Tag: #toddcast

Superheroes in the Public Service: Turning Career Uncertainty Into Positivity

Superheroes in the Public Service: Turning Career Uncertainty Into Positivity

April 27, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

In the latest Toddcast (a program for and about public servants) airing this week, the episode features real life heroes in the public service:

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Not individuals with super strength, bullet proof skin or x-ray vision as host Todd Lyons describes but rather those, “in the public service who you can walk by dozens of times and not even notice unless you’ve paid deliberate attention.” Todd goes on to say,
“they’re easy to miss because they keep their powers hidden.”

Meet Terry Kelly, an example of this, who Todd shines the spotlight on for this episode. Terry Kelly, now a part of the GCTools team at Treasury Board, started his career in the federal public service fifteen years ago with the Correctional Service of Canada in Kingston.

From there, he and his spouse had an opportunity to relocate to Ottawa but the transition had its challenges. Kelly describes being in a real operational atmosphere in Kingston, on the front lines dealing with inmates and using a database only to then move to Ottawa and being challenged with simple office functions such as Word and Excel.

Outside of work, there were real life challenges as well, all that presented themselves within a very short time span: loss of a family pet, a plane crash and dealing with the loss of both parents from cancer.

Then workforce adjustment happened, which was a period of uncertainty for many public servants. Instead of getting bogged down with negativity, Kelly took a different approach. He looked to Blueprint 2020, which launched soon after that and found that its message really resonated with him.

He started to live the Blueprint 2020 vision and take more risks. Soon after finding out about GCConnex and GCPedia, Kelly decided he wanted to get involved in helping to improve them. He contacted the GCTools team at Treasury Board, an assignment opportunity was offered and he’s been there since.

Just last week, the Clerk of the Privy Council relaunched the GCTools suite at the public service-wide innovation fair. The tools have been revamped with a new look and functionality to enhance greater collaboration across the public service. Kelly was on hand, giving demos to public servants:

Hear all of Terry Kelly’s story and his journey from there to here in his own words by listening to the complete Toddcast episode below:

Visit the main Toddcast page here to catch up on other episodes.

Free Agents

Other public servants showcasing their story and super skills to offer are those participating in the Free Agents pilot by IN•spire, Natural Resources Canada’s Innovation Hub:

The Free Agents pilot allows hiring managers across departments to easily and quickly access a pool of top innovators in the public service for assignments. NRCan takes care of all HR arrangements. The pilot is inspired by Deloitte’s GovCloud model.

To learn more about the Free Agents pilot, visit the official page on GCPedia here (accessible by federal public servants only).

Recipients of the 2016 APEX Awards of Excellence Announced

Recipients of the 2016 APEX Awards of Excellence Announced

April 25, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

The Association of Professional Executives (APEX) for the public service has announced the recipients of this year’s awards of excellence.

The recipient of this year’s Healthy Workplace Award is Director General Jennifer Hollington from Natural Resources Canada.

Jennifer Hollington was recently a guest on Toddcast (a program for and about public servants), where she discussed her initiative Changing Organizations through Respect (COR) in the public service.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dan Couture from the Canada Revenue Agency is the recipient of this year’s leadership award.

Dan Couture was the special guest Executive host of the last LeadersGC event, which tackled coaching and mentoring in the public service.

Other recipients include:

• Career Award: Mr. Norm Sheridan, Executive Director, Greater Toronto Area, Canada Border Services Agency;

• Partnership Award: Mr. Ezio DiMillo, Director General, Long Term Vision and Plan, Project Management and Delivery, Parliamentary Precinct;

• Innovative Team Award: Implementation Committee for Employment and Social Development Canada’s Integrated Framework on Mental Health in the Workplace; and

• Public Service Citation Award: The Honourable Michael H. Wilson and Mr. Bill Wilkerson.

Recipients will receive their awards at this year’s Symposium gala during the evening of May 31. The gala begins at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) with the President of the Treasury Board scheduled to deliver the keynote.

The theme of this year’s Symposium is “Leadership Action for Excellence, Innovation and Health” with a big focus to be on mental health.

The detailed program information has been announced, which you can read below or download the print PDF version from APEX’s website.

Detailed Program

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Other Links

Download the complete PDF of the detailed program on APEX’s website here.

To register for this year’s event, visit the official 2016 Symposium page on APEX’s website here.

