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Introducing XFN! The Cross-functional Policy Mobility Program for Public Servants

Employees, do you want to: 

  • Grow into a well-rounded public servant?  
  • Experience and understand all aspects of the policy lifecycle (policy development, delivery and evaluation?)

Managers, do you want to:

  Welcome a different perspective to your team? 
•  Be a leader in growing talent and building the policy capacity of the Public Service? 

If yes, consider XFN! 

This unique program makes it easy for indeterminate employees to gain experience in different policy functions across the public service and for managers to benefit from multi-disciplinary teams.
XFN participants will:

  Work in 2-3 different policy functions in diverse departments/agencies over 18 months;
  Hone policy skills and new ways of thinking; and,
  Receive individualized support from the program’s Talent Manager to achieve their learning goals.

XFN managers will receive:

  Pre-screened high potential policy practitioners with diverse multi-disciplinary skills;
  Short-term resource with minimal HR burden; and,
  Individualized support from the Talent Manager to enable program participant learning.
Applications for the prototype phase of the program are targeted for late 2018.

First assignments are planned to begin winter/spring 2019. 

Intrigued?


Don’t have time to look further? Click here to download the XFN handout.

I am an employee

Why participate?

All program participants will:

•  Have access to the opportunities they need to round-out their professional experience by working in various policy functional areas.
•  Strengthen their skills and mindsets.
•  Grow into a well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioner after 18 months.
•  Receive personalized support while achieving their career development objectives. 
•  Grow their network.

The overall aim of the Program is to develop well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioners, meaning program participants will gain experience in different policy functions to acquire a deep understanding of the policy lifecycle, resulting in more effective policy development, implementation and evaluation. Participants will have functional breadth of expertise and will foster a culture of collaboration across departments and functional areas.

The prototype of the XFN Program has been designed to allow policy practitioners to work in up to three new policy functions during their time in the 18-month program. Assignments are 6 or 12 months long and participants will only be working in functions in which they do not have previous experience. While gaining experience in new functions, participants will also be honing the competencies identified in the draft Policy Community Competency Framework. Assignments will be in Policy Community Funding Departments – there are over 20 participating.

Further, participants will have the opportunity to leave a strong impact on the organizations in which they work. Participants are expected to contribute in their assignments right away and to use their previous experience and different set of tools to add value to the team hosting them.

One of the unique features of the Program is the individualized support participants receive. All Program participants will establish a Personalized Talent Plan upon accepting a position in the Program. The Plan will identify the policy functions they need to gain experience in, as well as the competencies within the Framework they need to further hone. Participants will be supported by the Talent Manager throughout the Program to achieve the goals identified in their Plan. 

Participation Requirements

You should apply to this program if you:

  • have a basic knowledge of policy functions (functional areas) and in depth experience in at least one function;
  • have developed a minimum competency profile – practicing level (medium) in Adaptable, Collaboration and Analytical; mastery level (high) in at least one other competency; and, awareness level (basic) in the remaining competencies; 
  • have a developmental mindset (a willingness to remain open, curious and persistent in a variety of learning experiences); 
  • have the time to and have an idea of what you want to learn; and, 
  • are eager to be part of the prototype phase of the Program and understand and accept that during your time in the Program it will evolve.

All public servants who meet the program criteria (the self-assessment questionnaire will help you determine if you meet the criteria) are invited to apply.


NOTE: The first cohort for the prototype version of the Program will only be open to indeterminate employees located in the NCR in any classification. It will test the Program’s assumptions and rapid learning of new policy functions. The insights from the prototype phase of the Program will inform the experience of future cohorts of the Program, including participation by employees in the regions.  

Timelines

Recruitment/assessment for the first cohort is targeted for late 2018/early 2019 and on boarding is targeted for winter 2019. 

Policy Functions

Core Policy Functions

Policy Research : investigates a policy problem/issue using qualitative and quantitative research methods. 

