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HR LEADERS SET THE AGENDA The forgotten generation | HR and the bottom line Executive compensation | Restructuring | Real diversity

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cancer? Does one of your employees have

No one ever expects to have cancer. When it strikes, having CAREpath as part of your benefit package shows your employees and their families how much you really care. Employees diagnosed with cancer are assigned a personal oncology nurse providing guidance and support throughout every stage of their cancer journey. The result is peace of mind and a speedier, healthier return to work.

CAREpath is the only complete cancer navigation provider in Canada.


We’ll be there. Anita McGowan, RN, CON(C), OCN Head Oncology Nurse Manager


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NEWS/ANALYSIS 4 | News/Insight 5 | HR on the move 6 | Disability disadvantages in the workplace 8 | Insight: On the spectrum of success It’s a frequently misunderstood condition, but understanding and being open minded about candidates with autism could be an advantage for your company 10 | Legal Insight: Is your organization meeting accommodation requirements around family status? 12 | HR Star profile: HRD talks with Labatt VP of HR Agostino De Gasperis about the organization’s bottoms-up company culture and international talent advantage




COVER STORY The HR Director Roundtable Learn from some of Canada’s top HR executives about how their organizations are facing the big issues, including an aging workforce, CEO salary controversies and building relationships with other business functions

FEATURES 28 | The Immigration balancing act Bringing in foreign workers can be controversial, but it is often necessary. HRD explores the many sides of the debate

46 | Keeping women on the career ladder The proportion of women in senior positions and on company boards has stagnated. Some of Canada’s most diverse companies tell HRD how they’re bucking the trend

34 | LinkedIn to HR Yasu Sato oversees HR in one of LinkedIn’s fastest growing regions. He tells HRD how HR works at the world’s biggest professional social network

56 | That’s Entertainment: HR at NBC Universal What HR strategies helped one of the world’s biggest entertainment companies recover from an enormous restructuring effort?



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I’m a child of the ‘70s, so with all the industry chatter about retiring baby boomers and the head-scratching Generation Y, my ears perked up when talk at the HRD Roundtable turned to Gen X. Finally, it seemed, the middle child would get some face-time. But panellists for the event — centred on shaping the industry’s agenda for 2014 — focused on more than just the flight-risk we 30- and 40-somethings pose to the complacent employer. The roundtable hit on any and everything from the thorny question of executive compensation to the increasing call for HR managers to read and, indeed, understand the corporate balance sheet. The results of that exhaustive conversation start on page 16 and form the cornerstone for this our second issue of HRD. That discussion, we also hope, will inform your own decision-making in 2014 as the Canadian economy ramps up for growth and human resources rises to help it. Part of that formula for success is ensuring enough of the right workers are on the job. For a growing number of HRDs, that means leading their organizations through the minefield of outsourcing and foreign hiring. We cover that topic as well, with Tim Jacobs reporting on how other industry players are faring (pg. 28). HRD also turns its attention to profiling industry executives who are doing things quite frankly you should know about. LinkedIn HR leader Yasu Sato is a great example (pg. 34). We explore how he has leveraged a Canadian industrial relations degree from McGill to take his social media giant to the next level. Not bad for a Gen-Xer.

SENIOR EDITOR Vernon Clement Jones SENIOR WRITER Caitlin Nobes CONTRIBUTORS Iain Hopkins, Cameron Edmond, Aidan Devine, Tim Jacobs, Anna Sharratt, Gita Anand




Editorial enquiries tel: 416 644 8740 Ext: 234 Advertising enquiries tel: 416 644 8740 Ext: 241 Subscriptions tel: 416 644 8740 • fax: 416 203 8940 KMI Publishing 312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 800 Toronto, Ontario M5V 1R2 Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as IB magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.

Cheers Vernon Clement Jones Senior Editor


Contact the editorial team:

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Rethinking HR in a changing world Organizations are competing for top talent on an unprecedented scale. Talent risks are set to increase as globalization and competitive pressures take hold across all sectors and industries. So what should organizations be doing to address this pressing issue before it’s too late? It may surprise you. Read more at or contact Global Lead for Talent Management Laura Croucher at or 416 777 3417. Connect with Laura Croucher on

© 2014 KPMG LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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HR IN THE NEWS HRM Online poll: Are you hiring or firing in 2014?

61% 61% Hiring

10% Firing

28% Firing Neither


Restructuring risks in 2014 Restructuring and layoffs were top of the news cycle towards the end of 2013, but does that reflect the Canadian labour market, or are these the unfortunate exceptions? Canada Post, Sears, Potash Corp. and Kellogg’s all announced closures, restructuring or layoffs, while BMO reported staffing cuts the equivalent of 1,000 full-time jobs. But, it’s not all doom and gloom, according to Conference Board of Canada economist Julie Ades. She told HRD the cuts reflect a range of different factors for specific industries, with retailers facing stiffer competition and Potash Corp. seeing demand soften and product prices decline. BMO is chalking up its cuts as a drive to efficiency. “Each set of layoffs resulted from specific factors,” Ades said, also pointing to the anemic average growth of 13,400 positions per month in 2013, compared with the 2012 average of 25,000 jobs. “Slow domestic demand and uncertainty on the global stage may account for some of the weakness in growth.”

As debt increased and government spending decreased, domestic demand could no longer maintain the Canadian economy, with export industries unable to make up the difference. “The shift to exports is taking a little while because of uncertainty at the global stage,” she said. “This could affect employers’ willingness to hire in Canada.” Still, for 2014, the outlook is brighter. Overall soft domestic demand will continue to provide downward pressure on employment growth in the near term. “But if you look further ahead stronger exports and straightening residential and non-residential investment will support better job gains next year,” she said.


$100k fine for ’intolerable’ workplace, religious discrimination A Toronto business must pay damages of almost $100,000 to three Muslim employees who were forced to eat pork, work religious holidays and threatened with replacement by “white” staff. The owners of Le Papillon on the Park made the workplace “intolerable” for the applicants, Abdul Malik, Mohammed Islam, and Arif Hossain, according to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision. They were awarded a combined total of almost $100,000 in damages. The three owners, Paul and Danielle Bigue and their son Stephen, will also be required to take Human Rights Training and to put Human Rights Code cards at the entranceway to the restaurant and in the kitchen. The decision found that the owners on a number of occasions encouraged or forced the Muslim workers to eat pork, ostensibly

to test potential menu items. However, there were non-Muslim kitchen staff who could have tasted the food instead. On one occasion Hossain was made to try soup during the fasting-period of Ramadan. He had taken steps to ensure the soup was good and did not make any changes after tasting it. Danielle Bigue told the staff she wanted “to clean” them from the kitchen” and replace them with “white” staff, and on at least one occasion told the workers, “you’re crazy people” after Hossain refused to eat pork. She also mocked the men for speaking Bengali to each other, even though Islam spoke little English and needed instructions. Lawyer Kate Sellar, who represented the three employees, said this case was particularly shocking because of the direct discrimination the employees experienced. Most cases brought to the tribunal involve a more subtle form of discrimination.

