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Public Sector Human Resources

2015 Event

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2014 Event

It was a year of change for the Public Sector, with budget cuts, new technologies, and a new generation of employees. The 2014 edition of Canada's top event for Government HR professionals brought together experts to discuss these transformations, and the challenges facing practitioners who are also under pressure to grow. New research on Workplace harassment on bullying was presented, as well as wellness, the aging workforce, and a comprehensive review of women in leadership.

Featured Speakers From the 2014 Event

Mary Byczok

Paula Allen
Vice-President, Research and Integrative Solutions
Morneau Shepell Ltd.

Ian R. Cullwick

Lori Anderson
Interim Senior Vice-President, Calgary Zone, and Vice-President, South Health
Alberta Health Services

Bonnie C. Fulton

Andrzej Antoszkiewicz
Human Resources Project Officer
North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Phred Hughes

Deborah Bowman
Assistant Deputy Minister, Talent Management
BC Public Service Agency

Daniel Watson

Ian R. Cullwick
Vice-President, Leadership and Human Resources Research
The Conference Board of Canada

Daniel Watson

Dr. Gregory Richards
Professor, Performance Management
Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa

Daniel Watson

Camille Therriault-Power
Vice-President, Human Resources
Canada Border Services Agency

Daniel Watson

Karla Thorpe
Director, Workplace Health and Wellness Research
The Conference Board of Canada

Daniel Watson

Christine Walker
Assistant Secretary, Corporate Services Sector
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Daniel Watson

Daniel Watson
Chief Human Resources Officer
Government of Canada

Daniel Watson

Debra A. Wight
Manager, Employee Health, Safety and Benefits
Town of Richmond Hill

Daniel Watson

Antoni Wisniowski
President and Chief Administrative Officer
Municipal Property Assessment Corporation

Daniel Watson

Dr. Mary B. Young
Principal Researcher, Human Capital
The Conference Board, Inc., United States

The Wrap-Up Poem

John BrewerAs 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!

There must be some way out of here, said the public servant to the chief
I can’t carry on working like this—please give me some relief

These are challenging times for human resources
you’re dealing with change and irresistible forces

Money is short, demographics are shifting
at the end of the day you’ve got to do some heavy lifting

Recognize that while things might now look okay
severe labour shortages are on the way

But you are positive, approach the future with a smile
knowing most public servants go the extra mile

So you must change—you must innovate
you have a blue print and a new workplace—won’t it be great

But innovation means being allowed to fail
Stop treating perfection as the holy grail

So I offer this chart for your consideration
I know, this won’t work for your organization

But change is not really like that I must confess
It’s way more complex—causes lots of stress

There’s policy people both need changing
IT and processes need replacing

Then there’s big data, it’s not just big it’s vast
and it’s also varied and coming at you fast

So ask yourself what is it that you will need
for your HR strategy to succeed?

So I offer you what I learned yesterday and today
what are the lessons I’ll take away?

One: Times are changing and changing fast
you can’t rely on how you did things in the past

Technology’s advancing—an iPhone in every pocket
we’re heading for the future and travelling by rocket

Think of netflix, apple, google
but can you be like them and also frugal?

Maybe look to the next generation
they demand and need participation

Not for them deference to someone’s position
they will speak up and not ask permission

So perhaps hierarchy will begin to end
your DM might become your Facebook friend!

This is the decade when talent’s the top of the list
its and opportunity for HR—it must not be missed

Two: Strategy and planning are what you need to do
you need a plan and goals to get you through

So be more about strategy, less operation
here in Ottawa and across the nation

It’s about the value you provide
promote what you do, don’t curl up and hide

Make sure you’re a partner—get a seat at the table
or else you’re plan will just be a fable

And in the future strategy will be driven by data
so learn to love statistics, don’t be a number hater

Three: Performance Management needs doing and needs doing right
though it causes anxiety, even fright

It means having difficult conversations with your staff
this isn’t easy, it ain’t no laugh

These conversations are not idle chatter
they are the heart of your culture—they really matter

And performance isn’t an island unto itself
link it to engagement, innovation—put them on the same shelf

And upon values your performance must be based
or else it’s just a process—a waste of space

And don’t forget curiosity and passion
these are public service values, not just a fashion

Everyone must have their own performance plan
know what’s expected every woman and man

So everyone must know what behaviours you expect
what are the values you respect?

Executive buy in is a must
leadership values have to include trust

Focus on the performance not the tool
otherwise you’ll look the fool

Four: Deal with absenteeism—it’s a major cost
add up in your head the billions that’s lost

We need to face hard truth it isn’t fake
the more sick days you offer, the more people will take

But if your absence rate is high
you might need to improve the workplace—it’s worth a try

Or it might be how people react when they miss the bus
one struggles in the other goes home to fuss

You need to invest in some prevention
and then you’ll need less intervention

Five: Productivity is the heart of the matter
without it any plan you make will be in tatters

To be honest I’m not sure quite what to say
but one idea occurs to me—so bear with me I pray

I keep on hearing “do more with less”
it’s getting tired I must confess

By doing more with less you’ve increased productivity
you see it’s not hard it’s really easy

Six: Productivity and wellness go hand in hand
without wellness performance is built on sand

Make the case for investing in employee health
it doesn’t take huge resources—it will create wealth

Watch out for your people, take care of their body and mind
let your motto be , "no employee left behind!”

Pressure and stress can make people their best
but too much can cause them fatal distress

We need to teach people resilience and focus
this isn’t fluffy stuff it’s not hocus focus

And it’s the high performers who are most at risk
so act fast—do something brisk

Lastly a few things if you want to succeed
I think you’ll agree these aren’t wants they are needs

Resilience, focus, respect and trust
without these your efforts will be a bust

And don’t believe everything you think
or pretty soon you’ll be on the brink

And you have to crawl before you walk
so get started on something—more do, less talk

So now it’s the end I’ll bid you adieu
but before you go there’s one thing I’d like you to do

Stand up and give me a wave to say goodbye
now turn around, look over your shoulder and give it another try

Now please bend down, look through between knees
and wave one more time, please please please

That’s okay it was just a demonstration
that first wave was change, the last transformation

And you must transform HR create and share the wealth
so take your job seriously but never yourself


We’d like to thank our generous sponsor for their contribution to the 2014 event.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat logo

Marketing Partner

Institute of Public Administration of Canada logo

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