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Leadership at Work: CCE Collaborates on New Program for U of R Staff

There’s no underestimating how significantly a leader contributes to workplace culture and performance. Effective leaders inspire and empower others to reach their potential and foster creativity as well as contribute to employee satisfaction.

UR LDP Instructor talking to a group of students during class

“Strategically nurturing leadership development can pay big dividends in any organization,” says Danni Kenzle, Director, Organizational Development & People Programs. “It can help an organization achieve better outcomes but it can also help attract and retain quality people.”

So, when a previous leadership program for University staff and management had run its course, Kenzle began thinking about the next step. “It was time to create a program that would enhance employee leadership skills and allow staff to foster connections across our campus.” Kenzle also felt taking a collaborative approach was a wise use of time and resources.

“We knew that CCE had the expertise to deliver a really good product and learner experience.” - Danni Kenzle

She approached Karen Merz, Manager, Professional Development & Community Programs, to talk about the possibilities. “We build and administer programs like this all the time and I thought it was a great idea,” says Merz. “When we started talking, we had already created leadership development programs for the Cities of Regina and Moose Jaw. I thought: ‘Why are we not doing this within our own organization?’”

To focus their content and programming ideas, they consulted with some of the University’s alumni, faculty administrators and the Human Resources team. “We asked them for their input to help identify leadership gaps and the skill sets they thought would be of greatest value,” says Kenzle.

UR LDP Group of students with instructor during class

It was the feedback from those surveyed that yielded an ‘aha’ moment. “We realized that we didn’t need to create a program from scratch,” says Merz. “We could adapt existing programs using our University of Regina lens. Ultimately the Leadership Development Program we developed is similar to the current Professional Leadership Certificate but some of the courses were swapped out with others to specifically align with our internal needs and strategic plan and give employees the best possible experience.”

To further augment that learning experience, the program was designed to be cohort-based.

“Our campus is a large workplace. By learning alongside other university employees, you’ll meet more of your colleagues and develop a network of relationships and internal support,” says Kenzle.

“The sharing of information across departments and faculties is invaluable.” - Danni Kenzle

The program is comprised of seven modules with three modules delivered in person and the remaining four via Zoom. The short courses run over three half days or two full days. “It’s nice to get the whole group established in the beginning of the program. There are also smaller coaching groups built into the program so you really get to know the other students you’re working with,” says Kenzle.

In addition, two new elements were introduced to the program and offer further incentive for participation. “With this program, students can apply their tuition reimbursement credits to offset the cost of the program. And once they complete the program, they earn a Professional Leadership Certificate. It’s a much more tangible and valuable outcome than the previous program for staff members,” notes Merz.

UR LDP student in classroom

With the program ready to launch, Kenzle’s department began promoting enrolment by hosting information sessions and using internal e-marketing. The team hoped the work they had put into developing the new program would yield results. “Our first program is full!” says Kenzle. “We’re excited to see if the format we’ve developed is the best fit for the most staff. We’ll survey the pilot group to see if we need to make any changes for future participants.”

As new dates for the program are determined, it is clear there is an appetite for the development of leadership skills at the University. “We already have more people asking when the next program will start,” says Merz. “I think it’s because University leadership recognizes that leadership strengths or weaknesses can be the very things that make employees stay or go and what can keep them engaged or causes them to disconnect.”

Kenzle agrees. “If you’re already in a leadership role it’s important to continually develop and sharpen those skills. And for aspiring leaders, this is a way to help get ahead and advance in your career. In terms of the process, working with CCE has been refreshing and easy and we’re already starting to think about more programs we can create together.”


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Take advantage of these funding options:

Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant for up to $10,000 for employee training.

Canada Training Credit for $250 per year (unused years carry forward).


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