News & Developments


November: Excellence Canada recognizes McGill

On November 4, McGill University earned a Silver certification in the Healthy Workplace category as part of the 37th Canada Awards for Excellence. Excellence Canada hands out the annual awards to Canadian organizations in recognition of their commitment to continual improvement and pursuit of excellence. Check out the McGill Reporter article to learn more.

July: McGill Launches the Second Healthier Together Challenge

This summer challenge invites McGill Staff, Faculty, Alumni and their families to Push Past the Pandemic and compete against McMaster University and each other! Organized into teams of 4 or more, participants track their physical activity to help their team advance along a virtual racecourse. For this challenge, you can create your own team and invite family, friends and colleagues to join the fun. This summer challenge offers weekly mini challenges to support your overall well-being such as getting creative, spending time outside, practicing relaxation techniques, and more. For more information view the Push Past the Pandemic Challenge video

June: My Healthy Workplace Supports a Healthy Return to Campus

In preparation for the Return to Campus, My Healthy Workplace worked closely with the Office of the Associate Vice-Principal in Human Resources (Diana Dutton), the Emergency Operations Centre (Sarah Delisle), Integrated Strategy and Planning (Susan Murley), and the New Model of Work Project Office (Lisa Boyle) to present sessions on the resumption of in-person activities in order to ensure a healthy return to the workplace and to share resources for supporting staff mental health. 

May: My Healthy Workplace Presents to MUNASA 

On May 12, members of the My Healthy Workplace team were invited to present a session called "Partnering for a Healthier Workplace" to the members of the McGill University Non-Academic Staff Association (MUNASA). A copy of the presentation can be found here

May: My Healthy Workplace Launches the My Healthy Workplace Quiz

In May, My Healthy Workplace launched the My Healthy Workplace Quiz to further heighten community awareness of the initiative. Take the quiz here

May: McGill Mental Health Week, May 3 - 9

This year's theme for Mental Health Week is to "Name it, Don't Numb It". Under the umbrella of My Healthy Workplace, Organizational Development and the Health and Well-Being Program are partnering to bring you the activities listed below to support you and your teams towards improved mental health:

Monday, May 3rd

Just Breathe McGill

Tuesday, May 4th

Anxiety Busters! Tips and Techniques to Support you

Wednesday, May 5th

  • Food and Mood
  • Coaching Ourselves: Hope at Work
  • Boundary Bootcamp

Thursday, May 6th

  • Changing How We See Mental Illness
  • Just Breathe McGill
  • Crafting Resilience

Friday, May 7th

  • LinkedIn Learning Course Club: Well-Being in the Workplace
  • Burnout Prevention

April: My Healthy Workplace Presents to the Health and Safety Committee

On April 26, members of the My Healthy Workplace team delivered a session about the importance of psychological safety and its relationship to a healthy and safe workplace to the University Health and Safety Committee.

April: My Healthy Workplace Launches the First Online Essential Skills for New McGill Supervisors Program

On April 1, My Healthy Workplace invited new McGill supervisors to participate in the first online cohort for the Essential Skills for New McGill Supervisors Program.

February: McGill Launches the Healthier Together Challenge

From February to April 2021, McGill's Health and Well-Being Program (HR Benefits) partnered with the Comprehensive Health Improvement Program (CHIP) to launch the "Healthier Together Challenge", where more than 400 McGill Staff and Faculty challenged each other to learn healthier habits and increase their physical activity. Read more about the challenge and the testimonies here.


December: My Healthy Workplace Launches the Care Calendar

My Healthy Workplace celebrates the holiday and end of the year by launching its Care Calendar.

October: McGill Holds a Virtual Health Fair for Faculty and Staff

On October 29, McGill's Health and Well-Being Team from Benefits launched its 10th annual health fair virtually for staff and faculty. Read more about the virtual health fair here.


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June: Going for Silver - My Healthy Workplace Conducts a Self-Assessment

As part of My Healthy Workplace's journey towards Excellence Canada's Silver Certification, My Healthy Workplace invited the My Healthy Workplace Working Group to participate in a self-assessment.

May: My Healthy Workplace Brings LinkedIn Learning to Administrative and Support Staff

My Healthy Workplace is excited to announce that it is launching LinkedIn Learning to all Administrative and Support Staff.


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March: My Healthy Workplace Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, My Healthy Workplace is offering online sessions to support the health and well-being of the McGill community. 

March: My Healthy Workplace Ambassador Launches the CURE Foundation fundraiser

A My Healthy Workplace Ambassador organizes a fundraiser for the CURE Foundation.

February: A Spin Bike Garden is now available on 680/688 Sherbrooke

A spin bike garden is approved for 680/688 Sherbrooke.

