In 2018, the Government of Saskatchewan began exploring the ideal role of the middle manager in the public service. This work has evolved into the Middle Manager Excellence (MME) initiative, which identifies the ideal roles of middle managers within the organization, as well as developing improved tools and supports to enable our middle managers to excel in their roles.
The following information will help inform and support implementation of Middle Management Excellence:
Within the Management Class Plan, all managerial job assignments are inherently responsible for the MME five ideal roles. Therefore, the ideal roles (i.e. duties) are not part of the class plan evaluation criteria because they do not differentiate the relative worth of these positions.
The MME Ideal Roles are already considered to be primary responsibilities of all managers and are referenced in the Electronic Position Description under Factor 1 – Managerial and Consultative Role, as follows:
"The Management Class Plan considers roles such as managing teams and relationships, enabling individual performance, executing strategies and plans, interacting, and engaging with others to be assigned and performed by all out-of-scope positions that manage staff. Therefore, these duties are not part of the class plan evaluation criteria because they do not differentiate the relative worth of these positions."
That being the case, nothing more needs to be included in the job description to address the five ideal roles, including situations where there are changes to an existing assignment, or where intentional trade-offs are made. Information on initiating a classification review is available on Taskroom on the out-of-scope classification page.
Even if the job description has not been updated to include the statement above, the Manager/Director Competency Profile can be shared with a new middle manager. The profile aligns to Middle Manager Excellence as it identifies the five Ideal Roles as key responsibilities, and can be used to supplement conversations on setting expectations and onboarding.
For further assistance with job design and classification, please contact your HR Business Partner.
To best support a high performing organization, it is important that as an employer, we are attracting qualified talent in alignment with the five ideal roles when recruiting for middle manager positions.
To support executive and senior leaders in staffing middle manager positions, common language that describes the ideal roles and competencies required of a middle manager has been created for job advertisements. In addition, a requisition template has been created in Taleo and can be used when staffing a middle manager position.
The template is called "Middle Manager – replace this with job title before advertising". For assistance in creating a staffing competition from a template, please refer to Requisition Creation - Professional.pdf (saskatchewan.ca). The ad template describes the ideal roles for the job ad, and the related Leadership and Management competencies. For a step-by-step guide of the entire staffing process, please see hire an employee (saskatchewan.ca).
While the Ideal Roles refer to the roles and responsibilities of middle managers within the organization, it is the Leadership and Management Competencies – the knowledge, skills, behaviours and personal attributes – related to those roles that lead to successful performance. The Manager/Director Competency Profile lists the five Ideal Roles under Primary Responsibilities and identifies the specific Leadership and Management Competencies required for middle managers to successfully perform the ideal roles.
This table shows the competencies that link most directly to each of the Ideal Roles, and those that support the ideal roles.
In staffing a middle manager position, it is critical to select the most relevant Leadership and Management competencies from the Manager/Director Competency Profile, in terms of alignment to the job description and management's expectations.
As you are developing your interview guides, please reach out to your HR Business Partner for available sample interview questions that assess the competencies identified for Middle Managers.
Performance expectations (reflected in Planning for Success) for middle managers should be based on the roles the ministry requires from them. The purpose of Middle Manager Excellence is to help middle managers develop, grow, and excel in their roles to support a high-performing organization. It is important that Middle Manager Excellence is reflected into the work planning process to further promote clarity and alignment with the five ideal roles, in both the Executive Director and Middle Manager work plans.
Middle Manager Work Plans
The ideal roles can be incorporated into middle manager work plans as follows:
Work Objectives – Middle managers should include a work objective in their own work plan such as the following:
- Effectively perform the five ideal roles of Middle Manager Excellence, to support a high-performing organization.
- This section should include the relevant Manager/Director Competencies that have been identified as most important to demonstrate in their work in order to successfully perform the five ideal roles. These competencies should have been assessed in the staffing process and can be further developed through Planning for Success.
Learning and Development Objectives
- This section should address any competency gaps that are necessary for the middle manager to effectively perform and deliver on the five ideal roles.
- Programs available for manager development can be found on Taskroom under Learning Opportunities. In addition, there are many other tools and resources, as well as recommended actions included in the Reference Guide for Capacity Building . These can all be discussed with your manager and HR Business Partner to determine what will best meet the intended development outcome, in terms of the competencies related to the Ideal Roles.
- Exposure to different aspects of management work and involvement on project teams or committees may also be considered as they also lend themselves to further competency development.
Executive Director Work Plans
In terms of their role in embedding MME in their middle managers, Executive Directors may include a work objective in their own work plan such as one or more of the following:
- Identify ways to support middle managers to excel in their roles that supports organizational alignment and competence to effectively perform the ideal roles and support a high-performing organization.
- Support middle managers in learning and development objectives that will enable them to grow within their roles.
- Build a strong, capable, and effective middle management team by supporting alignment and competency development to the ideal roles.
Additional resources on work planning are available here.