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Hybrid Workplace Series: Best Practices for Managers (TRN5-V27)


This event recording explores best practices for managing hybrid teams in the workplace and provides tips for success.

Duration: 01:30:58
Published: December 28, 2022
Type: Video

Event: Hybrid Workplace Series: Best Practices for Managers

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Hybrid Workplace Series: Best Practices for Managers

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Transcript: Hybrid Workplace Series: Best Practices for Managers

[CSPS Title page, text on screen "Webcast/Webdiffusion]

[Courtney Amo appears full screen]

Courtney Amo: Hello and welcome, everyone. Bonjour et bienvenue à tous et toutes! My name is Courtney Amo, and I'm an executive faculty member at the Canada School of Public Service. I will be your host today. Thank you for being with us.

I would like to start by acknowledging that since I'm joining you from Moncton, New Brunswick, the land on which I live and work is the traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik (or Maliseet) and Mi'kmaq Peoples. I recognize that we all work in different places, and therefore we may be working in a different Indigenous traditional territory. I encourage you to take a moment to think about this.

To make your viewing experience better, we encourage you to disconnect from the VPN if possible and reconnect to the event. Please note also that we have simultaneous interpretation and CART [Communication Access Realtime Translation] services available to you for this event in both official languages. Please refer to the reminder email you received from the School or visit the vExpo [website] to learn how to access these features.

We'll be taking questions throughout the event via the collaborative video chat platform. To submit your questions, click on the bubble icon at the top right hand of your screen. You won't see your question appear in the chat, but the moderator will be receiving them. We'll get to as many as time will permit today. We encourage you to participate in the language of your choice. Nous vous encourageons à participer dans la langue de votre choix.

The Canada School of Public Service is pleased to host this session, which is part of the Hybrid Workplace Series, for those who are working or transitioning to a hybrid work environment. Today's session is also co-hosted with the National Managers' Community [NMC] as part of the NMC Annual Symposium. This symposium is one of the ways that we create opportunities for managers and aspiring managers across Canada to connect, engage, and learn about topics that are important to them. As an active, horizontal 20-year-old community that connects managers with leaders, we are pleased to let you know that the Clerk of the Privy Council has recorded a special video message for public service managers. We invite you to take the time to listen to her message in the Symposium Digital vExpo and explore the other resources that are there.

On top of what you will gain from today's Best Practices for Managers event, we have other events coming up. As part of the Hybrid Workplace Series, on November 30, we will have an event on improving ergonomics for a hybrid workplace. This event will feature a panel of occupational health and safety experts who will share their insights about modern ergonomic principles and strategies to improve the hybrid workplace.

And, as part of the National Managers' Community Symposium, tomorrow at 10:30 am Eastern Time, we have a session on vulnerable leadership and how to have compassionate conversations. Then, at 1:30 pm Eastern Time, we are also excited to offer our keynote presentation on how to handle microaggressions in the workplace with Camille Dundas, co-founder and editor-in-chief of In addition to the School's numerous on-point offerings in the coming months, the National Managers' Community has scheduled in-person regional learning days for managers between November 14 and December 6, the first since before the pandemic. We invite you to monitor our websites and register for the NMC's and the School's newsletters to receive the latest updates. Now that you have an understanding of what is to come, let's get started with this great panel about best practices for managers in a hybrid workplace.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels. Text on screen: "; #GCLearning; NMC Symposium 2022; The Hybrid Workplace Series: Best Practices for Managers;; #GCApprentissage; CNG Symposium 2022; Série le milieu de travail hybride: Pratiques exemplaires por les gestionnaires"]

Courtney Amo: Today we will hear from fantastic speakers from the federal public service, who will share valuable lessons based on their recent experimentation with the hybrid workplace model, including insights that can be utilized when managing a hybrid team. This timely conversation follows yesterday's insightful presentation, Management Competencies in the Hybrid Workplace, by Dr. Wayne Corneil. If you were unable to participate in yesterday's presentation, it will also be made available to you after this session. So now let me introduce you to our panellists.

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Courtney Amo: Uttara Chauhan is the Director General of the Future of Work Secretariat at Employment and Social Development Canada.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Uttara's work in the federal public service has focused on socioeconomic policy and program development in the areas of labour market and social development, immigration, Indigenous affairs, and civic engagement. Prior to joining the federal public service, Uttara worked as an independent consultant in international development. She is also a published novelist and a movie lover.

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Courtney Amo: Jason Fox is the Director of the Research and Strategy Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Jason has 20 years of experience as a public servant in various HR disciplines.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels.

Courtney Amo: He began as a learning advisor at the Department of National Defence and has worked as a senior advisor at the Privy Council Office as part of the Public Service Renewal Secretariat. He also worked as director of Human Capital Strategies at the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. As mentioned, he's currently the Director of Research and Strategy at the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer in the Research, Planning and Renewal Sector. Jason is also a professional coach.

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Courtney Amo: Caroline Desrochers is a director at Global Affairs Canada (GAC), where she leads a deputy ministers' task force on the future of work. Caroline has been with the public service for some 20 years. The task force she leads is seeking to implement a framework for a hybrid work model for GAC, an organization that has close to 13,000 employees. Until recently, Caroline was the director of political and cultural affairs for the Consulate General of Canada in New York City. She worked in the development of Canada-US relations for eight years, including on issues related to economic and trade policy. Caroline has also worked closely with the financial community to advance women's equality in the business world. Welcome to everyone!

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Welcome to our esteemed panellists! As mentioned earlier, you are invited to submit your questions for our panellists, but to get us started, I have a few questions for each of our panellists. So, Uttara, I would love to start with you.

Having to manage employees from various work sites can be overwhelming, and it can require managers to possess a new set of leadership norms and behaviours to successfully manage a hybrid team. Could you share with us some of your insights on these new leadership norms and behaviours, and provide us with examples of best practices that are being used at Employment and Social Development Canada?

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: Of course! Many thanks, Courtney, and thank you to Isabelle and Laura, among others, at the Canada School of Public Service, as well as the National Managers' Community, who worked very hard to organize this event. I am thrilled to be with you today. I am pleased to tell you about the work we have done at Employment and Social Development Canada.

With our workforce and workplaces undergoing profound change, you, as leaders, are going to play an even bigger role to successfully manage this change. A new way of working will require a new way of leading. At ESDC, we started implementation of our flexible work model in early September after 18 months of analysis and design and experimentation. In our model, depending on job function, some employees work on site, some work predominantly off site and others work in a hybrid model. One of the first foundational tools we developed to support our leaders was a playbook on leadership norms and behaviours for a flexible work model. It is based on the latest research and extensive consultations with employees and leaders across the department. We have shared the playbook with the organizers today, and I encourage you all to check it out.

