Report on the Audit of Talent Management

1. Executive Summary


The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO), Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), defines talent management (TM) as ensuring that people are matched to the right jobs for their skills, competencies and career plans. Through dialogue, feedback, career support, and individually tailored learning, the potential of each individual can be fully realized, organizational priorities can be met, and overall public service excellence can be achieved.

The objective of the audit was to provide assurance that the Department of Justice (the Department) has effective TM practices in place to attract, develop and retain employees.

Managing talent in the Department is a shared responsibility between the Human Resources Branch (HRB) and managers with delegated authorities. The HRB enables TM principles through the provision of expert advice to senior management based on leading practices. TM principles are then applied by managers across the Department in support of corporate priorities.

The demographic trends for the Department reflect those of the rest of the Public Service. Approximately 8% of the existing workforce is currently eligible to retire. Within the next five years, this figure is expected to rise to 21%. Given these demographics and recent organizational transformations, it is critical that the Department focus on managing its talent through career, succession and workforce planning. This is especially important considering most legal professionals in the Public Service spend their entire career in the Department.


The Department has effective TM practices in place that are well supported by senior management. The Department developed overall human resources management priorities as well as a TM framework, process and guidance documents for the Department. The Department devotes a significant amount of time to succession planning by assessing employees within the executive cadre and developing a list of potential successors for key positions. In addition, the Deputy Minister underscored the Department’s commitment to its employees in times of transformation by investing resources in a customized leadership program for the Department’s executive cadre. Finally, the Department provided significant oversight on TM activities. Senior governing bodies are actively engaged in reviewing and discussing TM topics such as processes and frameworks. The Deputy Minister convened direct reports for a two and half day retreat in February 2015 to discuss human resources items including TM topics such as succession planning.

Areas for Improvement

Some opportunities for improvement were identified. For example, the Department would benefit from developing a TM strategy that defines the approach to achieve talent goals. Additionally, the Department would gain from establishing performance metrics to assess the success of the strategy. The Department should also consider leveraging staffing mechanisms to maximize the use of the information yielded by the TM process. When doing workforce planning, the Department should focus more on employees’ skills and identify any shortages. It is also important for the Department to monitor completion rates of learning and development plans (LDP), which may contribute to improving employee engagement.

Audit Opinion and Conclusion

In my opinion, the Department has effective TM practices in place to attract, develop and retain employees. TM and succession planning activities are effectively and actively governed by the Department’s senior governing bodies, guided by the HRB and carried out by managers across the Department. This commitment by various internal stakeholders, as well as the existence of clearly communicated roles, responsibilities and accountabilities contributes to positive results.

Some of the opportunities for improvement include: the development of a TM strategy and performance metrics; the improvement of workforce planning processes; and, the implementation of mechanisms to monitor completion rates of LDP.

Management Response

Management agrees with the recommendations of this report.

Management is in agreement with the audit findings, has accepted the recommendations included in this report, and has developed a management action plan to address them. The management action plan has been integrated into this report.

Implementation of the management action plan is a shared responsibility between delegated managers who are accountable for TM and HRB would serve as an enabler.

2. Statement of Conformance

In my professional judgment as Chief Audit Executive, the audit conforms to the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada, as supported by the results of the Quality Assurance and Improvement Program.

Submitted by:

Original signed by Inanc Yazar
October 7, 2015

Inanc Yazar, CPA CGA, CIA, CRMA
Chief Audit Executive
Department of Justice Canada

3. Acknowledgement

The Chief Audit Executive would like to thank the audit team and those individuals who contributed to this engagement and particularly, employees of the Human Resources Branch who provided insights and comments as part of this audit.

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