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Objective 6

Enhance career development and mobility opportunities for administrative and support staff


McGill aims to be continually recognized among Canada’s Best 100 employers.1

Alignment of institutional goals with individual career goals and objectives is necessary for supporting McGill’s academic mission.


McGill already employs a highly qualified administrative and support staff. Advances in professional development and identification among Canada’s best employers have resulted in a concerted focus on talent management and professional and career development.

McGill’s Employment Equity Policy, which was identified as priority in Strengths and Aspirations (2006), was approved by Senate and by the Board of Governors in May and June 2007, respectively.2

McGill Human Resources (HR) has initiated programs for building capacity and accountability throughout the organization through peer advisory programs that share in best practices and cross-fertilization.

Human Resources (HR) and the Academic Personnel Office (APO) have piloted developmental programs for Academic Leaders based on components of the Leadership Development Program and best practices at other institutions.


Work Force Planning (WFP), a major SRI project under the direction of the VP (A&F) and the AVPHR, will require considerable effort and effective communication for successful implementation.

McGill loses a number of our management category (M-Staff) employees befor they have completed five years on the job.  (HR Presentation: “Career Development for M’s: A Shared Responsibility”) This trend undermines the provision of continuous and excellent support for professors, students and other staff.

Action 6.0.1: HR will undertake careful quantitative and qualitative analyses of those who leave McGill by means of systematic exit surveys and by working with supervisory staff our HR professionals will develop mechanisms for the “early detection” of skilled individuals who may be thinking of leaving the University but who would be difficult to replace.3

While there are many excellent programs that exist, these HR initiatives appear not to have been well communicated to many employees. (Career Development Work Group; Management Forum)

Action 6.0.2: HR and the APO will develop appropriate communications tools to communicate the message to staff about opportunities for career development or about the provision of services. (Career Development Work Group)

Strategy 6.1: McGill will Identify and promote organizational and cultural values that support a career development program that aligns individual and institutional goals in support of our academic mission. (Career Development Work Group, Restatement of Strengths and Aspirations Objective VI Strategies and Actions)

Action 6.1.1: Create, through broad consultation, a uniform set of cultural values and management and leadership principles that are central to career development and ensure that these activities are applied consistently across all administrative and academic units.

Strategy 6.2: McGill will implement career development for administrative and support staff which recognizes talent management and takes productive advantage of the partnership among the University, the manager, and the individual. (AVPHR, Career Development Work Group) 4

Action 6.2.1: Maintain and enrich a plan for career development and skill development and competencies required to maintain McGill’s competitive edge.5 (AVPHR, Career Development Work Group) 

Strategy 6.3: McGill will retain and attract a talented and diverse work force of administrative and support staff employees supported through suitable professional preparation and dynamic career development.

Action 6.3.1: Maximize chances of retention and career success for current employees through effective orientation, updating, and mentoring programs and a structured transparent process for talent identification and development. (Associate Provost [Academic Personnel and Strategic Initiatives], AVPHR, Career Development Work Group)

Action 6.3.2: Maximize chances of retention and career success for new hires through effective on-boarding, orientation and mentoring programs. (AVPHR, Career development Work Group)

Action 6.3.3: Ensure that all policies, processes, procedures, and practices foster diversity and equity in access to career development and training.  (Associate Provost - Academic Personnel and Strategic Initiatives; AVPHR)

Strategy 6.4: McGill will strengthen the link between University, unit, and individual priorities in ways that draw on and utilize local experience, including practices and processes in academic and administrative units. (AVPHR; Career Development Work Group)

Action 6.4.1: Recognize the distinct roles of the Academic Personnel Office (APO) and the HR office and coordinate their different, but in many instances, related approaches; ensure that the community is aware of the programs.

Action 6.4.2: Recognize and utilize more effectively the inter-relationships between and among academic unit, administrative units, and HR offices.

Action 6.4.3: Develop implementation mechanism for the “Work Force Planning Project” that reflect University and unit priorities and the need for succession planning.

Strategy 6.5: McGill will improve communications about career development and job development opportunities.

Action 6.5.1: Identify and use feedback from client groups to develop, implement, and enhance an effective communications strategy (Career Development Work Group).

Action 6.5.2: The administration will ensure that an appropriate communications strategy is in place to inform the McGill community about existing and planned career development, skills development and job development opportunities.

Action 6.5.3: Institute an annual process for measuring and reporting on progress with associated communications strategies.

Action 6.5.4: Implement Recruitment to Retirement (R2R) Project to improve and automate processes pertaining to administrative and support staff management. (CIO, HR, APO)

3 Carried forward from Strengths and Aspirations:

Objective VI: McGill will offer opportunities for professional development and growth and create a work environment conducive to enhanced productivity and improved job satisfaction for all personnel—administrative, secretarial, technical and clerical

Strategy VI.1: McGill will work in a variety of ways to improve working the working conditions and professional development opportunities and support staff . . . . (Strategy VI.1)

Action VI.1.2: McGill will support its employees to achieve new processes and outcomes in our renewed focus on serve and communicate them to that there contribution is valued.

4 AVPHR indicates submissions in response to request for feedback to ASAP 2012 objectives, submitted on 6 July 2011).

5In this context, career development is defined as “a strengths-based approach to learning and growth that is a co-responsibility of employee and supervisor acting to fulfil the employee’s highest potential and professional aspirations.” Senge, P.M. (2006).The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday. Career development also refers to a system that offers employees the opportunity to envision a desirable career path as a way to achieve job satisfaction, motivation and well-being. Job development refers to positions in which individuals define or expand areas of responsibility and acquire additional skills. (Miner, A.S, & Estler. (1985). Accural mobility: Job mobility in higher education through responsibility accrual. Journal of Higher Education 56,2; 121-143.; Miner, A.S, (1987). Idiosyncratic jobs in formalized organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly 32,3: 327-351.