Employee workshops and programs

Human Resources has multiple teams and areas that provide employee learning, services, and development at the University of Waterloo.  Our main development team, Organizational and Human Development (OHD), offers a wide variety of courses and workshops anchored in employee development, building future leaders, supporting all employees to reach their career potential, and supporting the University of Waterloo's bold vision for the future. 

The sessions are available in the physical classroom, a virtual classroom, or through self-paced online courseware. Our in-person workshops and virtual workshops are interactive and will include time for group discussion and individual sharing opportunities. 

Explore opportunities available to you: 

Core Development

Strengthening Community through Culture and Values

Our principles and values establish our expectations for how we engage and behave as a University community, both as individuals and as an institution. This session will explore the culture that our campus community aspires to embrace and uphold by exploring how we learn about and live out our values, how the structures and policies of the University strengthen their effectiveness and identify our role in creating a sense of belonging for all.

Engaging Community through Service and Communication

Communication plays a vital role in providing engaging, exceptional service on campus. This workshop explores the University’s Service Promise and how employees are integrating it into their daily service interactions with students, colleagues and stakeholders. We will explore our role as well as the University’s in how the exchange of information and communication flows and develop the mindset required to advance a culture of exceptional service.

Building Community through Innovation and Collaboration

Innovation is at the core of who we are at the University of Waterloo – it’s the cornerstone upon which we were built, and we continue to pride ourselves in sustaining this powerful cultural element. But how do we do this? What creates an environment that transforms and empowers ideas into meaningful outcomes? In this workshop, we explore the partnership between innovation and collaboration as an integral part of our community experience. We will discuss how to tap into our collective curiosity to build a mindset focused on continuous improvement in the spirit of connecting imagination with impact. 

Career Education

Exploring Your VIA Character Strengths

Knowing your strengths and how to use them is essential to your career growth and development. This workshop will explore our strengths using the VIA Character Strengths assessment. We will explore how our strengths can be used in new ways at work and at home. We will learn how to spot and appreciate strengths in others, including our work colleagues, and create stronger connections with them. 

Interviews: How to WOW the Hiring Manager

Effectively answering interview questions can feel challenging under the pressure of the moment. In this workshop, we will discover tips on how to stay calm, address common interview questions, and effectively demonstrate your skills and accomplishments during an interview. 

Exploring Further Education

In this workshop, we will discover the many professional development opportunities the University of Waterloo offers. We will explore aligning relevant educational opportunities with our long-term career goals.

Introduction to Designing Your Life Series: Part One 

In this workshop based on the book Designing Your Life, we will discuss how design principles can help you to explore new career options. Participants will have an opportunity to look at how their social identity, work view, life view, and life/energy balance inform their career happiness. We will explore how to apply this understanding of what you want/need in your life and to your career planning. In Part Two of this series, Applying Designing Your Life Principles to Career Planning (Winter 2024), we will take the reflections and insights gained from Part One to explore a possible 3 career pathways through the Odyssey Planning process.

Change Management

Strategies for Successfully Navigating Change

Change is constant and happens all the time. Every day we change in small ways – our morning routine, our route to work, our daily activities. We adapt quickly to these small changes, seamlessly adjusting our ways. It’s the big changes however that can cause an emotional reaction and discomfort. Understanding and addressing why we react to change, the impact the change has on us and whether we are motivated to embrace a change, is important and can directly influence outcomes.    

Successfully Leading & Managing Change

Change is constant and happens all the time. Every day we change in small ways – our morning routine, our daily activities. We adapt quickly to these small changes, seamlessly adjusting our ways. It’s the big changes, however, that can cause discomfort, and it’s here that additional support is needed.  In this interactive workshop, we’ll discover the value in considering the people side of change, covering how and why individuals react to change. Participants will also focus on the critical role the manager or project / change lead plays in supporting team members through change, and we’ll learn new strategies to apply to real change situations.