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Worker dies after 30 hours of work Over work and burnout are serious problems in many workplaces and the recent death of a 24-year-old writer has once again highlighted the issue. Indonesian copywriter Mita Diran died following 30 hours of non-stop work for ad agency Young & Rubicam. The young woman was known for tweeting about her busy work schedule and her final tweet on Dec. 14 read “30 hours of working and still going strooong.” Other posts on her social media pages, including Twitter and Tumblr, offered more details: “Tonight, I carry the keys to the office for the eighth day running … I’m still here. I have no life. Someone please take me out for drinks, kicks and giggles.” “Alright, one full week of going home past 2 a.m. from the office. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we just broke a record.” Her father, Yani Syahrial, posted on social media platform Path that Diran had worked “over the limit.” After her death, an employee of Syahrial stated that

over work and too much Krating Daeng (a Thai energy drink) contributed to her death, The Epoch Times reported.


HR on the move In December Norm Sabapathy was appointed Executive Vice President, People at The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited. Sabapathy is responsible for leadership of its HR team and enabling outstanding people performance company-wide. Sabapathy brings more than 20 years of management experience with global industry leaders in industrial, transportation, manufacturing, services, food and consumer packaged-goods sectors. Norm Sabapathy

Barbara Mason

Scotiabank appointed Barbara Mason as Chief Human Resources Officer, overseeing global human resources, communications and marketing functions. Mason, who has been with the bank for 31 years, moves from her previous position as EVP, Global Wealth Management and has also previously held the positions of EVP, Wealth Management and EVP Marketing, Sales and Service, Canada. She also sits on the boards of Ronald McDonald House Toronto and Bayview Glen School, as well as a variety of the Bank’s internal subsidiary boards.

Also at Scotiabank, Sue Graham Parker adds Corporate Communications to her portfolio, taking on the new title of EVP, Human Resources and Corporate Communications. Parker is now responsible for the execution of all human resources programs globally, as well as corporate communications. Sue Graham Parker She joined the bank in 1979 and has held progressively senior positions in Wealth Management and Canadian Banking, including Senior Vice President, Ontario Region and Senior Vice President, Public, Corporate and Government Affairs.

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IMPEDIMENTS TO EMPLOYMENT As the job market gets tighter, it’s vital to find new talent pools to draw from. One of the most underemployed groups around the world is people with disabilities. Unfortunately, misconceptions and lack of understanding sets up a range of obstacles for HRDs to keep in mind



Over a six-year period, 41% of Canadians reported having a disability



Canadians reporting a disability feel that “a person is more likely to be hired or promoted if they hide their disability.”

15% reported their disability just one of six years

5% 5% reported a disability in all six years.



of people with a disability do not need any accommodation.

21% The remaining 21% reported between two and five years of disability.



of Canadians with a disability are unable to work


74% Employers estimate most accommodations will cost

$10,000 The actual average cost is


56% 53%

cited pain as one of their difficulties

cited mobility

cited agility


cited hearing


had a psychiatric disability


had a learning disability

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2.6% 0.4%

Canada spends less on disability programs than most advanced nations. Norway spends 2.6% of gross domestic product on programs, where Canada spends 0.4%


On average, people with a disability earn 87% of those without a disability



of people with intellectual disabilities reported that their condition affected their career choice.

More than half of people with intellectual disabilities reported experiencing barriers to training, especially cost.


In the developed world, 44% of people with disabilities are employed, compared with 75% of people without disabilities.

Unemployment rates differ according to the type of disability reported – for example, the unemployment rate for people reporting a hearing disability was 10% in 2006, compared with 16% for people reporting a memoryrelated disability

Source: select 2013 Canadian & U.S. data reports

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On the spectrum…OF OF SUCCESS While many struggle with job interviews, Canadians living with autism are starting to win a second look with corporate employers willing to see past the social awkwardness that marks even the mildest forms of the disorder. As Anna Sharratt writes, their interest has everything to do with enhancing the bottom line. For much of his working life, Chris McIntosh fought a daily personal battle. A computer programmer for B.C.’s Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services in Vancouver, he lived on the social periphery at work, repeatedly attempting to socialize with his colleagues – and failing. “I spent a lot of time wondering what my differences were,” says McIntosh. “I tried to emulate (my co-workers)—but was still different.” In 2004, he got an answer: Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to interact and communicate fluently with others. Now falling under the broader term of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it’s a condition that at the highfunctioning end means having excellent analytical skills and a razor-sharp focus on technical tasks but lacking the ability to read social cues. Those who are lower-functioning can be overly sensitive to sounds and lights, and have more pronounced socialization issues. McIntosh kept the diagnosis to himself – for two years. “I only disclosed my condition after I thought I had proven myself,” he says, adding he now consults and speaks professionally to organizations about accommodating employees on the spectrum. “I think things are changing now because people are becoming more aware.”

PROGRESS WITH ASD IN THE WORKPLACE It’s increasingly likely that your HR departments will count people with ASD among their employees. According to the Autism Society of Canada, one in 88 children are being diagnosed as on the autism spectrum and some 200,000 Canadians are living with the neurological condition. McIntosh says many who are high-functioning often migrate into IT jobs or positions requiring a lot of technical ability. They do so without disclosing their condition for fear of reprisal. He

says many organizations hire staffers who are highfunctioning without realizing it.  “You hire people because they’re geeks versus a commitment to seeking them out,” he says. That still leaves employees on the spectrum who may be less socially fluent, less likely to ace a traditional job interview, but still possessing the skill set many IT departments seek. And along with employees with Asperger’s, it’s those workers who some firms are beginning to look at. Though there’s a handful of Canadian companies actively recruiting workers with disabilities, such as CIBC’s Career Access Program, or firms partnering with vocational services offered by organizations like Autism Speaks, that number is only now starting to grow. In May 2013, global software giant SAP announced it was enlisting the help of Specialisterne, a Danish firm that helps companies hire and manage employees with ASD. SAP plans to hire seven autistic employees in Vancouver next year and three in Montreal, and aims to have 1 per cent of its workforce as autistic by 2020. “This is not a corporate social responsibility initiative,” says Baerbel Ostertag, head of HR at SAP Canada. “We are looking for talent.” She says hiring ASD employees makes sense when so many organizations face recruitment challenges. “We are looking at people in data quality and evaluation, who have attention to detail, the ability to concentrate over an extended period of time, and have pattern recognition and logical and analytic abilities,” she says. That in addition to putting hiring processes in place, SAP has enlisted Specialisterne to train current managers and employees about how to interact with ASD staffers. And it plans to track the quality of work performed by the new hires to determine the success of the program.