We expect leaders at all levels, from supervisors to deputy ministers, to demonstrate these norms to make this expectation real and concrete. We have already included these norms in the corporate performance commitments of all executives in our department starting this year. The playbook describes four norms and provides examples of effective and ineffective behaviours for each one.

The first norm is intentional leadership. Intentional leaders are purposeful in their approaches and thoughtful in how they act. In our new work context, you will need to act and communicate very clearly and regularly with all your team members, whether on site, off site or hybrid, to ensure that they feel included and are aware of what is expected of them. To manage a hybrid team that comes on site periodically, you will need to be very intentional about thinking and planning your on-site days so that your team is maximizing their time together and getting the most out of in-person connections.

The second norm is a growth mindset combined with psychological safety. These are two interrelated concepts that are critical in supporting a culture of learning, risk-taking and innovation. You will need to be wide open to the possibilities that can be generated by encouraging staff to express new ideas and views on how to implement hybrid work in an iterative manner. Be open to learning through trial and error. A psychologically safe environment is one where leaders see mistakes as opportunities to learn and are open to sharing their struggles with their team.

Building trust is the third norm. This is not a new concept, but it is fundamentally different in a flexible work model, since interactions are often mediated by technology and as leaders, you may no longer engage in person with your teams on a regular basis. Building trust may take more time and effort when people are not interacting in person. Focusing on outcomes and results, rather than hours spent online, will help you build trust in managing hybrid teams.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Uttara Chauhan: Finally, the fourth norm is empathy-based management and a sense of belonging. To help your employees navigate change, you need to know and understand each member of your team and what they bring to the workplace.

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: Leading with empathy means making meaningful connections with people, understanding personal circumstances, and finding ways to cultivate informal interactions, both virtually and in person. Maintaining a sense of belonging with the organization and learning its culture has become critical now that teams do not gather and see each other in person as much as they did before. This is especially important for younger hires and new public servants.

Some of you may hear this today and feel overwhelmed. You may be thinking, "My plate is already full! Do I really need to add more?" My advice to you: "Keep an open mind!"

Sound leadership practices should never be a burden to a leader. They will only improve how a team operates and this will improve the results we deliver for Canadians. Embracing these norms will require an investment of time and effort, no doubt. It won't be an easy task, but we believe the results will be infinitely rewarding. Thank you for listening. Merci beaucoup.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Thank you so much, Uttara, for this overview. What strikes me is that, as you mentioned, these are sound leadership principles and they've always been important, but this new context requires us to really double down on them,

[Courtney Amo appears full screen]

Courtney Amo: and to try things and to experiment and see what works. I really appreciate the growth mindset, the psychological safety element, allowing ourselves to try out what is going to work best to ensure that everyone feels like they're part of something larger, that their contributions are meaningful, that they feel aligned with the rest of the organization, and they're able to bring their best work forward. I'm sure that we will be receiving questions for further clarification on this model, but I appreciate you giving us the summary.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Just on the topic of experimentation, Jason. I know from your perspective you've been receiving a lot of the information about what departments are trying; what they're experimenting with in terms of hybrid workplace models. I'm wondering if you can share some of what you're seeing and hearing in terms of what departments are learning through their experimentations, what might be some promising practices, concrete tips and tricks for managers and aspiring managers so that they can start to explore and try different ways of managing in this hybrid environment.

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Jason Fox: Great. Thank you for the question. I'm glad to speak about this today. I wanted to start with maybe framing it a little bit in terms of lessons because, during the pandemic, we did experience a lot of upheaval and changes and really, as we were preparing for an experiment and experimentation phase, we did highlight a few lessons as part of that process. So I just wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate them. And those were things like not "one size fits all."

Really, this is a multi-variant problem that we're all trying to organize together and that in our experience, we have not seen one particular solution be adequate for every single situation. So that was one lesson we brought into our experimentation planning.

The second is that working in hybrid [conditions] is not the same as working remotely by default, or everyone in the office. It's something in between, and that it might take a while to get to a state of equilibrium. But at the same time, it's also a gateway or an opportunity to explore other things such as, how we organize work, how we organize teams and how we manage our resources and interact with colleagues.

Then, another element that we used for support is that hybrid means something different for everyone compared to someone being a part of the structure or the organization. So, someone who is an executive or a manager or an employee in the National Capital Region or in a region will have a different experience in each of those contexts.

Hybrid looks different depending on where you are sitting in the organization.

Secondly, we have to admit that we don't have all the answers so we are missing data. We don't know all the situations and we're improving our ability to do research, to observe and to plan data collection. The last thing I would say is that we're in a situation where it's more of an evolution than an end state. So it's really to embrace that opportunity. That's why, in terms of our team, what we've been working on at the moment is a project called Hybrid in a Box, which is one of the first enterprise-wide or government-wide projects.

What we've done is partnered with 11 departments who had the readiness or the inclination to partner with us to establish a central baseline evaluation for hybrid models. I think there's somewhere between seven and eight models being looked at, at different places and different organizations.

The number is not important, but it's the variety that's important; that's the lesson from that observation. We expect this baseline evaluation, which is currently taking place, to cover about 20,000 federal employees. So this will be one of the first large-scale evaluation benchmarking exercises within the public service.

A lot of the data we've been looking at is from third parties, from external services, from the public service employee survey, which isn't really designed to get into the nitty gritty of hybrid. So it's really going to add value or add insights to our research

And then the things that we will be able to analyze are the effectiveness of the employees, their well-being, their experience in returning to work, the different experiences in the communities, in the regions, in the National Capital Region [NCR], in the employment-equity communities. So, we are really pleased with this. We will be getting the results very soon. In terms of practices that  are promising, part of this Hybrid in a Box project included a team charter exercise as optional. It was taken, it was stolen [smiles], from other departments who were doing this,

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Jason Fox: but it was a practice that we decided to help promulgate across the organization. Really, it's a charter activity where the employees can come together, discuss their preferences, how they want to work together,

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Jason Fox: and it gives some clarity around some of these things, but it's also an opportunity to discuss things. In addition to the task, it talks about how the team is going to function, how the operations are going to function, set out expectations.

And one last thing. I just want to leave [you with] some more personal tips and things that [I've learned] over the last four years that I've been on this file, and these are my big takeaways. And I'm a manager also, so I'm sharing these as a participant in the training myself.

But one thing is: Recognize that we're at the start and not at the end. It's really important to adopt this perspective.

Second, don't expect to get all the answers today. There's a lot we don't know, so we have to be curious. You have to be open to getting results that you didn't expect, to seeing perspectives that people haven't shared.