Thousands of Public Servants Participate in Second PS-Wide Innovation Fair

Thousands of Public Servants Participate in Second PS-Wide Innovation Fair

April 21, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Yesterday was a big day in the federal public service as thousands of public servants across the country attended the second interdepartmental innovation fair virtually and in person:

The Secretary of the Treasury Board was there, as well as the President, and Clerk to open the fair:

The Clerk even decided to step up his selfie game:

In his remarks, the President stressed that a risk-free zone is also an innovation-free zone and that risk-taking must be rewarded in the federal public service:

Next, Clerk Michael Wernick gave his address and said that the public service of turf, territory and ego must be replaced with collaboration, openness and engagement. He then highlighted that the suite of GCTools (GCPedia and GCConnex) have relaunched with a new look and functionality to enhance greater collaboration across the public service:

More importantly, at the GCTools kiosk there were tasty cupcake treats with the new GCTools logos on them:

Other highlights included:

Live From Halifax

LeadersGC Special Event on Recruitment in the Public Service with the Chief Human Resources Officer

Human Library

Healthy Workplaces Forum

Serious Games Room

Hub Zone

Fed Talks

BPTV

Kiosks

Other Links

Take a look at the Clerk’s photo album from the innovation fair on his Facebook page here.

Visit the innovation fair’s page on GCPEDIA here (internal to employees of the federal public service only).

UPDATED: Meet the Public Servants at This Week’s Human Library: Innovation Fair 2016

UPDATED: Meet the Public Servants at This Week’s Human Library: Innovation Fair 2016

April 18, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

This Wednesday is the much anticipated second public service-wide innovation fair.

If you’re planning on not attending because you haven’t registered, don’t worry; you don’t need to register for many of the activities taking place.

If you missed last week’s LeadersGC event on coaching and mentoring, another special LeadersGC event is happening at the innovation fair starting at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) titled, “Recruitment in the Public Service.” Anne Marie Smart, Chief Human Resources Officer will be the special guest Executive host and she’ll be joined by a live audience of college and university students, “discussing career opportunities in the federal public service and the many ways their skills and talents can be used to serve Canada.”

Participate in the event on Twitter by following the #LeadersGC hashtag:

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Public servants have been expressing excitement about the human library that will be at this year’s innovation fair. The human library is where attendees will be able to ‘borrow’ a human book and engage in a one-on-one conversation with them to gain a better understanding of that book/person and their story.

Todd Lyons, host of the popular Toddcast series, a show for and about public servants, will be there as a human book:

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Other books in the human library will include:

Darlene Marion, champion for mental health awareness:

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Chris Forbes, Associate Deputy Minister at Agriculture:

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Jenny Hill, Foreign Service Officer from Global Affairs Canada, will be joining the human library virtually, live from Ghana:

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Shawn Robinson, Research/Mad Scientist from Fisheries and Oceans, will be joining virtually, live from St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick:

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Karolina Wisniewska, 8-time Paralympic medallist from the department of Heritage:

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Maxime Groulx, joins virtually from Shawinigan, Quebec, and will be there to talk about the highlights and challenges of working in a virtual team:

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Margaux McDonald from the department of International Trade will talk about reverse mentoring:

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Phil White, Canada’s Dominion Sculptor from the department of Public Services and Procurement Canada, who conserves and restores decorative elements on Parliament Hill buildings:

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Jennie Rausch, a shorebird biologist in the Arctic from Environment and Climate Change Canada:

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Max Brault from Correctional Service Canada talks about living with a physical disability:

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Anna Chkrebtii, a Clandestine Laboratory Specialist from Health Canada joins virtually from Vancouver:

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Todd Nicholson from Border Services, Paralympic Medallist and Chairperson of all Paralympic Athletes:

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Frances McRae, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet at the Privy Council Office talks about life in-and-out of the public service:

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Andrew Marsland, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of tax policy at the department of Finance:

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Maria Belen, a #LeadersGC Collaborator, Co-Chair of the 2015 Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign with Justice Deputy Minister Bill Pentney, and National Chair of the IPAC New Professionals network:

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Jocelyn Kula, Controlled Substances Regulatory Policy Guru from Health Canada:

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Susan Spooner, mental health advocate from Employment and Social Development Canada:

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Ravi Sall, advocate for diversity and Canada’s first turban wearing immigration officer:

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Elizabeth Dussault, regulator and policy analyst with the department of Health talks living with albinism:

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Tanya Desjardins, interpretive guide in historic sites for Parks Canada:

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Joe Dragon, public service leader and champion for Aboriginal initiatives involving public servants talks about his life experiences, including being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins:

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Rizwan Javeri, team leader and project coordinator at ESDC for end-user solutions:

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Diane de Kerckhove, jazz singer and songwriter from Environment and Climate Change Canada:

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Trudy Samuel from the Canadian Forest Service at NRCan talks about her Ottawa valley roots and rhythms:

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Other Links

Visit the innovation fair’s page on GCPEDIA here (internal to employees of the federal public service only).

