How HRSG Helped Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Transform Their Team Structure

Business Challenge

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) works alongside farmers and food producers to support growth in the agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada.

As part of their mandate, AAFC is responsible to work through partnerships with a variety of stakeholders to accomplish improvements to the sector. Before that however, AAFC had a problem they needed to solve.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada realized that to accomplish their mandate more effectively, they needed to adopt an entirely new structure, specifically one revolving around a team-based project structure.

AAFC realized that to do so, they would need an effective and efficient competency structure to facilitate their staffing requirements. However, AAFC also wanted to become self-sufficient in all areas of Competency-Based HR Management.

They realized that they would need to be the critical drivers of success if they were to make this initiative work. To that end, AAFC required a full-service provider of Competency-Based HR Management to succeed in their organizational restructuring.


Enter HRSG, whom AAFC contracted with to design and implement an organization-wide competency architecture to support a broad range of HR management areas within the department.

Initially, HRSG was to lead AAFC in aligning their people, programs, and tools to the evolving policy priorities. However, as the contract progressed, the focus was shifted to knowledge and capability transfer, so that AAFC would be able to continue to achieve the program goals by themselves.

As part of the process, HRSG worked to develop a competency architecture for AAFC. The competencies from HRSG’s dictionary were customized for use within AAFC, and were mapped to job families, occupational groups, and career streams. Of course, AAFC selected their core competencies for the department, and those were added to the profiles.

Due to the focus on knowledge transfer, HRSG implemented certification (train-the-trainer) courses, which AAFC put to prompt usage by developing job profiles for 10 of the 16 job families in the department. Further, the AAFC team was certified to use Competency-Based Selection Interviewing Training, which enabled them to more effectively select team members for their projects.

Key Benefits

At the end of the process, AAFC was confident that they could utilize the tools and techniques that HRSG had imparted to them.

Through the use of an specially-developed competency profiling survey, the team at AAFC was able to continue to develop job competency profiles for their staff, and achieved improved results in terms of the efficiency and effectiveness of their job selection process.

Further, because of the assistance that AAFC was able to provide, the project was finished ahead of schedule by 6 months, a time savings of 25% of the original budgeted time.

AAFC and HRSG have had numerous other training engagements since this one, and AAFC still uses the techniques they learnt over this initial engagement in their selection process when building teams.

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