I would say also don't try to fix everything at once. Do things with purpose and observe what happens, and then focus on that. If you do something wrong, don't treat it as a fail, but create an opportunity to make a correction or to iterate to something better.

And the last thing I'll leave you with, and I think it echoes in the rest of your agenda for the conferences: Pay attention to your needs as well as everyone else's needs.

So thanks for the question. I think I've covered a bit of ground. It gives you a taste of the things we're working on. I'm very much anticipating the questions that will be coming up. Thank you!

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Yes, thank you very much, Jason! I think you've provided a great overview that gives us some insight into the lessons learned to date. One of the key messages that I hear you saying is that there's a lot of variety in the approaches and you have to keep an open mind because how people are going to experience this, or what the best solution is going to be, can vary a lot between levels or between employee locations or other possible variables.

I also appreciate your sharing with us the evaluation that is underway. I think it's going to be an absolutely rich source of information for the entire public service and probably an excellent practice, even at the international level. So, well done! I look forward to hearing more about the results of this work.

Now I'm going to turn to Caroline to get a bit more specific about the kinds of support and tools that managers have been looking for to better prepare their teams for working in this hybrid environment. And that can include how to inspire their teams, how to maintain team spirit, how to create cohesion, and so forth. So, Caroline, can you share with us your experience on this as well as any tools that have been developed and used at GAC to support your managers?

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: Yes, absolutely, Courtney! Thank you so much! Thank you for inviting me. But I would also like to thank the participants for taking the time to join in these discussions because it's so important in the times that we live in. I think it's fair to say that we are living in quite extraordinary times and then there are the social transformations that are happening, which we feel within our organizations. This means that we really need to reflect on the kind of managers we are, on the tools we will need to deal with what is coming and with what is already here. It's a hugely challenging moment that we are living through as managers, and there are many layers to that. As Jason said earlier, we don't know what the end state is just yet. So it's doubly complex, but it's also a very invigorating moment because I think as a public servant, there will be very few moments in our career where we can have such an impact on our organization. We feel that we live or operate in such big machines—. And I don't know that a moment like that will come again. I think it's an opportunity for us to seize that moment.

Before I go into specifics, I do want to quickly frame a little bit of what Global Affairs has been doing in terms of transitioning to a hybrid model. I do have to give a big shout-out to Uttara and her team because they were the trailblazers on all of the work.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Caroline Desrochers: They'd started early, and so they were an inspiration for how we approached it here. At Global Affairs, we did come to the same conclusion as our colleagues at Treasury Board, that there is no one size fits all. We have such a variety of mandates and types of work that we do.

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: And so we developed a layered approach, which is looking at job functions and organizational requirements, but also individual circumstances. We gave managers a questionnaire, and it was yes-and-no questions, and that was our first attempt. We didn't ask managers to tell us how many days a week they think the position should come in. We asked them to answer questions about the position, and then we developed a methodology, taking a bit of burden away from the managers to having to make those decisions, and having the same lens also across the organization. And then we prepared a manager's guide and asked that managers have conversations with each of their employees around three pillars.

The first one is around career development, to get a better understanding of how that's impacted by your presence in the office, outside the office, where you reside. Also how, if you're not in the National Capital Region, how we're going to make sure, as a manager, that you have opportunities also for career growth. And mentoring, knowledge transfer, all of these things that are part of your career development through the cycle of your career, not just the onboarding and how you go up the chain, but how do you "de-board" your career [and] looking at individual circumstances. So, equity, diversity, inclusion, the GBA+ lens over our model. The work environment: if you're not in the office, what does your work environment look like?

The third pillar was team cohesion, because yes, we're individuals, but we are part of an organization, we're part of a team. The decisions around where I work could impact, in some cases it doesn't, in some cases it could impact other team members, whether it's workload, whether it's stability for planning, brainstorming, all of these things that we do when we're together. We developed the guide with, again, with our equity-seeking groups, with employees as well. And we did also talk to our union reps to get their views on those things that we were putting forward.

So, right now at Global Affairs, most employees have a sense of how many days they're expected to be in the office; for those who have full-time telework, they're still on that model. But I think it was you, Courtney, who said earlier, really, it falls onto managers, and they're the front line in terms of developing this, and that's why getting to know your team very well is so important. It was always important, but we did it organically before, I think, much more organically, and now we have to be more intentional about it.

I think, in the case of Global Affairs, our deputy ministers have said very clearly through town halls, through broadcast messages, that the future is hybrid, but people don't believe it! We have 65% of our employees in a recent survey we did [who] said they're not sure that the flexibility will continue to apply. They're worried about that. So people are not hearing it. People are saying it, [in] black and white, we hear it from the Clerk, but it's still very much of an, "Ah, is this [for real]?"

I think, as managers, we have to be mindful of that kind of level of uncertainty that our employees are feeling, and we need to bring that with us. We don't know what the end state is going to be and we've said that before, but what we do know is it's not going to be like before, and so there's a loss somewhere. We're not returning to what it was before. For some people, yes, it will not change a whole lot. Some of our colleagues at CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] we know are continuing to go into the office. Some of our colleagues here at Global Affairs as well, some of the presence is still pretty unchanged, but for the majority, there's been a change. There's much more flexibility.

But with that, some people are going to thrive and some people are going to be grieving. For some people, this was very much part of their identity. And I think as a manager, it's important to understand your teams, understand where they're at on this. What are they losing? What are they gaining? How do they feel about this? Because it's the only way really to build that trust and to understand it.

As a manager, these were always sound leadership practices, to be self-reflective and take a look at how you're managing your team. But they'll be even more important now

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Caroline Desrochers: if you want to have a team that is really able to show up and be their best.

So, a few very quick points: Understanding your team―. I think a team charter, which a lot of departments are doing, is an investment, but it's a very important investment. And here, what we are doing is we have a team of facilitators that divisions can access.

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: If they want someone to help them go through that exercise, it's to facilitate that. And it's important to remember, as a manager, to make space for all the views on your team, because not everyone will feel the same way. It's important to encourage employees to not just think about productivity as a to-do list. Your productivity is not just how you accomplish; productivity is one of six key leadership competencies. But there's knowledge transfer, there's mentoring, there's coaching, there are things like when a colleague comes and interrupts you, it's your opportunity to transfer your knowledge.

So, we are trying to encourage everyone to think outside of that. And think about diversity. Not everybody's experience pre-pandemic was positive. You mentioned, Courtney, micro-aggressions; there is something that's happening tomorrow on micro-aggression? I think many employees are less keen to come back because they feel less micro-aggression―.

