Executive Talent Management Framework

How does it work?


The right people in the right place with the right skills to deliver results for Canadians.

The Executive Talent Management Framework is meant to serve as a guide for planning and implementing executive talent management processes within individual organizations. The strategic management of executive talent will support the development of an effective and engaged group of senior leaders for today and tomorrow. Ultimately, it is executives themselves who are responsible for their own career development and for the development and maintenance of strong networks throughout the public service to ensure they gain the depth and breadth of experience necessary to be strong senior leaders.

Figure 1: Executive Talent Management Framework
Executive Talent Management Framework. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version

The right people in the right place with the right skills to deliver results for Canadians.


  • Public service renewal
  • Deputy head accountability
  • Government priorities
  • Rapidly changing environment


  • Leadership gaps and needs
  • Knowledge of critical positions and upcoming vacancies
  • Integrated business and human resources planning

Ongoing Dialogue

Phase 1: Define Public Service / Organizational Needs

  • Assess, plan and develop next talent management cycle
  • Analyse historical talent management data

Phase 2: Know the Community

  • Launch talent management
  • Complete assessments and engage in dialogue

Phase 3: Assess the Community

  • Analyse data and prepare reports
  • Inform discussions and make recommendations to senior management

Phase 4: Communicate

  • Provide feedback to executives
  • Implement development plans

An effective, engaged senior leadership


  • Mastery of role
  • Enhanced Engagement
  • Strong networks
  • Ongoing enterprise-wide support and knowledge
  • Robust career and succession management
  • In-depth analysis and reporting


  • Deputy heads
  • Managers
  • Executives
  • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • The Privy Council Office
  • The Public Service Commission of Canada
  • The Canada School of Public Service
  • Committee of Senior Officials
  • Heads of human resources
  • Head of executive resourcing

Know your talent/ Manage your career / Build for tomorrow: This is a slogan to summarize the objectives, processes, and products of the Executive Talent Management Framework.


The public service requires senior leaders who are experienced and skilled to manage in an environment of increasingly complex issues.

Public service renewal is about strengthening the capacity of the federal public service to meet the needs of Canadians and deliver on the business of government. It is an ongoing process underpinned by shared values to ensure that the public service, as a vital national institution and Canada’s largest employer, remains a non-partisan, diverse, and dynamic institution that serves Canadians with excellence, now and in the future.

The global economy has changed dramatically over the past decade. The government of Canada is taking tough decisions to ensure it is well positioned to face ongoing global economic challenges. To date, Canada is regarded as a leader for positive economic recovery performance among G7 countries. The federal public service will support the government of Canada’s agenda by meeting its priorities of efficiency and innovation in order to improve the well-being of Canadians over the long term.

Today’s senior leaders manage a huge enterprise—the Government of Canada—including the nation’s wealth, over 200,000 employees, and a large and diverse land mass, in an environment that is increasingly complex. Within the current context of overall fiscal restraint, senior leaders are faced with rapid technological advances, evolving social challenges, and an increased focus on transparency and accountability.

With the implementation of the Public Service Modernization Act, deputy ministers became accountable for people management within their organizations. They specifically have direct legislated authority to determine the learning, training, and development requirements of persons employed in the public service and to fix the terms on which this learning, training, and development may be carried out.


Participation in the annual executive talent management exercise will ensure that deputy heads have up-to-date data to make informed decisions regarding the interests of their organizations.

To further enable deputy heads to lead now and in the future, they should understand the strengths, areas for development, aspirations, and career interests of their executive talent in order to close leadership gaps and fulfill particular needs.

The data collected from the annual executive talent management exercise also informs deputy heads of business-critical positions within their organizations and whether they are likely to become vacant in the near future. Due to this proactive approach, they will have a full complement of executives to deliver on priorities.

The analysis of annual and multi-year data will also help identify trends and foster a truly strategic integrated business and human resources plan.



Completion of the talent management questionnaire in the annual executive talent management exercise is required for all executives (EX-01 to EX-05 levels) and their managers.

The executive talent management exercise is launched annually in the fall. Completed talent management questionnaires must be submitted to OCHRO by the completion deadline, which is communicated annually by OCHRO.

Underpinning each of the phases is the basic principle of strong two-way communication. The executive talent management cycle encourages ongoing dialogue between managers and their executives throughout the year to discuss the executive talent management exercise, maintain learning plans, and discuss feedback from senior management discussions.


