Audit of staffing of regular members under the RCMP Act – Phase two (commissioned officers)

Audit of Staffing of Regular Members under the RCMP Act – Phase Two (Commissioned Officers)

Final Report
March 2019

Table of contents

  1. Acronyms and abbreviations
  2. Executive summary
  3. Management's response to the audit
  4. 1. Background
  5. 2. Objectives, scope and methodology
  6. 3. Audit findings
  7. 4. Conclusion
  8. 5. Recommendations
  9. Appendix A – Audit objectives and criteria
  10. Appendix B – Summary of survey results
  11. Appendix C – Detailed management action plans

Acronyms and abbreviations

CDRO
Career Development and Resourcing Officer
CO
Commanding Officer
DG
Director General
E/ODR
Executive/Officer Development and Resourcing
EE
Employment Equity
EOM
Executive/Officer Manual
FY
Fiscal Year
GBA+
Gender-Based Analysis Plus
HR
Human Resources
HRMIS
Human Resources Management Information System
LMA
Labour Market Availability
LO
Line Officer
NCO
Non-Commissioned Officer
OCP
Officer Candidate Process
RCMP
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
RM
Regular Member
TM
Talent Management
WCEE
Workforce Culture and Employee Engagement

Executive summary

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act provides the Commissioner with the authority to staff all Regular Member positions (non-commissioned and commissioned officers). The on-strength establishment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as of July 1, 2018 was comprised of 18,725 Regular Members (RMs), of which 612 were commissioned officers. The Commissioner-approved 2017-2022 Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan included an Audit of Staffing of Regular Members under the RCMP Act – Phase Two (Commissioned officers). In 2016, Internal Audit completed the Audit of Staffing of Regular Members under the RCMP Act – Phase One (Non-commissioned officers).

The objective of the engagement was to assess whether the RCMP has an appropriate framework, systems and practices in place to manage officer appointments under the RCMP Act, to ensure that appointments comply with RCMP appointment policies and reflect RCMP values, and provide effective talent management and succession planning. The scope of the engagement was officer appointments made under the RCMP Act from April 2016 – March 2017, and the policies, processes and procedures related to talent management and succession planning for commissioned officers. The level of engagement and interest from the officer cadre on the audit topic was evident, as 63% responded to the survey conducted as part of this audit. The high response rate provided substantial information to draw from and contributed to the audit's findings and conclusions.

The audit concludes that the RCMP has a framework in place to manage commissioned officer appointments under the RCMP Act, however there is a lack of information available to RMs on some key processes and the current level and means of Executive/Officer Development and Resourcing (E/ODR) engagement and communication with members to supplement policies may not be sufficient to promote understanding of officer staffing-related processes. Additionally, members may not have adequate tools to keep their career preferences up to date. The combination of these factors appear to contribute to the perception of a lack of transparency amongst some members.

The availability of candidates on the National Succession Plan and Officer Candidate Process (OCP) Eligibility List has a direct impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of commissioned officer staffing. The staffing framework is generally reactive and may be limiting at certain times of the year when candidate lists have been depleted. Barriers such as mobility, housing support, and members' understanding and perceptions of the OCP and Succession Planning processes may further limit member interest to join or advance in the officer cadre, resulting in a more limited pool of candidates. The shortage of candidates also contributes to challenges in achieving gender and diversity representation goals for leadership roles across the RCMP.

The management response included in this report demonstrates the commitment from senior management to address the audit findings and recommendations. A detailed management action plan is currently being developed. Once approved, RCMP Internal Audit will monitor its implementation and undertake a follow-up audit if warranted.

Management's response to the audit

Human Resources is in agreement with the findings and recommendations of the Audit of Staffing of Regular Members under the RCMP Act – Phase Two (Commissioned Officers). Strategies and specific actions plans are already in progress or are being identified. The level of engagement and interest from the officer cadre was noted and it solidifies the need for further consultation and communication.

While the examination phase of the audit was ongoing, an independent, external review of the Officer Candidate Program (OCP) was initiated and is currently underway to validate leadership competencies and related assessment tools. The final report and recommendations are due in November, 2018. This informative report will be examined for relevance to the Audit of Staffing of Regular Members under the RCMP Act – Phase Two (Commissioned Officers).

A common theme of communication and transparency has already been identified. E/ODR is therefore, as an initial step, working with Learning and Development to create material to effectively share information with the membership about topics related to officer staffing. E/ODR is also prioritizing effective communication with Line Officers and the membership about OCP processes and procedures. Policies and website will be updated to include more information, as well as responses to commonly asked questions.

Consultation has taken place with Workforce Culture and Employee Engagement regarding potential initiatives to ensure an appropriate GBA+ lens is utilized to update policies, directives and guidance in the Executive/Officer Manual. Consultation has also begun with Human Resource Business Analytics to review current metrics in view of establishing benchmarks to ensure the monitoring of our success in achieving gender and diversity targets in the officer cadre as indicated in our Merlo-Davidson obligations.

In addition, coordinated efforts are proceeding with Learning and Development and Workforce Culture and Employee Engagement to explore industry practices and services, which could strengthen efforts to identify, target, and develop high potential leadership competencies. Consultation with the Chief Information Officer will also be initiated to explore available tools and options, including but not limited to HRMIS, that will facilitate succession planning and career management for members and employees progressing through leadership roles.