So this again goes back to the fantastic opportunity we have ahead of us to create the public service that we want, that is inclusive of everybody. Be intentional, this was mentioned before, is also a message that we drum up here. It's important, because since we don't see each other organically anymore, we don't know each other organically, in a natural way; we have to take the time to know the people around us and to communicate. It's important to communicate even if we say we don't have all the answers, but it's important to share the information we have. It's really the basis of the relationship of trust that we need to establish with our employees and with our colleagues around the organization. I think I'll stop here. Thank you very much.

[Courtney Amo and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Thank you very much, Caroline! A few elements that really stood out for me from your remarks is the human dimension that all the panellists mentioned. You all mentioned the human dimension, but Caroline you went even further to remind us that as humans we have an emotional side of how we will live through this transformational change. You've mentioned some people will be thriving, but some people may also be grieving how things were before. And it's important as managers for us to create space for people to be able to express how this is happening for them. So I really appreciated you tying it back to Uttara's point around intentional leadership, and to really bringing in that aspect of creating space for all people, but also for all perspectives on how this is going.

[Courtney Amo appears full screen]

Courtney Amo: Finally, I find your messages around these extraordinary times to be quite inspiring.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: I am very inspired by your posts in relation to the fact that we may not have another such significant opportunity to fuel large-scale organizational change. So, very inspiring to think about the role that we can play in supporting this type of transformation. It may be a once-in-a-career opportunity for some of us, and also to create the public service that we want. So, thank you for reminding us of those important opportunities that are present at this point in time. I would like to remind you all that you can provide us with your questions.

[Courtney Amo appears full screen]

Courtney Amo: You can provide us with your questions in the language of your choice by using the bubble icon at the top right corner of the purple banner of the broadcasting platform. As I mentioned before, you won't see your questions appear in the chat, but our moderator will be receiving them, and then passing them on to us so that we can discuss them with the panel.

So, don't hesitate to ask us your questions.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Speaking about the diversity across the system in terms of models that are being utilized, Jason, I'm wondering if you can say a little bit more about what you are seeing in terms of the specific types of models, and how that's working. And Uttara and Caroline, if you have anything to add after Jason, I'll reserve some time for that as well, if you want to comment. Jason?

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Jason Fox: Okay, great. Thank you. Thank you for the question. So, in the models that we're looking at here, they vary along two major dimensions. One is on the dimension of flexibility and the other is on the dimension of frequency. For example, on the dimension of flexibility, that has to do with how much autonomy, or who makes the decision about who and when people come to work. In some models, it's imposed by management or it's agreed-to by a collective group at the team level, for example. Or another option is, individuals have the autonomy to make that decision.

So that's one dimension. The other dimension is frequency, which has to do with, on a scale of one to five days, how often does one or a team come into the office, and then everything in between.

There are jobs where five days in the office is the norm because the job requires people to be on the site, and then there's others where there's more flexibility. And then there's approaches where, when you combine frequency and flexibility, there are combinations of say, I'll just use my example. We have an agreement in our team to be present two days a week. So part of it is, we have an anchor day. We've agreed together that Thursday is the day where we're all trying to be together. And then the other day is a swing day, if you wish. And I know of other teams who are picking two anchor days.

So again, that's what's meant by different models. They vary along those scales. We've tried to put them in categories in our evaluation so that we can compare them, and then we can isolate the variables and see what the impact of different things are to see how those play out. But again, departments are not limited to the ones that we're thinking. They can tailor these, or they can invent other dimensions that are more important to them to deliver their operations. I hope that answers the question. It's kind of the dimensions we've been planning in our research.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Yes, it's super helpful, Jason, to hear those two dimensions there, of flexibility and frequency as elements that kind of define the possible variety of approaches in the system. Uttara, Caroline, do you have anything to add?

Uttara Chauhan: Yes, I think I can add just our model [which] Caroline kind of alluded to. Thank you for the shout-out, Caroline.

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: At ESDC, we did take a bit of a head start on this, and wanted a completely objective, data-driven, evidence-based model. We started also with a job function analysis. The ESDC is a huge organization. We're nearly 42,000 people, or getting somewhere there, with very, very diverse functions: service, delivery, policy, enabling. So there is, to Jason's point, even within our organization, there can't be one size fits all. But we wanted a framework that was objective and consistent across the enterprise, and it is grounded in, as we said, we serve Canadians, so it has to be business driven, but employee informed.

The job function analysis primarily determines which types of jobs must be done fully on site, and I would say, [is] a lot of our in-person service, delivery, and other functions, predominantly off site.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Uttara Chauhan: And I say predominantly off site, which is not full-time telework because there is an on-site component of that, which is not as frequent as hybrid. And then there is the hybrid, which is the true combination of off site and on site.

As Caroline also said, teams took this back and discussed among themselves to determine their own models and rhythms―,  We are leaving it up to the business units to determine what works best, both in terms of, especially in frequency, although, our deputy minister has also been clear that hybrid means several days a month.

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan:   Because people are interpreting this in different ways, we have provided additional supports to our managers to help them understand what kind of activities are best done on site for hybrid workers, and what type of activities are also important, even for the predominantly off-site workers, that could be done on site, and should be done on site periodically for culture purposes.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Uttara Chauhan: Onboarding, training, social connections, even if your work can be done independently, there are enormous benefits for individuals and an organization to come on site periodically, to make those connections.

[00:43:20 Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: So, teams will discuss and we are two months into implementation of work arrangements and teams finding their rhythms within our overall framework. That's all I would add. Thank you.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: [mm-hmm] Thanks Uttara, for that. I think what I'm picking up from what you're saying, and tying back to Jason, is this idea of intentionality again. Jason was using the term of the anchor day, when you decide to bring your team together physically on site, having that clear intentionality around what it is that you will accomplish together, and what are the types of activities that are best suited, where you'll have the best results if people are coming together. Again, that intention really comes out strongly for me in what you're bringing forward. Caroline, did you want to add to this?

Caroline Desrochers: Yes, just very briefly. Right now, I know a lot of the conversations are focused on number of days in the office. This is really what's driving the conversation, and it's normal, it's our starting point.

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: But I think in a lot of the sessions we have with managers across our department, we are trying to make them try to think two, three years from now, what is this going to look like? And that state, where it's really a change in our relationship with the office that is going to change.

And again, it goes back to what Uttara says, what drives you to be in the office? What activities are best done in the office together, the mentoring; also, going back to the transfer of knowledge.

I think, as we are getting our feet, or as we're getting more and more comfortable living in the grey areas over the next few months, I think we'll hopefully move away from that number of days in the office, because not all the weeks are the same. So yes, maybe two days a week sounds great, but maybe it's not the same every week. And maybe it's not all of my Tuesdays and Thursdays that are all the same, and so why do I come here if I'm just going to be on Teams all day? These are the things that we hear all the time. Well, Tuesday is my day, but I have team meetings all day.