Policy/Program Development : develop options/ solutions for identified problems/issues using various policy instruments and approaches.

Strategic Policy/Policy Coordination : provide integrated advice on matters such as, international and fed-prov relations, cabinet and parliamentary affairs, and departmental planning and reporting.

Policy Consultation and Engagement : work with Canadians to receive and share their feedback/input for incorporation into policy/program development and policy/program evaluation.

Supporting Policy Functions

Program/Operations Management : manage the implementation, promotion and uptake of the program/solution, as well as gather insights to inform future policy making efforts. 

Project Management : manage the planning and execution of projects effectively and efficiently. 

Corporate Policy : management of an organization’s operations, objectives and plans.

Communications : develop and manage the written and verbal communications of policy issues. 

Results and Evaluation : determine performance framework measuring reporting results. Evaluate the effectiveness of implemented and proposed policy solutions and provide recommendations for improvement to advance policy positions/outcomes, when applicable. 


Policy Community Competency Framework (beta version) – Competency Definitions

Analytical 

Asks questions and explores problems and possibilities without a predetermined outcome. 

Sources relevant information, synthesizes, makes connections, and identifies implications to develop recommendations and advice based on evidence. 

Thinks critically and frames/reframes the problem, options and proposed solutions, taking into account the system, context and new information. 

Uses appropriate methods of analysis and policy instruments and approaches.

Storytelling / Communicator 

Connects the dots to effectively describe the issue to influence or prompt action

Communicates and conveys information relevant to the audience.

Results-Oriented 

Considers a range of delivery options and translates a vision or strategy into outcomes.

Works to deliver results that achieve desired outcomes and demonstrate value for citizens.

Ensures that results are measurable and are measured to assess impact.

Creative

Is open to new ways of doing things, demonstrates divergent thinking and a mind-set of growth and continuous learning.

Knows when to question the status quo, but shows contextual awareness when challenging. Takes thoughtful risks, experiments and applies lessons learned from both success and failure. Iterates.

Is conscientious and stands up for unpopular positions when necessary.

Collaborative

Works inclusively and openly with others to build relationships and partnerships, both inside and outside of government, to move toward a shared objective. 

Recognizes the appropriate level of participation by others (e.g., inform, consult, engage, co-create) and involves users, the public stakeholders, partners and/or colleagues accordingly. 

Seeks a diversity of opinions from traditional and non-traditional sources. 

Incorporates input and perspectives into policy making.

User-Centric 

Understands others’ experiences and frames of reference (empathetic). 

Appreciates users’ particular needs (e.g., gender, regional differences) and is culturally aware (e.g., Indigenous). 

Involves users, both internal and external, in the policy process.

Understands, considers and incorporates user needs and designs /delivers policy at every step with the users in mind.

Data Literate  

Creates, gathers, interprets, translates and/or visualizes data to inform policy advice, development and implementation.

Evaluates quantitative and qualitative evidence recognizing patterns to draw conclusions.

Is comfortable in determining validity, accuracy and quality of data sources.


Adaptable 

Actively participates in an environment that is constantly changing.

Pivots or adjusts to new priorities, evidence, challenges and technologies, taking a constructive approach.

Resilient and shows perseverance even when faced with uncertainty, resistance, setbacks and/or initial failure.

Incorporates lessons learned and pushes forward, seeking opportunities to apply new learning and experiences.



Policy Community Funding Departments and Agencies

•  Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

•  Canada Council for the Arts

•  Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

•  Canada Revenue Agency

•  Canadian Food Inspection Agency

•  Canadian Heritage

•  Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs / Indigenous Services Canada

•  Department of Justice 

•  Employment and Social Development Canada 

•  Environment and Climate Change Canada

•  Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

•  Fisheries and Oceans/Canadian Coast Guard

•  Global Affairs Canada


•  Health Canada

•  Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada

•  Infrastructure Canada

•  Innovation, Science and Economic Development

•  Natural Resources Canada

•  Privy Council Office

•  Shared Services Canada

•  Statistics Canada

•  Status of Women

•  Transport Canada

•  Treasury Board Secretariat

•  Western Economic Development 

•  Canada School of Public Service (XFN Home Department)*

Frequently Asked Questions
PROGRAM DESIGN

To create the initial design for the Program to respond to the need for greater mobility across the various policy functions we researched existing Government of Canada programs, as well as international professional development programs.

