Western Economic Diversification Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Recruitment and Onboarding

Recruiting New and Diverse Employees

In 2015, WD developed a Recruitment and Retention Strategy in order to attract and retain qualified professionals. The strategy aims to raise the department’s profile in order to reach a larger pool of potential external candidates.

One component of the strategy is the use of social media to promote job advertisements and to inform the public of the type of work in which WD engages. WD’s Policy and Strategic Direction unit tweets out all external advertisements with a national area of selection (jobs open to all Canadians) through the @jobs_gc Twitter handle. In some instances, it will also be posted to our WD LinkedIn account.

Student recruiting plays a key role in WD’s recruitment action plan. Over the past twelve months, WD has made significant strides in the recruitment of students to assist with new projects and initiatives. Opportunities for career and skills development, as well as mentorship opportunities, have been provided to new staff. As a result, 25% of students hired in the past year, have been bridged into the organization following graduation.

Other forms of recruitment include participation at job fairs. WD’s presence at a recent job fair held at the University of Alberta allowed WD staff to engage with over 500 students and other job-seekers. The Department’s involvement at the fair was tweeted out through the WD corporate accounts (@WD_Canada and @DEO_Canada), which received 424 impressions. Following the career fair, WD gained 22 new followers on LinkedIn (10% gain).  WD also made use of the University of Alberta’s online recruitment system to advertise the job fair.

Additionally, in order to address a shortage in the Finance Officer (FI) group, WD is participating in a Tri-Level Pre-professional Finance Officer Program (TPFOP)pilot program in conjunction with the Government of Alberta, the City of Edmonton, and the University of Alberta. This pilot program will provide CO-OP students with the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and first-hand work experience through placements in three different public sector environments. The pilot project will be deemed successful once students are permanently placed in positions within one of the levels of government.

Welcoming and Integrating New Employees

WD’s Onboarding Program was launched in 2015 in order to assist managers and supervisors in welcoming new employees to WD. An instructional video, guides, and checklists are accessible on the Department’s Intranet (WDNet). The program ensures that managers are well-equipped to bring new employees onboard and help them effectively integrate into the organization.

Of particular note are WD’s efforts to provide future public servants with a rich work experience. For instance, Saskatchewan region arranged for two FSWEP students and one intern to take part in tours and “shadowing” opportunities. The first tour was a walking tour of downtown Saskatoon’s revitalized area. This tour provided an opportunity to speak about the history and mandate of WD, and to see the physical results of the Department’s funding efforts on behalf of the Government of Canada since its establishment in 1987. The second tour was a driving tour of innovation projects located at the University of Saskatchewan and Innovation Place, a world renowned Technology Park. To round out their exposure to the life of a public servant, WD invited the students to shadow officers and officials at a news announcement, as well as attend The World Indigenous Business Forum held in Saskatoon where the newly appointed WD Deputy Minister delivered a speech. WD provided funding for the event and the students were involved in the preparation of background material. Lastly, given that Indigenous Economic Growth is a priority for WD and the Government of Canada, the students were invited to witness the Grand Entry and singing competition at Wanuskewin’s Heritage Park, a non-profit cultural and historical centre of the First Nations, to see a cultural celebration pow wow.

Best Use of Available Talent

WD makes use of available talent within the organization by providing employees with acting or assignment opportunities within the department. Employees are often provided with a developmental opportunity in other regions, or units and different projects and initiatives (i.e. Canada 150). In 2016/17, 27% of employees were granted the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in a job other than their own.

Knowledge Transfer

WD has identified a senior executive to serve as a Learning Champion to strengthen the culture of continuous learning and to benefit from other departmental innovations within the Public Service. This role has been held by James Meddings, Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy and Strategic Direction (ADM PSD), for several years, and will be carried over to Jim Saunderson in his capacity as Acting ADM PSD.

WD learning events are led by experienced staff members to assist in the transfer of knowledge. Throughout 2016, over 275 participants have attended various learning sessions, such as:

  • WD History: Events that allow long-time WD staff members to join a panel discussion showcasing the history of the Department and its key programs and initiatives. For example, earlier this year the Ottawa region gave a presentation to staff regarding Defence Procurement. This learning event was well attended, and opened a discussion on the evolution of WD's defence procurement, and Industrial and Technological Benefits. Staff members gained knowledge of WD’s role in the procurement process, recent accomplishments, and learned how WD will continue to engage and inform western Canadian stakeholders of federal defence procurement opportunities.
  • Open Forums: Sessions that provide staff the opportunity to engage in an open and informal discussion about a given topic (e.g. WD programs and initiatives, the use of Official Languages, etc.), and are led by WD employees with expertise in the subject of the discussion.
  • Follow the Note: Learning opportunities for employees who contributed to the development of a WD document requiring senior management approval. This initiative allows staff to observe the progress of the document through every stage of approval.

Future learning events are in development and include the integration of TED Talks to encourage innovative thinking and discussion.

Furthermore, WD offers an informal mentoring program where experienced employees are paired with new employees and/or students to provide advice and guidance on new projects and initiatives. Employees are also encouraged to participate in job shadowing for career development if a particular field is of interest to them. These opportunities are identified through the employees Performance Management or Talent Management plan, although other opportunities may exist within the organization.