January: McGill Joins the Conference Board of Canada's Council on Workplace Health and Wellness

McGill University becomes a member of the Conference Board of Canada's Council on Workplace Health and Wellness, a network of medium- and large-sized Canadian public and private sector organizations that are currently involved in the development, implementation and monitoring of internal workplace health and wellness strategies.


December: Learning Communities are Making a Difference

My Wellness-centered Workplace and My Quality Workplace went to bat with Yves Beauchamp, pitching the Sponsor of MHW and VP A&F on important projects involving continuous improvement and psychological safety in the workplace. According to participants, “it was like preaching to the converted. Professor Beauchamp unquestionably believes in the value of these developments and wants to see concrete next steps realized in the New Year. “What an amazing and highly stimulating journey for all of us”, said one participant. “We are grateful to have been pioneers in these learning communities, and really want to encourage others to apply next spring.” The plan is to retain approximately half of the volunteers in the five learning communities in 2020/21, and to recruit new members to ensure continuity and new opportunities for employees and for the University.

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November: MHW Learning Communities Making Headway

Learning Community members were on fire on November 27th when three teams presented to VP Yves Beauchamp the current state of their proposals and sought his input. The climate was engaging, forward looking - with a shared understanding of what matters to employees and to the senior administration. Themes related to learning & development (My Engaged Workplace), to paperless offices (My Sustainable Workplace), and to client service standards and practices (My Service-Oriented Workplace). Participants were delighted by the level of engagement displayed by the VP and the action oriented questions and suggestions he put forth. Exclaimed one participant, “The VP’s interest and engagement during our meetings was evident and appreciated by all of us! His expressed commitment to help us promote our Learning Communities has encouraged us to move forward with continued purpose and enthusiasm!"

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May: Five My Healthy Workplace Learning Communities Meet the Dragon's Den

On May 7th, My Healthy Workplace (MHW) learning community (LC) members participated in an official launch with Sponsor VP Yves Beauchamp. Three MHW Working Group members – Francois Miller, Susan Murley and Anna Vrontakis acted as a Dragons’ Den Panel. Each of the 5 Learning Communities pitched MHW Sponsor and inspiring Dragons on workplace improvement initiatives that they would like to help develop and implement in the coming year. Substantive and exciting ideas were presented and valuable feedback was provided to help inform the next steps. Learning Communities will continue to meet monthly to advance proposals for working meetings in late Fall with MHW Sponsor.

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May: Mental Health Week, May 6 - 12

This year's Mental Health Week at McGill featured thirteen events to raise awareness about mental health and provide employees with knowledge and tools to support their own and their colleagues’ mental health. Organizational Development and the Health and Well-being team organized the following events:

Monday, May 6th

CoachingOurselves: Beyond Bullying

Tuesday, May 7th

Boost your Health Series: Find Balance from Within

Wednesday, May 8th

Mental Health Matters;

Lunch & Learn: Prevention - Avoiding Burnout;

Boost your Health Series: Human Nature 101 - What the science of psychology has taught us about everyday life;

Lunch & Learn: Self-care - Your First Priority

Thursday, May 9th

Mental Health Matters

Boost your Health Series: Mental Health in the Workplace

Friday, May 10th

Lunch & Learn: Self-care - Your First Priority

Boost your Health Series: Clearing your Debt

CoachingOurselves: Managing Time and Energy (Macdonald Campus)

Lunch & Learn: Self-care - Your First Priority

Mental Health First Aid (2-day workshop: May 10th & May 13th)

April: Launch of Learning Organization Survey

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March: MHW at MFORUM

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February: MHW at McGill's Employee Service Fair at Macdonald Campus

On February 5th, 2019, members of the My Healthy Workplace team visited Macdonald Campus to participate in the Employee Service Fair.

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January: MHW at McGill's Employee Service Fair

My Healthy Workplace joined other exhibitors at the annual employee service fair held at Le James Bookstore on January 31, 2019. Members of the My Healthy Workplace team were on hand to answer questions and to explain the many ways employees can get involved in supporting a Healthy Workplace at McGill.  


December: My Healthy Workplace presents to the Advisory Council on Sustainability

Members of the My Healthy Workplace team presented to McGill’s Advisory Council on Sustainability. The presentation included specific information on one of the MHW Learning Communities, My Sustainable Workplace. This group of McGill employees is forming and will focus on issues related to supporting greater sustainability at McGill, and finding solutions to inefficient and unsustainable processes and practices here at McGill. The learning communities proposals are expected to be presented to the MHW Sponsor, Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance, Yves Beauchamp by the end of 2019.

November: LDP Reunion and My Healthy Workplace

Approximately 100 Leadership Development Program grads attended a session to network and explore ways to get involved to support the My Healthy Workplace initiative in order to improve the workplace for all McGill employees.

