For more than a decade, the Ontario Public Service (OPS) has been transforming to deliver high-quality, cost effective public services. We’ve made real progress in becoming a modern public service for the 21st century, able to deliver government priorities and provide value for citizens.
We recognize that the achievement of our goals is dependent on having capable, diverse and engaged employees committed to delivering quality public services. With this top of mind and considering the critical trends that will impact work and the workplace of the future, the OPS recently developed and released its 2008-2011 OPS Human Resources Plan – Great People. Great Careers.
Human resource plan
Our HR vision is to be an employer of first choice. How will we know we are there? When we see consistently that:
- The OPS is the place to make a difference, contribute to society in a meaningful way, and affect the quality of life for over 12 million Ontarians;
- We have a reputation for service excellence, innovation, high performance and results;
- We offer a vast array of interesting careers and opportunities for learning, career growth and advancement;
- The OPS reflects, at all levels, the diversity of Ontario and is an inclusive, fair, accommodating and respectful workplace;
- Employees are highly engaged (satisfied with their jobs and committed to the organization and its goals) with a strong sense of community and pride in public service; and
- Employees recommend the OPS as a great place to work.
We know we have more work to do, but we believe we are moving in the right direction. The OPS is gaining recognition as a great place to work (see “Talent Wars” by Ron McKerlie in Jan 2009 or www.netgov.ca).
Implementing our new HR Plan will help keep the momentum going. The plan was developed based on feedback we received from the OPS Employee Survey, consultations with managers and staff across the OPS, and from best practice research.
Three priorities shape our human resource direction:
1. Attracting and retaining diverse talent
The statistics show that Ontario’s workforce is aging while our birthrate continues to decline. This trend is leading to a decline in the labour force that will increasingly affect the OPS. We know that we are competing to attract and retain new talent – talent that is reflective of the diversity of Ontario’s population, and that we must continue to develop our employees.
We are modernizing our recruitment practices with our new Regional Recruitment Centres, and our new executive talent search services that provide an enterprise-wide view of available leadership talent.
Through our Youth and New Professionals Secretariat, we offer a variety of work experiences that are helping us to attract and retain future generations of public servants. A few examples include the Ontario Internship Program, the Summer Experience Program, and the Aboriginal Youth Work Exchange Program (see www.ontario.ca/careers).
We will continue to promote our employment brand, which includes: the tremendous opportunity for staff to contribute to their communities and have a positive impact on the lives of Ontarians; the opportunity to experience a wide range of careers, learning and development; and competitive compensation and great benefits, including comprehensive pension benefits.
We are pleased to see the provincial government ranked by graduating students as one of the top four places to work in the “From Learning to Work: Canada’s Campus Recruitment Report” issued by Decode, Brainstorm and Universum in September 2008.
2. Building capacity to sustain a world class organization
Planning for emerging business needs and changing customer expectations is the hallmark of an agile, responsible and responsive organization. By leveraging our talent management program and learning and development opportunities, we will ensure that we have successors for key leadership, professional and service delivery roles.
The OPS Talent Management (TM) Program, introduced in July 2006, is helping us prepare for future challenges by ensuring we have the right people in the right place, at the right time. We have over 10,000 senior management and management profiles housed in the TM system. We will keep enhancing talent management to effectively develop and deploy people, and explore expansion to more staff with an emphasis on career development.
We are also providing tools and supports to improve the performance management process, to ensure managers and staff are having frank and meaningful performance conversations.
A strong enterprise learning and development foundation is in place. We assess corporate learning needs and develop programs to meet those needs. For example, we are focusing on diversity and inclusion awareness; policy and political acuity; leader-manager development; communications skills and service leadership. We promote many different modes of learning – as we say, “Always Learn. Learn All Ways.”
Building leadership and management capacity is a key focus as we move forward. We will work on the Role of the Manager initiative to more clearly articulate expectations and accountabilities for managers, and provide better information, support and tools to enable managers to effectively fulfill their role.
3. Engaging all employees to achieve results
We are committed to understanding how employees feel about working in the OPS, what drives their level of engagement, and identifying ways to keep improving the overall work environment. We recognize that increased employee engagement contributes to high performance and improved service delivery, which in turn increases customer satisfaction.
We will continue to conduct OPS-wide employee surveys and do the follow up action planning to address priority results at ministry and division levels. Given the impact of employee engagement on customer satisfaction, we will focus on initiatives to improve engagement of our frontline service delivery employees.
To engage our workforce and develop the full potential of every employee, we must provide a work environment that provides opportunities and encourages the best from everyone. To support a more inclusive workplace, we are undertaking a review of key human resource policies, such as the Equal Opportunity Policy.
Cultivating a safe and healthy workplace in partnership with all employees is also important. The establishment of the Centre for Employee Health, Safety and Wellness in June 2008 brings together our organizations’ health and safety expertise within one corporate branch. We are working on an OPS Wellness Strategy to enhance existing programs and respond to emerging health and wellness issues.
We will also further explore flexible work arrangements, based on the nature of work and business operational needs, to support accommodation issues, greening through reduced commuting, and efficient use of office space.
The OPS HR Plan belongs to everyone in the OPS – everyone has a role to play in making it happen. To be better able to support managers and employees in achieving the OPS HR Plan goals and priorities, we are transforming the human resources function across the OPS and have established HROntario.
Created in July 2008, it brings together five enterprise divisions in the Ministry of Government Services: the Centre for Leadership and Learning; Employee Relations; HR Management and Corporate Policy; HR Service Delivery, and the Modernization Division.
A couple of years ago, we embarked on a journey to transform the OPS human resources function, much as other corporate