Employee Development at U of T

An inclusive culture anchored in employee development. That’s the goal.

The Development cycle Plan

We need to rethink how managers and employees work together to build talent for our future. Employees are responsible for their career, but they cannot achieve their goals without the support of their managers. We believe everyone wins when employees plot their path, and managers support the opportunities to build the skills necessary using our growing catalogue of development opportunities.

Leveraging our Experience, Exposure and Education approach, managers can discuss options with employees who strive to realize their career aspirations.

Research shows that learning occurs in three ways, and that orchestrating them together leads to the better development for employees


Education is learning by instruction from an expert, in the physical classroom, a virtual classroom, and through self-paced online courseware.

Physical Classroom

The Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture continues to provide a wide array of classroom – based seminars and workshops. We are building a catalogue to offer you a rich development experience, focusing on organizational competencies and the professional skills you need.

Virtual Classroom

A few of our courses are already virtual! This allows employees to stay at their desk and participate in a web-based sessions. The facilitator has all the same tools as a physical classroom, and employees can participate in the same way including break-out sessions and group discussions. We will be moving more courses online over time, as it provides the most flexibility for employees at all three campuses.

Online Learning

Self-paced online learning has evolved significantly over the past few years. Today, it is delivered in bite-sized chunks allowing learners to focus on one topic for two minutes, or go in-depth for the full hour. Every employee has full access to Linkedin Learning (formerly Lynda.com) with a wide variety of high quality learning on a long list of topics at no cost to them or their department. Linkedin Learning offerings that support our organizational competencies are included in the Catalogue.


Exposure is learning by observation, through rich feedback and connections with others to produce fresh personal insights and broadened perspectives on current role and development horizons.


Partnering with a mentor is one way to gather useful feedback and gain insight. Aside from the Rose Patten formal mentoring program that the University has been using to develop its next generation of leaders, mentoring can take many forms. You can ask a more senior person that you have worked with in your career if they would be open to mentoring you. Or, you can use the database on the career services website to find a “situational mentor” when you have a particular issue you want to discuss.


Attending conferences supports your development by providing access to speakers who are experts in their fields, with informal learning also taking place by exchanging ideas with other conference participants. There is some funding available for attending conferences.


There is a wealth of information available on the web, in books, and through TED talks. As we build our catalogue of learning experiences, you will find more and more recommendations for great books and TED talks that we think can really drive insight.

Every idea on this list is set up as a learning activity in the Learning Management System (LMS). To add an exposure activity to your learning record, you can register for it in the LMS. Your manager will need to approve it once it’s been completed.


Experience is learning by doing, through new roles or on-the-job “stretch” situations with real performance consequences. Experience, with reflection and feedback, provides the greatest opportunity for acquiring and refining knowledge, skills, and behavior. These are just a few ideas for on-the-job experience you can use.

Cross-Functional Assignment

Participate on a committee or cross-functional task force with a mandate to make recommendations on an issue outside the usual scope of your role or team.

Special Project

Participate in the organization and/or execution of an event, activity, or initiative. Work with your manager to define an activity outside of your current job responsibilities that will help you grow and develop. Look for assignments that have a reasonable scope and duration given your current role, but will provide you with an opportunity to enhance your skills.

Best Practices

Participate in a benchmarking team tasked with defining or updating metrics to assess the effectiveness of your department.

Every idea on this list is set-up as a learning activity in the Learning Management System (LMS). To add an experience activity to your learning record, you can register for it in the LMS. Your manager will need to approve it once it is completed.

Frequent & Informal Conversations

We see a future with more frequent, and informal conversations, so that managers are in touch with not only what their employees’ career aspirations, but also able to refine and adjust development goals and plans as necessary. It is these regular interactions, understood, valued and repeated by everyone for that actually make it a culture.

A culture of development: Everybody wins.

Developing your team is great for them, for you, and the University of Toronto.  Doors open to opportunities for employees who have strong development plans and outcomes.   They move on to the next stage of their careers, bringing with them the rich experiences and institutional knowledge they have accumulated in previous roles.  The University as a whole benefits by the increase in talent retention and the creation of pipelines to fill future gaps.  When managers take an institutional view of development, not only do they experience the genuine satisfaction of supporting someone’s career, they are supporting the future of the University.