October: Call to Action & Next Steps: My Healthy Workplace!

Dear colleagues,
It has been a few months since my last note regarding My Workplace. As we begin the new academic year, it is my great pleasure to share some significant updates about the next phase of this important initiative, and to invite you to get involved.
This initiative is one of the Principal’s five priorities: enhancing the quality of work life through employee engagement and learning, supported by meaningful programs, policies and processes that make McGill a thriving Learning Organization.
To guide us in this journey, we are now working with Excellence Canada, a non-profit group, to assess ourselves against a rigorous scorecard and see how we measure up with respect to people management, employee engagement, process and risk management. They will also help us build new concrete initiatives to address any gaps, and their strict methodology will ensure that we are held accountable for becoming the healthy workplace that we aspire to be.
We renamed the initiative “My Healthy Workplace” (MHW) to more fully reflect its holistic approach to enhancing our workplace. MHW is McGill’s active commitment to providing a healthy, safe and productive environment for employees, based on respect, inclusivity, continuous learning and appreciation – the values we have heard are most important to you.
MHW, while located within HR’s Organizational Development function, is in fact a grouping of partners from across McGill with learning communities where we can learn together, refine programs and services and partner for a healthy workplace. Its success will hinge upon broad employee participation, consultation and feedback. I urge you to find out more and get involved in some of the initiatives below:  
• Join one of the learning communities that will chart MHW’s way forward.  
• Sign up to become an MHW ambassador in your faculty or unit.  
• Volunteer as a peer coach or facilitator.  
• Invite MHW to your faculty or unit to engage with your teams around learning and wellness in your work environment.  
• If you have a proposal that could help make McGill a better place to work or study, share it with us via the Great Ideas Pipeline. • Send us a transformational question that gets to the heart of how we can best work together.  
This integrated and sustainable approach to a healthy workplace engages employees from across the University. So please, take advantage of one or more of these opportunities. Let us show our enthusiasm, commitment to a healthy community, and our unique talents and perspectives!  
Many thanks,  
Yves Beauchamp Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance

September: My Healthy Workplace is Coming to You!

Becoming a learning organization includes being a healthy workplace and it is linked to one of the Principal’s top five priorities. Our transformational journey is well underway, and we want to hear from you! What does a healthy workplace look like to you? What have you or your unit done to encourage a healthy workplace? Our interactive roadshows are in full swing, and we’ve learned so much from them already. Contact your Human Resources Advisor and find out when our roadshow will stop at your location! Come and ask us questions, give us your ideas and get involved! 

May: Mental Health Week, May 7 - 13

HR’s Health & Well-being Program presents three Boost Your Health Events:

Yoga in the Park: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 (12:15 - 1:15). HR’s Organizational Development and Health & Well-being Program for Faculty & Staff invites you to an open-air yoga class on the lower main campus. Nature and yoga go hand in hand; it’s all about disconnecting from the distractions of daily life. So, why not take a mental health lunch break and let some sunshine in. Grab your yoga mat and join us as we practice balancing body, mind and spirit. 

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? Wednesday, May 9, 2018 (12:15 - 1:15). Conflict is inevitable and handling difficult situations in everyday life can be tough. How well do you cope? Clinical psychologist, Dr. Camillo Zacchia presents an informative and entertaining discussion on the causes of anger and frustration and how to deal with them. 

Sleep & Stress: The Importance of Sleep for Mental and Physical Health: Friday, May 11, 2018 (12:15 - 1:15). Are you sleep-deprived? Burning the candle at both ends? Join Dr. Norbert Schmitz discusses how lack of sleep can affect you and shows why good sleep habits are necessary for improving your health. 

Organizational Development, HR presents two Lunch & Learn Sessions:

Mental Health Matters: Monday, May 7, 2018 (12:00 - 1:15). One in five Canadians will experience mental health concerns at some point during their working years. A healthy workplace starts with increasing awareness – and reducing the stigma around mental health matters. This session provides an introduction to the complex issue of mental health in the workplace. Come learn about mental well-being, mental illness and stress, risk factors, behaviours to look out for, and the importance of early intervention. 

Mindfulness in the Workplace: Thursday, May 10, 2018 (12:00 - 1:15). Simple changes in lifestyle can lead to improved mental health and wellbeing. Mindfulness is one such practice—with strong research supporting its usefulness for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or even just daily stress. Come find out more during this lunch hour session.

April: Catalyst Awards Celebrate McGill's Sustainability Leaders

Read the article in The Reporter.

April: MUNACA Joins Family Days

This spring, MUNACA opted to join the Family Days pilot project launched in January 2018. Read the article in The Reporter.