[0Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Caroline Desrochers: So, I'm here in a cubicle and I'm not getting any of the benefits you're telling me I'm going to get when I come. And, thinking about that flexibility, thinking in terms of monthly, whether times of the day, sometimes I tell people, maybe you want to consider, maybe your mornings could be spent at home, and your afternoon in the office, or vice versa.

But I think it is important and what's really hard to define is when we say, where we do find some skepticism, is when we talk about the culture: We want to maintain our organizational culture. And then people say, Well, what culture are you talking about? Because there are many, many cultures. And so, each area has a different culture.

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: So, I think it's hard to define. There is an energy that you get from talking to your colleagues in person, from brainstorming in person, from doing forward planning in person. And I think that we will be better served when we are able to move the conversation from the kind of activity that you want to do in the office.

At the same time, I know that we are looking at the hybrid model, and the opportunity of teleworking, as a way to diversify our workforce. And to spread the economic benefits of federal employment, maybe to different parts of Canada to get talent that perhaps would not move to the National Capital Region, and I'm thinking particularly of our colleagues who come from Indigenous communities and the ability for them to stay anchored in their community, whether [or not] it's on a full-time basis.

So, I think those are elements that we have discovered. They're doable and possible, so we want to preserve them. But then, people that are teleworking will not be in the office at all. And so what is the fairness and it goes back to, again, being intentional. I'll leave it at that. Thank you.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Yes, thanks so much for that, Caroline. I really appreciate your point about taking a bit of a longer view, that two- or three-year horizon, and allowing ourselves the time to get into a rhythm so that we can start to see how this can work.

And I want to get back to your point about culture because that is incredibly important. But just to segue on where you just left off in terms of recruitment, and including a broader diversity of Canadians from different parts of the country into the public service. I'm wondering if you can say a little bit more about how GAC is looking at that, and how you ensure that there's a feeling of belonging in those teams when they may consist of people in a whole bunch of different places. And GAC would've had [laughs] tremendous experience with this over the years, not just because of the pandemic, but by the nature of your work. So how do we help people feel like they belong, even if not everyone is located in Ottawa?

Caroline Desrochers: You want me to go first, Courtney? Yes, you're absolutely right. But we've learned so much from the pandemic because there used to be our geo groups which are, the home division let's say, that's responsible for bilateral relationships with a country,

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: and our mission in that country would not necessarily plan things together. They would exchange emails and everything. But now with the pandemic, it's like those walls have gone down. And we have discovered that we are able to develop programming together to plan things, to do forward planning, brainstorming together, and to be on the same page. And so we are definitely keeping that one with us going forward.

But I think someone was asking about [instances where] there's some colleagues in person in Ottawa, and then a few colleagues dispersed around Canada, and is it okay to still do get-togethers with the colleagues that are in the same place, because you're leaving out people that are not there? And I think it should be okay to still have those relationships. That's my view. I'm happy to hear Uttara's and Jason's view on that, but you also have to have additional sorts of elements to bring the teams together. I think the IT is going to be very helpful as well, to facilitate that. Some managers are saying that if one person is not here, then we're all going to be on our computers. And I think you'll have to figure out what works for your team, what works for the team members. But I think it's important to find those moments, and be deliberate about incorporating, including, and keeping all the good things we learned over the past two years.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Thanks for that. I think what I'm hearing is it's not an "either/or" it's an "and" and it's figuring out how that's going to work in your specific context, because those human relationships are so incredibly important. I'll turn to Jason and then to Uttara, if you wanted to add this issue of when you have folks physically located in Ottawa and other folks located elsewhere, and how you bring people together. Go ahead, Jason.

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Jason Fox: I think one of the things that is different going forward is, and I think it applies to how we plan things. I think an important mindset shift has to be towards dynamic planning so that when we're planning for things, it's not so much about making things permanent, but making things focused in the moment to do the job that needs to be done.

So, what does  that have to do with recruitment? If I look back maybe three years ago, the model or the default setting for recruitment was, I'm hiring someone forever. Whereas now, I think what we want to try and implement in our planning is, I'm hiring a capability and the person has pathways to come and go into the organization, as opposed to a set thing that they're going to do forever. It's really implementing a dynamic mindset about the work itself, how the people interact with the work, and how they might accept the path that we give them, but also create their own path. And a lot of the jobs are changing so quickly that employees have a lot of autonomy to write their own ticket to a large degree, in terms of getting involved in projects and putting their hand up to participate in things. And some of these previously, if you weren't in the NCR, you might not have been able. You might not have been top of mind, or even considered for some of this. Whereas now, I think, Caroline, you mentioned that those things are now possible.

So, just the looking at the world as opportunities, as opposed to deficiencies, is really a mindset that I think, if we leverage and multiply it, can really change a lot of those things, slowly but surely.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Thanks for that, Jason. Uttara, did you have something you wanted to add on this?

Uttara Chauhan: So yes, I agree with my colleagues, but I'm also going to respectfully disagree because that's what makes debate and discussion fun [smiles].

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: I agree with the point of the notion of intentionality, and what I would use is the term collaboration equity. The equity between people who are in the office, [those who are] not in the office in Ottawa, [and those who are] not in Ottawa. Yes, we should be intentional as far as possible to try and make sure people feel included. Now, I'll give the example of my small team: half of us are in the NCR, half all over.

We also have a hybrid model. Our anchor day is Tuesday, where we have the NCR folks come in, but we have our hybrid meeting with our whole team, everybody. I also had an in-person planning retreat in September. I brought in everybody and it was phenomenal, because the whole dynamic, efficiency, riffing off of each other, that whole brainstorming dynamic cannot be replicated virtually. And virtually, we would've been exhausted. It was beautiful, we did some social events―.

So yes, do this as much as possible, but where I am going to disagree is on the notion of equity. Equity doesn't mean equality. Equity does not mean everybody gets the same experience all the time. Living outside, living far away from somewhere―and here I'm going to cite, for example, the policy function because that's where I come from. Parliament is in Ottawa. A lot of policy gets made in Ottawa because this is where ministers are. This is where national stakeholders are. I've grown up being in a room (by "grown up" I mean in the policy function), being in a room with ministers, ministers' staff, stakeholders, and a lot of learning happens in a room, or on the margins of a meeting.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Uttara Chauhan: I agree that we should incorporate regional perspectives from all over Canada in our policy work and all of our work and give opportunities. At the same time, I think we should be super clear that the person out in Vancouver may not get the same learning and development opportunities as the person in the NCR, and that's okay because they've made a choice. Choices have been made. I have somebody on my team that says, I made a choice to move away and I get it that I may not have the same experience as others. Maybe I'll move back to the NCR one day.