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After it completes its project with SAP by the end of 2014, Specialisterne hopes for more buy-in in Canada. It aims to capitalize on its successes in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe, where it has been a source of IT staff for a number of large food, telecommunications and cable companies. “Our mission is to enable 10,000 jobs in Canada,” says Alan Kriss, head of strategic development at Specialisterne. “Our primary objective is to bring Canadian employers into the (ASD) comfort zone.”

HOW TO MANAGE EMPLOYEES ON THE SPECTRUM: FIVE HR POINTERS If you’re seeking to hire employees on the spectrum, you need to be aware that the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act state that Canadian employees who are disabled should have the same opportunities as other employees to have their needs accommodated – without being hindered by discriminatory practices. That means you can’t ask a prospective employee whether they are disabled during a job interview – or whether they are seeking accommodation – and you need to be prepared to modify or adjust your workplace to ensure a person with special needs can do their job fully. Unless you’re working through an organization that has actively identified the employees as being on the spectrum, tread carefully when it comes to ASD employees – and educate all levels in your workforce about what to expect. zz Get your team onboard before you hire: Ostertag says SAP is currently holding sessions for its workforce to prepare them for the hiring of employees with ASD. “We ensure the whole team is briefed and trained,” she says, adding that a big part of those educational seminars is managing expectations about behaviour, performance and conduct. Managers are taught how to create an “early warning system” to let them know if ASD employees aren’t happy and thriving. “We don’t want to make mistakes,” she says. zz Determine what individual accommodations might be necessary. Ask the employee how they’d like to work—whether it’s surrounded by others or in a quiet, solitary environment. Or observe their patterns, advises McIntosh. “Not all of us require accommodations for lighting, sound, or other sensory issues,” he says. “Some of us might like to be near a coffee room, so we can be part of a workforce without constant pressure of direct interaction.”

I tried to emulate (my co-workers)— but was still different Chris McIntosh

zz Keep stress to a minimum. Sure – you have targets to meet. But managing change is critical in ensuring your employees with ASD don’t get stressed—and begin to underperform. “It’s not that we don’t like any change, and can’t handle it,” says McIntosh. “It’s social change that causes us the most grief.” He says if a new operating system or technological platform is installed, the change will usually create the same amount of stress for an ASD employee as it would for a staff member without the condition. But “if a new reporting relationship is put in place, perhaps have us report one day a week to the new boss, then two days a week, prior to the shift, to ease us in.” zz Be consistent and straightforward. Choose your words carefully. “Avoid sarcasm,” says Kriss, as ASD employees will simply interpret it at face value. “Be consistent and predictable.” He says ASD employees don’t like to be surprised socially, so it’s a good idea to email them before arriving at their desk with an assignment. zz Forget traditional team building. “Don’t have expectations of social encounters,” says Kriss, as many employees with ASD don’t feel comfortable in social situations that others enjoy, such as retreats, parties and retirement send-offs. “When you’re asking them about going to a bar, give them the option to opt-out,” he says. If their attendance at a meeting is critical, give them a task that requires technical skill, such as setting up a projector, suggests McIntosh. That way, they can feel included but not pressured to engage in small talk. Ostertag says though it’s still early days, she’s buoyed by the successes she’s witnessed in Europe and India with the integration of staffers with ASD into SAP’s workforces. “Our message to other companies is ‘Why not give it a try?’” Kriss certainly feels Canadian employers are ready. “People are understanding autism now and beginning to learn more about what the possibilities are,” he says. “There’s a language there now.”


One in 88

children are diagnosed with ASD


Canadians live with the disorder


jobs: Specialisterne’s target for Canadians with ASD

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All in the family:


From childcare to eldercare, ‘family status’ is no longer a straightforward issue. With rapidly changing definitions, HR policy is struggling to keep pace. Employment lawyer Gita Anand, with Miller Thomson LLP, provides a briefing KEY HRD TAKEAWAYS • Family status is getting more attention as Gen X, the “sandwich generation,” struggles to balance work with caring for children and parents. • Be wary of denying requests without substantiated reasons. In Johnstone v. Canada (Border Services), the court found some employees were being accommodated and others were not, and rewarded significant damages for the inconsistency. • You don’t have to accommodate every request, but you do need to consider each situation independently and on its own merits. Document every step of the process as backup.

Human rights claims of discrimination on the ground of “family status” have been on the rise in the past few years, and the scope of the claims have been expanding from beyond who one’s family includes, to work accommodation for childcare and other family-care obligations. As our workplaces have grown more demanding in terms of hours and performance, and circumstances may dictate that both parents need to work, the law has had to balance employee interests against fairness to employers in light of freely negotiated contractual terms. To date, courts and tribunals have not balanced these interests consistently.

THE LAW Discrimination on the basis of family status has been prohibited in most jurisdictions in Canada for several years. Despite the similarity in various statutes, there is very little clarity in the laws of various jurisdictions as to what family status means or what constitutes discrimination on that basis. In Ontario, family status is defined narrowly as “the status of being in a parent and child relationship.” In Alberta, it is broadly defined as “the status of being related to another person by blood, marriage or adoption.” Moreover, it is only relatively recently that adjudicators have been required to interpret the scope of an employer’s duty to accommodate employees on the basis of family status. In essence, the majority of cases determine the issue of whether a parental obligation “trumps” a work obligation. The law on this issue is unsettled. There are three approaches at present, and it will be difficult for employers to ascertain what their obligations are until the Supreme Court of Canada weighs in and reconciles these three lines of cases.

The “narrow” approach, which emerged from British Columbia, arose in the context of a change in an employee’s hours of work, which resulted in her inability to care for her disabled son. The employer did not accommodate the changes she required. The B.C. court determined that a prima facie case of discrimination occurs when a change in a term of employment imposed by the employer results in a “serious interference” with a substantial parental or other family duty or obligation. The Court of Appeal set a very high bar for finding prima facie discrimination in childcare situations. The “broad” approach arises from a line of cases in the Federal Court, which has expressly rejected the British Columbia approach, and essentially states that a prima facie case of discrimination may arise wherever the employment rule interferes with an employee’s ability to fulfill her substantial parental obligations in any realistic way. Third, the “middle” approach, which arose in Ontario, amalgamates the other two approaches, recognizing the need to balance the competing family and work obligations, while maintaining flexibility. This approach suggests that changes are often initiated from the employee rather than from the employer’s policy, and both should be protected. That is, employees should make some effort at self-accommodation before claiming discrimination. However, employees should not be asked to make unreasonable choices in all of the circumstances before discrimination is found. A recent Ontario case, which dealt with accommodation of an employee for eldercare responsibilities, confirmed this approach, adding that there exists the requirement to establish that the family commitment is a necessity, not a preference.