E/ODR will continue to collaborate and consult with partners and stakeholders in order to effectively meet the recommendations in this audit.Specific initiatives will be identified and elaborated on in the Management Action Plan, due February, 2019.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Stephen White
Acting Chief Human Resources Officer

1. Background

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act provides the Commissioner with the authority to staff all Regular Member positions (non-commissioned and commissioned officers). The on-strength establishment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as of July 1, 2018 was comprised of 18,725 Regular Members, of which 612 were commissioned officersFootnote 1 in the following ranks:

  • Commissioner (1)
  • Deputy Commissioners (5)
  • Assistant Commissioners (31)
  • Chief Superintendents (57)
  • Superintendents (190)
  • Inspectors (328)

The RCMP is working to promote greater diversity at all levels within an organizational culture that is grounded in the principles of inclusion and respect. The organization currently faces a number of human resources (HR) challenges including impending retirements, budgetary pressures, technological changes and labour market shortages. These challenges have emphasized the need for an effective HR plan which includes talent management (TM) and succession planning.

In the Commissioner's Mandate Letter made available on May 7, 2018,Footnote 2 the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness encourages the Commissioner to ensure that the RCMP is representative of Canada's diverse population, including gender parity, and that women, Indigenous Peoples and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.

Reporting to the Chief Human Resources Officer is the Directorate of Executive/Officer Development and Resourcing (E/ODR). E/ODR is responsible for all HR activities related to Officers and Executives across the RCMP. Activities include policies, staffing, performance management, TM, succession planning, classification and record keeping. E/ODR oversees all staffing-related functions for commissioned officers which includes promotions, lateral transfers and assignments. The Officer Candidate Process (OCP), TM and Succession Planning process in the officer cadre are managed by E/ODR.

Entry into the RCMP's commissioned officer ranks is through the OCP. The OCP is an essential part of the RCMP's national succession planning strategy for identifying key leaders to meet organizational needs at the commissioned officer ranks. The OCP is a program that evaluates, identifies and qualifies non-commissioned officers ready for officer-level responsibilities. The evaluation is based on the Senior Manager Competency Profile and RCMP Core Values. The OCP cycle is launched by the Director General (DG), E/ODR. Changes to the OCP came into effect in October 2017. Whereas previous OCP cycles had fixed start and end dates, the new OCP has adopted an open cycle where interested members are able to self-identify or be invited to participate at any time throughout the year. It is comprised of three phases: Application, Review and the Structured Interview Board. E/ODR adds successful candidates to the OCP National Eligibility List, which prequalifies them for promotions to the Inspector rank for a two year period.

The Commissioner-approved 2017-2022 Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan included an Audit of Staffing of Regular Members under the RCMP Act – Phase Two (Commissioned officers). In 2016, Internal Audit completed the Audit of Staffing of Regular Members under the RCMP Act – Phase One (Non-commissioned officers).

2. Objective, scope and methodology

2.1 Objective

The objective of the engagement was to assess whether the RCMP has an appropriate framework, systems and practices in place to manage officer appointments under the RCMP Act, to ensure that appointments comply with RCMP appointment policies and reflect RCMP values, and provide effective talent management and succession planning.

2.2 Scope

The scope of the engagement was officer appointments made under the RCMP Act from April 2016 – March 2017, and the policies, processes and procedures related to talent management and succession planning for commissioned officers. While changes to the OCP came into effect in October 2017, including the implementation of an open cycle and a reduction in the number of competency examples to be provided for validation, the OCP was included in the scope as key steps of the OCP assessment remained unchanged.

2.3 Methodology

Planning for the audit was completed in November 2017. In this phase, the audit team conducted interviews and examined relevant legislation, policies, procedures and reports. Sources used to develop audit criteria and audit tests included RCMP policies and guidelines. The audit objective and criteria are available in Appendix A.

The examination phase, which concluded in June 2018, employed various auditing techniques including interviews, documentation reviews, testing of client files and administration of a survey. The audit team interviewed personnel within E/ODR and Workforce Culture and Employee Engagement (WCEE), as well as Deputy Commissioner Contract and Indigenous Policing, Deputy Commissioner Federal Policing and Commanding Officers (COs) and personnel from E, H, K and O Divisions. Upon completion of the examination phase, the audit team held meetings to validate findings with personnel and debriefed senior management of the relevant findings.

The table below provides a summary of the number of files tested during the audit. Sampling methodology involved random sampling of OCP files and staffing action files obtained from E/ODR. Proportional sampling was applied to obtain a breadth of coverage representing the actual distribution of file types by division and rank.

Table 1: Summary of file review sample
Population Sample
2016-2017 OCP
Eligibility list 80 21
Non-successful 73 35
Total 153 56
Sample percentage 37%
2016-2017 Staffing action files
New commission 73 21
Promotional transfer 99 30
Lateral transfer 114 35
Total 286 86
Sample percentage 30%

A survey was developed and administered in collaboration with the RCMP's Survey Centre in March 2018 to gather pertinent information and perspectives from RMs in the commissioned officer ranks, as well as OCP candidates from the 2016-2017 cycle. 702 survey invitations were sent out and 443 completed responses were received, resulting in a response rate of 63.1%. A summary of the survey results are available in Appendix B. The table below shows the ranks of the members who participated in the survey.

Table 2: Rank demographics of survey respondents
Rank Count
Assistant Commissioner or higher 20
Chief Superintendent 35
Superintendent 118
Inspector 228
Staff Sergeant / Sergeant Major 24
Sergeant 10
Undisclosed 8
Total 443

2.4 Statement of conformance

The audit engagement conforms to the Institute of Internal Auditors' International Professional Practices Framework and the Treasury Board of Canada Directive on Internal Audit, as supported by the results of the quality assurance and improvement program.

