Next generation human resources and pay system for the public service

In early 2018, a Next Generation Human Resources and Pay team (NextGen HR and Pay) was established at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) to explore a future HR and pay solution for the Government of Canada. The HR and pay solution will be a digital solution that is mobile and accessible and will be built on the foundation of users’ needs and modern people management processes.

The NextGen team was transferred from TBS to Shared Services Canada (SSC) on April 1, 2020. The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) at TBS remains the HR and pay business owner as well as the lead on other GC HR transformation initiatives. As the Government of Canada lead on human resources and information management and information technology, TBS will continue to have an integrated role in the success of this initiative as a key partner for expertise and strategic advice. SSC is well-positioned to deliver on this important project as the department is responsible for providing modern, secure and reliable IT services that enable digital programs and services for public servants and Canadians.

The NextGen team will work collaboratively to test solutions for a reliable, integrated HR and pay solution for the Government of Canada while keeping the people who will be using this new system at the core of our mandate.

Read more about the government’s plans to move away from Phoenix, and towards an HR and pay solution that meets the needs of the Government of Canada below.

First NextGen Exploratory Phase with Canadian Heritage

In October 2020 the NextGen team began work with Canadian Heritage on the first exploratory phase of this project. Learnings and results from this exploratory phase will help inform and define the way forward.

As this is an iterative process where each step will inform the next, the exact dates for the future phases have yet not been determined. The exploratory phase is expected to last approximately six months, however, this timeframe could be shortened or lengthened depending on the findings. In this phase, the NextGen team will develop work products such as a business case, privacy impact assessment, change management and other planning considerations.

This approach reflects the government’s key digital principles — such as being open and iterative — based on modern best practices and lessons learned. The government is taking the time required to deliver a new system will work with the complexities of government human resources and pay. The NextGen team will continue to communicate openly on the status of this initiative and to engage regularly with employees and other stakeholders.

The exploratory phase will not affect employee’s pay. It will occur in a controlled environment that is separate from Phoenix. Canadian Heritage employees will continue to be paid through the Phoenix pay system while testing is completed.

Canadian Heritage was selected as the first exploratory phase Department because their organization provides a good representation of the government’s human resources complexities, including multiple occupational groups, regional representation, overtime, and other considerations.

Engagement update

Since the beginning of the exploratory phase in October 2020 the NextGen team has made progress on engagement with HR and pay stakeholders. The NextGen team has engaged with more 890 participants from 20 federal organizations in engagement activities that include workshops, working sessions and user research with HR and pay practitioners, end users, and technical experts. Leadership interviews have also been conducted with senior executives to gather their perspectives on the current and future operations of HR and pay teams. These engagement activities are providing the NextGen team with valuable information that will inform the next steps for the NextGen initiative.

Expansion of Pilot to New Departments

The NextGen HR and Pay initiative continues to advance. On July 27, 2021, the expansion of the pilot to additional government departments was announced by the Government of Canada. This follows the successful completion of the Exploratory Phase, which took place from October 2020 to April 2021.  

Canadian Heritage was selected for the first pilot because the organization provides a modest representation of the government’s human resources complexities. Work will continue with Canadian Heritage.

To better understand the complexities of the  human resources and pay systems in other federal departments, the pilot is now being expanded to test with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Testing will take place in a controlled environment.

The pilot will also include Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED-Q) to ensure an effective user experience in French and confirm a product that works effectively in both official languages.

The pilot with CED-Q also allows the NextGen HR and Pay team to confirm that small and regional government organizations with headquarters outside of the National Capital Region will be served equally by the proposed software.

Throughout the Exploratory Phase, more than 890 participants from 20 federal organizations took part in engagement forums including 38 workshops and 90 working sessions. In total, there were more than 180 hours of workshops, 170 hours of working and follow-up sessions, and 2,400 workshop people hours. Learnings and results from the Exploratory Phase will continue to inform and define the way forward.

The NextGen HR and Pay team continues to engage with employees and HR advisors who use the system, as well as with bargaining agents, in the development of a user-centric HR and Pay solution. Extensive consultation will continue throughout this initiative.

Using an agile and iterative approach, the NextGen HR and Pay team remains committed to taking the necessary time to let each step in the process inform the next.

Working in the open

The NextGen team has committed to working in the open by sharing our documents. While work continues to advance on the NextGen initiative, these documents will be posted publicly on the NextGen Wiki.

Digital media hub

Exploring Possible Solutions with #NextGenHRPay - Transcript

Speaking:

The Government of Canada is exploring options to bring in a modern and flexible Human Resources and Pay platform that will better support the public service workforce. We need a system that can better integrate day-to-day hr and pay transactions.

