A Partnership for Promotion
Ontario – As the largest municipal police force in Canada, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) knows opportunities for career advancement can make the difference between a high-performing workforce and unhappy employees who search for work elsewhere. TPS has taken the initiative to ensure their employees can succeed within the ranks of the organization by developing a unique mentoring program that helps uniformed officers navigate the promotional interview process.
At TPS, the promotion process for uniformed officers can be stressful. Before a candidate is eligible for a promotional interview, he or she must complete a formal application, receive a positive assessment from the unit commander and pass a written exam. When it comes to the interview, the pressure is understandable – two candidates interview for every anticipated vacancy and the interview accounts for 60 percent of a candidate’s total evaluation.
Because the process can be so stressful, the mentoring sessions arm candidates with the tools they need to go into their interviews prepared. Mentors provide candidates with detailed information about what will happen on the day of their interview and normalize the anxiety they may be experiencing. Candidates are also given sample questions to ease the stress of the unknown. The initiative also supports those on the opposite side of the interview desk. Each member of the promotion panel is required to undergo a mandatory training session that covers sources of interview bias, strategies for ensuring objectivity and consistency in interview ratings and other issues of fairness and ethics.
High participation rates and positive feedback demonstrate that the program is fulfilling a need. With less anxiety, interviewees can perform their best and interviewers can more accurately assess how well candidates meet job-related criteria. Being poised to recruit diverse staff to senior-level positions also helps TPS prevent discrimination and human rights problems and the police service anticipates long-term costs savings and reductions in turnover and absenteeism.
The police service’s total separation rate for 2008 was a low 5 percent, with almost 60 percent of the turnover stemming from retirement. At TPS, more than 82 percent of employees report they are satisfied with their jobs and more than 86 percent feel their work is meaningful. By working for positive and constructive interactions internally and in the communities it serves, TPS is demonstrating its dedication to serving and protecting the members of its force and the people of Toronto.