3. Audit findings

3.1 Staffing framework

The RCMP has a framework in place to manage commissioned officer appointments under the RCMP Act. Some key processes within the framework are not documented in policies and procedures nor understood by some officers, which may impact consistency and contribute to the perception of a lack of transparency.

The process used by the RCMP to staff commissioned officer positions is referred to as the succession planning program. This approach to staffing is enabled by the annual TM process for existing officers and the OCP, both of which generate lists of potential candidates that can be selected to fill officer vacancies via lateral or promotional transfers. The majority of positions are filled using this succession planning approach. While organizational requirements take precedence in succession planning decisions, member developmental requirements, personal circumstances, interests and qualifications are also considered. Job advertisements may be used if no successors have been identified or if the position is highly specialized. The key is to find a fair balance between the organization's needs and the individual's interests, while recognizing that there needs to be flexibility in succession planning to fulfill the RCMP's operational mandate.

The management of commissioned officer staffing in the RCMP is centralized within Executive/Officer Development and Resourcing as it is responsible for all HR activities related to Officers and Executives across the organization. Policies related to commissioned officer staffing are located within the RCMP's Executive/Officer Manual (EOM). Part 1 of the EOM addresses resourcing at the commissioned officer level and includes policies on succession planning and the Officer Candidate Process. The Succession Planning policy provides an overview of the Officer/Officer Equivalent Succession Planning Process and the OCP policy describes the phases and requirements of the OCP. In addition to these policies, some guidance documents were available for senior management and E/ODR personnel on the TM and succession planning processes.

The EOM did not include policies and procedures on TM nor for staffing of RM positions although placeholders for these chapters were in the EOM's table of contents. Approximately 57% (134/237) of survey respondents indicated that they understood the commissioned officer staffing process while 33% (78/237) indicated that they did not. 237 of the 443 survey participants provided additional written comments. 90 of the 237 survey respondents who provided additional comments expressed opinions on the transparency of commissioned officer staffing processes. The lack of formal policies on these topics may impact consistency and contribute to the perception of a lack of transparency and/or fairness in officer staffing.

Staffing procedures

The audit team reviewed a total of 56 OCP files and 86 staffing action files. The results of the OCP file review showed a high level of completeness and compliance to the EOM OCP policy. Minor omissions were observed on 4 OCP files such as a missing signature and incomplete sets of Structured Interview Board documentation.

The process for staffing RM positions through promotions or lateral transfers was not documented in policies and procedures therefore compliance testing was not conducted. The audit team tested completeness of these staffing action files based on available checklists and an understanding of the process based on interviews. The results of the staffing action file review showed a high level of completeness. Exceptions were noted in 8 of the files – 4 files did not have a Staffing Request Form on file, and 4 other files had a signed Staffing Request Form that was not dated. In addition, 30 of the 86 staffing action files reviewed had bilingual language requirements. Candidates either met the requirements or had a signed a Statement of Agreement to Become Bilingual form in all but one file. 90% (206/230) of survey respondents indicated that they met the language requirements prior to occupying their position.

The timeliness of staffing requests was assessed by comparing the date of the Staffing Request Form and the E/ODR Bulletin date. Although E/ODR does not have established service level standards, 64% of the files reviewed had bulletins published within 40 work days from the signed and dated Staffing Request Form. 15% of the files exceeded 120 work days. This type of analysis was not done for OCP files as the 2016-2017 OCP followed a prescribed cycle which launched on September 1, 2016 and ended around April 2017. With the introduction of an open OCP cycle, the time required to process OCP files may become more relevant to monitor.

Based on interviews with E/ODR personnel and the sample file review, periodic monitoring is not conducted on the staffing files and there is no formal mechanism in place to ensure that staffing files and appointments comply with established policies and procedures. However, various checklists are used by staff involved in the staffing process to ensure that required documentation is on file. DG, E/ODR's various stages of review and/or approval of OCP and staffing files also inherently provides quality assurance.

Senior executives and survey commenters indicated that their experience with E/ODR personnel has been positive. However, there is a desire for increased communication and interaction with E/ODR on topics such as staffing, TM and career management. Furthermore, senior executives indicated that they would like to see reduced turnover in E/ODR as it would improve continuity and facilitate client relationship management. 63% (69/110) of respondents who participated in the 2016-2017 OCP cycle thought they were provided with useful feedback on their performance in the OCP and 22% (24/110) did not think useful feedback was provided.

3.2 Gender and diversity

RCMP has set representation targets that exceed the LMA which will be challenging to attain if OCP application and success rates of women, Indigenous people and visible minorities hold steady. Representation in leadership positions is a priority for the RCMP as outlined in the Commissioner's 2018 Mandate Letter.

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and Employment Equity (EE) in officer staffing policies

GBA+ is an analytical tool used to assess how diverse groups of people experience policies, programs and initiatives. In addition to biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences, GBA+ considers factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental/ physical disabilityFootnote 3. In contrast, EE is based on legislated requirements for the employer to engage in proactive employment practices to increase the representation of the four designated groups: women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities. Therefore although GBA+ and EE are somewhat related, they should be treated separately.

The RCMP has formal policies in its Administration Manual on EE and Human Rights but has not issued a formal overarching policy on GBA+. The succession planning policy has links to the Administration Manual but does not explicitly state if and how EE should be considered in officer staffing. The language used in the EOM was gender neutral and one reference to GBA+ was observed within the updated OCP chapter of the EOM. The policy indicates that aspiring candidates must have completed three mandatory courses, one of which is the GBA+ course offered by the Status of Women Canada, before submitting their OCP application. The OCP policy also notes that Structured Interview Board members are selected with consideration given to diversity, objectivity and experience.