Through our engagement with the Policy Community (broad and targeted sessions with folks in specific policy functions/roles) we probed to understand the challenges/needs the program should address. Based on this input/insight, we drafted our initial design, as well as our assumptions about what conditions are needed for participants, host managers and host teams to benefit from the experience.

We had over 40 focused conversations/engagement sessions with employees and managers and consulted over 55 organizations across Canada and internationally. This approach allowed us to co-design the prototype of the Program with the Policy Community and HR ecosystem, determining what would be best for our “live” test.

The program offers you the unique experience of accessing the opportunities you need to round-out your professional experience by working in various functional areas (e.g., policy research, strategic policy, program design, program implementation, evaluation) in which you have no previous experience. The focus of the program is providing a breadth of policy experiences, developing new skills, practicing a developmental mindset and growing you, as a program participant into a well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioner. As a program graduate you will develop a concrete understanding of the policy lifecycle and its impact from your first-hand experience. Because of this, we believe that you, as a program participants will make more inclusive and informed contributions in your work. 

We have heard from policy practitioners that mobility across functions is hampered by challenges such as, requirement to have existing experience for the new experience you are trying to get; education; limited network; and, limited assignment opportunities. The program will work to overcome these and other challenges. 

As a program participant, you will establish a Personalized Talent Plan with the Talent Manager when you enter the program that identifies your objectives for your time in the program. Given the small-scale of the program (10 participants per cohort), you will receive highly individualized attention and support from the Talent Manager in achieving your objectives.

The program will produce high-performing, well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioners who are able to work effectively across the various policy functions while delivering policy excellence. Further, due to the exposure to multiple functional areas, you as a program participant are well positioned for a rewarding and fulfilling career, as you can make informed decisions when determining which areas of work you are best suited for/would enjoy the most. 
The CFA Program does not focus specifically on the development of functional experience in new areas and competencies. It does not have an end-date for you as a participant. 

The XFN Program is an 18-month program where you, as a participant would have a Personalized Talent Plan that identifies the opportunities you need to enhance your skillset and acquire the functional knowledge/experience you are missing to be a well-rounded policy practitioner. In the program, you will be able to pursue your own opportunity at one of the funding departments or have the option of choosing from the available assignments, as long as it aligns with your objectives and you work in a new functional area. 
The majority of existing developmental programs such as, the Advanced Policy Analyst Program; Post-Secondary Recruitment Program; departmental development programs are external recruitment efforts. These programs generally offer guaranteed level advancement, pending success in the program and pre-identified work opportunities. There are also purely recruitment programs, such as the Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program, which help candidates enter the government, but do not offer guaranteed level advancement.

The XFN program is for current Government of Canada professionals in any classification who are looking to expand skillsets and acquire experience in new functional areas. If you apply to the program you will be assessed based on the criteria outlined in the draft Policy Community Competency Framework and a developmental mindset. Further, your experience as a participant will be unique based on what you need to develop into a well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioner. You will receive individual support to achieve your goals that are set-out in your Personalized Talent Plan when you enter the program. 
APPLICATION PROCESS
If you are an indeterminate federal public servant, you can apply. The program is geared towards public servants who already have experience in one or more functional area. All classifications are welcome. 