The new solution must be able to provide the positive, seamless experience that employees deserve. We need a system that meets the needs of all users – HR professionals, Compensation professionals, Financial professionals, Managers, and Employees…just to name a few because HR is everybody’s business, not just the back office’s.

And to do that we know we need to hear from our users. We have begun to listen through a series of employee workshops.

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Simple and Intuitive User Experience

  • Simple, easy to follow navigation
  • Create a personalized dashboard
  • Accessible via mobile/tablet
  • Request feedback from colleagues
  • Change personal data easily

Speaking:

Employees have told us as that they want a seamless employee experience. The new solution must be simple, user friendly, intuitive, and accessible on a myriad of devices. Managers and Employees must be able to access information whenever they want, wherever they want, to get an accurate view of such things as their personal data, their upcoming work schedules, and relevant information on their employees.

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Process Optimization

  • Check leave balances
  • Submit a request for time off
  • Sign-up for learning courses
  • Onboard new employees digitally
  • Submit overtime

Speaking:

We have heard that we need to maximize the processes already built-in to existing systems that are based on industry best practice and are tried and true.

Onboarding a new employee, for example, should be easy, using the system to initiate a hire, sending a letter of offer, allowing the incumbent to be able to electronically sign and send back the letter, which would trigger a welcome email, outlining important next steps for the new hire – such as where should they report on their first day; what important polices should be reviewed, and submit any required “paperwork” via online forms. This would significantly reduce the paper burden.

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Intelligent Automation and Machine Learning

  • Access live chat features for help
  • Information and communications pushed to employees based on their usage trends and their role
  • Tailored learning and training content based on employee needs

Speaking:

The new solution should leverage Intelligent Automation and Machine Learning to help improve the user experience. It should leverage features such as chatbots to assist employees with online help, or tailor learning and training content offerings based on employee’s needs or the role they play in their organization, making learning more effective and timely.

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Master System of Record

  • Support a single record of information
  • Visibility into employee records by Managers
  • Follows employees throughout career
  • Hosting of employee payroll and pension in a single place

Speaking:

Employees do not want to worry about their data and personal information following them throughout their careers. The new solution must allow for entering data once and ensuring it conveniently follows employees throughout their career. Not only does this improve the employee experience, but also saves time and creates efficiencies.

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Advanced Reporting and Analytics

  • Visibility into recruitment analytics
  • Report on employee data
  • Trend analysis and performance data

Speaking:

With the new HR and Pay system, employees must have quick and convenient access to data that will help them in their day-to-day lives. Leaders should be able to access real time data, such as organizational and performance charts, and trigger report generation in a few simple clicks. This will ensure better visibility into the performance and track record of departments and teams.

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Remote and Offline Access

  • Complete assessment anywhere
  • Visibility into vacation entitlements anywhere
  • Access to pay through mobile, tablet, or at home

Speaking:

Given the varied nature of roles and work in the Government of Canada, employees want to be able to have access to their systems from home, from their mobile devices, and even offline should they work in a remote location.

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Data Visibility, Transparency, and Controls

  • Access to controls to ensure protection of privacy
  • Trigger custom workflows
  • Notify payroll
  • Set up and process recurring pay deductions
  • Track employee work locations
  • Access one talent pool
  • Access real-time organizational charts
  • Visibility into team schedules

Speaking:

With hundreds of thousands of employees working for the Government of Canada, managers must have visibility into their teams. This can be achieved with a new modern HR system. For example, managers should be able to stay up to date on their employee’s work engagements, vacation time, and performance ratings, through a personalized dashboard.

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Seamless Integration Between Modules and Periphery Systems

  • Link absence management with time and attendance
  • Connect compensation to performance
  • Initiate personal retirement process
  • Complete language assessments online
  • Connect department hiring to workforce planning
  • Link HR to Finance

Speaking:

The new HR system should seamlessly integrate multiple systems, ensuring visibility into accurate data and a more comprehensive employee view for all Government of Canada personnel. For example, an employee should be able to locate both their Pay and Pension information in the same place.

This is what we have heard so far. But this is just the beginning. We will be reaching out to Public Servants across the country to capture the diverse needs of all of our users. Stay tuned in to our social media feeds to find out more! #NextGenHRPay

Working Towards the Next Generation of HR and Pay - Transcript

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118 participants

Three cities

Coast to coast to coast

Five employee workshops

Alex Benay:

My mandate is to steer and guide the technology investments of the government of Canada, the architecture, standards, policies-it’s a big ship to steer and injecting innovation is now a part of it.

Dominic Rochon: We want to make sure that the next generation solution is not just driven by technology. Next generation will put the user at the centre of everything that we do, every step of the way.

Vernon Von Finckenstein: It will be something that’s user-centric, that’s tested, can be assessed on any platform, anywhere, anytime. And that’s something that our employees deserve.