One of the major changes to the OCP in 2017 was the introduction of an open cycle where applications are accepted throughout the year. E/ODR personnel indicated that this change was aimed at benefiting all interested Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) as the previous fixed cycle starting in September may have been a barrier for members with school aged children. As identified in the organization's status update on the Merlo-Davidson Settlement Agreement initiatives, this procedural change was the result of GBA+ considerations and has contributed to an increase of female OCP applicants from 17% to 29% in under a yearFootnote 4.

Aside from this procedural change, the audit team did not observe other instances where officer staffing policies were influenced by GBA+. E/ODR is in the process of developing and updating policies for the EOM. Personnel interviewed from the GBA+ and EE groups within the WCEE advised that they have not been engaged in officer-staffing related policy updates. GBA+ should be considered and subject matter experts should be consulted when drafting or updating officer staffing policies and procedures.

Gender and diversity representation

Representation is important to the RCMP's modernization and culture reform. In the Commissioner's Mandate Letter made available on May 7, 2018, one of the Commissioner's priorities will be to ensure that the RCMP is representative of Canada's diverse population, including gender parity, and that women, Indigenous Peoples and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.

References to representation goals or targets were observed in several documents. However, the process or analysis used to establish these targets was not defined. Senior E/ODR and WCEE personnel indicated that they were unaware how the various representation targets were established. The RCMP conducted a workforce analysis in 2012 and subsequently developed a Gender and Respect Action Plan which established a goal of 30% female RM representation in the Force. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015-2016 RCMP Members Employment Equity Report identified targets of 35% women, 10% Indigenous people and 20% visible minorities in RM representation. These targets were not specific to commissioned officers but all RMs across the RCMP. More recently, as part of the Merlo-Davidson Settlement Agreement's change initiatives, the RCMP committed to a target of 30% women in officer and executive positions by 2025. Table 3 shows the composition of the office cadre.

Table 3: RCMP officer cadre composition as of March 31, 2017. Source: RCMP Members EE Annual Report FY 2016-2017
Rank Total Men Women Indigenous Peoples Visible Minorities
Inspector 334 263 71 23 46
Superintendent 174 142 32 14 5
Chief Superintendent 60 48 12 2 4
Assistant Commissioner 28 22 6 1 0
Deputy Commissioner 7 5 2 3 0
Commissioner 1 1 0 0 0
Total 604 481 123 43 55
% of officers 79.61% 20.39% 7.11% 9.13%
Overall % of all RCMP RMs 78.40% 21.60% 10.50% 8%

The Employment Equity Act requires the employer to institute policies and practices to ensure that persons in designated groups achieve a degree of representation in the employer's workforce that reflects their representation in either the Canadian workforce, or those segments of the Canadian workforce that are identifiable by qualification, eligibility or geography and from which the employer may reasonably be expected to draw employees.Footnote 5 According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission's Employment Equity Status Report for the RCMP in 2013, the RCMP achieved representation based on labour market availabilities (LMA) for police officers in Canada. There is no LMA for persons with disabilities due to the physical bona fide occupational requirements for police officers.

The 2016-2017 OCP statistics show that although fewer women entered the OCP than men, women passed the OCP at a higher rate. Table 4 below breaks down the representation of 2016-2017 OCP candidates. It was also noted that although success rates fluctuate year to year, they have increased significantly since the 2011-2012 cycle when 24% of women and 38% of men succeeded.

Table 4: 2016-2017 OCP candidate representation. Source: E/ODR 2016-2017 OCP cycle data, includes out of cycle candidates
2016-2017 OCP Total Men Women Indigenous Peoples Visible Minorities
Applicants 153 123 (84%) 25 (16%) 23 (15%) 17 (11%)
Successful candidates 77 61 (79%) 16 (21%) 7 (9.1%) 11 (14%)
Pass rate 50% 48% 64% 30% 65%

This table also shows that the rate at which men and women are added to the OCP Eligibility List generally resembles the overall representation rate in the officer cadre in Table 3. E/ODR indicated that due to the limited number of candidates in the OCP Eligibility List, virtually all successful candidates get promoted to Inspector. At this rate, representation in the commissioned officer ranks will continue to hold steady and therefore pose a challenge for the organization to meet the gender and diversity goals it has set.

Gender and diversity considerations in officer staffing-related decisions

Assessment of OCP candidates should be fair and consistent; therefore, gender and diversity may not have a role in decisions to support or not support. However, according to E/ODR, the assessment criteria and tools themselves may need to be reviewed with a GBA+ lens to ensure that the process does not inadvertently disadvantage certain groups of people. To provide an objective lens to the application process, the EOM OCP policy states that E/ODR will review officer candidate application packages that are not supported by line officers. This ensures that E/ODR has visibility over all members who are interested in applying to the OCP and provides E/ODR with an opportunity to allow candidates with potential, but who may not be supported by their LOs, to move forward in the process. A study conducted by E/ODR personnel indicated that members interested in participating in the OCP may not be willing to invest the significant time required in building an application package if they think they wouldn't have the support from their LO for any reason, including potential gender and diversity biases. While the audit did not specifically examine this part of the process, it was noted that all 56 OCP files reviewed had LO support. Increased communication to members emphasizing that applications not supported by the LO should be sent directly to E/ODR for review may increase awareness that non-supported applications could still be considered and result in more OCP applications.