April: LEAN Optimization Projects: Financial Services

This spring, the following Financial Services units took part in LEAN Optimization Projects: The Controller Office, Research Financial Management Services, Procurement Services, and Student Accounts.

Targeted areas of improvement included reducing the cycle time of financial processes, such as new fund and student refund requests, and enhancing new employee onboarding. 

View the PowerPoint presentations below for full workshop details:

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January: Family Days

Dear colleagues,
It is our pleasure to announce that Human Resources and My Workplace have launched a Family Days pilot project, whereby employees in the M and Excluded category may use up to three of their nine paid sick days to care for sick children, spouses, parents, grandparents or siblings, even when the employees themselves are not ill. The intent is to provide more flexibility to help you meet your family obligations – a great many of us have loved ones to care for, and we believe that this initiative will help you do this more easily.
Participation in the Family Days pilot project was offered to all employee groups with members who have access to paid sick days. So far, unions have declined to include their members in this pilot project, though McGill remains open to including them should this change. In the meantime, Family Days will remain available to M and Excluded staff from January 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019, at which time the success of the pilot will be reviewed. For more information, please consult the Family Days FAQ.
We would like to express our thanks to the My Workplace and Human Resources teams for bringing this initiative to fruition.
My Workplace and Next Steps
The Family Days idea was adapted from an employee submission to the Great Ideas Pipeline, a My Workplace innovation that invites all staff to propose ideas for making McGill a better place to work or study. If you would like to pitch a great idea of your own, we invite you to take advantage of this tool as well.
My Workplace is gearing up for a new phase, with new exciting initiatives to come. In the meantime, we remind you that My Workplace has already helped launch new staff tuition discounts, a successful staff mentoring pilot project, an inventory of tools for resolving workplace conflicts, learning circles focused on building supervisory skills, and much more. We are excited to see what new successes lie ahead in 2018 and beyond.
Best regards,
Yves Beauchamp                                                                                            Diana Dutton
Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance                                             Interim Associate Vice-Principal, Human Resources


March: A Message from VP Yves Beauchamp RE: My Workplace - Preliminary Survey Results

Dear colleagues,

Since my arrival at McGill, as I get to know many of the people who support its mission, I’m consistently impressed by your skill, your dedication and your enthusiasm for making things better.

That desire for continuous improvement is the driving force behind My Workplace – a laboratory for grassroots ideas like our mentoring program for new staff, which was proposed by employees and implemented last year. It sparked the Great Ideas Pipeline, which invites all employees to pitch any clever proposal, great or small. Acting on your feedback, the My Workplace team has also helped arrange new tuition discounts for staff, created a step-by-step guide for resolving workplace conflicts, and worked on a wide range of other initiatives. Thanks to you, today we have hard data that shows this work is bearing fruit.

Measuring our impact

Back in 2015 we surveyed you about the McGill employee experience, and just a few weeks ago we did so again. The purpose was to determine if, in the 20 intervening months, these initiatives had made a difference to you. 

Both surveys featured the same 25 questions, and incredibly we’ve seen improvements on 24 of them. Only one question saw a decline – of just 0.01 points on a five-point scale. Culture change is a long and gradual process. While many of the improvements are quite significant, some are small – increases of a few percentage points, some of which may even be attributable to chance. My key takeaway is that you have told us that we’re moving clearly and measurably in the right direction.

On a scale of one to five, we asked how much you agreed or disagreed with statements about working at McGill. Nearly 1,200 of you took the time to respond a few weeks ago. Here is a summary of what you told us:

  • In 2015, 45% of you agreed (choosing a score of 4 or 5) that “At McGill, employees enjoy a positive work climate.” On this latest survey, that number rose to 56% – and just 9% disagreed (choosing a 1 or a 2), with 35% responding neutrally (choosing a 3).
  • In 2015, 51% of you disagreed that McGill employees are “empowered to find better ways of doing things.” Today that number is down to 42% – that’s still far too high, but clear progress is being made.
  • Those numbers mirror the improvement on another question – in 2015, 51% of you disagreed that “voicing different opinions is welcome in the McGill workplace,” and that number is now down to 42% as well.
  • We also asked whether good ideas have a clear path to implementation – last time, 38% of you said they didn’t. Now, that number is down to 29%.

A full overview of the preliminary results can be found here.  Taken individually, these percentages are not spectacular – far too many employees tell us there is still work to be done. My Workplace will not fix all our concerns or eliminate all of the red tape, but these survey results indicate that your feedback has directly triggered changes that are starting to make your work life better. In large organizations, culture is heavy and vast, and it takes enormous effort to shift. Once momentum is gained, progress can happen quickly.

What happens next?

These gains are promising but they are also fragile. I assure you of my commitment as My Workplace sponsor – stewarding this initiative as one of Principal Fortier’s five key priorities, and doing all I can to see that its goals are achieved.