Jacquie Manchevsky: We will have options that we’ll bring forward that will touch each public servant directly. We’re a bit one degree of separation from the very people that we are helping and working with.

Alex Benay: We’re introducing new ways of working, new ways of buying, new ways of designing. If there was ever a burning platform to try to do things differently it’s certainly this one.

Nancy Chahwan: The next generation solution from the initiation of hiring to the departure of our employees won’t wait to tomorrow. The next generation starts today.

We are changing the way we are engaging you in the conversation, and we are listening.

Alex Benay: We are going to have vendors, users, the unions, every day public servants, HR and pay administrators in a room together going back and forth with industry in a way that we’ve never done before.

Nancy Chahwan: I hope you have participated in the many workshops we have done from coast to coast.

Dominic Rochon: We are going to need employees and users with hands on keyboards.

Vernon Von Finckenstein: We want to work with industries to let them show us that they meet our digital standards. Let us try this solution before we buy it. Convince us that you would make the best partner for government.

Dominic Rochon: I’m very excited in the way we are achieving our objective. We are open, transparent and innovative in the way we are proceeding and this is just as exciting as the solution we will acquire.

Alex Benay: Everything that we’ve been preaching that we need to start doing as a system we are now starting to do. We’ve hired some of the best people and frankly, the public servants that we have on this team are motivated to get this done. My job is to get out of the way and make sure they have everything they need to execute properly.

What We’ve Heard: NextGen User Expos - Transcript

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Ottawa – 90 Elgin

Ottawa – 395 Terminal

Gatineau – Place du Portage

Speaking

Hello, my name is Gowoon Lee, I work for Public Services and Procurement Canada. Today I got to test out three systems. On a tablet, I got to see everything and provided my feedback.

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Ottawa – 101 Colonel By

Ottawa – 875 Heron

Speaking

Hi I’m Obiageli Nnagbo from the Canada Revenue Agency and my NextGen solution would be if it could be paperless and more mobile friendly.

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Montreal – 200 René Lévesque

Dartmouth – 45 Alderney

Speaking

Hi I’m Carlo Cassone and I work for Employment and Social Development Canada. I want my NextGen solution to have an easy layout that I can understand, as well as more explanations about what my pay is and what my deductions are.

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Victoria – 269 Main

Victoria – 1200 Woodway

Speaking

Hello, my name is Eric Desjardins and I work with the Treasury Board Secretariat. I would like a system that recognizes our collective agreements.

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Edmonton – 9700 Jasper

Winnipeg – 269 Main

Speaking

Hi my name is Pamela James. I’m a Free Agent here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I’m excited to see what we’re going to get out of this at the end of this process and I look forward to further engagement on this as we work our way through it.

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Gatineau – 30 Victoria

Speaking

Hi my name is Gennesse Walker-Scace; I work at Parks Canada. I found today’s consultation really refreshing. I love the procurement process that you’re doing, seeking employees’ feedback and I was really excited to try out the solutions.

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Gatineau – 10 Wellington

Ottawa – 1400 Merivale

Speaking

My name is Melissa and I work with the Canada Revenue Agency. I really enjoyed the experience we had today, being able to test future solutions with NextGenHRPay. There’s some really great features that are included in this. I’m pretty excited!

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Ottawa – 170 Tunney’s Pasture

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Hello, my name is Stéfany Oliver and I work with Statistics Canada. I really liked the opportunity to provide my feedback today on a new solution for human resources and pay. I am really really excited to have a mobile solution with all of our current systems integrated. It’s going to be very exciting! Thank you!

NextGen Road Show Wrap-up - Transcript

#NextGenHRPay

Earlier this year, the NextGen team held user expos all across Canada:

Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, Dartmouth, Victoria, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

We spoke to thousands of GC employees.

To continue to make sure employees are at the centre of this process.

Thank you for the feedback and ideas.

What’s next?

Go to Canada.ca/next-generation to find out.

#NextGenHRPay

Applying an Agile Approach to the Next Generation HR and Pay Initiative - Transcript

The government of Canada is adopting an agile approach to identify a new Next Generation HR and Pay solution.

While the traditional waterfall approach may work in some instances, it has often proved to be both rigid and slow.

For companies eager to work collaboratively with government, this translates to:

Lengthy and difficult contract processes.

Limited engagement opportunities and interactions with stakeholders and vendors.

And little to no flexibility to adjust the scope or correct the course of a project.

In contrast, the agile method is iterative and provides flexibility throughout the process.

From the planning to the release phase, portions of a final product are understood gate by gate, and in collaboration with stakeholders.

Scope and requirements are flexible and can be adjusted based on industry feedback and lessons learned.

Agile also allows for shorter and more frequent contract processes, and on-going interactions with users and vendors.

In other words, the agile approach process puts the user at the center in order to design with empathy and deliver a better end product.

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