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THE DUTY TO ACCOMMODATE Once an employee has established a claim of discrimination, the employer is obliged to accommodate the employee’s request, unless the employer can prove that the discriminatory action is a bona fide occupational requirement or to do so would result in undue hardship. While each situation must be reviewed individually, the duty to accommodate requires the employer to satisfy both a procedural and substantive aspect. The procedural duty refers to the obligation to make meaningful inquiries, and assess the appropriate accommodation of the request. The substantive aspect refers to the actual form of accommodation provided to the employee. Most employers appear to fail on the procedural aspect of the duty, in practice.

WHAT SHOULD HRDS DO? When confronted with a request from a single mother for time off to care for a sick child, or a request for a reduced work week from an only child to look after an elderly parent, what should an employer do? As a general comment, it is important for HR leaders to ensure they have consistent policies and processes in place so employees get the same considerations regardless of role and status. Review your organization’s policies to make sure all your

frontline managers know what steps they should take to consider individual requests. When dealing with individual requests, first carefully gather all the facts surrounding each request for accommodation. Ask questions. Document all steps taken. Take the request seriously. Second, collaborate with the employee to explore solutions. The person making the request is obliged to cooperate in this process. Remember that “undue” hardship does not mean “no hardship” at all. There is an expectation that the employer may have to endure some inconvenience or make some sacrifices in the accommodation process. Third, don’t speculate or rely on unsupported conclusions or beliefs. For example, thinking that “morale will be affected” as a reason to deny a request to accommodate without any objective evidence will not likely be accepted by adjudicators to support a defence of undue hardship. Finally, plan ahead. Expect to receive accommodation requests particularly if changes to working conditions are imposed. Initiate policies and processes that not only demonstrate flexibility in finding accommodation, but also offer employees detail and clarity in how to seek accommodation and what is expected of them in the process. Remember that the search for accommodation must be on an individual basis, which recognizes the unique circumstances of each case.

Gita Anand Partner, Miller Thomson LLP, specializing in labour and employment law.

Have employee problems? Challenges with the people side of your business?


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Can you distill all that goes into building a corporate culture of growth and innovation? Agostino De Gasperis, Labatt’s VP of People, tells HRD how the brewer continues to pour that kind of success into the everyday operations of its workforce

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HR bragging rights HRD: What programs or processes at Labatt help drive employee success and productivity? ADG: At Labatt we have 10 guiding principles, one of which focuses on our culture of continuous improvement. This idea of zero complacency, making sure that we’re always pushing ourselves to find ways to do things better, is really ingrained in what we do. To build that into the day to day and make it grassroots, our unionized employees created something called the Ideas Process in 1999 that encourages our operators and techs to bring forward their ideas on how we can do things better. They’re on the front line and know the business better than anyone. Over the years, the Ideas Process has been critical to our improvement. For example, we’ve set very aggressive goals to reduce our environmental footprint. The ideas our employees have brought forth and implemented have helped us reduce our usage of resources whether it’s water, fuel, energy or waste. Every year we push ourselves to do even better and it wouldn’t be possible without the ideas from our employees. More recently we’ve put in a new process called OpTech, where our operators help close gaps by taking more responsibility for key things that will drive the organization forward. We’re spending more on training and giving them the tools to engage

Labatt volunteer efforts

so that they can troubleshoot and drive solutions to take the business to the next level. HRD: Labatt is part of the international company Anheuser-Busch InBev. What influence does that have on the culture at Labatt? Is it largely independent, or highly influenced by the international culture? ADG: We’re proud to be part of a global company – but it’s a global company that is unique because of the collection of brewers that have come together to form a larger brewery network. While we’re all united under ABI’s strong corporate culture, the structure of the network has ensured that Labatt has maintained its proud Canadian heritage dating back to 1847. We continue to make the same commitments to our community that founder John Kinder Labatt implemented along with the relationships that we’ve nurtured with our partners, customers and Canadians. As part of a global company, we can tap into best practices from around the world and attract some of the most talented minds. Labatt exports talent to some of the other ABI offices and brings in other experts, resulting in a rich mosaic of ideas. HRD: How do you build career paths with employees so they feel they can have successful careers at Labatt? ADG: One of Labatt’s key principles is “Great people, allowed to grow at the pace of their talent and compensated accordingly, are the most valuable assets of our company.” To be a great company you need great people to sustain you. Competitors will be able to replicate some of your products and processes over time, but they can’t replicate talent. We spend the time and resources to make sure that we attract the best talent, give them the opportunities to develop and compensate them well to ensure retention. Labatt has several formal career programs in place, including two global programs we participate in – the global management trainee program and the global MBA program – where we’ll go to campuses and recruit at both the undergrad and graduate level. For example for the GMT program,

60 brands in Labatt’s portfolio including Budweiser (Canada’s #1 beer), Bud Light, Alexander Keith’s, Stella Artois, Michelob Ultra and, of course, Labatt Blue

6 breweries employ 3,000 people across Canada

$30 million invested in community sponsorship and donations last year

250 quality checks

go into every bottle of beer, including daily tasting panels at every brewery to check water and beer quality. This also means your Budweiser, Keith’s or Bud Light will taste the same no matter where in the world it was brewed.


Labatt launched its now renowned Pilsner Lager. First launched in Manitoba, fans nicknamed it “Blue” because if it’s label and Labatt’s support of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The name seems to have stuck.

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we select a handful from over 2,000 applicants and those selected go through a rotational program where they get trained in the field and across different functions. It’s a fast-paced, accelerated development program and we really think it makes a difference because we’re able to select the top people at these schools and shepherd them through their career and see them develop over time. We see them as the future leaders of the company. HRD: Manufacturing in Canada continues to decrease. What are some of the unique challenges of employing people around the country in manufacturing roles? ADG: In Canada, we’ve got different situations and regional nuances from coast to coast . For example, in Alberta there is a surge in talent heading there due to the energy-sector boom in the region. It’s tough for us to recruit talent and fill positions in Alberta, where we have a brewery in Edmonton. At Labatt, we are always on the lookout for strong talent – it’s always in demand. To ensure we recruit the best, we employ different strategies and creative ways to fill positions. For example, we’re looking to post positions for our Edmonton brewery internally in other markets (Halifax, London, etc). Relocation is another great way to further grow the talent we’ve already hired and help them to grow in their career.

