It was a David versus Goliath kind of night, with the City of Selkirk pitted against the team that developed the massively successful video game Assassin’s Creed.
Both were vying for the Ascent Award at the Charted Professionals in Human Resources of Manitoba awards night. Selkirk’s nomination was for its Career GPS program.
On that night, the Assassin went down, and the City of Selkirk claimed victory.
Diana Vieira, Human Resources Administrator for the city, said they knew they were one of the finalists, but had no idea who would win.
“We didn’t actually find out until they showcased the two finalists at the event,” she said.
“And then they opened an envelope, Oscar style, and announced the winner.”
Crystal Gustafson, Manager of Human Resources for the city, said though the win was a shock, the value of their program was not.
“The Career GPS allows us to help employees in the organization plan their career path. If they start with the city as a labourer in the Parks and Recreation Department, we help them with tools, resources and training that they need if they decide that eventually they want to become the CAO,” Gustafson said.
Leadership all the way
The city has had a leadership program since 2016 and in 2019 the HR Department developed Career GPS to compliment the original program.
Career GPS is a new, innovative program that allows employees to take charge of their career planning, in consultation with and support from, the management team and HR.
The program guides employees through career visioning and exploration exercises and provides insight into how they can prepare themselves for the careers available within the city.
Employees receive support and guidance in planning their development route and assistance with financial and other resources they may require to reach their destination.
Every new employee learns about Career GPS during orientation and it’s featured during Lunch and Learn sessions the city hosts throughout the year as a refresher to existing employees.
The employee gets a Career GPS binder that guides them and allows them to create a plan for their career goals. If they want to climb the ladder within the department they’re in, or take a different path all together, they approach their director who goes to HR to arrange a meeting with the department they are interested in.
“We do job shadowing, mentoring, everything they need. If someone wanted to work in HR, they could come and spend the day with me and Diana and work with us for a day, then they might decide, ‘oh, I don’t want to work in HR’,” Gustafson laughed.
CAO Duane Nicol said having a Career GPS program is beneficial for Selkirk, the corporation, in that it improves the city’s internal candidate pool, but it’s also a benefit for the entire community.
“Not only does this program help the city maintain its workforce by creating opportunities for employees within our organization, but also contributes to the availability of skilled workers in our community, by opening new opportunities for our employees outside of our organization.”
The right people in place at the right time is key
The Career GPS aligns with the Selkirk’s Strategic Plan that calls for the city to have the right human capital in place at the right time.
Nicol said a changing world meant the city had to adapt to a changing workforce. Gone are the days when an employee at a smaller municipality might start their job right out of high school, learn on the job and remain within their position or department until retirement.
“This dynamic is changing. Increasingly, the services municipalities provide are being shaped by new technology and regulatory systems,” Nicol said.
“Roles are professionalizing and new regulations have increased the demand for formally trained and certified employees. Compounding this problem is a workforce that is highly mobile and comfortable with changing employers every few years.”
Nicol said he’s proud of the HR team for their excellent work in developing the Career GPS and earning the recognition that accompanies the Ascent Award.
“We know that to be successful, we need to maintain a skilled, creative, engaged, and nimble local civil service, to meet the growing needs of our city,” Nicol said.
“We believe in continuous learning within our organization and that having the right people in place at the right time is key to providing valuable services to our citizens.