Social Media

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Capitalizing on Recruitment Potential: FSWEP 2.0

By Patrick Obendoerfer

\\GOA\MyDocs\Health\karan.riarh\My Pictures\FSWEP.PNG

This blog is based on the paper FSWEP 2.0: Recruiting a Motivated Public Service, by Russell B. Ferguson, Patrick Obendoerfer and Anisa Vangjeli, was awarded the grand prize in the IPAC 2015 Blueprint 2020 National Paper Competition.

3 things to know about capitalizing on the Federal Student Work Experience Program’s (FSWEP) recruitment potential:

1. The FSWEP draws applications from a pool of 50,000 post-secondary students annually. In the application process, students are asked to select a maximum of 24 interests, which determine if their names are drawn for an interview. Given this, students are incentivized to compromise the process by choosing as many interests as possible to increase their chances. 

2. Public Service Motivation (PSM) refers to internal drivers that are disproportionately high in public servants, like the goal of contributing to society, and exist in addition to external drivers like salary. There is a positive correlation between PSM levels and rates of job attraction, retention, and engagement.   

3. Through an altered application and assessment process that is designed to align PSM satisfying jobs to qualified and interested post-secondary students, the federal government can drastically increase the chances that students will continue with the civil service through FSWEP.

Three myths about innovative recruitment:

Myth #1: New programs must be created, which may be time consuming and expensive.

FSWEP already exposes 50 000 post-secondary students to the job application process. Through relatively inexpensive changes to the process, the federal government can capitalize on the program’s recruitment potential.

Myth #2: Public and private sector employees have identical motivational drivers.

Public sector employees tend to have stronger internal drivers, such as the need to affect societal change, whereas private sector employees are more motivated by external drivers like money.

Myth #3: Recruitment strategies in a competitive job market need to focus on salary.

By aligning qualified and interested students with jobs that satisfy individuals with high levels of PSM, a recruitment strategy through FSWEP can be centred on internal motivators.

Patrick Obendoerfer is a graduate student at the Carleton School of Public Policy and Administration, where he specializes in Public Management. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Resource Revenue Sharing with Aboriginal Peoples

By Ken Coates

Canada is engaged in a debate about the appropriateness of resource revenue 
sharing with Aboriginal peoples. Twenty years ago, the concept had little traction 
outside of Aboriginal circles. Now, resource revenue sharing operates across more 
than half of the country’s land mass. 

Three things to know about revenue sharing:

1. There is no single model of resource revenue sharing. British Columbia 
negotiates arrangements on a project-by-project basis. The Northwest 
Territories shares a portion of its resource revenue among all Aboriginal 
communities in the jurisdiction. Saskatchewan rejects the concept out of hand 
and does not have arrangements in place. In many parts of the North, from 
Labrador to the Yukon, resource revenue sharing is built into modern treaties.  

2. Resource revenue sharing is only part of the financial benefit that accrues to 
Aboriginal communities from resource developments. Collaboration agreements, 
which involve jobs, training and business opportunities, are over and above 
revenue sharing.  

3. Resource revenue sharing is not mandated by the Supreme Court, the 
Constitution or Government of Canada policy. Natural resources are a provincial 
responsibility and the revenues flow to provincial and territorial authorities. It is 
up to the individual sub-national governments to determine the shape of 
revenue sharing.  

Three myths about revenue sharing:

Myth #1: Aboriginal communities will become wealthy from resource revenue sharing 
arrangements on their traditional territories. With most arrangements, this is 
not the case. The money is welcome, but it is smaller than the sums available 
through equity ownership or the development of natural resources on 
Aboriginal lands.

Myth #2: Resource revenue sharing is a response to an Aboriginal veto over resource 
development. It is not. Although Indigenous communities have considerable 
legal and political authority, governments are not compelled to share their 

Myth #3: Resource revenue sharing comes from the resource companies. False. Resource 
companies contribute to Aboriginal communities in other ways, and the resource 
revenue comes from the royalties collected by government. Aboriginal people are, indeed, sharing in the wealth generated from their traditional territories, albeit in a typically Canadian patchwork of policy and practice. Revenue sharing is a reality and has played a key role in securing Aboriginal support for resource development.

Ken Coates is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, Johnson-Shoyama 
Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan and Senior Fellow, 
Macdonald-Laurier Institute and the co-Director the Aboriginal People and Natural 
Resources Project.  He is the author of #IdleNoMore (University of Regina Press) and 
the co-author of From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation (UBC Press).

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

From #PhDToGov: Jared Wesley's Story

What stereotypes do people have of PhDs? Are these deserved?

Can I challenge the assumption behind the question?  I don’t consider myself to be “a PhD”.  I have one, and keep the degree on my wall at home.  But I am not one.  In this sense, one of the well-deserved stereotypes of “PhDs” is that they are their degrees.  In other words, many people with PhDs have made it part of their identity.  This means more than simply listing it on their business cards and in their email signatures (which I do).  It means identifying themselves as PhDs, either explicitly (“please call me Dr.”) or implicitly (carrying an air of ‘differentness’ if not superiority when interacting with people from other professional communities).   I've even seen it crop up in networking events and casual conversations, as some people with PhDs assume that they've "earned" more than an entry-level position by virtue of spending over ten years in university.  That used to be true, but today's job market is different -- particularly in government, and particularly when it comes to management roles.  Today's employers are looking for practical experience and skills more than traditional academic credentials.  All told, this self-identification "as a PhD" can be off-putting to people outside the academy, whether out of (often undeserved) intellectual intimidation, resentment, professional rivalry, or other reasons.  And it’s one of the greatest barriers facing people who want to transition to alternative-academic (alt-ac) careers.