  • Phase 1: Define Public Service / Organizational Needs
  • Phase 2: Know the Community
  • Phase 3: Assess the Community
  • Phase 4: Communicate

Phase 1: Define Public Service / Organizational Needs

This phase serves as the first step in the continuous executive talent management cycle. Deputy heads and their senior managers reflect on results achieved and lessons learned, and implement recommendations from the previous year.

Because executive talent management is a cyclical exercise, managers provide ongoing support to executives to implement and participate in activities identified in the development and learning plans from the previous year.

Deputy heads and their senior management team must have a clear understanding of the public service and their organization’s priorities in order to assess, plan and develop the right mix of executive talent to deliver their mandate.

Deputy heads will analyze public service–wide and organizational historical executive talent management data to better understand the strengths and areas for development of its executives.

From there, senior management will consider key activities and anticipated results when preparing integrated business and human resources planning documents in order to best position their organization to deliver its priorities.

Phase 2: Know the Community

This phase serves to identify how executive talent can help support and further enhance organizational business needs. In order to do this, the Executive Talent Management System must be updated annually.

Deputy heads nominate an organizational delegate who will serve as the point of contact to create, update, and transfer accounts for each executive in the organization and populate them with basic tombstone data.

Executives may update the Employee Information Portal, in their workspace, at any time during the year with their administrative and CV-related information. Once the annual executive talent management exercise cycle has been launched, executives are encouraged to use the online Talent Management Questionnaire to provide their managers with information about their career plans, aspirations, and areas for further development.

Managers will complete the Manager Sections of the Talent Management Questionnaire and invite executives to engage in a one-one-one discussion about the results. During these conversations, which serve as a catalyst for career development, managers will review current and future learning and development strategies that are best suited to help individuals reach their potential and meet organizational needs. Other key elements of the dialogue may include a review of key leadership competencies, succession planning, and potential critical position vacancies.

Phase 3: Assess the Community

This phase serves to provide deputy heads with executive talent management data from ETMS on the executive cadre. Executive talent management data is a fundamental source of information that is required when developing strategies to address public service needs. Organizations, deputy heads, and direction-setting committees, such as the Committee of Senior Officials, rely on this information because it supports them in decision making.

Delegates may view and print the executive talent data for their organization. They may also compare their data to public service–wide information. Many different types of reports are available, for example, organizational and individual reports.

Senior management will then engage in a comprehensive review of existing and new information about their executive talent. The conversations will vary according to each organization, but all should include the following:

  • Discussion on their executive talent and the proposed recommendations for each within the context of organizational needs;
  • Identification of departmental skill shortages, gaps, and a review of critical positions, with special attention to organizations that do not have succession plans in place;
  • Selection or nomination of executives for key development opportunities;
  • Use of results by deputy heads and managers to identify how the executive community can help support and further enhance organizational business needs; and
  • Determination of appropriate Talent Map placement for the employee.

Phase 4: Communicate

This phase serves to close the loop on the annual executive talent management exercise. Following senior management reviews, it is essential that executives are provided with specific feedback in order to ensure strong two-way communication and to determine the rollout of training and development activities identified in the talent management questionnaire.

The results will be fed into individual evergreen learning plans. Adjustments can be made to ensure that executives’ full potential, career aspirations, and contributions to the public service can be maximized.

The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) will analyze the data and publish community profiles to showcase demographics, succession challenges, and diversity gaps, to name a few.

This communication is essential because it is one of the key steps of delivering the benefits of the executive talent management process to executives. It is also essential for ongoing executive participation, engagement, and strategic development results.


The Executive Talent Management Framework strives to achieve the following results for executives:

  • Mastery of role: Breadth and depth of experience is a prerequisite for senior executives’ effectiveness;
  • Enhanced engagement: Timely and honest feedback on performance and potential strengthens development and engagement;
  • Strong networks: Horizontal, vertical and cross-jurisdictional networks enhance a sense of belonging and community;
  • Ongoing enterprise-wide support and knowledge: An enterprise-wide approach to executive management through high-level and coordinated planning and goal setting that are underpinned by a collective knowledge approach and shared by key stakeholders;
  • Robust career and succession management: Strategic management of senior-level vacancies and identified required leadership skills and competencies to meet existing and emerging business needs; and
  • In-depth analysis and reporting: Solid data capture, analysis and reporting that support organizational and enterprise-wide self-awareness when planning future activities.
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