I recently volunteered to be a co-facilitator for mandatory "Orientation to the Public Service" courses, attended by new Canadian federal employees. Part of my train-the-trainers experience involved sitting through the one-day course and observing (along with my fellow volunteer facilitators) a group of 45 or so going through the course. Very interesting, and something I'm glad to have signed up for.
The intent of the course is to supplement and go beyond whatever within-organization orientation courses people might have attended, dealing with the nuts and bolts of how things are done, who to speak to and where to go for what, and all of that more particular on-boarding. This course has more of a "welcome to the big family" feel, that's kind of uplifting.
Attendees have a section addressing the scope and composition of the public service (during which the demographics of the PS and how people got there come up), a section on values and ethics and the recently revised Code of Values and Ethics for Public Servants ( http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/tb_851/vec-cve-eng.asp ), a section on the relationship between the public service and government (including a sort of quickie course on civics, how legislation is drafted, and the various lines of reporting authority between the Prime Minister and senior bureaucrats), some time discussing what everyone's department/agency does and the various categories of federal entities, a section on continuous learning and the various kinds of developmental opportunities and learning resources available, with a guest speaker who is usually an Assistant Under-Secretary equivalent, discussing their own career progression.
All in all, a quickly moving, well-rounded, and thought-provoking 7.5hr day, during which young people from a variety of jobs, roles, and organizatioons, get to network and take a step or two back from their own job and own organization to think about the bigger picture.
We didn't have anything like this when I joined up, so I'm a little jealous of these kids. Envy aside, I found it to be a very worthwhile exercise, and great investment in the people who will comprise the future of our public sector.
I'm curious about what sorts of initiatives other folks have.
We put together a New Hire Handbook that has some information on onboarding/orientation - http://www.govloop.com/page/new-hire-handbook
This handbook is great!
I appreciate the humour and the links to additional resources. Excellent information in a small, concise package.
I just pitched your question to our human resources group, Mark. I had a conversation yesterday that suggests there is room for improvement in this area of government training.
National Park Service has a handbook you get when you join and have a two day orientation. Our division has a couple of morning sessions that start before the regular program where we orient new hires on specifics to our groups and what we expect of professionals (since this is often a first job or people are coming from a variety of backgrounds.) Wilderness areas can pose many health and safety issues that most HR orientations do not cover.
I personally started with HR and spent my first days giving orientation rather than getting it. So I feel a little of the jealousy you mention.
We also have a two week and one week training that is the welcome to the family for permanent and term employees. More of a big picture and we're all one big happy family, why we are here type of program.