I think you have to be very careful, because, back to the point of everybody's experience has to be a hundred percent equal, well, no, it's not going to be, because jobs are different, functions are different, and some people have made choices. As long as we can get the maximum inclusion possible within the parameters, I think we're good. That's where I'm going to be maybe a bit controversial and colour a little bit outside the lines. Thanks.

Courtney Amo: It's important to do that, Uttara. And it's important to acknowledge that there are a wide diversity of jobs across the federal public service. And to your point, some of them are indeed best done in Ottawa and some of them can be done anywhere in the country. And so it is really important as, I think it was, Caroline, you were talking about the conversations that managers have to have around career development with employees, and being really clear about options and decisions, and what will be some of the likely implications of some of those choices.

Excellent. I want to dive in to this question of culture. Caroline spoke to it briefly. One of the questions that came through from participants is, and we can speak to culture a little bit more broadly as well, but I'll start with this more specific question around the danger that a hybrid environment creates of an "us versus them" culture.

So, the "us" being the folks who are physically in the office interacting together versus those who are outside of the office who are not privy to those daily interactions. And it comes back to Uttara's point about collaboration equity as being a factor at play here.

So, I'm wanting to hear you speak about this cultural issue of the us versus them, but also if you want to expand a little bit more broadly about what hybrid means for our organizational cultures more generally. So, Uttara, I see you nodding a bit here. Do you want to kick us off with this?

Uttara Chauhan: Sure. It's so interesting because this one talks to the notion of proximity bias. That's what I'm understanding here is that the folks that aren't in the office are somehow feeling that there's meetings, or decisions, or stuff going on, and they're not part of it. And especially if the manager is in the office, they're getting excluded. I think that's the understanding? So it goes back to leadership norms, intentional leadership and one more, but proximity bias. If you are a manager, and you have employees who work hybrid, who are in the office or not in the office, and work remotely, it is up to you to absolutely ensure that collaboration equity.

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: I would say, for example, if you have a hybrid meeting, and after the meeting's over and the camera goes off and you're in the room and you have a sidebar discussion that was very germane or material to the discussion, then that needs to get recorded and shared with the people who are off site and weren't party to that. We do that in some of our records of decision.

First of all, we like to maintain good hybrid meeting etiquette. I'm putting it out there that we developed at ESDC a guide on how to organize effective meetings in a flexible work environment. So whether it's a fully on-site hybrid, or fully virtual, there's a way. I mean, we can't do this organically, we have to be intentional about how we do meetings, so we have a guide.

One of the things is, do not have, where possible, all these sidebar discussions if you're not sharing that information with the people who are off site. So that's collaboration equity.

But I'm very intrigued. And the other thing is proximity bias for managers. If you are in the office and you see people all around, don't just go and give a task or an opportunity to the person you see in the office. Be very intentional about who you're giving tasks to, who you are giving opportunities to. Be enormously transparent with all of your team, no matter where they are. That's hugely important in building and maintaining trust.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Uttara Chauhan: On the other side of this, I don't actually like the binary that's being set up, the "us versus them," but it is very provocative, so I'll bite. What I've also been hearing in other fora is the notion that, there are many public sector jobs that must be done on site. There's just no opportunity for remote work, and it's the remote workers who are the centre of attention. And there's way too much talk about them, and they are more privileged because now they have the flexibility, versus the on-site workers who don't have that flexibility.

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: And then what about that? So I think that's an important thing. And we also must ensure that we don't want to set up two cultures within an organization, where one group of workers feel more privileged than the others in terms of their working conditions. I think we also need to be enormously sensitive to that.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Uttara Chauhan: But again, I will go back to my point about equity doesn't mean everything is equal. Working conditions should be good for everybody, regardless of their location of work. Thanks.

Courtney Amo: Thanks, Uttara. Over to you, Jason.

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Jason Fox: Thank you. So I think another dimension of this question that we see here is, how do we avoid this? And I think, part of the answer to that is not so much how do we avoid it, but how do we track what the actual impact of all this is?

So a question might be, does it actually make a difference? And if so, what does the difference look like, and does it, if people have different experiences, does it in fact create things that can't be overcome, or create things that don't have a mechanism to deal with it or to―? Uttara mentioned, like, the way that you take notes and your etiquette mitigates some of that. So it may just be simple mitigation.

And then the other thing that you said in your comments earlier has to do with the choices people are making. I think there's added variables now in terms of what is driving each individual's personal decisions about how much they work, what they want to do outside of work, and how that interaction happens. And some of this has a, I don't know if it's a cultural dimension, but it may have changed the level of importance of work or other things in their life vis-a-vis what they're doing on a daily basis.

I think that's another dimension of the us versus them. So I'll bite as well. I think that's an issue to better understand, but I think sometimes it has to do with things people choose to do, and then other times it's kind of like other people are choosing things that impact you [laughs], and then what's the dynamic between those?

I think the important thing though is to track the data on it, so that in the absence of data, we fill in our own data strategy with our perceptions of what's going on and attributing motivation to the people around us and kind of experiencing things in a certain way. So I think there's danger there, too, in not addressing it head on or talking about it up front. That's kind of how I think about that.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Yes, and to your point, Jason, I think if you add uncertainty into the mix and you don't have data, it can become even more challenging. Caroline, anything to add on the culture conversation?

Caroline Desrochers: Well, I feel like most of it was said, but I'll just add a little. This issue of proximity bias does come up a lot in the context of the conversations we have here. And it's mainly related, not so much, but it is partly on workload balance, and how work gets assigned, but a lot of it is on career development.

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: So, If I'm not here, I'm not going to get as many opportunities, I won't be included in the briefing, and all of that. And I think to that, there are perhaps some mitigating tips and tricks, and things that we can remind managers to be mindful of, and can you invite the contributor or the drafter of this to the briefing and things like that, particularly as many of these briefings are regularly online.

But also, going back to the point that was made earlier about choices, there is, and I want to word what I'm going to say carefully, but there is an employee responsibility as well. In terms of making sure you ask questions if you don't understand something because you're away somewhere else, and you may feel you're not benefiting from the full conversation. To go back to ask probing questions, to seek clarification. These are all things we're supposed to do anyway. In terms of raising your hand and saying, I actually would like a little bit more inclusion on this or on that, or saying, By the way, when you go and brief such person, could I be included?

So there's part of it, and I think the role of the manager in that is making sure to remind their team to do this, but to make that space for that as well. So, it can't all be on the managers [laughs] but it's a shared responsibility I think, in proximity and proximity bias.