Creating a Supportive Workplace 

Creating a Supportive Workplace for Neurodivergent Employees

Most work settings have been designed by neurotypical employers, for neurotypical employees, yet an estimated 15-20% of Canadians are neurodivergent. Many highly skilled neurodivergent individuals encounter workplace barriers that affect their ability to thrive in the workplace. In this participatory workshop we will focus on two forms of neurodivergence: autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We will identify common workplace barriers and challenges and review recommended practices and processes that support neurodivergent employees. Through interactive activities, participants will review their workplace from a neurodivergent perspective, explore the hidden curriculum in their office, and discuss ways to incorporate recommendations that would benefit neurodivergent and neurotypical employees, alike. 

Health and Well-being

Deep Health: Setting the Foundation

This program is intended to set the foundation to help you find the level of deep health you are looking for. You will create a destination postcard that will help you define what future you may look like. With that, you will learn a system that will help you to set goals and subsequently build habits. This program will also teach you how to self-coach and reflect to adjust and pivot as you need to. 

10 Keys to Happier Living

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – The Dalai Lama 

In this workshop, we will explore the key to creating more happiness using concepts based on Vanessa King’s 10 Keys to Happier Living approach. We will use evidence-based practices to improve wellness, happiness and, ultimately, resilience in challenging times. We will also identify the different types of happiness to develop concrete strategies for boosting our connection with what is positive and awesome in our life. 

Emerging Leadership

Conflict and Self

Do you ever feel like your understanding of conflict and your reaction to it don’t align? Our individual mindsets to conflict play a big role in how we respond in moments of tension and opposition. In this workshop, participants will lean in with curiosity about how they respond to conflict, how they approach conflict, and how our narratives play out. Through individual reflection, small and large group discussion, and workplace conflict case studies, participants will gain tools to approach conflict productively and authentically.

Followership: A different side of leadership

The leader-follower relationship is integral to successfully leading people in the workplace. Following direction while supporting others and learning from your leader is part of what makes followership a complex but essential part of any fulfilling leadership journey. Join us for this interactive, practical and conversation-based workshop to learn how to shift the focus of followership into the foundation of your leadership.

Giving and Receiving Feedback with Intention

Whether giving or receiving feedback, executing the process well can feel daunting if you’re not prepared. Taking time to think through and refine how to deliver feedback to a colleague can set both of you up for a successful, beneficial conversation. This practical, experiential workshop will focus on tools, reflection and discussion that participants can use in their professional and personal lives.

Leadership Lab: Emerging Leadership

In a work environment as big as UWaterloo, we want to offer intentional space for employees in non-supervisory roles to come together to collectively think through how broader University culture and direction impacts them. Leadership Lab: Emerging Leadership aims to bring individual contributors together to explore how they can lead themselves, and others by example, all while receiving and providing each other compassionate care. 

Please note: This offering has been designed to be audience specific. Participants with direct supervisory responsibility are encouraged to register for the Leadership Lab: People Leadership offering. 

Personal Leadership

Personality Dimensions ®  (Virtually or in-person) 

Have you ever wondered why you immediately click with some people, yet feel guarded around others? Personality Dimensions® is a self-assessment tool that has you discover your individual preferences, styles and temperaments while learning to recognize and appreciate the preferences of others. Learn to strengthen your communication skills with others through a variety of highly effective tools and techniques that will allow you to explore your strengths and build on areas for development.  

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Fundamentals

Emotional intelligence encompasses the personal, emotional, and social abilities and skills which allow us to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures. Those with high emotional intelligence readily recognize their feelings, manage their reactions, and build positive interactions with others. In this guided asynchronous course, we will unpack what emotional intelligence is. Then, we’ll learn to develop our emotional intelligence to improve our personal resilience and performance, and learn to apply the appropriate emotions skillfully at the appropriate time.

Emotional Intelligence at Work

In today’s rapidly changing work environment, building strong and impactful work relationships is crucial to innovation, efficiency, and organizational success. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to read, understand, respond to, and manage the emotions in ourselves and others. It encourages self-awareness, internal self-regulation, and the exploration of diverse perspectives. Through effective and authentic communication, emotional intelligence will create positive relationships within our personal and professional lives.