In the coming weeks, we will analyze your feedback more deeply and post the complete survey results on the My Workplace website, just as we did for the 2015 survey. The data will be used to shape the next phase of My Workplace, building on the momentum we have already achieved. We may call on you again – for feedback, ideas or more direct participation in future projects.

Until then, thank you once again for making time for our survey, and for helping us make McGill a better place to work, learn and get things done.

Best regards,

Yves Beauchamp
Vice-Principal (Administration & Finance)

February: A Message from VP Administration and Finance Yves Beauchamp

Dear colleagues,

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who’ve taken a few minutes out of your busy days to complete the My Workplace Learning Organization Survey. My Workplace is one of the Principal’s five key priorities, and from its very beginning, your feedback has built and guided its efforts to make McGill a true learning organization.

I am personally committed to seeing McGill achieve this goal, and hearing your views through the Survey gives us all an honest look at what’s going well (or not so well) as we work toward it. Your input will show us where we’re making progress, direct our priorities, and help make McGill a more engaging and learning-oriented place to work for all of us.

If you haven’t had a chance to complete the survey yet, it’s not too late. Take the 5-minute survey before it closes at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. 

Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance

January: Workplace Survey

Dear Colleagues,

The My Workplace team is following up on its ongoing commitment to gather meaningful feedback from the McGill community and report concretely and transparently on our collective progress toward transforming the McGill workplace into a true learning organization.  To build on and compare the results we gathered in the spring of 2015, we have launched the second iteration of the Learning Organization Survey.  We need to know: are you more empowered to make meaningful decisions at work, and find better ways of doing your job? Do you have the support you need to grow as an employee? And within your team, do great ideas get implemented – no matter who came up with them – or do bureaucracy and the fear of failure get in the way?

The My Workplace team wants to hear about your work experience at McGill. Fill out this anonymous five-minute survey, and we’ll use your responses to compare with previous results and assess our progress – how good we are at learning, working together and trying new things. We’ll sort through the data and identify what’s going well (or not so well), and over the coming months, we’ll prioritize those areas you help us identify in the Survey that will have the greatest impact on McGill’s progress toward becoming a more engaging and learning-oriented place to work.

My Workplace is all about taking a step back, looking at why we do the things we do, and continually improving the way we work. That might mean eliminating unnecessary paperwork, cutting wait times for students, enhancing our skillsets as supervisors or employees, or learning to embrace the risks that always come with great new ideas. And it's important enough to rank among Principal Fortier's top five priorities because, with our limited financial resources, we just can’t afford to overlook the insights of our smart, dedicated workforce. No one knows your job better than you do. Take the Survey and tell us how we can help you make it better.

Thanks in advance,

- The My Workplace Team

January: My Workplace Update

Dear colleagues,

We hope you’ve had a relaxing holiday filled with family, friends and good memories. As we launch into 2017, we thought we’d update you on some of the things the My Workplace team worked on last year.

  • McGill’s new Staff Mentoring pilot project included some 70 employees, and from what they’ve told us so far, it sounds like it’s making a real difference. The end of June will mark the one-year anniversary of the program and the end of the pilot phase. At that time, we hope to be able to widen the initiative so that many more employees who want a McGill mentor can find one.
  • We helped secure big staff discounts for many professional development courses at the School of Continuing Studies and the Executive Institute, and we’re thrilled to see many taking advantage of them.
  • The Office of the Provost coordinated training for new academic administrators, aimed at giving them the supervisory skills they need to manage their teams effectively. The first cohort completed their training last summer, and more training is being offered throughout the year.
  • We’re also launching a new pilot program to enhance supervisory skills for “M”-level staff who supervise. Our pilot group is set to launch later this month in a program that combines structured learning sessions with peer-supported learning/coaching circles. If all goes well, we hope to make this program mandatory for every employee who oversees the staff.
  • The Great Ideas Pipeline remains open and we are continuing to work on the ideas already submitted by the community. Take a look at the online list of ideas submitted and our progress on implementing them.
  • We worked with Human Resources to build an inventory of ways you can resolve workplace conflicts, to help employees in difficult situations learn their rights, their responsibilities and the best ways to resolve disputes.
  • We lent employees a hand with a wide range of unit-specific projects – from smarter expense reports to streamlined hiring processes and more.

Get a full list of our projects online. All of these initiatives stemmed directly from what you told us – in our My Workplace survey, in discussion groups, in hallways around McGill and elsewhere. We’re proud of the achievements above and we couldn’t have made such great progress without the collaboration of fantastic individuals and project teams from across the University. We look forward to building on these great gains in 2017.