And the other thing I would say is we've been talking a lot about empathy, and absolutely I think it's key now in these times, but again, it's not a thing that should only be with the managers. Employees also need to have empathy and sometimes it's been missing [laughs] because people have gone through very difficult situation in the past two years. And so anyway, I don't need to go further into that, but it's a shared responsibility, I think.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Absolutely. Thank you, Caroline. I'm seeing from the questions a few that relate to managers having to motivate their teams to come into the office for a set number of days.

[Courtney Amo appears full screen]

Courtney Amo: And part of that conversation is involving having to define what their organization means by hybrid, and certainly that can vary from organization to organization. But it's also involving having to motivate their staff, particularly for those who may be less in operational-type roles that would naturally require in person,  those who are working in areas that are more knowledge based. And so, managers are having to motivate their staff to come in and are possibly facing a certain amount of resistance.

I'm wondering what your advice is for those managers who are facing resistance beyond what we just talked about around empathy, and having open conversations, clarifying expectations and so forth. What else can managers do to face this challenge?

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: I'll maybe start with Jason, and then I'll go to Uttara and Caroline.

Jason Fox: Thank you and I feel lucky to be the first to answer this question. I also think that in this situation we can take the binary that we mentioned, the us vs. them, and apply it to managers as well; they can feel like they're in such situations, too.

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Jason Fox This is a bit of my personal opinion, but when we spend a lot of time with our employees convincing them why it's important to come to work, we're not necessarily having the right conversation. I think it's a conversation that you can't win. It's hard to convince someone of something where the person has a perception that has developed over the last two years. What I try to do in those situations is share with the employee what I feel, to explain―. When we talk about topics like productivity, we talk a little bit about how, at the individual level, we can have a perception of our ability to accomplish tasks, to finish our work, to "dot the 'i's" and to do our individual work. Where I find there's a lack of knowledge is really at the next level. If everybody is working at doing their jobs for the next three or five years, what is the empathy going to be toward our colleagues? How are we going to work together if we don't practise these things on a daily basis? I have kids too and I look at their experience in school. What will be the impact on informal learning on employees vis-à-vis their chances to observe others, to interact with them? That's kind of how I look at it.

I try not to engage in an activity of convincing people that I'm right and they need to come into the office. It's more exchanging my perspective as a manager; that I'm interested and I'm accountable for making sure everyone is individually productive, but I also have responsibilities that are beyond individuals, and I need to make sure that the team is cohesive. And then another layer above that, that the branch is cohesive, and that we're interacting with one another, and that the information is flowing not just in our team, but beyond our team, and to our clients, and to our stakeholders.

And I openly wonder what the data will tell us in two years about our capacity to network, our capacity to leverage friendships in the system, leverage people who are willing to help each other. I don't have the data for this, but I'm convinced that people who you know and who you've helped before are, if you ask them for help, more likely to say yes than if you have only emailed them.

Like I said, I don't have data for this. That would be my hypothesis. But I think that's another area of data that we have to live through, measure and observe, and then take stock of. It may not matter, I just don't know the answer yet. So I share that openly [laughs].

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: [um-hmm] Thanks so much for that, Jason. I think what you're saying about having open conversations about what we could be missing out on two, three years down the road in terms of cohesion, in terms of relationships, in terms of stakeholder relations and so on and so forth, and being open about those conversations, I think is really, really important.

Before I go over to you, Uttara, there's another question that came in that sort of ties into this.

So, managers having perhaps to try to convince some of their employees to come in, but other managers facing the added challenge of being in a physical location where local health authorities are suggesting additional COVID precautions are warranted. So having to balance the desire to start us down this hybrid path, with serious health concerns of employees. I'm wondering if you could add that dimension to your reflections on this.

Uttara Chauhan: Thanks. So, Jason, the question you are wondering about: Microsoft already did that study in 2020 with 61,000 workers who are working fully remotely.

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: And what they concluded and found out through that study was exactly what you surmised. The silos of your immediate team became deeper and entrenched, the weak ties, the ties with other parts of the enterprise, broke down.

Those weak ties are enormously important, not just in integrating our work across an enterprise, but things like job opportunities, networking, growth opportunities, those happen through weak ties, not your immediate team. And those broke down completely when everybody was working remotely. So that answer already exists in a very large study done by Microsoft.

But some people, like my team, have compiled a ton of research on the benefits of in person versus virtual, the risks, long-term risks. One cohort that I really am concerned about here is Gen Z and the newer hires, young public servants.

Getting to your point, there's not one culture, there's many cultures. But if I may say so, and be so bold to say, you can't learn culture from your bedroom. If you are a new public servant, how do you learn anything if you have never or will never have the chance to step into a room with your other colleagues, or step into an office, or have the chance ever to meet in person, to observe?

Gartner has done a lot of research, and Gen Z wants flexibility, but they also want the in-person experience―to network, to have pizza―for they're worried about their career development, and that can't always happen virtually. The onboarding―and for new hires, we are very, very mindful of that.

On the other hand, I would rather not wade into Health Canada's bailiwick. All I know is that we in the federal public service have some of the most stringent public health requirements on site compared to anything around us, whether they're provincial, municipal―the most stringent requirements. We are absolutely, at ESDC, very mindful of that. I'm in the office, we've got to wear masks if we're walking around and not seated at our workplace, we have all of that in place.

I can't speak for everybody else, but there are people who are coming into the office because their job requires them to do that, and we are enormously mindful of them. And of course, if the public health situation changes, of course our stance will be responsive to whatever the public health guidelines are. That's all I will add to that. Thanks.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: I appreciate that, Uttara. I'm watching the clock and I'm watching the questions come in, and I'm wondering, Caroline, if you'd be comfortable following me into this other question, just shifting gears a little bit, around how managers can combat the attrition of skilled employees.

Now, certainly this isn't something that is only an issue within the federal public service. It's a global issue. There's a global race for talent. I'm wondering what your thoughts might be in terms of how we deal with the potential of attrition as employees might be looking to different departments who've adopted different types of models.

Caroline Desrochers: It's a great question, and it's one that we have thought about long and hard because, obviously here, at Global Affairs, we are a department of relationships.

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: Whether they're trades trying to advance our commercial interests, trying to advance our bilateral interests, development assistance, consular, a lot of it is dealing with global crises. I was just talking to my colleague earlier today whom we were supposed to have lunch with, but she couldn't because she has to go deal with a crisis in the Americas.

So, I think we are a bit of a different department. Obviously, I know, everyone, please don't roll your eyes. I know we say this a lot [laughs] and then when this started and  even emails were received here in some areas to say, come and work for us. We go full time. And I'm like, Oh, no, we're going to lose all of our people.

