Learning, Development and Managing Performance

In the coming weeks, one of the first items of business between you and your manager will be to have a learning and development and performance expectations conversation. Much of that discussion will centre around job expectations and what training you may require to enable you to meet your work and career objectives. This sheet is designed to provide you some brief information about learning and development in the Government of Canada (GoC) and DFO/CCG. It also provides information on how we measure individual performance towards your objectives as mutually determined with your manager.

Formal learning: mandatory, required and developmental

The GoC and federal departments offer a variety of training formats and have various learning requirements for employees. Every department has a list of “required training” dependent on your position (student, non-management, supervisor/manager or executive) as well as the type of work you do (analyst vs. ship’s crew). Examples of required/mandatory training include:

  • Authority Delegation Training
  • GoC and Departmental Orientation
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Performance Management
  • Values and Ethics Foundations
  • Security Awareness

The uniqueness of individuals also brings with it a uniqueness of learning styles. The GoC tries to accommodate and balance learning needs with learning styles. Formal learning, typically to augment project or job-related skills or help with career development is available through the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), which is the official supplier of common curriculum to government employees, at no individual cost to learners. Other training not offered by the CSPS can be pursued through external training organizations and internal departmental workshops.

Informal learning: internal and external 

Research indicates that 70% of efficient, effective learning is informal in nature. External sources and methods of learning include:

  • Webinars/Webex sessions by external subject matter experts
  • Researching/reading physical or virtual articles and books
  • Direct and indirect knowledge transfer through, among others:
    1. Conversations
    2. Job shadowing
    3. Task repetition
  • Internally the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Jobs Marketplace offers a place for managers and employees to explore informal assignments and other developmental opportunities.

Performance management in the federal government

In 2014, TBS launched an enterprise-wide performance management process and application entitled the Public Service Performance Management (PSPM) application. With few exceptions all indeterminate and 3+ month term employees are required to have regular performance and learning and development discussions with their managers on a semi-annual basis, and complete the requirements in the application.

Your manager should work closely with you to ensure that you are receiving the support and training required to complete your tasks and contribute to the mandate of the team and organization. Regular conversations should ensure that a year-end assessment or rating is not a surprise. Other than personal information, the agreement contains work objectives, an assessment against the four TBS Core competencies and a learning and development section. In essence, the TBS core competencies are:

  • Demonstrating integrity and respect
  • Thinking things through
  • Working effectively with others
  • Showing initiative and being action-oriented