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Public Sector HR

2018 Event

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2017 Event

The public sector has seen major changes to their workplace, workforce demographics and the nature of work. The 2017 event addressed next generation HR. As a new generation of public servants is reaching critical mass as they take on increasingly responsible roles and there is no denying that this new generation brings a new set of expectations to organizational cultures. The combined generational and technology shift results in organizations becoming more open, citizen-centric, transparent and less hierarchical. The 2017 event challenged you to ask yourself the question: is your public sector organization ready?

This event was an opportunity for delegates to discuss solutions to common challenges with other public sector HR leaders. Past attendees have always valued the breadth of sessions at this conference—and while we can’t cover everything we do cast a wide net. Don’t miss this unparalleled opportunity to meet with innovators and discuss the latest issues with the experts and your peers.

PSHR 2017 Closing

by Conference Chair and Program Developer, John Brewer

John Brewer As program developer and Chair of the event, it was John Brewer’s responsibility to introduce the sessions, foster discussion among the speakers and attendees, and ensure that the conference is a memorable one for all participants. The chair must also summarize the presentations upon completion; and while a few main themes and talking points might suffice at your typical event, John has developed a reputation for presenting abridged versions of each event through the magic of poetry. By inserting case study examples, top lessons, and even jokes from the speakers into his verse, John wowed an already pleased crowd with the exceptional poem below. Enjoy!

The Wrap-Up Poem

We came together to talk about human resources
And we have heard from diverse experts and sources

But now have to summarize all the things we have heard
A task so hard as to be absurd

Given the speakers have been so diverse
I’ve decided to summarize in verse
I hope you don’t find this too perverse
and agree when I’m done that I could have done worse

So here are the four main things I’d like list
And I do realize there’s a lot I have missed

One—Recruitment and Onboarding

We began the event thinking about your futures
Some will retire, some replaced by computers

And while new technology might be a job destroyer
Public service remains a preferred employer

Hundreds apply for every job
But don't treat each successful applicant like part of a mob

You need to do a better job of on-boarding
Think of it as the first step of a new star forming

Make it a fun, smooth, welcoming process
Instead of what happens now which is quite a mess

Because the people you hire now will be the next generation
Who'll lead the public service, who will keep building this nation

Two—Retention and Diversity

And people are retiring
Faster than you can do the hiring

So you need to focus also on retention
You want engaged employees not ones hanging on for the pension

An important part of this is inclusion
Just because your workforce is diverse this is not a foregone conclusion

So diversity, where should I begin
Perhaps with the myth of the peacock and penguin

It's not rainbows and ponies—it's not fuzzy and fluff
Diversity is serious stuff

Everyone needs to feel that they belong
Or they will leave soon—blink and they're gone

So work hard to reduce your bias
Though doing so’s harder than climbing the Himalayas

Because we will never be bias free
That's true for you and true for me

We all have biases, you and I
So make them conscious—look them in the eye

Create a culture where everyone has a part
Inclusion’s not a program—it must come from the heart

So the best we can do is be aware
Treat everyone as individual and show you care

Look past labels
They're really nothing more than fables

Millennials are people too
So please bid that particular label adieu

Let a rainbow be your guide
Judge not by appearance but by what's inside

Three—Mental Health

Anything involving people is bound to be complex
Hence the imperative to always do more with less
No wonder we are all experiencing more stress

I get less resources I get less time
Between work and life I can’t draw a line

I’ll get more sick, more distracted, more stressed,
More anxious and angry, more sad and depressed

I’ll be more rushed, I’ll be continually tired
But I must keep working or else I’ll be fired

So build a workplace that creates mental wellness
Replace stigma with compassionate awareness

Train your managers to recognize the signs
Create peer networks and clear guidelines

Build a workplace defined by respect
Not a place where harassment continues unchecked
To the point people's mental health becomes wrecked

And with change everyone reacts in a different way
It's hard to tell who'll fall behind and who will seize the day