Two Weeks Until the Second Public Service-Wide Innovation Fair

Two Weeks Until the Second Public Service-Wide Innovation Fair

April 6, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

The second public service-wide Blueprint 2020 innovation fair is still two weeks away but activities are filling up already.

This year’s fair is promising to be a memorable one with activities like a human library, a serious games room, FED Talks, workshops, a healthy workplaces forum, the first ever hub zone, a trade show including over 50 departments and agencies, and more.

Some of the books at the human library will include Todd Lyons from Toddcast, the series that has been popular with public servants and Darlene Marion, a federal public servant, well known for championing awareness and support for mental health.

Healthy Workplaces Forum

The Healthy Workplaces Forum is:

“a designated area for those initiatives that promote best practices to foster healthy workplaces. The space will feature 10-12 departmental displays, as well as a series of 10-15 minute presentations at varying times throughout the day.

The series of presentations will communicate professional and/or personal experiences or initiatives related to supporting a healthy workplace. Audience members will be able to walk away being more informed about the subject and ideally think about how they can contribute to a healthier workplace within their own organization.”

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Hub Zone

What is a hub zone? It’s being described as:

“an area where you’ll be able to see how [innovation] hubs and labs work, how other departments and agencies are using new creative methods to tackle wicked problems, and where you’ll be able to connect to the community and bring some of these forward thinking practices into your organization.”

More on the hub zone:

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FED Talks

1) International Best Practices on Open and Networked Governments with Jamie Boyd, Analyst from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada):

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2) E-Interactions Roadmap with Silvano Tocchi, Director General from the Canada Revenue Agency:

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3) Using Innovation Labs to Engage and Inspire with Tracey Thiessen, Special Advisor from Parks Canada:

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4) Creativity, Community, and Service Ethic: The Public Service App Challenge:

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5) Inclusion and Innovation:

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Workshops

1) DESIGNing Interventions to Improve Organizational Culture for People With Disabilities and Mental Health in the Public Service (Bilingual):

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2) Civility in the Workplace (French):

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Serious Games Room

The Serious Games Room, “The Great Escape” is being described as an area where, “[you] and your colleagues across the public service [can] test your gamification skills while racing against the clock to complete 4 games and ‘escape the room!’ Join or grab a group of 4 and sign up for some serious intense gaming.”

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Virtual Programme for Public Servants Across Canada

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Other Links

To register for workshops and other activities or to find out more information, visit the innovation fair’s page on GCPEDIA (internal to employees of the public service only).

Tips for Public Servants in Preparing for Difficult Conversations

Tips for Public Servants in Preparing for Difficult Conversations

March 16, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

In the latest episode of Toddcast airing this week (a show for and about public servants), host Todd Lyons and special guest Lianna Ferran from Treasury Board help prepare public servants for having those difficult conversations in the workplace:

2016difficulthulk_twtr           Photo: Education Evangelist, @ICTEvangelist

Ferran, a mediator and coach from the Office of Informal Conflict Management at Treasury Board, offers alternative approaches to managing workplace conflict. This means helping employees and managers who are struggling with a workplace issue or an interpersonal workplace issue, get to the other side through constructive communication and interpersonal skills.

Tips

Todd points out that most worry about the other’s reaction before confrontation, as well as their own reaction. He asks Ferran for tips on how public servants can get over this fear.

“This is one of the most basic fears in addressing a conflict. What I hear over and over again is that ‘I don’t want to because I don’t know how the other person is going to react.’ There is so much unpredictability that it really stops us from doing what we know is the best thing to do in that moment.”

Ferran suggests a few things that can be done in the heat of the moment:

  • Manage yourself and breathe. Diaphragmatic breathing allows you to anchor on to your breath, which pulls you into the present moment with the other individual. Rather than allowing yourself to be pulled into the past and have all of the things that have bothered you up until this moment, bubble up to the surface and explode;
  • Label how you’re feeling. In that moment when someone has triggered you and your emotions are becoming more volatile, be able to internally label the emotion that you’re feeling. This will help take you out of ‘fight or flight’ mode, as you’re forced to assign language to what you’re feeling. It will also help to stabilize you in that moment, reducing the tension that you’re feeling and allow you to be more calm since it’s all about how you’re reacting in that moment; and
  • Verbalize observations in the moment to reduce the tension. By saying things like, ‘I’m noticing that your voice is raised,’ or ‘I’m noticing that you’ve turned away from me’ is asking open-ended questions to see that the tension is reduced in the end. If you help to reduce the tension in the other person as well, the conversation may not be perfect or go as planned but it will make things easier.