The audit team was advised by E/ODR that the TM exercise should not have gender and diversity considerations because the ratings should be based solely on the talent and potential of each individual. Some COs interviewed stated that gender and diversity are part of TM and succession planning discussions but the most important factor is always merit and 'best' fit. However, the audit team was also advised that COs were instructed informally by a former Commissioner to give all female Chief Superintendents a "Ready Now" TM rating even if they were new to the role or rank. The 2016-2017 TM Matrix confirmed that all 11 female Chief Superintendents were rated "Ready Now" or "Ready in Two Years". 39% (93/236) of survey respondents felt that equality and diversity were equally promoted in officer staffing, compared to 34% (80/236) who did not (27% had no opinion). A consistent and transparent approach on whether and how gender and diversity should be considered in TM is important because the results of the TM exercise inform the succession planning process.

The RCMP has several action plans in place to increase representation but may need to review them by including evidence-based milestones in order to meet the organization's commitment to achieve the current targets on gender and diversity in the officer cadre. Factors such as the LMA of police officers, changing demographics, recruitment, civilianization of RM positions and OCP success rates impact the RCMP's ability to achieve its commitments for representation in leadership positions.

3.3 Talent management & succession planning

The availability of candidates on the National Succession Plan and OCP Eligibility List has a direct impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of commissioned officer staffing. The staffing framework is generally reactive and may be limiting at certain times of the year if candidate lists are depleted. There is a risk to the RCMP's operational mandate if leadership positions are not staffed through succession planning in a timely manner.

Talent management

As part of the succession planning process, a TM exercise is performed once a year to establish TM ratings for Inspectors, Superintendents and Chief Superintendents. The TM process assesses an individual's potential and is broader than promotions. It is aimed at helping ensure well-roundedness in terms of breadth and depth of experience. TM Questionnaires are completed by supervisors and draft ratings are assigned to members which are then challenged by E/ODR and validated with Deputy Commissioners and COs. The draft ratings are then approved and confirmed towards the end of fiscal year, and feedback is provided to members by their line officers. Deputy Commissioners and COs approve the TM ratings of the officers within their business lines or divisions. The following table is a list of colour coded ratings that members can receive.

Table 5: Talent management ratings. Source: E/ODR Talent Map Placement Guide 2016-17
Talent management ratings Colour
Ready for advancement - now Green
Ready for advancement with development - within 2 years Green
Well-placed in role Golden
New to role Golden
Possible new opportunity Golden
Subject matter expert Golden
Develop in current role Yellow
Requires review Yellow
Transition to retirement n/a
Unable to assess n/a

The TM ratings for officers are compiled in an annual TM Matrix. The RCMP has adopted a normal distribution for TM ratings of 20/70/10. The goal is to have 20% of RMs in the green, 70% in the golden and 10% in the yellow. In other words, the majority of members are well-placed and consistently good performers. The TM Matrices for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 were reviewed and they showed a distribution of approximately 31/68/1 and 38/62/0 respectively.

Relation between talent management and succession planning

The process used to staff officer vacancies is referred to as succession planning. Promotional and lateral transfers of commissioned officers within and beyond the Inspector rank generally follow a succession planning approach that is informed by the TM exercise. The TM ratings are a major consideration in the Succession Planning process and are a key factor in promotions and lateral transfers up to the Assistant Commissioner rank. Members rated in the golden are considered well-placed, consistently good performers who may benefit by continuing to develop in their current role or transferring to another role within the same rank to diversify their skills and experience. Members who are rated green, "Ready for Advancement" are placed on a National Succession Plan and could be considered for promotional transfers. Pre-qualified members on the OCP National Eligibility List are succession planned to the Inspector rank if no members at level are interested or suitable to fill vacant Inspector positions.

Traditional succession planning typically involves identifying and developing people to fill specific leadership positions. The RCMP does not do succession planning in the traditional sense where career mapping is done with officers to ensure that a 'next in line' is available when leadership positions become vacant. Based on the review of the EOM and interviews with E/ODR personnel, the Succession Planning process is used as a staffing mechanism where individuals on lists such as the OCP Eligibility List and the National Succession Plan are considered when filling vacant positions. There is no formal, documented, forward looking plan that could be used to map out how positions will be succeeded and/or by whom. As a result, officer staffing is more reactive than proactive, and highly dependent on the number of individuals on the OCP Eligibility List and National Succession Plan. HR challenges such as mobility, housing support, member perceptions of officer staffing processes, impending retirements, labour market shortages and competition with the private sector and other police services have emphasized the need for efficient and effective succession planning. There is a risk to the RCMP's operational mandate if leadership positions are not permanently staffed in a timely manner.

While a TM policy was not in place at the time of the audit, E/ODR provides a Talent Map Placement Guide and a Succession Planning Meeting Guide on an annual basis which has some information on the TM process. However, these guidance documents are geared towards managers and senior executives who are involved in TM and succession planning decisions. 40% (173/438) of survey respondents indicated that they did not have sufficient information regarding the TM process and how it may impact their careers. Some COs interviewed stated that the TM process is not well understood so they have discussions with officers to explain the rating and development aspect of the process. One CO stated that members are often overly focused on their colour ratings and that the ratings are sometimes misinterpreted. For example, a rating of "Possible New Opportunity" does not necessarily mean the officer is doing a poor job, they may just need more time developing at their current rank but in a different position. A number of individuals interviewed and surveyed also indicated there is a perceived disadvantage in accepting a lateral transfer if one is rated in the green because they can be rated "New to Role" in the new position. There is a risk that officers could become preoccupied with their TM ratings to the detriment of focus on achieving well roundedness in their career. Also, this may limit the number of people interested in lateral transfers, thereby possibly limiting the organization's ability to staff certain vacancies. Formal policies and procedures on the TM process are important to ensure consistency, as TM ratings are key factors in succession planning.