Stay tuned as you’ll be hearing from us again later this month as we invite you to take part in the second My Workplace survey – a tool we use to concretely and transparently measure our collective progress toward becoming a true learning organization as well as to gather feedback from the community on what our priorities should be going forward. Until then, we wish you a happy, healthy and productive New Year.

All the best in 2017!

- The My Workplace Team


October: Reporter Article on Celebrating Initiatives Across our Campuses

It was a busy summer across our two campuses and we’re off to an exciting start to the new academic year. Units and teams across McGill have made great progress on a whole slew of projects bringing positive change to the McGill workplace.

Read the complete article on the McGill Reporter website. 

August: Reporter Article on New Tuition Discounts for McGill Staff

Starting this fall, McGill employees will enjoy tuition discounts on more professional development courses and seminars than ever before. For years, McGill’s Educational Assistance Policy has guaranteed free tuition to all regular full-time administrative and support staff, for-credit courses taken toward a degree, diploma or certificate program. But some of our finest professional development offerings are non-credit courses and standalone seminars not covered by the Policy. Last year, through a survey and a series of discussion groups, employees reached out to the My Workplace team with concerns about this gap, noting that for some staff, tuition costs risked putting these courses out of reach.

Read the complete article on the McGill Reporter website. 

June: Summer Update

We hope you’re all enjoying the weather, and that you’ll have an opportunity to slow down a bit over the summer months. The My Workplace team has been busy implementing your recommendations from last year’s survey and discussion groups, and we wanted to bring you up to speed on the status of some of our projects. 

In May our focus was on the Staff Mentoring Pilot Project; we received applications, held orientation sessions for all mentors, and matched them with mentees. We’re excited to report that all mentors and mentees have been matched, and many of their first meetings have taken place. We’ll let you know how things progress, and if you’d like to participate, it’s not too late to sign up here.

We also launched the Great Ideas Pipeline in May, and we’ve received some really excellent ideas. We’re exploring them now and hope to have more to report in the fall. If you have an idea – big or small – that's concrete, constructive, and well-thought-out, we’d love to hear it.

We’ve also confirmed that employees will benefit from discounted fees for professional development courses at the School of Continuing Studies and the McGill Executive Institute. Course schedules and registration information should be available in late July.

Finally, we’re happy to announce that My Workplace will be holding Learning & Discussion groups over the summer; if one of these sessions interests you, register soon as space is limited!

  • Learning in Community – (Offered on July 14 and August 18)
    Learning in small teams or groups can be a great way to nurture innovation and productivity. As the flow of ideas and knowledge increases within your unit or organization, so does agility, decision-making and ultimately responsiveness to those we serve. Join us to discuss how social and community learning can help you, your unit and the University as a whole.
  • Let’s Talk about Culture!! – (Offered on July 18 and August 23)
    We often talk about changing culture, or building a “new culture.” Whether an organization’s history is long and stable or short and volatile, culture is complex and deeply ingrained in its people and operations. Join us in discussions on the three levels of culture, and see how these levels can each contribute to your unit’s goals, strategies, and operations.

As summer turns into fall, we’ll keep working to make McGill an engaging place for our employees. We wish you an excellent summer, and thank you for being part of My Workplace.

-The My Workplace Team

April: Four Project Updates

Dear colleagues,

It's been four months since you last heard from me about My Workplace, and I'm happy to report we've made a great deal of progress in that time. Here are a few highlights:

Staff Mentoring, a Great Ideas Pipeline and more...

  • Following requests from many of you, we're launching the pilot phase of a new Staff Mentoring initiative. We're inviting all employees who have been at McGill for between six months and two years to apply for a mentor, and all employees with more than two years of service to volunteer as mentors. If the pilot is successful, and if there are enough volunteer mentors to meet the demand, we'll evaluate the possibility of opening the program to all staff.
  • I'm also happy to announce the launch of the Great Ideas Pipeline - another pilot project inspired directly by your feedback. If you've got a suggestion for improving McGill - in terms of efficiency, teamwork, or in some other way - we'd love to hear it. All employees are invited to build a pitch for their ideas and share them with us, and six times a year we'll work through them all and bring the best ones to the people and teams that can make them a reality.
  • We heard your calls for lower tuition for McGill employees in professional development courses that are currently exempt from the staff tuition waiver, to help you build your professional skills. We've been working with the School of Continuing Studies on this front, and we're delighted to announce that as of fall 2016, a 50% discount will apply to the first five employees who sign up for each non-credit, non-transcript professional development workshop offered by the School's Career and Professional Development unit. We're happy to share as well that the Desautels Executive Institute is offering a 50% tuition rebate on a limited number of seats in their professional development programming for McGill employees as well. We'll share more details over the summer, and in the meantime, we'll keep looking for ways to support employee learning.
  • As well, you told us you were concerned that faculty members in new administrative roles often need to learn supervisory skills on the fly, which can sometimes make it hard to adjust. Provost Manfredi has prioritized enhanced leadership and administrative training for new academic administrators - his Office is now developing courses to help new deans, chairs and other academic administrators manage their teams, empower their staff and provide constructive feedback. They aim to launch the program this summer.

