How to help a new professional increase their chances of scoring a permanent government position - Canadian Government Executive
DevelopmentHRPublic Sector
July 18, 2018

How to help a new professional increase their chances of scoring a permanent government position

Have you ever had a stellar employee on your team, but were unable to turn their contract into a permanent position because someone returned from their secondment, or because their position opened up to competition? Perhaps you have been in a similar situation at some point in your career, and you might be able to relate to the stress and hopelessness that new professionals without a permanent position face when starting off. Here are five things you could do as a manager to guide individuals who have a budding future with the public service.

Ask them about their career

Many new professionals are uncomfortable discussing their career progression goals with their manager because they believe that a manager would retain hard working team members and voicing their aspirations would reduce their chances of advancement. However, accountability and process prevail in public service organizations, and competitions are usually the way to become permanent. The next time you have an opportunity to chat, ask them to share their career goals. Most would be more than happy that you are interested in their career development. You could also offer to keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities, provide them with tasks that would strengthen their competencies, and put in a good word with other managers. In addition, you might want to add networking and career training as part of their personal development or learning plan. This will make it easier for them to set up informational interviews and take part in job shadowing opportunities knowing their manager is by their side to support them.

Become a mentor

Having a trustworthy manager or senior colleague guide a new professional through potential career moves and pitfalls is extremely valuable. By offering to be a mentor for a promising employee, you would provide a safe place for them to ask questions and vent. Moreover, you could provide hope that it is possible to land a permanent position by reminding them about their strengths.

Help prepare for upcoming positions

One of the most useful things you could do as a manager is prepare your team member without a permanent position for potential upcoming senior positions within your branch or division. Have them work with another colleague on projects that would help them increase their skill set and experience that would help them compete for a permanent position in the future.

Encourage them to join extracurricular activities at work

Another way for a new professional to put themselves out there is to volunteer with your organization’s charities or social committees. Whether it’s a United Way campaign or an employee recognition program, their participation will lead them to meet new people, some of whom might be senior management. Encourage them to participate and perhaps even introduce them to other hiring managers on the extracurricular team.

Encourage working on a small project at another branch

If your team is short of work, consider setting up a short-term assignment for your new professional team member in another branch. By working with another team for a few hours a week, they can get some new experience, refine their skills, expose more people to their work, and have an upper-hand if a position opens up in the future. The fact that another branch has extra work might also mean that they are lacking staff. In other words, there could very well be a position for them to compete for in the future.

By putting in the effort to mentor someone starting off in the public service, you would lead an individual to strengthen their competencies and expose them to other hiring managers in the organization. While these strategies won’t guarantee a permanent position, they’ll be better prepared to tackle a competition for one.

About this author

Brindan Baskaran

Brindan Baskaran, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

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