The consistency of the TM process and its perceived subjectivity was a prevalent theme gathered from the survey comments and was also mentioned by two of the COs interviewed. The survey results also showed that 84% (247/295) of survey respondents who were not new commissioned officers had a TM discussion with their line officers, and 77% (229/298) indicated they had received feedback regarding their TM rating. Line officers and supervisors could be more engaged to increase these percentages and to ensure members are aware of what is required in terms of performance or developmental opportunities to assist the member in developing and attaining career goals.

The audit team was advised by E/ODR personnel that when staffing vacancies, Career Development and Resourcing Officers (CDRO) typically start with a search in the Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS) to identify RMs at level who have identified an interest in the vacant position. The CDRO would primarily consider factors such as a member's TM rating, experience and skillset, but would also consider interest expressed through HRMIS career preferences when identifying suitable candidates. The effectiveness of succession planning may be enhanced if members are more proactive in updating their HRMIS career preferences. Members are reminded to update their preferences periodically as they are purged on an annual basis. 72% (171/238) of survey respondents indicated that they keep their career preferences up to date. This results correlates with the 74% (176/237) of respondents who indicated that they were contacted by E/ODR regarding a position, and the 75% (176/236) that indicated the position they were identified for matched their career preferences. However, E/ODR advised that updating career preferences in HRMIS does not necessarily mean that members will be contacted for vacancies as other factors are also considered.

E/ODR personnel indicated that there is room for improvement for the current tools available to help members identify the correct job codes for officer positions. Career streaming could be also helpful to educate officers on career paths that could be taken to access leadership positions. E/ODR could communicate examples of job codes where officers can acquire the breadth and depth of experience required to attain their career aspirations.

If there are no suitable or interested candidates to accept a lateral transfer, nor candidates ready for promotion who are rated green, CDROs can consider promoting interested and qualified RMs with other ratings to staff a position. CDROs also have the OCP Eligibility List to consult to fill Inspector positions. The following table summarizes the TM ratings that were recorded during the sample file review. This table shows that a green TM rating is a key factor in promoting RMs. However, members in the golden may also be promoted. 8 files did not have TM ratings because they were for Assistant Commissioners being promoted to the Deputy Commissioner rank, or for newly commissioned Inspectors who accepted a lateral transfer.

Table 6: Talent management ratings from sample file review
TM Rating Promotional staffing action file Lateral staffing action file
Ready now (Green) 14 3
Ready in 2 years (Green) 7 2
Well-placed in role (Golden) 4 11
New to role (Golden) 2 4
Possible new opportunity (Golden) 1 9
No rating 2 6
Number of files reviewed 30 35

E/ODR issues a Force-wide bulletin to all RCMP employees on a weekly basis that communicates reminders and updates to policies, and announces all approved lateral and promotional transfers at the commissioned officer level. Since most positions are not advertised, officers may only learn of vacant positions when receiving the weekly E/ODR Bulletin. While this was not identified as a specific concern by the majority of officers who participated in the survey, 42 of the 443 survey respondents did provide additional comments relating to the lack of job advertisements. It would be beneficial for E/ODR to engage and educate members on the importance of TM and keeping career preferences up to date as it would enhance the succession planning process and may help improve the perception of transparency in officer staffing.

Effectiveness of succession planning

All senior executives interviewed stated that the pool of potential successors to assume new roles and fill vacancies is not sufficient. The pool is further limited when factoring member interests and mobility restrictions. Members' understanding and perceptions of the OCP and Succession Planning processes may further limit NCO interest in joining the officer cadre, resulting in a more limited pool of candidates.

Mobility was a significant challenge that was brought up in interviews with several senior executives and through the survey. Although mobility is a condition of service, it creates a challenge as members may not wish to relocate to particular geographic areas for various reasons such as family obligations or lack of housing support. Survey respondents have commented that the organization's emphasis on mobility could be a barrier to an individual's career progression. 18% (42/237) of respondents declined a promotional opportunity in the officer cadre, and over half of them cited relocation requirement as a reason for why they declined the promotion. Career mapping could be helpful to assist officers in balancing their personal lives and careers. For example, officers may be more willing to be mobile and transfer to another division if they know the duration of the posting and where they will go upon completion. With more information at their disposal, members can make more informed decisions on whether or not they are willing to relocate (e.g. selling family home or career decisions for partners/spouses).

To address staffing gaps within their Divisions and Business Lines, senior executives use informal initiatives to complement succession planning activities which include: identifying and developing NCOs with potential in order for them to be successful in the OCP; mentorship and stretch assignments; hiring senior police officers from outside the RCMP; reclassifying RM positions in order to hire civilian personnel; and informing E/ODR of divisional needs in terms of skillsets, experience and diversity.

The informal initiative of identifying and developing NCOs could be more widespread and formalized so that more prepared candidates can be invited to the OCP and be successful. The survey results indicate that only 62% (70/110) of OCP participants decided to participate based on the encouragement of a line officer or mentor. E/ODR could more actively seek Line Officer engagement in encouraging and supporting NCO participation in the OCP.

4. Conclusion

The level of engagement and interest from the officer cadre on the audit topic was evident, as 63% responded to the survey conducted as part of this audit. The high response rate provided substantial information to draw from and contributed to the audit's findings and conclusions.

The RCMP has a framework in place to manage commissioned officer appointments under the RCMP Act, however there is a lack of information available to RMs on some key processes and the current level and means of E/ODR engagement and communication with members to supplement policies may not be sufficient to promote understanding of officer staffing-related processes. Additionally, members may not have adequate tools to keep their career preferences up to date. The combination of these factors appear to contribute to the perception of a lack of transparency in officer staffing amongst some members.

