Feb 04, 2014 Return to Headlines

Coquitlam Launches Innovative Leadership Development Program

by GS GS |

COQUITLAM, BC, Tuesday, February 4, 2014 – To recognize and seize the sometimes hidden talents of its staff, the City of Coquitlam has launched an innovative staff development program that focuses staff resources on the City’s business plan priority projects, while building leadership capacity within the organization.

The municipal work environment is becoming more complex and competition for talented resources is increasing due to approaching “baby boomer” retirements. As a result, building a strong team of future leaders is increasingly important for civic governments. In response to this challenge, Coquitlam’s Human Resources and Corporate Planning divisions looked beyond the more traditional succession planning and retention strategies to develop the City’s new Leadership Development Program. The program recognizes that the best practice for strategic succession planning has evolved into the development of a “talent and succession pool” that identifies and develops individuals as future leaders, rather than “replacement training,” where one individual is groomed for a particular role, which can ultimately cost an organization more money. 

The program also allows Coquitlam to advance projects on the City’s Business Plan Priorities list that may otherwise be under-resourced by providing interested employees the opportunity to perform in more senior roles that will develop their skills and experience needed to progress into management positions.

The Leadership Development Program is open to all full and part-time City employees interested in building their leadership capabilities. The first intake generated significant interest across the organization and attracted 27 applicants.

The program consists of two components: a six to twelve month part-time secondment position to lead a project identified in the City’s Business Plan Priorities; and a personalized leadership skills development plan. There are currently eight employees participating in both components and another ten employees building their leadership capacity through targeted training and development.

Program participants were selected based on their existing performance, leadership skills and abilities, and their future aspirations. One of the program’s objectives was to include a cross-section of employees from all departments, employee groups and skill sets while not negatively impacting the day-to-day operations of a particular division. Training and development costs are being funded from the Human Resources budget and any costs related to the secondment projects are already included in departmental budgets as these were previously approved as 2014 Business Plan Priorities.

The eight participants selected for both components of the 2014 Leadership Development Program will be tackling the following Business Plan priorities projects:

  • Coquitlam Cares Campaign Expansion;
  • Green Streets Concept Review;
  • Customer Service Program;
  • Parking Structure Business Case;
  • Housing Choices Review;
  • Community Engagement & Public Consultation Framework;
  • Secondary/Illegal Suites Review;  and
  • Sponsorship Program Implementation.

Leadership candidates have created Project Charters outlining the scope and deliverables for their projects with their work directly supervised by one of the City’s General Managers. Projects will result in specific deliverables as well as a report and presentation to Council.

Participants will work with the City’s Human Resources team to prepare individual development plans that identify opportunities to build their competencies in the following areas:

  • Managing teams, coaching, change management and conflict resolution;
  • Problem solving and decision making;
  • Strategic thinking and project management; and
  • Technical skills such as business case writing, financial management and budgeting, and presentation skills.

For more information on the City of Coquitlam as an employer, go to www.coquitlam.ca/jobs .


Michelle Hunt
Manager, Corporate Planning
Phone: 604-927-3531
Email: mhunt@coquitlam.ca

Linda Guenther
Senior Employee Relations & Development Advisor
Phone: 604-927-3073
Email: lguenther@coquitlam.ca