Labatt factory workers

HRD: What role does Labatt’s philanthropic and sponsorship efforts play in employer branding, retention and employee engagement? ADG: Community involvement has been part of our heritage from the beginning. In 1847, John Kinder Labatt started with small things – although back then they may not have seemed so small – such as donations of flour to communities in need, and it expanded from there. It’s a tradition we’ve continued to embrace whether it’s a community clean up, encouraging designated drivers, or gathering food bank donations – our people take action to improve the lives of Canadians. It’s part of why Labatt is a great place to work. Labatt offers the rewards of meaningful involvement, plus very good jobs. We promote an engaging workplace that will fulfil our employees professionally and personally. HRD: What drew you to an HR role initially? ADG: I’ve always had an interest in understanding how the business works, but also what makes people tick. It’s a genuine curiosity. Being in charge of the People function and being responsible for all our employees gives me the opportunity to do that, to make a positive impact on the lives of our employees and help them realize their full potential. Labatt’s People team is involved in any number of things from the commercial side of the business to supply and logistics. I work with my team to create an environment that helps people reach their potential and take their career to the next level. That’s really what draws me to the role and keeps me motivated, passionate and interested. HRD: What do you consider to be your biggest career achievement to date? ADG: Rather than one thing, it’s a collection of many things. The things I take the most pride in are working with the team, whether it’s my team or the broader organization, and seeing people grow and develop. On the people side, what’s been rewarding is the opportunity to help people in ways that aren’t always apparent . Sometimes people need a little extra help in their day to day, or there might be life events that need some additional consideration. From a corporate perspective, this year we were able to mobilize our resources to help flood victims in Alberta as part of our disaster relief program by donating over 44,000 six-packs of water. On top of

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that we were able to send over a dozen employees from across the organization to volunteer for a few days with the clean-up efforts. HRD: Describe yourself in a few key words ADG: I like to think of myself as someone who’s candid, humble – it’s not about me it’s about the team and what we’re trying to do here collectively – and I’m pretty sincere in what I say and do. HRD: Where do you see the future of HR as a profession heading? ADG: HR needs to evolve from a department that has historically been in charge of overseeing policies and procedures to one that’s deeply integrated into the business. HR has the opportunity to shape and support the business overall, making sure it attracts the right people, develops them in the right way and retains them so the business is set up for success now and into the future. As a function, HR should anticipate the needs of the business and what it’s going to take to reach the business goals. Fundamentally it’s about great people. That’s why here at Labatt we call it the “People Department,” not human resources. It’s really about the people and I think that evolution is important. Great people are at the core of what

Labatt to the rescue

we do. They are the engine that drives our performance to another level HRD: What do you think it takes to succeed in HR? ADG: Be a true business partner. Understand the needs of the business, how each department functions and how HR can make a meaningful contribution from a talent and recruitment perspective.

LABATT’S 10 GUIDING PRINCIPLES: 1. Great people, allowed to grow at the pace of their talent and compensated accordingly, are the most valuable assets of our company. 2. Our shared dream energizes everyone to work in the same direction: to be the best beer company in a better world. 3. We are never completely satisfied with our results, which are the fuel of our company. Focus and zero-complacency guarantee lasting competitive advantage. 4. We must select people who - with the right development, challenges and encouragement - can be better than ourselves. We will be judged by the quality of our teams. 5. We are a company of owners. Owners take results personally. 6. The consumer is the boss. We connect with our consumers through meaningful brand experiences, balancing heritage and innovation, and always in a responsible way. 7. We manage our costs tightly, to free up resources that will support top-line growth. 8. We believe common sense and simplicity are usually better guidelines than unnecessary sophistication and complexity. 9. We don’t take shortcuts. Integrity, hard work, quality and consistency are keys to building our company. 10. Leadership by personal example is the best guide to our culture. We do what we say.

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HRD is enlisting the help of four top HR execs for a roundtable forecast of the industry’s 2014 agenda and to tackle hot topics, from executive compensation and large-scale layoffs to the retention of the ‘most dissatisfied’ workers in Canada, Generation X. Caitlin Nobes reports. JANUARY 2014 | 17  

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CEO SALARY CONTROVERSIES Every year HR leaders dread the CEO top 100 salary list, and this year was no different. When you add up their total compensation, base salary, cash bonuses, grants of company shares, stock options, other compensation and pension compensation value increases, you get an average of $7.96m. Explain that to your frontline workers! Still, the lowest paid of the CEO top 100 took in $3.85m. How does that compare with the rest of Canadians? In 2012, the average full-time worker earned $46,634.

Executive compensation gets media and employee attention, and it continues to serve as a flash point for worker dissatisfaction and resentment. It falls to HR to better communicate the connection between exec pay and performance so all employees and stakeholders outside the corporation understand the numbers.

David Heather: Our executive compensation is a matter of public record. We disclose it and a lot of the tech blogs pick up on it – we’re used to it. That’s the world we exist in. That has certainly influenced our approach to executive compensation in that you’ve got to articulate the value. As an HR function you should never put a strategy in place that you’re not ready to defend in the public forum. I think the same applies to executive compensation. It’s what the market demands, you pay the going rate for top talent and you want to recognize and reward all your employees. That’s the price of doing business. Laura Croucher: With this younger generation, everything is out in the open. When it comes to transparency you might as well be in front of it or you’re going to be behind it. Helena Gottschling: Obviously in financial services, pay and executive compensation gets a lot of attention. Interestingly, the growth in pay at the CEO level since 2000 has not outpaced the average growth across our employee base, but they’re such high numbers that it is hard for the average Canadian or average employee to conceptualize how someone can make $1 million a year.

David Heather VP of Human Resources, Cisco Canada Canadian employees: 1,300 (72,000 globally)

Laura Croucher Partner and National leader of People and Change Solutions, KPMG Canadian employees: 6,000 (52,000 globally)

Helena Gottschling SVP Leadership & Organizational Development, RBC Canadian employees: 60,000 (80,000 globally)

Katrina Stevens National Director of Human Resources, Miller Thomson LLP Canadian employees: 1,200

I think we have to get better at disclosing the correlation between pay and results – being really clear on why we’re paying what we pay, how we’re doing relative to the goals we set for the organization and being clear upfront going into the year what those goals are and how they’re tied into compensation.

GEN X: THE MIDDLE CHILD OF THE OFFICE? Key takeaways „„Gen X employees represent a large expert group in Canadian organizations, but are often given short shrift by HR strategies focused on soonto-retire boomers and up-and-coming Gen Y. Make sure you know what Gen X wants or risk losing emerging leaders to competitors through brain drain. LC: There’s a lot of research that points to the fact that Gen X is the least satisfied generation in the workplace. There’s a lot of talk about Gen Y and what we need to do about Gen Y, but I think it’s at our folly if we don’t have specific strategies in place to deal with Gen X. We’re worried about the brain drain with the boomers but really we could see a significant brain drain with that group if they continue to move around. DH: Gen X is a critical demographic for us. A lot of our competition would love to have some of our most -seasoned and tenured employees so absolutely we want to retain those in our organization and we do a great job. I think it’s about building a culture and an arch where they can deliver their value and not be siloed or put into constraining boxes or grades or roles or functions, so that’s where we’re trying to put some emphasis. HG: I attended our HR orientation this morning, for new people into human resources whether they’re new hires into RBC or new into HR from other parts of the company. So I asked the group how many were new to RBC versus new to HR, and it was about 50/50 out of about 50 people in the room. The reason I’m sharing that is I think it’s a demonstration of what Gen X is looking for and that is career opportunity. We have a very strong promote-from-within philosophy so you will find a lot of long-tenured employees working for RBC as you would with the other banks in Canada as well.

