4 min read
04 October 2023

How to be a dynamic employer in 2023? WoodGreen is working to find out

Alexandra Goth, Manager, Strategic Planning & Operations

Over the past four years, Toronto’s non-profit sector has navigated significant challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most vulnerable members of our community have become even more vulnerable and the ways of working across the sector have shifted tremendously. All the while, our staff have navigated these changes with patience and grace.

This prompted a critical question: How can we empower our dedicated staff to meet the surging demand for our services? And what is within our power to change? We knew that a combination of immediate solutions and long-term strategies was essential. So, we started a project to find out more.

Partnering with Sidekick Consulting to explore how WoodGreen can be a dynamic employer


Ten months ago, we joined forces with Sidekick Consulting, a team as passionate about resilience as we are. Together, we asked ourselves: How can WoodGreen not just survive, but thrive, as a dynamic employer? Our vision was to equip staff with the comprehensive tools, resources, and knowledge they need to foster a truly human-centred environment.

This work was truly a team effort as we collaborated with staff from the outset. Two cross-functional focus groups were created. One group was comprised of dedicated frontline professionals and the other, managers and subject matter experts. This work was rounded out by interviews with our senior leadership team and a series of workshops spanning eight months. These workshops explored how we could build a stronger, more resilient team, equipped with the resources and support to best serve our clients.

WoodGreen staff work to develop solutions


As we ventured into the world of solution-building, we leveraged the voices of our cross-functional focus groups. Together, we used the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework to help us identify and prioritize our biggest opportunities, set ambitious and achievable objectives, and define what results we need to be successful.

The result? Sixteen robust recommendations each supported by a suite of tactics. The outcome? Twelve of the recommendations are set for quick and medium-term action, with four already in implementation.

The recommendations are diverse from “bite-sized” management trainings for up-and-coming managers, to the development of an Employee Value Proposition, to the enhancement of the organization’s technical infrastructure to support a growing hybrid team. Each recommendation is intended to foster a stronger culture of connectedness and support for staff.

By co-creating solutions with our cross-functional team, we've painted a vivid picture of how we can empower our employees and board members. We know we can't fix everything. However, this is a solid step towards building a more equitable and resilient workplace.

A heartfelt thanks


We couldn't have done this without the incredible work from our cross-functional teams at WoodGreen, the leadership of our partners at Sidekick, and support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Government of Ontario. Your belief in us is what's powering this transformation.

If you want to know more about WoodGreen’s vision for the future, check out our Strategic Plan. We’re committed to driving greater community outcomes and seamless integration of services through focused strategies and empowered staff and clients at the core of all we do.

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