NOTE: The first cohort for the prototype version of the Program will only be open to indeterminate employees located in the NCR. It will test the Program’s assumptions and rapid learning of new policy functions. The insights from the prototype phase of the Program will inform changes for future cohorts of the Program, including participation by employees in the regions.  
If you apply, you will be screened for your experience in at least one policy functional area, for the competencies identified in the beta version of the Policy Community Competency Framework and a developmental mindset.  

Should you make it through the screening, you will be invited to participate in individual and group assessment activities. Reference checks may be used.
The program accepts all language profiles. 

NOTE: Host managers may specify their language requirements.
We are planning to open applications late fall 2018.
If you would like to apply, you are required to complete a self-assessment questionnaire before submitting an application. The self-assessment will take you approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and will help you determine if the Program, as well as the timing is right for you. 
ENTERING THE PROGRAM
If you are a participant, you will be deployed into an indeterminate positions with the program’s home department, the Canada School of Public Service. 
If you are accepted into the program you will be expected to stay in the program for the full 18-months to gain the experience you need to become a well-rounded policy practitioner. 
You are required to join the program indeterminately.
DURING THE PROGRAM
No, you are able to work at the level that your host agrees to have you at on their team.
Assignments will be 6 or 12 months to provide a balance between learning new policy functions and gaining a diversity of experiences. All assignments will be in the Policy Community funding departments (currently there are 25). 

The Talent Manager has begun securing potential assignments across the different policy functions in a variety of funding departments. You will be able to pursue your own opportunity at one of the funding departments or have the option of choosing from the available assignments, as long as it aligns with the objectives of your Personalized Talent Plan.
Your salary will be paid by your assignment host manager. If you have downtime between assignments your salary will be paid by the program. 

The program will cover any training costs you have, though you will need approval for the time out of office from your host manager. 

In addition to your Personalized Talent Plan’s, you will have a performance agreement in the performance management system. The Talent Manager will work with your host manager to accurately document your performance in the system, as per the regular yearly cycle.
The prototype phase of the program does not have a promotion mechanism. 
END OF THE PROGRAM
If you participate in the program, you will graduate as well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioner, should you meet the objectives of your Personalized Talent Plan. 

You will need to deploy out of the program and into an indeterminate opportunity upon graduation. You will determine where you deploy to with the support of the Talent Manager. In addition, the Policy Community Partnership Office with its broad network in the federal public service will support you, as an XFN graduate in connecting with potential hiring managers, as needed. 

As a participant of the program, you will be well positioned to pursue opportunities that align with your interests, skillset and experiences. Working in various functional areas not only offers you the opportunity to discover the type of work you would like to do, but allows you to build a network and gain the experience needed to continue to do that work post-program. 
Self-Assessment Questionnaire
Click here to complete the self-assessment questionnaire, designed to help you decide if you should apply to the XFN Program. The self-assessment takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Should now not be the time to apply, the self-assessment is still a useful tool for you to understand your areas for growth to prepare to apply in the future.

Submit an application
XFN applications are now closed. We thank all those who applied! We intend to recruit twice a year and you are encouraged to keep an eye on this page, as well as Twitter and GCcollab for information regarding our 2019 intake.

In the meantime, you are invited to take our self-assessment questionnaire to help determine if XFN is right for you. 

I am a manager

Why host?

Manages are invited to:

•Be a leader in a cutting-edge program that helps grow the talent and policy capacity of the Public Service.

•Benefit and leverage having a different perspective on your team. Participants are multi-functional and bring different tools and experience.

•Take charge in promoting cross-functional collaboration within your team and department. 

•Practice and enhance your coaching abilities.

•Hire high-potential policy practitioners with minimal HR burden.

The overall aim of the Program is to develop well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioners, meaning program participants will gain experience in different policy functions to acquire a deep understanding of the policy lifecycle, resulting in more effective policy development, implementation and evaluation. Participants will have functional breadth of expertise and will foster a culture of collaboration across departments and functional areas.

The prototype of the XFN Program has been designed to allow policy practitioners to work in up to three new policy functions during their time in the 18-month program. Assignments are 6 or 12 months long. 