How useful do you think a PhD is for people working outside the academy?

It really depends, largely on who you have as a PhD supervisor.  Some advisors encourage and even seek out opportunities for their students when it comes to alt-ac professional development and networking.  Others are more insular, focused on the old school (‘publish or perish’ and ‘scholar/apprentice’) approach when it comes to mentoring their students.  The core elements of a PhD program are less important to me, both as a practitioner and as someone in a position to hire recently-graduated PhD students. Coursework may well impart the core knowledge necessary to succeed in the public service, and the research component may impart useful methodological skills (depending on the type of role they assume in government).  Dissertation-writing and publishing are far less important, although the ability to accept and adapt to criticism is a valuable soft skill.

Under what circumstances would you advise a young student who does not want to be a prof to pursue a PhD?

I'd be blunt, advising them to do so if:
  • They are getting paid to complete the PhD.  A wise mentor once told me, “If you’re not getting paid to go to grad school, you’re paying for someone else to go to grad school.”  The ability to secure scholarships and fellowships is more than simply a means to sustain yourself (without amassing student debt).  It is a canary in the coal mine; if people don’t see your academic promise by the time you complete your Master’s, a PhD is not likely the best path for you. 
  • They are thinking beyond self-fulfillment.  I often hear students say, “I want to be a PhD.” Or “I want to do it for me, to learn more about x.”  That’s rarely enough, I’m afraid, to sustain yourself through a 4 to 6 year commitment.  I use the following Venn diagram to coach students to think about the relevant ingredients in a fulfilling career – one with purpose:

Do PhDs in the social sciences and humanities obtain skills during their studies that serve them well outside the academy? How useful is a PhD when working for government?

Again, the research skills, and ability to adapt to criticism, are most valuable.  Under-appreciated by grad schools, and under-developed in grad students, however:  soft skills.  These include relationship-building, teamwork, persuasion without authority, strategic planning, collaboration, and the like.  Grad schools would do well to study the key competencies expected by governments in terms of their employees’ development.  Here’s the Government of Alberta’s model, for example.  

APS Compentencies

What should PhD programs do differently, if anything, for those students who are not planning to become full-time academics?

I think the University of Alberta has started well, with their FGSR Advisory Committee on Professional Development (I’m a member).  It invites leaders from various sectors (private, non-profit, public) to share their thoughts with high-ranking university administrators about what they need from tomorrow’s grad students.  The challenge is mobilizing that knowledge, and implementing the recommendations, across all PhD programs at the university.  Ironically, that takes the same sort of soft skills I mentioned above…

Jared Wesley earned his PhD in political science from the University of Calgary. He’s now Director of Social Policy for the Ministry of International and Intergovernmental Relations at the Government of Alberta, adjunct professor of political science at the University of Albertaand pracademic chair of the Institute for Public Administration Canada (IPAC) (Edmonton Regional Group). Find him on LinkedIn, Twitter (@ipracademic), and Flipboard.  You can read more about his career journey here.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

How do we open the "black box" of civil service accountability?

By Mark D. Jarvis

The accountability of civil service executives, mid-level managers and professionals has been a “black box”. My new research is trying to close this gap in our knowledge by building an empirical understanding of how, and for what, individual executive, managerial and working-level civil servants are held to account, comparing Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.

First three myths that should be dispelled:

Myth #1: The accountability of civil servants doesn’t matter. 

Reality: It does. Civil servants at all levels of government exercise substantial authority and often have a significant impact on how policies are developed, taxes are spent and services are delivered.

Myth #2: Civil servants aren’t held to account. 

Reality: They are. In addition to ongoing informal accountability, nearly all civil servants are subject to at least an annual performance review.

Myth #3: Civil servants don’t get fired, so there is no real accountability. 

Reality: False. Civil servants do, at times, get fired. More importantly, accountability isn’t just about what happens when things go wrong — although that’s obviously important — it’s also about whether day-to-day accountability practices within the civil service meet desired objectives.

Now, three things that you should know about the accountability of civil servants:

1. Civil service accountability can serve a number of different objectives or purposes. Among the most important – and the four this research examined – are democratic control; assurance; learning; and, results.

2. While there is evidence that civil service accountability practices in all three countries focus on all four of these purposes, there is also evidence that accountability practices could be strengthened with regards to each, especially learning and results.

3. The results also suggest there is some tension between different purposes of accountability (e.g., the emphasis on achieving results at times inhibits accountability mechanisms from stimulating greater learning).

How we think about, define and emphasize the different purposes of accountability has a practical implication for how we expect civil servants to do their jobs. We should be thoughtful about what ends we expect accountability to serve, especially as technology mitigates increasingly outdated accountability concerns.

Mark D. Jarvis is the Practice Lead for Government Transformation at the Mowat Centre. His book, Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government, co-authored with Lori Turnbull and the late Peter Aucoin, was awarded both the Donner and Smiley book prizes.