“It’s also important to separate the facts as in what actually happened versus the subjective truth that you added. Your message will look a lot different if you challenged yourself first to make those distinctions rather than if you hadn’t before having the conversation,” she says.

When preparing, there are three steps that can be taken to help you organize your message:

  1. Your observation – think about what you saw and what you heard rather than what you felt;
  2. Reflect on the impact that it had on you (i.e. how you felt about that or what you thought was going on in that moment); and
  3. End with a request, something clear and specific (i.e. can we work to do this differently, I would appreciate this, etc.)
Office of Informal Conflict Management

Ferran breaks down what public servants can expect when they contact the office:

“The first part is a consultation which is really a conversation, trying to figure out what’s going on with the individual, how they put truth to the experience that they’ve had, asking a lot of open ended questions and trying to get an understanding of what their perspective is about a difficult situation.

Coaching

After the consultation, they can choose a service if they’re interested in it. One thing we do a lot of is coaching, which is a one on one process. Public servants can come with an issue or a challenge, even a skill that they’d like to develop such as being more assertive or being less aggressive or managing big reactions in the workplace, which is about an hour in length and you work through what you your objective is.

My role isn’t to tell you what to do or tell you what the best practices are but really to push your thinking, help you think about the difference between what happened and your story about what happened, and then for you to come up with ideas about how you want to handle that situation and what you want to be accountable for in the challenge that you brought forward for that coaching session.

Facilitated conversations and mediation with 2 or more people

We also do facilitated conversations and mediation, which is where two or more people find themselves in a difficult situation and for whatever reason, can no longer communicate with one another. This means the relationship has deteriorated in the workplace to the point where people are speaking minimally or in a way that one might think of as unprofessional.”

Did you know?
  • Most departments have their own Office of Conflict Management;
  • Smaller departments/agencies may contract conflict management services out; and
  • Treasury Board offers their conflict management services to smaller departments who may not have their own capacity in-house.

For more tips on preparing for difficult conversations in the workplace, conflict management, resolution and forgiveness, listen to the complete Toddcast episode here.

Other Links

Visit the main Toddcast page here to catch up on past episodes.

Public Servants Talk Mental Health and Mental Illness

Public Servants Talk Mental Health and Mental Illness

March 3, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

The recent Bell Let’s Talk Day was a one day event but that doesn’t mean the discussion around mental health and living with mental illness ends there.

The dialogue continues with public servants who are courageous in being up front and real about their personal mental health experiences and living with mental illness.

Toddcast

In a recent episode of Toddcast, Todd introduces us to public servant Darlene Marion, who begins by differentiating between mental health and mental illness.

“The biggest difference is that similar to physical health, everyone has mental health but not everyone has a mental illness. However, someone can be mentally healthy with a mental illness and someone can also have poor mental health without a mental illness.”

One in five Canadians in any given year experiences a mental health problem or mental illness with a cost to the economy of more than 50 billion dollars a year.

“If you use the one in five statistic then approximately 50,000 public servants are experiencing a mental health issue as we speak,” she goes on to say. “The majority of disability claims in the public service are mental health related.”

“[Public servants] have indicated they feel they have less support for work-life balance, which is a protective factor of mental health.” The results from the latest Public Service Employee Survey confirm this and paint a worrying picture.

But despite this, Darlene Marion says she is encouraged by the concrete actions of the public service to address this. Specifically, she points to the efforts of previous Clerk, Janice Charette, who made mental health in the workplace one of her priorities for the public service this year. As well, a joint task force between Treasury Board and PSAC was created to look at mental health in the workplace, and they released their first report last fall.

“Simply put, stigma must not be tolerated,” she says before sharing with listeners, her own moving experiences from her personal life and career in both the private and public sectors.

Listen to the entire episode below or head on over to the Toddcast website by clicking here.

ESDC Innovates

Earlier this year, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) launched their Tumblr presence and last week leveraged the platform to share the story of one public servant who was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

The short video clip is titled, “I have depression” and it was produced in-house by public servants at ESDC. Senior management took to Twitter to express their pride in the public servant for sharing their story and in the public servants who produced the video:

Watch the clip below:

Other Links

Visit the main Toddcast page here to catch up on past episodes.

