New office to tackle Phoenix Pay System woes

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie and Kin Choi, Assistant Deputy Minister (HR-CIV) cut the ribbon during the ceremony on June 26. Photo by Leading Seaman Sisi Xu, MARPAC Imaging Services

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie and Kin Choi, Assistant Deputy Minister (HR-CIV) cut the ribbon during the ceremony on June 26. Photo by Leading Seaman Sisi Xu, MARPAC Imaging Services

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

To address ongoing problems from the Phoenix Pay System, the Department of National Defence (DND) has expanded the Compensation Team to better support civilian employees in Esquimalt.

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 26, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie and Assistant Deputy Minister of Human Resources Civilian (HR-Civ) Kin Choi officially launched the Enhanced Service Delivery Model, which includes a team located in Naden Building 54. RAdm Auchterlonie and Mr. Choi both acknowledged that ongoing pay issues have greatly affected the lives of Defence Team employees.

“Our people are our greatest resource, and the Defence Team is committed to making sure they’re paid properly,” said RAdm Auchterlonie. “This is one step we’re taking to make sure our people are compensated correctly and to further support employees on our bases and wings.”

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is leading a project to replace the existing pay system. Three companies are bidding to create a new pay and human resources system. Mr. Choi says the main intent of the new compensation resources is to provide “digital, virtual and fulsome support” to civilian employees and their managers.  Additional Compensation resources have been added on military bases CFB Borden, Winnipeg, Gagetown, Montreal and Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, and Suffield, among others.

During an interview at the Wardroom on June 25, Mr. Choi emphasized that these new resources will change the delivery of compensation procedures and how individual cases are handled.

“We want to be able to orient ourselves not only to address the crisis, but really to look at how we want to do things in the future and that is key to what this investment is all about,” said Mr. Choi. “If all we were doing is band-aiding an existing system, then the money would be wasted.”

The new Compensation resources will include consultation agents and time keepers. Mr. Choi says they will serve as on-site points of contact for all employees including civilian and military managers. They will help ensure pay transactions are processed in a timely and accurate manner.

The new Esquimalt team members won’t begin fully serving customers until September. Until then, their main focus will be training to ensure they are equipped to deal with the intricacies of the over 70 different job descriptions offered by DND and their specific compensation requirements.

All in all, HR-Civ is increasing the number of compensation team employees from the original 26 employees when the Phoenix pay system was established to a planned 320 employees by the end of 2020.

As part of a Government of Canada initiative to support military members, the compensation team will employ several military spouses who have previous experience in the delivery of financial services.

In addition, Mr. Choi noted the recent launch of the HR Connect RH, a Virtual Contact Centre, and compared its services to that of a financial institution that provides online banking.  The result is more personalised through digital and virtual interactions. The revamping of the compensation team also coincides with the release of a new mobile app, HR GO, that is available for iOS and Android devices.

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