Looking ahead

These and other projects aim to fill gaps in the McGill workplace experience, and each is a small step toward an ideal that we’ve heard a lot about: the Learning Organization. While that term likely means different things to different people, to me it’s not so much a goal as an ongoing process, a commitment we all make to continually improve the way we support each other - not just in our day-to-day work, but also in learning, growing and bringing good ideas to fruition.

I also want to thank you - for your trust in this important work, and for the participation of the many hundreds of you who've taken part so far. We'll continue to look to you for guidance and support as we coordinate these pilot projects, improve and learn from them, and forge ahead on these and other My Workplace initiatives.

Mr. Michael Di Grappa
Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance
Office of the Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance


November: My Workplace Report

The My Workplace Report was unanimously and enthusiastically approved by McGill's senior administration -- including its 10 recommendations, which the My Workplace team is now working to implement.

November: Detailed Survey Results

View the complete My Workplace survey results.

November: Reporter Article on 10 New Projects and Survey/Discussion Results

On Friday, Oct. 23, McGill’s senior administration endorsed 10 new initiatives recommended by the My Workplace team, all aimed at making McGill a better and more efficient place to work.

Each initiative grew out of extensive employee feedback collected through a survey and five discussion groups over the summer, all geared toward achieving the Principal’s goal of making McGill a true Learning Organization. All administrative and support staff were invited to take part and more than 1,200 people shared their views, helping build the My Workplace plan below.

Read the complete article on the McGill Reporter website. 

November: Update on 10 New Projects and Survey/Discussion Results

E-mail from Michael Di Grappa, VP (A&F).

In recent months, I've written you a few times about My Workplace, and about its survey and discussion groups. We promised to publish the complete survey results, and we have - right here. Some feedback was positive, but you expressed many concerns as well. This is a good thing - we're committed to continuous improvement, and that means taking a close look at all constructive feedback, positive or otherwise.

While you've clearly flagged some things for us to work on, it's encouraging that nearly 1,300 employees made time to share their thoughts and concerns with us. Clearly, you care about your workplace - and now that you've given us your feedback, it's time for us to act on it.

From consultation to action: 10 new projects

On Oct. 23, I presented a My Workplace report to McGill's senior administration (you can read it here). It includes your survey data and anonymous comments shared at the summer discussion groups, as well as a series of ten recommended projects - all aimed at empowering employees, and all inspired by the feedback you gave us. The projects were enthusiastically endorsed, and I'm excited about their potential to address many of the issues that you raised.

For starters, we'll develop a proposal for employee mentoring, coaching and job-shadowing opportunities - the idea is to help employees grow professionally, and to strengthen ties between people and across units at McGill. We'll explore the feasibility of making training and development opportunities for our administrative and support staff, including McGill courses, more accessible to help you build your professional skills. We'll propose more across-the-board supervisory training for academic administrators and for administrative and support staff. We'll also look for ways to help employees advance good ideas. We heard this summer that some of you feel unfairly treated in your teams, so we'll build and publicize a full list of the avenues available to you for help in these situations. We'll make sure My Workplace is aligned with other big McGill initiatives, look to reward teams that make McGill more efficient, and work hard to cut the jargon and bureaucratic language out of our communications.

For further detail on these initiatives, I invite you to read more in the Reporter, or in the My Workplace report. My hope is that they'll make a real difference - to McGill and to you.

We're serious about concrete and continuous improvement

Throughout the consultations, you said you were skeptical. You weren't sure we'd follow through on your feedback. But as My Workplace advances, and as projects get off the ground, I hope our progress will win you over.

As we explore these initiatives, we may learn that a few aren't as feasible as we'd initially hoped. But when we try new things, we take risks. And as I said during My Workplace's consultation phase, these are risks I'm willing to take - despite the ways we might fail - because of the numerous ways we might succeed. I've been working hard to convey the message that it's okay to take good risks in the workplace, and that's what I'm doing today.

This summer, I also said that My Workplace's impact will be as good as we all make it. In recent months, you've done your part - coming forward in huge numbers to tell us how we can empower you better. In the coming months, it's our turn to deliver. I look forward to updating you on how things are progressing in the future.

Michael Di Grappa
Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance 

June-September: Staff Discussion Groups

Building on the enthusiasm around the Learning Organization survey, and in response to some 400 survey comments, we held five summer discussion sessions to work through the survey data. More than 130 employees took part across both campuses, to share their views and validate the survey feedback.

