3.0 Approach and Methodology
3.1 "Regime" and "Consistency" defined
The task of the review team was to determine the extent to which the HR regime of the Agency was "consistent" with the Agency's HR values and HR operating principles. Therefore, the review team had to define "HR regime" and "consistency".
For the purposes of this review, the team defined "HR regime" as the collected HR strategies, roles and responsibilities, policies, programs, resources, and structures that together result in the productive use of people in achieving the Agency's objectives and in satisfying employees' needs.
To us, "consistency" had two dimensions, these being "alignment" and "application". "Alignment" examines whether HR functions and programs have been developed with the principles and values in mind, and have been designed to support and sustain the values and principles of the organization. "Application" examines whether HR programs and functions are operated in a manner consistent with the values and principles of the organization and whether the intended results are obtained.
3.2 A Framework for the Review
Having defined "consistency" and "HR regime", the next order of business was to determine how to test the "consistency" with which the Agency applies its principles and values within its HR regime. To our knowledge, this is the first review of its kind to have been conducted within the federal government. Therefore, the review team had to devise a conceptual and evaluative framework to guide its work.
The review team determined that an appropriate framework would achieve the following:
- Translate the Agency's values and principles into an operational context that would make these values and principles more readily observable and measurable.
- Provide a roadmap that would focus the work of the review team efficiently and effectively.
- Indicate to Parks Canada stakeholders how the review would be structured and conducted.
- Make clear for Parks Canada staff the information and documentary needs of the review team and thus enable staff to satisfy these information needs efficiently and with least disruption to their activities.
- Provide the review team with a means for organizing its information and findings, and
- Provide a logical structure for reporting the findings of the review.
We started with the proposition that values and principles are observable and measurable only when they are placed in a functional and practical context. Therefore we needed to place the HR Values and Operating Principles in an applied context that would allow us to meaningfully discuss them with Agency stakeholders and to observe and evaluate them in operation within the HR regime. "HR function" provided a clear and readily understood context for rendering the values and principles more concrete and hence "discuss-able", measurable and observable. By "function" we meant the individual functions (e.g., staffing, compensation, learning and development, etc.) that comprise the basis of a HR regime. Our approach was to use HR functions as one of the basic elements for the framework of the review. Therefore, we constructed a two dimensional grid with "function" on one axis and "values and principles" on the other axis.
3.3 Building the Review Template
The review team then proceeded to construct a Review Template. The team:
Identified the "functions" that are relevant and appropriate for the HR regime of Parks Canada. This was done collaboratively with input from Parks Canada staff (HR and the Working Group) to ensure that the framework and template were sufficiently comprehensive in both its scope and detail. We settled on the following "functions":
- Framework for HR Strategy and Planning
- The HR Policy Framework
- Employment Equity
- Official Languages
- Recruitment and Staffing
- Learning and Development
- Classification, Pay and Compensation
- Managing Conflict in the Workplace
- Labour/Management Relations
- Health and Safety in the Workplace
- Performance Management – Recognition and Rewards
Cross-mapped the Values and Principles to each of the Functions. This involved an analysis of each of the HR functions to determine where one could expect that each of the principles and values would be reflected within that HR function.
Established data collection requirements and built interview guides designed to capture the information required in the cross mapping. This was a collaborative step in which the review team worked with Working Group and HR representatives to determine what tests would be reasonable, what information was available, and which stakeholders we needed to consult, interview or otherwise involve in the data collection phase of our work.
3.4 Data Collection
The review team collected data from several sources:
- We obtained and reviewed policy documents, program descriptions, program reports, strategy papers and other documentary evidence describing the Agencies HR regime
- We analyzed the HR components of the Agency's intranet site.
- We analyzed the results of Parks Canada's Employee Survey
- We conducted interviews that involved approximately 60 stakeholders from within Parks Canada including:
- Members of the HR Committee of the Executive Board
- Ex-officio Members of the HR Committee of the Executive Board
- Management representatives on the Labour Management Consultation Committee
- HR Directors at Corporate Headquarters and in the field.
- HR specialists in specific HR functions and disciplines
- Members of the Working Group struck for this review
- Field Managers with significant HR involvement
- The President of the National Component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)
- The President of UCTE.
- We conducted 2 focus groups (in Cornwall and Smith Falls) to solicit the opinions of front line staff and to supplement information presented in the Parks Canada Employee Survey.
Subsequent chapters of this report address the findings of the review for each of the HR values and HR operating principles.