Understanding Conflict 

When we experience perceived opposing goals, viewpoints, or interests with others around us, we stall in our ability to solve problems. Understanding what conflict is and how it shows up in our lives is an important first step in resolving it. In this workshop, you will complete the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Model Instrument to gain insight into five different conflict-handling behaviours, and whether you might be overusing or underusing one or more of them. Based on a mix of individual reflection, small and large group discussion, we will explore what conflict is, how it appears at work, and introduce strategies and tools to begin addressing it productively.

Foundations of Giving and Receiving Feedback

Understanding the fundamentals of giving and receiving feedback is a crucial first step to being able to experience the process productively. Feedback does not need to be stressful, particularly when a culture of feedback is created within a team. Be part of fostering this culture within your department by gaining awareness of the feedback loop, recognizing when to offer feedback, and how to receive feedback with grace. Participants will also have the opportunity to navigate through practice scenarios, as well as create a document to articulate their own personal feedback preference, which they can share with colleagues, managers or others with whom they work closely.

People Leadership

Facilitating with Confidence

*Note: This course was previously delivered as a two-day offering called Facilitating Fundamentals

Are you looking to improve your facilitation skills - either for the presentations you do or for the meetings you lead? This workshop is ideal for those already facilitating and those looking to hone their skills while preparing to facilitate more.  

Through demonstration and experiential opportunities, tangible tips for tailoring facilitation to your specific audiences, increasing participation and discussion, and for addressing potential challenging behaviours will be provided via a hands-on, supportive workshop.   

Facilitating with Equity

Do you want to know how you can be more mindful of how social inequities and the marginalization of equity-deserving groups plays out in your daily meetings, discussions, presentations, and workshops? Are you seeking to learn how you can intentionally embed tools and practices within your facilitation style which will help address these harmful dynamics and ensure deeper inclusivity? Then you should enroll in this workshop! – especially if you are a leader or manager and/or someone responsible for holding space during educational or training opportunities. 

Leadership Lab: People Leadership

Leadership Lab: People Leadership offers comfortable and supportive space for managers, supervisors, and folks leading people at the University to co-create an informal peer community. Using the Circles of Influence Framework to guide the conversation, participants will reflect on their leadership style and practices, identify where their control and influences lies with respect to a pre-selected issue, and learn from each other about how to approach challenges arising.  

Please note: This offering has been designed to be audience-specific. Participants without direct supervisory responsibility are encouraged to register for the Emerging Leader Pathway offering of the same name. 

Leading with Trust

Self-awareness, communication, influence and learning agility are some of the cornerstone skills required of leaders who contribute to trust based organizations. Building those trust-based organizations takes time and it begins with authentic leaders that offer both credibility and compassion to their teams.  

Workshop participants will engage in conversations and activities with campus colleagues who are also faced with the challenges of building trust-based teams while exploring tools and techniques that align to their leadership learning journey.    

Leading with Temperament

Personality Dimensions® has been a foundational tool used in the exploration of self and others. Since 2007, hundreds of employees and students at the University of Waterloo have utilized the knowledge gained through this tool for self-awareness and professional development. It’s time to take that learning one step further. Utilizing the Professional Report, participants will learn about the characteristics and workstyles of the four temperament types while customizing their leadership style to better understand that no two people are the same and what motivates one, may not motivate the other. This workshop can help participants tailor their leadership approach to suit individual needs and preferences and boost team engagement. 

Podcast Club!: Listening to the the Unleading Project by Dr. Vidya Shah

Join OHD’s podcast club to listen to and learn from the UnLeading Project team and invited guest panelists, and then collectively discuss and consider how these learnings can be applied to our individual and collective leadership work at Waterloo. 

Performance Conversations

Navigating your Performance Conversation (with your Manager)

This workshop will offer a practical guide for all University of Waterloo employees to prepare for performance appraisal conversations with their managers. We will learn how to identify and discuss our accomplishments in the past year and explore what skills we would like to develop and foster in the upcoming year.    

Leading Performance Conversations (with your Team)

We all know that a performance review and ongoing performance conversations are critical drivers in employee performance and motivation.  These important conversations take planning, skill and confidence. Engaging in these conversations effectively has many benefits for employees, managers and the entire organization.