June: Invitation to Summer Discussion Groups

E-mail from Michael Di Grappa, VP (A&F).

Two months ago I asked for your thoughts on the McGill employee experience, and your response was incredible. Nearly 1,300 people completed the My Workplace survey, and more than 400 took the time to share text comments as well, averaging about a half page each. You had a lot to tell us, and I want to thank you for all of it – both positive and negative. I also want to invite you to join our summer discussion groups to delve deeper into the results – but more on that below.

June: Preliminary survey results

We're still analyzing the data, but in the meantime, here are a few quick highlights:

  • Encouraging smart risks and bold ideas
    Fully 60% of respondents told us they're only "somewhat" or "not at all" comfortable trying new ways of doing things, because of the risk of failure. That's understandable, but it harms our ability to improve. McGill – and I – need to do more to send the message that it's okay to try bold new ideas, even when success isn't guaranteed.
  • Inviting different perspectives
    79% of you said multiple viewpoints are welcome in your units either "always," "sometimes" or "most of the time." That's an encouraging number, but I'd like to see that number increase.
  • Better ways of working
    It's clear that resources are tight and we need more efficient ways of working. Nearly 40% of respondents told us that deadlines and work volume stand in the way of top-quality work either "always" or "most of the time." We need to push that number down.
  • An engaged workforce
    Crucially, the enormous response tells us that our community is engaged and interested in making McGill better. That's deeply encouraging to me – especially as I'm about to ask for your time and ideas once again.

June: Join discussion groups to help us dig deeper

You know your job and your workplace culture far better than I do, and you have a unique perspective on what runs well – or not so well – at McGill. Many of you have also asked for more ways to get involved, via the survey's comments section. And so I'm inviting you to sign up for discussion groups that we'll be hosting over the summer, to help us delve more deeply into key themes that have emerged from the survey.

Those themes are:

  1. Leadership and organizational structure
    How can units work better together and share information more effectively? And how can senior administrators support you better?
  2. Performance management
    How should we improve recognition - and accountability - for our employees? And are there ways to improve career development and training during our budget crunch?
  3. Quality and client service
    How happy are you with the services you receive from other McGill units – and the services you provide to them? What can we do to improve service quality?
  4. Innovation, empowerment and risk
    How can we encourage people to take smart risks, and communicate that it's okay to fail sometimes? And how can we empower our employees to make their great ideas a reality?

If you'd like to give us your thoughts on one or more of these themes, sign up for our discussion groups here. Once we know how many people to expect, we'll arrange appropriate venues, book the dates, and send you all the information you need to attend.

June: In the fall and beyond

In the autumn, once the survey analysis is complete and the discussion groups have shared their thoughts, I'll take a good hard look at every idea and conclusion that's emerged from the process, and we'll share everything we've learned with you as well.

We've never done anything quite like this before, and we don't know whether to expect dozens of discussion group volunteers or hundreds. We know it'll be hard to schedule meetings over the summer, and that some people may not be able to attend them all. And we don't know quite where this process will lead. But we're willing to accept these risks – despite the ways it might fail – because we're excited about the ways it might succeed.

My Workplace is one of the Principal's top priorities, and community conversations like this one are a big part of what it stands for. Thanks so much again for all your feedback, and please do consider joining us this summer for the next stage of this process. The outcome will be as good as we all make it.

Michael Di Grappa
Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance
Office of the Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance

April: Invitation to My Workplace Survey

E-mail from Michael Di Grappa, VP (A&F).

If you work within Administration & Finance or Communications & External Relations, the My Workplace process is already underway in your unit.

We need to know: are you empowered to make meaningful decisions at work, and find better ways of doing your job? Do you have the support you need to grow as an employee? And within your team, do great ideas get implemented - no matter who came up with them - or do bureaucracy and the fear of failure get in the way?

The My Workplace team wants to hear about your work experience at McGill. Fill out this anonymous five-minute survey, and we'll use your responses to establish a baseline for McGill's workplace culture - how good we are at learning, working together and trying new things. We'll sort through the data and identify what's going well (or not so well), and over the coming months and years, we'll look for ways to connect employees of all levels with the tools and expertise they need to make McGill a better, more engaging place to work. From time to time, to see how we're doing, we'll launch the survey again and measure our progress over time.

My Workplace is all about taking a step back, looking at why we do the things we do, and continually improving the way we work. That might mean eliminating unnecessary paperwork, cutting wait times for students, or learning to embrace the risks that always come with great new ideas. And it's important enough to rank among Principal Fortier's top five priorities because, with our limited financial resources, we just can't afford to overlook the insights of our smart, dedicated workforce. No one knows your job better than you do. Tell us how we can help you make it better.

Michael Di Grappa
Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance
Office of the Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance 

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