Toronto Police Court Services unit is creating leaders and driving growth throughout the organization

January 10, 2023 | New Workplace Leadership | 4 min read

Using Skillsoft to create customized learning journeys, Toronto Police Human Resources are training the leaders of the future

The Court Services unit of Toronto Police Service discovered the power of Skillsoft when they needed to provide leadership knowledge and training to a large group of managers and supervisors. Half were new to the supervisory role and half were long-tenured employees. The Court Services unit was also in a transitional period. Due to a large organizational design change, the unit needed to transition management of the department to civilian leadership. The newly appointed civilian leadership team and all levels of supervisory staff required heavy training to understand how to successfully transition, while shifting culture and increasing morale of all courts services staff.

The Court Services unit employs more than 600 people, making it the largest civilian unit within the Toronto Police Service. Therefore, to ensure that everyone was on the same page, they needed a custom learning and development program that could provide knowledge and training to a large group of learners—who required instruction at all levels of leadership to understand what was expected of them.

Court officers, supervisors, shift supervisors, and location administrators all required some form of custom leadership development training, and Skillsoft had the tools they needed to scale learning across the department.

Crowd-Sourced Goals and Group-Coaching Yield Success

There was some frustration from the team, as the program was mandatory. Many felt that it couldn’t possibly help them get up to speed or that they would not have enough time to complete the course load while also working. Toronto Police Human Resources understood that for every member of the unit to succeed, they would need a robust and flexible leadership development program.

Toronto Police HR decided to use Skillsoft Percipio to create that customized learning program. The HR team wanted every role to have a customized journey that worked for that job level. So, they worked closely with courts services leadership to develop custom journeys for specific roles within the Court Services Unit. For example, senior management identified the need for their supervisors to be trained in courses like decision-making, conflict resolution, change management, diversity/equity/inclusion and accountability.

The HR team then launched a survey for each group to crowd-source course ideas and hone in on what would get members excited. When asked what they would like to see in the learning journeys, members selected courses they felt would help them succeed. Emotional intelligence was one area many members were interested in. Based on all the responses, HR put together journeys of about 20 hours each.

Management and HR then set expectations with presentations explaining the goals of the initiative and outlining the components that members would be responsible for. Each journey was comprised of approximately 20 hours of online learning, reflection learning (where members were encouraged to reflect on their experiences and all they’ve learned via group “triad” calls led by an in-house leadership coach) and a 360-degree assessment. At the end of their training, members completed an individual development plan, requiring members to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based) development goals and outline specific actions to achieve their goals.

Engaging in all components of the program helped create a culture of ongoing learning and development at Court Services. Members became intentional about their own career development and began speaking the same language.

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Capable Leaders Boost Morale

Through those small group-coaching calls, HR heard directly from participants on how they applied their new skills and how each journey translated effectively throughout different levels of management. It was during these calls that HR realized they had truly built a granular training program that had the same results across a wide variety of members in diverse roles. Because leadership fundamentals are industry agnostic, they are easily transferrable skills, and the Toronto Police Court Services Unit is living proof of this.

Now members who have been through the program are recommending Skillsoft to the people they manage. They are eager to see others participate in the program because they have experienced first-hand how beneficial it has been to their own development. Overall, members are appreciative of the training they received. Being exposed to the platform has been an incredible opportunity for many employees.

In fact, as the initial learning sprint was winding down, members completing the program became competitive with each other, boasting about their completions, compared to their peers. This light-hearted competition provided a positive shift in morale. Members now know where they’re going, and they feel supported and appreciated because they know the unit is investing in their future--and that continued development is a priority for leadership.