Visit ESDC’s Tumblr page “ESDC Innovates” here.

Changing Organizations Through Respect in the Public Service

Changing Organizations Through Respect in the Public Service

February 15, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

In the latest Toddcast airing this week, the episode takes a closer look at Jennifer Hollington, a Director General at NRCan, and her initiative: Changing our Organization through Respect (COR).

To set the stage, the episode opens with a brief discussion about Ms. Hollington’s career and the myth that in order to further one’s career in the public service, one must work for a number of key departments, including central agencies, also known as the “tour of duty.” However, this wasn’t the case with Hollington whose career in the public service has spanned almost thirty years and has only been with NRCan.

On how that approach has worked for her she says, “One of the advantages of being in one department, for any job, is your reputation. And when you’ve been in a department a long time, you can build up a terrific reputation, if you are known for being a very collaborative and collegial colleague; if you are known for delivering, if you’re good at your job; and for me, that reputation that I’ve built, has helped me to get opportunities in the organization that I might not have gotten had I moved to other departments.”

Starting at NRCan as an IS-02, she notes that she didn’t start her career by saying that she wanted to stay exclusively at one department; it just happened that NRCan has been a good place for her to have a career.

The conversation then shifts to the origins of the Changing our Organizations through Respect initiative, or COR, also latin for heart. She launched COR after joining a new sector within NRCan and was surprised to learn that 31% of employees in the sector had said they were victims of harassment in the 2011 Public Service Employee Survey results.

Since launching COR, the 2014 PSES numbers on harassment for her sector dropped to around 15%, almost half of what it was three years ago. Hollington admits the decrease wasn’t exclusively because of COR but rather due to all of the ongoing efforts in the sector to improve the work environment.

COR has quickly evolved from being just open to the sector, to being open to all of the department, and now to all of the public service, where it has an established presence on GCCONNEX.

Today, Hollington receives invitations from departments and agencies to speak about COR. To her and others, that says there is a real need within the public service for this kind of initiative, centered around civility and healthy workplaces.

So how exactly is COR taking action to contribute to healthy workplaces?

Listen to the entire Toddcast episode below to learn more about the COR curriculum, conversations and communication:

Other Links

Visit the main Toddcast page here to catch up on other episodes.

Follow COR on Twitter here.

Returning Next Week

Returning Next Week

February 1, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Things may be a little quiet around these parts this week as we perform site maintenance and other boring backend stuff but don’t worry, we’re back with regularly scheduled programming next week.

In the meantime, why not keep busy by listening to the latest Toddcast episode “Revenge of the Students,” where nine current and former students in the federal public service discuss their placement experiences.

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Or you could even catch up on all of season one before the next episode airs:

Toddcast is a show for public servants about public servants. Visit the main Toddcast page here.

Season 2 of Toddcast Premieres With ‘Revenge of the Students’

Season 2 of Toddcast Premieres With ‘Revenge of the Students’

January 19, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Season two of Toddcast debuted last week with the premiere, “Revenge of the Students.” In the episode, nine current and former student employees in the federal public service discuss their placement experiences. Toddcast is a show for and about public servants.

If you haven’t heard the episode yet, why not listen to it during your daily commute or over your lunch hour today, as there are no holds barred:

The episode starts off with the group of students revealing what their impressions of the public service were when they applied for their job, and if those impressions changed over time.

They then share moments from their first days as students and are asked if they picked up any skills in the public service they might have not picked up elsewhere.

The discussion then turns a bit frank when they’re asked if they feel they are serving Canadians or making a difference. Some admit that they honestly don’t feel that way.

When compared to the private sector, some students admit that the ‘humanization’ aspect is a bit removed in the public service. Meaning, they don’t always get to experience direct outcomes of their work, compared to the private sector, which can be known for being more on the front lines.

The students are then asked which areas the public service could do better in, and students discuss the lengthy HR and pay processes, not having the right tools (computer) upon starting, and the overall trust factor between the employer and students.

The episode concludes by highlighting the positive contributions that students have made to building GCCONNEX and GCPEDIA and finally, they’re all asked if they would return to work in the federal public service again.

How did they answer?

Stream the episode here or click on the links below for other formats:

Other Links

Listen to the full episode “Revenge of the Students” here.

Visit the main Toddcast page with the complete episode listing by clicking here.