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I could cite multiple examples of employees in that mid-40 age range who have moved to different roles within the organization, often on a lateral basis, so they can try something new and continue to learn, continue to be challenged and continue to be excited about the work they do.

CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS Key takeaways „„The aging workforce offers challenges in retaining knowledge and experience. Flexible work opportunities can help balance your older workers’ wants with your organizational needs. „„Before implementing organization-wide process changes, measure, model and analyze the trends in your business in order to determine which departments are most effected and how to manage those functions. DH: The average employee at Cisco is now over 40 years of age for the first time, which was a bit of a wake up moment for Cisco. Some of our most senior and most capable employees are those people who have been with our organization for many, many years and are now at that age that they may be thinking about retiring. I think one of the challenges for HR is how do we maintain that critical mass and that knowledge base of really critical people. How do we make sure we keep those people in the organization but then flex their work-life balance so they can start making the decisions they want to do? Katrina Stevens: Our average age is just cresting over 40, so it is very top of mind. We’re looking for ways to be innovative in the future and how we continue to manage that succession. It is something that does remain top of mind when someone takes a leadership position. Even though they’ve just commenced a leadership role there is often a discussion about whom would they bring along with them to take over next? There’s a lot of open communication at the firm about leadership and who continues to take that on as far as succession planning goes. HG: At RBC, we’ve done a lot of modelling to better understand where we may have risks across the organization as it relates to the aging workforce. Like Canadian demographics, our workforce is


EMPOWERING ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE KPMG’s People & Change teams focus on human capabilities and develop strategies for the attraction, development, motivation, retention, and management of the right people to deliver on the goals of the organization. People & Change services help develop the corresponding human resources strategy, programs and plans that enable the HR function and management to work together to be able to deliver strategy. When organizations need to accomplish major change and make it sustainable, the two streams are integrated to enable people to become engaged, committed, and competent in the new way of doing business.

aging, but what I can say is that the risks overall are very manageable. What’s very important is that we understand in which areas of the organization risks are higher … so we are looking at our demographics overall but (more specifically) really looking at it group by group. JANUARY 2014 | 19  

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in – business changes so quickly. What you’ve planned for this year is probably redundant is six months’ time anyway. So look at talent in its purest sense, try and build that depth, try and bring a strong diversity element. HG: One of the things we’re moving towards is really understanding role requirements, looking forward rather than just assuming that what made one individual successful in their job is what we need as we look at (replacement) candidates. We’re really trying to frame succession planning in a forwardlooking way.

Laura Croucher, KPMG

THE HUNT FOR TOMORROW’S EXECUTIVES Key takeaways „„Business changes quickly and often. Having a long line of leaders ready to step into existing roles is not always going to meet your organization’s needs long term. Focus on getting capable, adaptable talent in place at all levels to create a robust, sustainable workforce. HG: One of my accountabilities is succession planning and I work very closely with the HR business partners and business and functional leaders in identifying talent. We report out to the HR committee of the board on both our nonexecutive high-potential strategy, as well as reviewing succession plans for our top 75 plans across the organization. We pretty well know where we sit. DH: A lot of the techniques are similar – the top 75 jobs, top 100 jobs – it resonates with a lot of the things we do at Cisco. As we move down the organizations one of the changes we’ve made with Cisco quite recently is to really work with our executives to make a shift away from making a broad-based succession planning process where you’re trying to fill specific roles to more about identifying a broad-based bench of talent. Focus less on the role you’re trying to put them

DH: A lot of our business is based on acquisition, which gives you a challenge and an opportunity in itself. How do you bring these entrepreneurs who may have been working with a hundred people or a thousand people into an organization of 72,000, with $50 billion in revenue, etc.? That’s not always easy. These have been very autonomous people, so we’ve worked very hard on how to integrate that executive talent into our organization to get the value out of it.

HR AND THE CFO Key takeaway „„HR needs to understand how best to measure the outcomes of the diverse range of professional development programs rather than view them as mere add-ons and bragging points. „„The expectation going forward is HR will more actively discharge its duties with an emphasis on the bottom line as well as commit itself to better partnering with financial management in order to develop and implement programs that strengthen the employer’s financial footing and that mesh with overall fiscal constraints. DH: I think there’s actually a very strong correlation between the two functions (HR and corporate financial management). I encourage all my team to make sure they can fully understand a balance sheet, they understand profit and loss, and they understand the key drivers that the business is facing and they can actually then start talking about some of the levers they can use to make sure the business is even more successful than it currently is. If you don’t have that in HR, you don’t have the credibility.

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EDUCATING HR When RBC identified a need for their nonexecutive high-potentials to further develop their business and financial acumen, the bank partnered with the Ivey School of Business to build a two-and-a-half-day program. With input from the CEO and championed by the CFO, the program creates a stronger understanding and knowledge base in the institution’s employee population.

HG: Working with finance is so critical. I think our team has to continue to develop skills so they understand how the organization makes money and how they lose money. HR professionals really do need to deepen their understanding, their business and financial acumen so they understand the programs we introduce, what drives employee behaviour and that it’s relevant and aligned. DH: I’ll tell a horror story, if I may. Prior to Cisco, many years ago in the UK I was in a more junior HR role and I worked in an organization that had a range of collective bargaining with the trade unions. We had good negotiations. We got an agreement that allowed (a certain percentage wage increase) to the employee body and we were happy about that. We went to tell finance and they said, “Sorry, we haven’t got the budget for it. No one told us.” It just articulated how removed and siloed the two functions were. That resonated with me – that the finance organization just didn’t know what HR was doing. HR hadn’t told finance and the CEO and COO hadn’t connected them. Fortunately, I think those days are gone, but things like that resonate and make an impression on you.

support of the CFO himself, along with many others in the accounting dept. It’s helped us bring new measures to the forefront and sharpen our decisionmaking.

TAKING IT TO THE FRONT LINE Key takeaways „„The CHRO and CFO can have a great working relationship, but the HR team overall needs to understand and align with finance and business strategies to ensure success. „„HR managers who want to vouchsafe their success need to take a genuine interest in business to make themselves better business partners. LC: As a lead at a consulting practice that works with executives in both the finance function and the HR function, I see that both functions across Canada continue to want to elevate the role of the business partner so they’re having the same struggles in terms of what needs to done. I think the opportunity is to come together around what are the soft skills you need to be the partner and what understanding of the business is needed to be the partner. HG: I don’t know if I would say we were struggling with it. I think there’s a strong acknowledgement across our HR business partner operation of the importance of understanding the business they support. One tangible way that we’ve addressed this David Heather, Cisco

KS: In the workings of a law firm, the HR role is often also a direct line manager for the assistant and sometimes law clerk populations. Because of that duality there is often a much closer partnership between the finance department and HR than there would be in other companies, certainly more than many other former companies I was with. This year we had a great example in that we did a complete overhaul of our measurement of human capital. That could not have been done without the JANUARY 2014 | 21  

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HEALTH AND WELLNESS Key takeaways „„Listen to your employees and use your relationships with providers to build programs that offer flexibility and adaptability. „„Wellness is more than just a passing fad. Healthier employees are more productive, have fewer absences and are less likely to require ongoing disability support. Taking a holistic view of physical and mental health could pay off in your organization in the long term.

