page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116

Technical development, leadership skills, and behavior skills are recorded, which provides a reference point for future reviews, but, more importantly, allows management a view of what skills it has in the organization, and where they are located. This informs decisions about training needs in the organization, but has the potential to do much more than that. A development page is being added, so that people can trace their career progress. A scientist level one, for example, who wants to become a scientist level four in five years’ time, will be able to look at his or her development page and see what needs to be done to achieve that, and what the financial rewards will be. “They will be able to make educated choices about their future career,” says Youden. “The technical and financial matrix that we’re building will help them understand what their career path looks like.” This is remarkable enough, but if you’re going to develop people from level one to level four, you better have jobs for them at the higher grade, or they won’t be with you long. This is where the system will really pay off—succession planning. “We have 650 people who have filed career plans with us,” says Youden. “Not everybody wants to advance, but for those people who would like to be doing something different in five years, we’d like to know what it is. And we’ve asked them to define it in pretty specific terms.” This allows senior management and principals (the highest technical designation in Jacques Whitford) to identify potential successors and assess how much development they need before they are ready to fill those positions. “We’re in the process today of trying to match those positions to those 650 career plans. It’s an interesting volume exercise. We know that we need new area managers to cover retirement and growth, and we know that certain people want to be area managers or principals, so we’re trying to match them.” There are abundant examples, sadly beyond January 08 35 JacquesWhitford to get the people you want.” Jacques Whitford has won a number of awards in this field in the last few years. “For two years in a row we are one of the top 100 companies in Canada to work for,” says Youden. “Last year we were one of the top ten selected by the Financial Post. We’re surrounded by some great companies, so we’re very proud of that and our people have done a great job. Today’s Parent magazine has selected us two years in a row as one of the top ten family-friendly companies to work for, so we’re really pleased. “Where we’ve gone as a company is less to do with me and more to do with the talent and capabilities of our people,” Youden is quick to point out. “I’m supported by a leadership team that has lots of experience in the business. Our job is two-fold. Listen, then take action on it.” Youden explains that Jacques Whitford’s improvement programs are all driven by listening to people. A colleague survey is conducted every year which attracts a 90 percent response rate. It covers leadership, motivation and communication and provides an insight into how aligned people are to the organization. On top of that, the HR team went out into the field last year to talk to everybody, in groups of five to ten—no small task with around 1400 people on the books at the time. Those discussions helped senior management find out what was important to people, says Youden. “That’s driven our program to where we are now. It’s not because any one of us here is so smart, but perhaps we’re good listeners.” One of the keys to retaining people is to offer them career development. “We’ve heard that loud and clear from our people, so we have put in a lot of programs to try and move in that direction,” says Youden. A web-based performance planning system has been introduced with performance metrics for everyone and a balanced scorecard for around 35 percent of employees where measures such as client satisfaction, safety and people development are appropriate. “If you can show people that the environment is important in how you run your business then you have a better opportunity to get the people you want”

36 January 08 the scope of this article, of initiatives that endorse Jacques Whitford’s commitment to the sustainability of the environment and the communities in which it operates. The company has, for instance, decided to switch to hybrid vehicles, which cost more up front, but pay back in energy cost savings and environmental benefi ts. “We are looking at energy consumption across our whole organization,” says Youden. “It’s going to cost us some money to study how much energy we consume, but if we’re able to reduce our energy costs by fi ve percent we will save. It’s balancing investment dollars for future savings. I think it’s a great opportunity, and it’s simply the right thing to do.” The award by Today’s Parent magazine, mentioned above, refl ects the company’s commitment to families through its parental leave program, and fl ex-time arrangements. The company has also provided Wellness clinics for healthcare awareness, and subsidies to help people join fi tness clubs. It’s very much a work in process, says Youden. It doesn’t all work 100 percent of the time, but the commitment is to keep developing people. “As a consultancy, we have no hard assets,” he reminds me. “We have no equipment. Our offering to our clients is the intellect of our people and their motivation to do a good job. “Everything is changing around us,” he concludes. “Next year’s graduates will have different needs from this year’s graduates. In fi ve years time there will be things we’re not even thinking about now. The only thing we can do is have a process that keeps telling us what’s important.” JacquesWhitford