Some embrace the change and go on to thrive
While others struggle to survive

So with mental health there's no one size fits all
Just make sure you're there to catch your colleagues if they fall

Four—Data and Evidence

We're moving to an environment that's evidence based
So make the change to data driven decisions and make haste
For though we live in the era of fake news
Facts are facts you don't get to pick and choose

But data is just a way through the door
Without a story the data's a bore

So move from reaction to prediction
Make your decisions with data supported conviction

But data can send you in the wrong direction
Use your judgement for further reflection
And always give data closer inspection

Or you can create your own data through the things that you know
Make the tacit explicit is one way to go
And never forget it's okay to say "I don't know"

So now briefly before you go
A couple of things I'd like you to know

The new world is digital, data driven and diverse
And through technology the workforce's dispersed

What we are experiencing is not an evolution
It's a full blown fourth industrial revolution

And while for more and more work is remote—not face to face
Meeting in person still has a place

Because distance causes warps in email
Ignore face to face and your initiative will fail

It's not about reducing travel and cost
Take that approach and all will be lost
As with everything you do the foundation is trust

As the world changes HR needs to change itself
You’re an active participant not an elf on the shelf

Stop being just enforcers of the rules
That's a job that's really for fools

Instead become useful—a success enabling tool
Make HR an organizational crown jewel
Let me tell you something you already know
You can't continue with the status quo

You need to change, transform and grow
Set your expectations high not low
And transform now—do it fast, not slow
Streamline processes—so many policies must go

You know you can remove thousands of pages
Be honest - No one's looked at them for ages and ages

Don't build a faster horse in the age of the driverless car
That's an approach that won't take you far
Let innovation be your north star

And remember while the path you are making
You also need the skills to do a bit of breaking

Use language that's simple, be direct in your communication
Make clarity your new vocation

Get rid of the extraneous—hold a jargon cremation
The only thing you'll lose is client frustration

"We've always done it this way" has to end
It's a position you just can't defend

It doesn't work as a rallying cry
You have to question everything—keep asking why

And from this one mission you must not swerve
Optimize the experience of those you serve

So be human, above that, be kind
Lead with an open door and an open mind
Let your motto be: no employee left behind

Change is about engaging the head and heart
It's not about data—you can't lead by chart
That's putting the horse way in front of the cart
So while analytics plays a really important part
Letting them rule just isn't smart

One last thought I'll leave with you:
The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Featured Speakers from the 2017 Event

Anne Marie Smart

Anne Marie Smart
Chief Human Resource Officer
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Dan Couture

Dan Couture
Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Branch
Canada Revenue Agency

Sean Fitzpatrick

Sean Fitzpatrick

Sara Filbee

Sara Filbee
Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Canada, Atlantic Region
Employment and Social Development Canada

Dr. Steven T. Hunt

Dr. Steven T. Hunt
Senior Vice-President
SAP SuccessFactors

Shannon Jackson

Shannon Jackson
Associate Director, Human Resources Transformation and Effectiveness Research
The Conference Board of Canada

Deepika Grover

Deepika Grover
Policy Innovation Team, Strategic Policy, Planning and International Affairs Branch
Canadian Heritage

Robert D. Beeraj

Robert D. Beeraj
Director, Corporate HR Planning, Programs and Systems
Public Services and Procurement Canada

Bruce P. Squires

Bruce P. Squires
Vice President, People Strategy and Performance
The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Katherine Murray

Katherine Murray
Deputy Chief, Human Resources
Bank of Canada


We’d like to thank our generous sponsors for their contribution to this event.

Title Sponsor

Aon Hewitt logo

Participating Sponsors

TalentMap logo

SAP SuccessFactors logo


Ivey Business School, Executive Education logo

Government of Canada - Pubic Service Pension and Benefits logo

Public Service Pension and Benefits |
Pension et avantages sociaux de la fonction publique

Special Contributors

Data on the Spot logo

Fitterfirst logo

Travel Partner

Image of VIA Rail Canada Inc. logo

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