So we were very, very mindful of, for example, for our corporate services, to have that extra flexibility and to say, You do what you need to do again to deliver on your mandate. You need to provide more flexibility to your team, to your employees, but at some point, and I hope my colleague Jason is listening―.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Caroline Desrochers: I think it's important to have a little bit of, I don't know. I'm scared to get Treasury Board guidance on this because we never want to have that. We want to have all the flexibility. But I think for certain categories of work, certain types of work, we know there's more. I'm thinking about my colleagues again. I'm thinking of my IT colleagues. It's so hard right now to recruit people and we need them because that's what's going to support our ability to move to a hybrid model in the right way, in a productive way.

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: So we need this flexibility. What is also needed is better data on our human resources, on personnel, because there is also the question of people going to other departments to get better data, shopping around.

But there's also the people who are maybe closer to retirement who are saying, Well, at this point, I'm so close, I might as well just go, and they bring their great skills to the private sector for the last five or seven or ten years of their career.

I think that's really something that we need to think about. And we need to have better access to data in order to have some foresight on these things. Right now, I know this is something that for my organization, it's a question that we ask a lot. Like, how many people do we think are going to leave the organization in the next three to five years? And it's not necessarily those foreign service officers who are going to go [inaudible] on posting. It's those very skilled workers that we need to keep.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Caroline Desrochers: Sorry, I know, Courtney, I didn't answer the question very specifically, but it's a tough one. It's a really tough one. And Jason is the one on the hook for that one. I'm joking![{laughs].

Courtney Amo: Well, I was just about to pass the ball to Jason, so thanks for that, Caroline. Jason?

Jason Fox: I would respond to that by saying another tip: Let's use the right lever for the right problem.

For example, maybe focus on principles rather than rules. It would probably be easy for someone like me to implement a directive to tell everyone what not to do, but it may not incentivize the right behaviour in the system, or it may close off opportunities for people to rethink how they do recruitment.

For example, you mentioned the IT group. I'm aware of my colleagues in the Chief Information Officer [Office] who are rethinking how they're doing recruitment for IT and taking a different approach. And then sometimes these issues require horizontal collaboration as opposed to every department continuing to work in their small sphere of influence. So, I think rules when needed, but not necessarily rules.

I appreciate what you're saying, though. I do hear that, and that's one of the things that we want to be able to use evidence for, is to really have a data-based approach to what is required at the enterprise level, versus what would be convenient.

When we put rules across the system, we want to make sure that they're actually doing the thing that they're supposed to, and that they're not having unintended consequences and not incentivizing the culture that we want to have in place.

If the culture is collaboration and strategic recruitment, sometimes we can do something that incentivizes hoarding your culture, hoarding your talent, as opposed to sharing it and growing it.

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Jason Fox: So, that's how I would―. I know, you put me on the spot, and I'm not angry about it [laughs], but again, it's a back and forth. I guess what it's rooted in is that on the ground phenomenon where people are leaving.

So what do we do about it? What's the right lever, and what do we do in the short term? What could we do right now, and then again, three years down the road? What is the solution on a scalable, feasible basis that really gives results?

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Jason Fox: I don't know if that's an answer but it's more of an additional perspective to think about, to consider.

Courtney Amo: Yes, I think that's a very good thought, Jason. We're almost at the end of our session together. We could easily continue to talk about the different themes that we've already raised or the other questions that have come up. What I would say to the participants is to encourage you to continue to have these conversations during the Symposium but also with your fellow managers, because we are in an extraordinary moment. We are all part of the change that is taking place.

So, just encouraging everyone to continue the conversation. We are all part of this change, and we all have a role to play. In closing, I'd like to give an opportunity for our panellists to share any final quick words of wisdom that they would like to share with the participants. Uttara, over to you.

[Uttara Chauhan appears full screen]

Uttara Chauhan: Thanks, Courtney. Thanks to my colleagues Jason and Caroline. It was a pleasure to be here. It's been a great conversation.

As I mentioned already, be curious, stay open minded, have courage.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Uttara Chauhan: It's a very exciting time right now. And those four norms have a growth mindset.

Be kind to yourself. Empathy is about not just others, but to yourself. It's a learning experience. As my colleagues have said, we don't know where it's going, but it's very exciting. We all have the opportunity to make this successful.

I guess what I'll do is I'll quote Gandhi and say, Be the change that you want to see in the world. Embrace it, and make it a success, because only you can.

That's it for me. Thank you!

Courtney Amo: Thank you very much! Caroline?

[Caroline Desrochers appears full screen]

Caroline Desrochers: Yes, thank you so much Courtney, Uttara, Jason, and also to the Canada School of Public Service for the opportunity. These are really such important conversations. What I would say before I leave is, I don't want to repeat everything Uttara has already said, so I'll just leave you with, Don't underestimate your role and the impact that you have on your team. You often think that all people are looking at the director general, the DM or the ADM, but really people think about your employees. They think about what you said to them, they go home, they think about it. What did she mean? What did he mean? Was he mad with me? Is he not happy with my performance? And so, your impact on your team is so important and don't underestimate that. And I think in these times it's even more true.

So, I'll leave you with that. Thank you.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Let's give Jason the last word.

[Jason Fox appears full screen]

Jason Fox: Thank you. I know that you wanted me to talk a little bit about the baseline service. I'll end with a kind of a plug for data, really.

You know, I learned a lot today from the session. I work in this field every day and I still learn every day from other colleagues. And every day or two there's new articles coming out, so really, treat it as a learning exercise for yourself and be open to looking at these different perspectives and consider the data that we collected in terms of the Treasury Board's Hybrid in a Box. Like I said, there's 11 departments participating, and their results will be available, I believe, in the upcoming fall when there'll be a report [issued]. The survey itself won't be shared because it's part of a methodology, but the results will be shared in the coming month or months.

I'm looking forward to reading it myself. And then take stock of where you're at. You make your corrections, and then again, you just start at the new beginning. That's it.

[Courtney Amo, Uttara Chauhan, Jason Fox and Caroline Desrochers appear in video chat panels]

Courtney Amo: Excellent. Thank you so much, Jason, Uttara, Caroline, and thanks to all the participants for your engagement and for providing questions to support this conversation.

[Courtney Amo appears full screen. Text on screen "Browse the Learning Catalogue!; It includes courses, events and other learning tools; Visit; Consultez le catalogue d'apprentissage!; Il vous propose des cours, des événements et des outils d'apprentissage; Visitez"]

Courtney Amo: A reminder that there's more to come on this topic under the Hybrid Workplace Series of events at the National Managers' Symposium and we encourage you to visit the School's website to keep up to date and register for all future learning opportunities. Also, a reminder that the recording of today's session will be made available in the days following the event. So if you were having to step away or if you want to share this with other colleagues, you'll have access to it. Thank you all very much. Have a great day!

[The video chat fades to CSPS logo]

[The Government of Canada Logo appears and fades to black.]

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