The availability of candidates on the National Succession Plan and OCP Eligibility List has a direct impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of commissioned officer staffing. The current staffing framework is generally reactive and may be limiting at certain times of the year when candidate lists have been depleted. Barriers such as mobility, housing support, and members' understanding and perceptions of the OCP and Succession Planning processes may further limit member interest to join or advance in the officer cadre, resulting in a more limited pool of candidates. The shortage of candidates also contributes to challenges in achieving gender and diversity representation goals for leadership roles across the RCMP.

5. Recommendations

  1. The Chief Human Resources Officer should develop and/or update policies, directives or guidance in the Executive/Officer Manual while applying GBA+ as appropriate.
  2. The Chief Human Resources Officer should increase engagement with members to promote understanding and education of important topics related to officer staffing such as talent management, succession planning, career management and mobility.
  3. The Chief Human Resources Officer should increase member engagement and their use of HRMIS career preferences by reviewing tools available to employees, and consider the merits of career streaming to assist members in planning their careers.
  4. The Chief Human Resources Officer should review or develop appropriate action plans to achieve current gender and diversity targets in the officer cadre. Plans should be monitored on an ongoing basis and include evidence-based milestones to determine whether activities are leading to expected outcomes.
  5. The Chief Human Resources Officer should develop proactive succession plans and tools to ensure that individuals are positioned to succeed one another in a seamless manner for identified senior leadership positions and consider the merits of practicing career mapping.

Appendix A – Audit objectives and criteria

Objective: To assess whether the RCMP has an appropriate framework, systems and practices in place to manage officer appointments under the RCMP Act, to ensure that appointments comply with RCMP appointment policies and reflect RCMP values, and provide effective talent management and succession planning.

Criterion 1: The RCMP has an appropriate framework, systems and practices in place to manage Commissioned Officer appointments under the RCMP Act, and appointments comply with RCMP appointment policies and reflect RCMP values.

Criterion 2: The RCMP applies gender based analysis plus in officer staffing policies and related decision-making.

Criterion 3: The RCMP's talent management practices and national succession plan address current and future officer staffing needs.

Appendix B – Summary of survey resultsFootnote 6

A) Did you participate in the 2016-2017 OCP Cycle?
Choice Percentage Count
Yes 25% 110
No 75% 332
Total 100% 442
B) Your decision to participate in the OCP Cycle was based on:
Choice Percentage Count
Encouragement of line officer or mentor 62% 70
Self-identification 38% 42
Total 100% 112
C) Were you successful in the 2016-2017 OCP Cycle?
Choice Percentage Count
Yes 86% 94
No 14% 15
Total 100% 109
D) If unsuccessful, was adequate feedback provided to you?
Choice Percentage Count
Yes 53% 8
No 47% 7
Total 100% 15
E) Did you participate in more than 1 cycle?
Choice Percentage Count
Yes 46% 50
No 54% 59
Total 100% 109
Table 1 – OCP Participants
Strongly disagree Disagree No opinion/ Unknown Agree Strongly agree Total
1. I had sufficient information to participate in the OCP process. 2% (2) 16% (18) 3% (3) 61% (68) 19% (21) 100% (112)
2. I was supported through the process by my line officer. 0% (0) 2% (2) 3% (3) 39% (44) 56% (63) 100% (112)
3. I felt properly prepared for the structured interview phase of the process. 3% (3) 14% (15) 7% (8) 41% (46) 35% (39) 100% (111)
4. I was treated professionally and respectfully throughout the OCP process. 2% (2) 4% (5) 4% (4) 38% (42) 52% (58) 100% (111)
5. I was provided with useful feedback on my performance in the OCP. 3% (3) 19% (21) 15% (16) 38% (42) 25% (28) 100% (110)
6. My personal experience with the OCP has been positive. 1% (1) 11% (12) 14% (16) 46% (52) 28% (31) 100% (112)
7. I feel RMs have an equal opportunity to participate in the OCP. 5% (6) 15% (17) 11% (12) 39% (43) 30% (33) 100% (111)
A) Were you promoted or laterally appointed to a position between April 2016 and March 2017?
Choice Percentage Count
Yes 42% 185
No 58% 259
Total 100% 444
B) Are you a newly Commissioned Officer?
Choice Percentage Count
Yes 25% 111
No 75% 332
Total 100% 443
Table 2 - Staffing Action
Strongly disagree Disagree No opinion/ Unknown Agree Strongly agree Total
1. I understand the staffing process. 9% (21) 24% (57) 11% (25) 46% (109) 11% (25) 100% (237)
2. I feel that equality and diversity are equally promoted in officer staffing. 13% (31) 21% (49) 27% (63) 31% (73) 8% (20) 100% (236)
Table 2 - part 2
Yes No Total
3. I maintain and keep my HRMIS career preferences up to date. 72% (171) 28% (67) 100% (238)
4. I applied to a posted position. 16% (39) 84% (200) 100% (239)
5. I was personally contacted by E/ODR regarding the position. 74% (176) 26% (61) 100% (237)
6. The position for which I was identified matched my career preferences. 75% (176) 25% (60) 100% (236)
7. When placed in your new position did you have the proper tools (i.e. training, skillset) to carry out your duties? 85% (200) 15% (35) 100% (235)
8. Were you placed in a bilingual position? 26% (62) 74% (175) 100% (237)
9. Did you meet the language requirements prior to occupying the position? 90% (206) 10% (24) 100% (230)
10. If you did not meet the language requirements of the position, were you offered language training or other measures to satisfy the language requirement or was an exception authorized? 16% (17) 84% (92) 100% (109)
11. Have you ever declined a promotional opportunity within the officer cadre?
Choice Percentage Count
Yes 18% 42
No 82% 195
Total 100% 237
12. If so, for what reason? (select all that apply):
Choice Percentage Count
Relocation requirement 55% 23
Timing 45% 19
Work-life balance 17% 7
Personal 57% 24
Other 33% 14
Total 100% 42
Table 3 - Talent Management & Succession Planning
Yes No Total
1. Did you have a mid-year discussion with your line officer? 75% (330) 25% (108) 100% (438)
2. Did you have a talent management discussion with your line officer? 78% (337) 22% (97) 100% (434)
3. Was there a need for a developmental plan to be put in place based on your Talent Management Rating? 4% (16) 96% (414) 100% (430)
4. If so, was a developmental plan put in place? 5% (11) 95% (228) 100% (239)
5. Did you receive feedback from your line officer regarding your talent management rating? 72% (311) 28% (120) 100% (431)
6. Did you obtain feedback from your line officer regarding succession planning decisions related to you? 55% (236) 45% (195) 100% (431)
Table 3 - Part 2
Strongly disagree Disagree No opinion/ Unknown Agree Strongly agree Total
7. I have sufficient information regarding the talent management process and how it may impact my career. 11% (48) 29% (125) 17% (73) 37% (160) 7% (32) 100% (438)
8. My personal experience with the talent management process has been positive. 13% (58) 22% (95) 35% (152) 25% (112) 5% (23) 100% (440)

