Defence Team News Interview with Col Stephanie Godin, Director Personnel Strategies, on the CAF Retention Strategy

Video / October 6, 2022


GG: The CAF Retention Strategy has recently undergone changes, with the goal of providing support and empowering CAF members throughout their careers. Today, we’re joined by Colonel Stephanie Godin, Director Personnel Strategies, to tell us more.

GG: I wanted to start off by asking: What are some examples of some of the recent changes that the Strategy is bringing forward?

SG: Yes, well, retention is of crucial importance to the Canadian Armed Forces, because we grow our own talent. So we need to look inward, to listen to our members, and be willing to improve, modify and to enhance the members’ experiences, so that we can retain them. So the Retention Strategy looks at what are those things that make people want to leave the Canadian Armed Forces? So we have a unit survey that we do for members that are thinking of leaving, or have begun the release process. And we ask them the questions: Why are you thinking of releasing? And so we look at those dissatisfiers in order to either put in place some resources that will retain the members, or just to learn more about what are those factors. And that's the first step. The second step will be a wider process that we can implement sooner in the members’ careers so that we can have an impact and affect throughout their careers. So, an example I can give you is one of the things we learn is a dissatisfer for members, is a sense of … a lack of ownership, or agency over their own careers. So the Strategy is emphasizing and really putting an emphasis on having a member having control over their occupation and their careers. So that it enhances their experience, and also has the right person in the right position.

GG: So we know that military families are such an integral part of the CAF and supporting our members. Can you tell us how the Strategy is going to support those families?

SG: So, the Retention Strategy looks at the health and wellness of our members, but also their families. We've learned through our surveys that a dissatisfier, something that makes people want to leave, is often related to family concerns. So we had our Retention team work closely with our Total Health and Wellness team, so that they could leverage some existing initiatives, but also work on new initiatives that are related to, for instance, accessing resources for families related to health, education. One example would be spousal employment. With several postings, moving from province, to province, to territories, it can be difficult for spouses to find employment, and then they feel isolated. And so, we have the Spousal Employment Program that helps mitigate some of those dissatisfiers.

GG: So I'd like to talk about your own journey so far in the CAF. What are some experiences that you've had that you think really speak to a strong retention within the Canadian Armed Forces?

SG: Well, I joined in December 1999. And at that time, I can say I didn't really plan on staying 20 plus years. And I was truly blessed with a very exciting career. Deployments, exercises, all kinds of opportunities for courses, professional development. Really important opportunities for me to work at different levels, whether tactical, operational, strategic. So I had a career that made me want to stay in, and so that to me speaks to the importance of having an adaptive career management for our members, so that they have some sense of agency of control over their own careers. But also that they have an interesting experience that allows them to keep improving.

GG: Thanks again for joining us today.

SG: Thank you very much.

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