments to try people out. The latter method is risky because a potentially good employee could be lured away by another organization.
- Make use of the special authorities under the Public Service Employment Act and Regulations to facilitate equity-oriented recruitment and consider individual merit versus relative merit.
- Make more use of the Interchange Program as a tool for bringing in more experienced staff to both officer and executive positions. This can be a way to expose people with relevant backgrounds to Public Service opportunities.
- Ensure that all interactions with potential recruits are positive and that the image is a welcoming one. This means a review and revision of recruitment materials, letters of offer and other points of contact.
- Offer language training to new recruits; provide effective, structured orientation programs; and use exit interviews with staff who are leaving, regardless of the reasons, to identify areas for change.
- Build mentorship and coaching initiatives so that new recruits are not put into a "sink or swim" work situation. Mentors can be experienced employees of any age but often are those nearing retirement.
- Make human resources planning an integral part of business planning and align recruitment with future business direction, including talent required to operate in an E–government environment.
- Let the President of the Public Service Commission know of any barriers to recruitment to see if they can be changed or eliminated.
- Challenge departmental corporate services to support innovative approaches.
Human Resources Specialists Will
- Ensure that hiring managers have support to be able to effectively recruit, orient and retain new employees. This may include
- providing specific training on supporting cultural diversity through effective hiring practices;
- developing simple hiring guidelines to make the process operate more smoothly for managers; and
- ensuring that managers make effective and forward-looking recruitment a priority.
- Provide strategic advice and guidance on how to recruit the right people to the right place at the right time.
Members of Regional Councils Could (further consultation required)
- Complement the work of other leaders by communicating with educators and community groups. This may be particularly helpful in outreach to members of equity groups or to people with skills and experience that is in demand in that region.
- Work with provincial and municipal governments and agencies as part of broader efforts to encourage young people, equity group members and mid-career people with needed skills to consider public sector careers.
- Support post-secondary and other recruitment by establishing recruitment networks that would help all departments work together. Regional branches in many departments are relatively small and may lack the capacity to pursue recruitment as thoroughly as could a regional council.
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