Katrina Stevens, Miller Thomson

is we don’t staff all our HR business partner roles with purely HR professionals. We do have people working in HR who have worked in the business and have come to HR. I’m actually an example of that. I’ve spent half my career on the frontline dealing with clients, and you approach your job differently as a result. KS: There are ways that accounting and finance and the HR group can help each other raise each other’s knowledge of their respective functions. It’s an important requirement that you have some on your team who are interested and willing to do so in order to maintain relevance in your functions so you can deliver for the business and understand which practice groups are busy in the law firm and which are not and be able to flex your human resources in that way. HG: It’s also about holding our HR people accountable for building that knowledge. You can send them on a course, give them things to read, but at the end of the day they have to believe it will make them more effective as an HR professional and they have to have an interest. Those are the two things I look for when I’m staffing roles and I encourage it with all my direct reports and senior managers.

DH: It’s incumbent on us to listen to our employee base. One of our employees raised to me that we didn’t cover autism as part of our healthcare benefits. We worked with the employee to manage it as an exception and then we reached out to our healthcare providers and stakeholders and said “this is a weakness in our policy we need to correct.” We’ve put that in place for the next rollout of our healthcare benefits. There are a number of areas where you can get information, but listening to our employees is something we don’t do as much as we should do. KS: At Miller Thomson, we will be looking to our vendors to partner with us to continue to be innovative. As we continue to see longer longevity of workers, we will need to be more flexible so we’ll be looking for more interesting ways to manage. We’ll also be increasing our education efforts to give managers the tools on how to manage those shortand long-term disability issues better. HG: We’re really shifting our focus to wellness. We introduced a wellness program in 2006 and the primary drivers behind it were to address the healthcare inflation and disability trends. We really encourage our employees to eat well and we do some fun events to raise the awareness around the importance of nutrition. We have some in-house competitions around physical wellness, again educating employees on the importance of your whole self being healthy. And we’re seeing more needs around mental health given the stress in the workplace and the stress in life. I think the focus on wellness has really started to resonate and we are seeing a difference in our employees.

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LC: At KPMG, we take a similar approach in terms of the focus on wellness and as the employees register for benefits, and they re-enroll each year, they get extra money if they answer a few questions in a typical way that indicates they are living a healthier lifestyle. Even in our busier season when our accounting folks are working around the clock to keep things going, we have fresh fruit on the floors and things like that so they’re not relying on junk food. It’s a different way of looking at it – turning it on its head.

FLEXIBILITY, MOBILITY AND CAPABILITY Key takeaways „„Not every organization has the same flex-time and remote work opportunities, but if you can put supports in place to help employees handle the competing demands in their lives, you will find them more loyal and willing to give discretionary effort.

DH: Our employees have busy lives. They have to fit in childcare, caring for elderly (parents) – it’s going to be a bigger trend and it has been a trend for awhile. What we’ve tried to do is make sure that people have flexibility built into their day. I’m fortunate in my role with our organization where there’s high trust, I can leave work to pick my son up at 3:30 p.m., (go home) and play with him for a while and then do some calls after that. That work/life blend, as we call it, is built into our culture. HG: We don’t have the flexibility to allow employees to leave at 2:30 p.m. because the branch has to be open and service customers, so we have to be more creative in what supports we can provide employees to manage the multiple demands they have in their lives and still be present at work when they need to be present. Then there are other employees where flexibility is easier to facilitate. LC: KPMG is a founding partner of WorkShift Canada, which is working with this trend in organizations

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market will bring. I think we need to focus as a country and as business leaders on how we drive innovation, productivity and performance of our employee base.

Helena Gottschling, RBC

right now and working towards creating more flexibility in workplaces. A colleague there always says to me, “We have to stop thinking about work being a place I go; it’s what I do.” But our old thinking has it that way. DH: A lot of companies we partner with say, “How do you control that? How do you make sure people don’t take advantage?” You should never predicate your policies on the lowest denominator because there will always be people who take advantage. You base it on trust and on outcomes, instead of presenteeism and who is in first and who’s there last. We’ve seen a spike in productivity as we brought it in and from an employment engagement perspective it’s priceless. I think that’s what employees of the future are going to want.

RESTRUCTURING TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICE Key takeaways „„2013 saw some big restructuring announcements from industry giants, including Sears, Canada Post and Kellogg’s. However, each company was reacting to specific factors in their industries and overall trends in 2014 are expected to be positive. „„Restructuring at some level is inevitable. When it happens HR needs to have strategies in place for supporting effected employees and minimize any lingering impact on the organization. DH: Businesses react to the environments they’re in, so sometimes they grow and sometimes they don’t. I don’t think (large-scale restricting) is going to be a trend for Canada. I think Canada is superbly placed to take advantage of some of the micro- and macro-economic challenges and opportunities that the global business

HG: All companies will restructure over time because they can’t stand still. People are going to be impacted through changes, but there is a best practice I’d like to share that we’ve recently launched at RBC. It’s a COE we call Workforce Transition Management. This team is challenged to support employees whose jobs are impacted by change. We can deal with so many position eliminations just through the natural attrition we have, particularly if employees are adaptable and they’re willing to learn new skills. A lot of capability is transferable to different parts of the organization. It doesn’t mean employees won’t be let go, but having that in-house transition support team will make a big difference. KS: As far as the legal industry goes, there’s been a lot of change in the last decade. Anyone who works on Bay Street saw lots of signs change. There’s been a lot of revamping of the law landscape in Canada. We’ve seen it settle for the last year or so and I share (the panel’s) optimism. I think we’re lucky to work in a country that has a very broad set of skills in its population. As a PanCanadian firm we leverage that from B.C. to Montreal.