Participants are expected to leave a strong impact on host organizations in which they work. They are expected to contribute to your team right away and to use their previous experience and different set of tools to add value.

One of the unique features of the Program is the individualized support managers and participants receive from the Talent Manager. In particular, the Talent Manager will take on the majority of the HR burden to identify and bring in high-potential participants, as well as support their development throughout the Program. 


Host Participation Requirements

XFN assignment opportunities need to meet the following criteria:

•  Are 6 or 12 months in length.

•  Host team is largely focused on a single policy function.          .

•  Host team is interested in benefitting from a program participant who will have undergone a highly rigorous assessment process and can contribute from day one, while learning the new policy function. 

•  Host manager takes an active role in participant’s learning (e.g., coaching, assigning them challenging tasks, and integrating them into the team).

•  Host manager is eager to participate in and contribute to the prototype phase of the program. 

•  Host organization is part of one of the Policy Community funding departments

Timelines

The first cohort of 10 participants will be a prototype only open to indeterminate employees located in the NCR. It will test our key assumptions and rapid learning of new policy functions. The insights from the prototype phase of the Program will inform the experience of future cohorts of the Program, including participation by employees in the regions.  

Recruitment/assessment for the first cohort is targeted for late 2018/early 2019 and onboarding is targeted for winter 2019. 


Frequently Asked Questions

PROGRAM DESIGN

To create the initial design for the Program to respond to the need for greater mobility across the various policy functions we researched existing Government of Canada programs, as well as international professional development programs.

Through our engagement with the Policy Community (broad and targeted sessions with folks in specific policy functions/roles) we probed to understand the challenges/needs the program should address. Based on this input/insight, we drafted our initial design, as well as our assumptions about what conditions are needed for participants, host managers and host teams to benefit from the experience.

We had over 40 focused conversations/engagement sessions with employees and managers and consulted over 55 organizations across Canada and internationally. This approach allowed us to co-design the prototype of the Program with the Policy Community and HR ecosystem, determining what would be best for our “live” test.

The program is geared towards providing a breadth of experience in various policy functions, developing new skills and mindsets, and growing participants as well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioners. As such, program participants joining your team on assignment are expected to have solid experience in one or more policy function - but different from what s/he will be exposed to with your team. Adding this multi-functional/disciplinary nature to your team can bring new perspectives and tools to help advance your work.

Program participants are screened for the competencies identified in the beta version of the Policy Community Competency Framework and a developmental mindset. Small cohorts (10 participants) and a rigorous assessment process will ensure that top talent is screened into the Program.

The hiring process is painless, quick, and easy - with minimal HR burden. 

We invite you to be a partner and leader in a cutting-edge program that helps grow the talent and policy capacity of the Public Service. 
The CFA Program does not focus specifically on the development of functional experience in new areas and competencies. It does not have an end-date for participants. 

The XFN Program is an 18-month program where each participant will have a Personalized Talent Plan that identifies the opportunities they need to access to enhance their skillset and acquire the functional knowledge/experience they are missing to be well-rounded policy practitioners. Participants will be able to pursue their own opportunity at one of the funding departments or have the option of choosing from the available assignments, but must work in new functional areas.

If your department is currently not a funding department of the Policy Community and you would like to explore becoming a funding department, please email: policommpoli@canada.ca 

The majority of existing developmental programs such as, the Advanced Policy Analyst Program; Post-Secondary Recruitment Program; departmental development programs are external recruitment efforts. These programs generally offer guaranteed level advancement, pending success in the program and pre-identified work opportunities. There are also purely recruitment programs, such as the Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program, which help candidates enter the government, but do not offer guaranteed level advancement.