Appendix C – Detailed management action plans

Recommendation Management action plan
1. The Chief Human Resources Officer should develop and/or update policies, directives or guidance in the Executive/Officer Manual while applying GBA+ as appropriate.

Agree.

The Executive/Officer Manual identifies the following policies in scope for this audit, with applicable status included here:

  • Succession Planning (existing, being updated)
  • Staffing of RM Positions (outstanding)
  • Officer Candidate Process (OCP) (existing, updated in October 2017)
  • Talent Management (outstanding)

Existing policies will be reviewed and updated as necessary, while outstanding policies will be developed. The work will be completed while applying GBA+ as appropriate, for existing as well as outstanding policies.

Completion Date:

  • OCP – March 2019
  • Succession Planning – June 2019
  • Talent Management – September 2019
  • Staffing of RM Positions – December 2019
Position Responsible: DG, E/ODR
2. The Chief Human Resources Officer should increase engagement with members to promote understanding and education of important topics related to officer staffing such as talent management, succession planning, career management and mobility.

Agree.

E/ODR held group meetings with officers during the fall 2018 succession planning cycle. The topics are also covered during panel discussions held by E/ODR with participants of the Executive Officer Development Program (EODP). The approach will be formalized and integrated in the succession planning sessions with each Division to ensure consistency and standard of practices between CDROs.

Deliverable: Officer Staffing Presentation (including, but not limited to TM, SP, CM, HRMIS Tools and mobility) will be delivered at each EODP and Divisional visits (succession planning or other).

Completion Date: June 2019
Position Responsible: DG, E/ODR

3. The Chief Human Resources Officer should increase member engagement and their use of HRMIS career preferences by reviewing tools available to employees, and consider the merits of career streaming to assist members in planning their careers.

Agree.

EODR's Weekly Bulletin will include reminders to the membership regarding their role in maintaining their career preferences in HRMIS.

Deliverables:

  • Engagement: See Item 2) above
  • Career Streaming: In February 2019, discussions/consultations will be initiated at SMT/SEC related to understanding and considering the merits of career streaming and career mapping. An action plan to be developed following these consultations.

Completion Date: March 2019 (initial action plan)
Position Responsible: DG, E/ODR

4. The Chief Human Resources Officer should review or develop appropriate action plans to achieve current gender and diversity targets in the officer cadre. Plans should be monitored on an ongoing basis and include evidence-based milestones to determine whether activities are leading to expected outcomes.

Agree.

A review of the OCP process was conducted by the Personnel Psychology Centre to provide recommendations on removing barriers to the identification and support of a broad diversity of leaders to enter the Officer Candidate Process. This report was received in November 2018 and recommendations are being analyzed.

This activity is in line with obligation #4 of the Merlo Davidson Action plan which is setting a goal to make the proportion of women in regular member positions equal to at least 30% by 2025.

A database has been developed to monitor gender and diversity in the OCP. The first report will be presented at SMT in February 2019 and recruitment activities adjusted accordingly. SEC/SMT consultation will take place in the Spring 2019.

Consultations have been initiated with HR Business Analytics to introduce greater business intelligence/evidence-based analysis of composition/demographics of the Officer cadre.

Deliverable: Gender and Diversity Tracking Plan will be formalized and shared with Divisions on a regular basis.

Completion Date: September 30, 2019 and ongoing
Position Responsible: DG, E/ODR

5. The Chief Human Resources Officer should develop proactive succession plans and tools to ensure that individuals are positioned to succeed one another in a seamless manner for identified senior leadership positions and consider the merits of practicing career mapping.

Agree.

Plans are underway to enhance the current succession planning process. E/ODR is also currently liaising with other government departments to obtain information on best practices within government.

Learning and Development is currently exploring the feasibility of using additional functionality in AGORA that will provide the basis for a comprehensive Talent Management and succession planning tool. EODR will keep up-to-date on progress of this potential implementation.

Initial consultation with COs/SEC to take place early Spring 2019. Action Plan to be developed following our research and consultation (see Item 3 above re deliverable on career streaming).

Completion Date: September 2019 (initial action plan)
Position Responsible: DG, E/ODR

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