The XFN program is for current Government of Canada professionals in any classification who are looking to expand their skillset and acquire experience in new functional areas. Candidates will be assessed against the criteria outlined in the draft Policy Community Competency Framework and a developmental mindset. Further, each participants’ experience will be personalized, based on what they need to develop into a well-rounded cross-functional policy practitioner. Participants will receive individual support from the program’s Talent Manager to achieve their goals that are set out in their Personalized Talent Plan when they enter the program. 

Policy Community funding departments are able to host program participants. To submit an opportunity, hosts speak with the Talent Manager and complete an assignment form to outline the parameters and expectations of the opportunity.

For more information contact the Talent Manager at amanda.bloom@canada.ca.

If your department is currently not a funding department of the Policy Community and you would like to explore becoming a funding department, please email: policommpoli@canada.ca 

A variety of rigourous, novel screening and assessment tools will be used to identify top talent. 

Specifically, candidates are screened for the competencies identified in the beta version of the Policy Community Competency Framework and a developmental mindset. Should candidates make it through the initial screening, they will be invited to participate in individual and group assessment activities. 

Host managers are welcome to participate in the screening and assessment boards.
APPLICATION PROCESS
Any indeterminate public servant. The program is geared towards public servants who already have experience in one or more functional area. All classifications are welcome. 

NOTE: The first cohort for the prototype version of the Program will only be open to indeterminate employees located in the NCR. It will test the Program’s assumptions and rapid learning of new policy functions. The insights from the prototype phase of the Program will inform changes for future cohorts of the Program, including participation by employees in the regions.  
The program accepts all language profiles. Host managers may specify their language requirements. 
Application and assessment of the first cohort of 10 participants (prototype phase of the Program) are targeted for late 2018/early 2019. Potential host managers are welcome to take part in the screening and assessment phases to see the rigorous, novel process that will be used.

Onboarding of participants and first assignments are targeted for winter/spring 2019. 
We strongly encourage departments to promote the Program and encourage their employees to apply. However, we want candidates to apply because they genuinely want to participate in the program. 
DURING THE PROGRAM
To hire a program participant you need a meaningful 6 or 12 month opportunity in one functional policy areas identified for the program. 

Recall that program participants will bring expertise in a different function than the one you can provide. Therefore, you will need to take an active role in participants learning (e.g. coaching, assigning them challenging tasks and integrating them into the team).

Participants are assigned to their host organization at their substantive group and level. However, should you wish to offer an opportunity above the participant’s substantive level, you will need to submit the acting request for the duration of the assignment. The Talent Manager will provide necessary information and support to process the acting.

To submit an opportunity, please speak with the Talent Manager and complete an assignment form to outline the parameters and expectations of the opportunity.

For more information contact the Talent Manager at amanda.bloom@canada.ca.

At the outset of the program, participants will be deployed into indeterminate positions with the program at the home department, the Canada School of Public Service.  

The program participants will be on assignment/secondment with managers in “host” departments via an Interdepartmental Letter of Agreement.

The host organization will pay for the program participant’s salary. No premium will be charged on the employee’s salary, as the administration costs for the program will be paid for by the Policy Community Partnership Office. 

The Policy Community Partnership Office will also cover any training costs for participants, though they will need approval for the time out of office from their host manager.

In addition to participant’s Personalized Talent Plan, they will have performance agreements in the performance management system. The Talent Manager will work with the participant’s host manager to accurately document the employee’s performance in the system, as per the regular yearly cycle.

END OF THE PROGRAM
At graduation, the XFN Program provides a pool of well-rounded, cross-functional policy practitioners that departments/hiring managers can deploy into their organization.
Submit an Assignment Opportunity
To submit an assignment opportunity, managers speak with the Talent Manager and then complete an assignment form to outline the parameters and expectations of the opportunity.

For more information or to submit an opportunity contact the Talent Manager at amanda.bloom@canada.ca.


Contact Information

XFN Program Talent Manager: Amanda Bloom: amanda.bloom@canada.ca and 613-882-0766.

Policy Community: policommpoli@canada.ca