HG: Diversity for growth and innovation is one of RBC’s core values. I think taking diversity to the next frontier for us is around unconscious bias. When we have senior leaders interview and recruit for talent, often people make a judgment within the first five seconds of the interview whether this is the person they want on their team without really understanding the skills, experience and value that someone might be able to bring in. We’re doing training and we have some self-assessment tools to help people understand their own personal biases, even if you think you are a huge supporter of diversity. KS: We’ve really integrated the thought of diversity in our work and our strategy. It’s not something that’s an add-on or a separate program, but now we’re looking forward to really getting those numbers where they should be – more progress and more improvement. Miller Thomson is proud to be part of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network We have a new tool; it sounds like something very small, but we think it will have a big impact as far as our client connection and our connections internally. We’ve purchased a tool called Mi Voco, which allows you to

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use your own voice to record your name as it should be properly pronounced. We look forward to being able to attach that to our external email signatures to help our employees internally say each other’s names and of course our clients as well. DH: Within Cisco the moral and social imperatives are really well understood and what we’re trying to do is to try and embrace true diversity. Yes there’s a social and moral imperative, and we should never veer away from that, but equally there is a business imperative as well. Canada is a very diverse country and if you’re in a sales organization, if you’re in product development, you should be looking to embrace that diversity and bring it into your organization for your competitive advantage. HG:It comes down to accessing the talent pool, too. If you don’t embrace diversity you won’t access the full talent pool that’s available in the market. When we staff executive jobs we have staffing goals in place for new executive jobs for both women and visible minorities as well as senior manager roles. It keeps it front of mind for people. We don’t always achieve our goals, but it keeps it front of mind and inspires that extra effort to source talent that have the skills and to try to get rid of the unconscious biases that you might have when you approach those kinds of opportunities. LC: In my experience (diversity) is top of mind in corporate Canada. One of the frontiers I’m seeing is that organizations are now struggling with how they manage diversity. It creates different things in the workplace that they need to be mindful of and how we all interact and what assumptions are being made. That is the next frontier in what I’m observing.


HG: When I look ahead, it’s never a stop and start, it’s really a continuation. It’s about re-evaluating whether the work you’re doing is having the right impact and whether or not it’s going to help position the organization relative to the longer, mid-term strategic objectives. For me, it’s the ability to really get deeper with our analytics and really understand versus deaveraging everything. We really have to understand what the analytics are telling us, which will then inform some of our actions from an HR perspective. DH: We live in a world of change. Cisco operates in a very high change culture of technology. I think you need

to embrace that change. You need to look at it as an opportunity and see where you can drive business value for the organization. That’s what Cisco’s core business is all about. HG: One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about is how we help the workforce absorb the change. How do we improve that absorption rate and adaptability? We often talk about change as a program or one-time event, but it’s not. It’s about building workforce capability that is more adaptable. So how do we build skills and have employees recognize how their skills are transferable to new projects and new work because their mandate usually isn’t static. LC: That has such a big impact on leadership. The spectrum of what they may need to do, it’s not just one size fits all anymore. You may have a small change that we can manage with a memo, or we could have a big thing where they have to be out engaging with people all the time to sell it. Getting leaders to understand that and getting them to create time in their life and calendar to be able to be that change leader for those major programs can make a big difference. KS: Building that resilience in your employee population has to start with your leadership. Being able to have your leadership buy in to prioritizing their time to make a change successful is about building your employees’ resilience to this ongoing level of change. Building resilience is really important for us. So we have lunch-and-learns, webinars, there are all levels of access to help employees if they have an interest and feel there is a challenge there. I look forward to working with our leadership to help them identify when there is a challenge and to be more proactive in those changes. DH: One thing I would always call out is I think it is a leadership imperative. When there is a big change, I think it’s human nature that we close the door, turn off the phones, hunker down and do it in isolation. If there’s one thing we can do better from a change perspective is to communicate and treat employees as part of the organization and have that dialogue with them. I think leaders tend to want to have all the solutions ready. Sometimes you don’t need the whole story. Be authentic, be credible, articulate the opportunity and a lot of the great ideas will come from your employee base. They are our biggest source of innovation. Use them, leverage them, include them.

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Foreign workers? For HRDs, it’s increasingly a question of how many for those skilled employees to bring in and how best to sidestep the kind of public backlash ensnaring some of Canada’s biggest corporate names Either Canada’s experiencing a labour shortfall that can only be remedied through a massive increase in immigration, or current immigration policies are displacing talented and willing Canadian workers. The Globe and Mail endorses “radically boost(ing) immigration numbers,” while the Fraser Institute, a conservative think-tank, argues in a recent report that increased immigration “imposes a huge fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers”—as much as “$20 billion a year.” Canada’s population isn’t growing fast enough to meet market demands. And, yes, family immigration does cost Canadian taxpayers in the billions of dollars. There’s merit to both claims, of course, but too many fear tactics deployed around this hotly contested issue, so we’re taking a closer look so that today’s enterprises can make the best use of domestic and international talent.

FEAR FACTOR Much of the rhetoric is generated by fear or misinformation—establishing facts is tricky. Who Canadians listen to is motivated by what affects them. Workers fear displacement by a cheap, plentiful, and eager foreign labour market, or having a job outsourced — that is, legally replacing Canadian workers with foreign employees who stay abroad. Consider the poor optics of Royal Bank’s iGate scandal last spring. Canada’s largest bank outsourced IT functions to foreign workers who were trained by the RBC workers they would displace. It had chilly corporate-decision-by-spreadsheet undertones to it. It didn’t matter that RBC is a title partner for the Annual Immigrant Success Awards — an event that champions entrepreneurial vision by new Canadians. Neither did it seem to matter that only one foreign worker ended up here on a temporary visa, nor that RBC hadn’t, in fact, made the decision — iGate, the

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outsourced company, had.

THE NUMBERS GAME The other side of the fear game is often played by brandishing big numbers. Those in favour of wideopen immigration policies to take advantage of foreign talent make dire predictions. Canada is facing a shortfall of 1.2 million skilled workers by 2025, according to the Conference Board of Canada. The Construction Sector Council predicts a shortfall of some 320,000 workers by 2019. British Columbia’s mining industry is beset by a shortage of 10,000 workers—right now—and expects to lose 100,000 workers to retirements over the next 10 years. Clément Gignac, chief economist at Industrial Alliance, the fourth largest health and life insurance company in Canada, contends that “we need foreign talent to sustain the country’s demographic and eco-

nomic growth.” Immigration is required to avoid population stagnation, but there is real concern about stalled employment levels for “native-born citizens.” The Honourable Jason Kenney, the minister responsible for employment and social development, recently released a press release aiming to appease all camps: “We are committed to fixing the skills mismatch in Canada where we have too many Canadians without jobs and too many jobs without Canadians.” But fixing any skills mismatch is a delicate balance. The Mining Human Resources Council predicts that “79,000 people will need to be hired” across 66 occupations, while “only 63,000 new workers are expected to be available,” writes council head Ryan Montpellier in a 2013 Canadian Chamber of Commerce report. But Montpellier allows that hiring in his industry


more workers needed in Canada by 2025

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If there’s no one willing to take a floor position, then it’s up to the government to reduce restrictions to streamline immigration protocols for small- and medium-sized businesses to recruit the labour they need, here or abroad. Steve Guagliano

is heavily subject to fluctuations in commodity prices. The “low commodity prices in the 1980s and 1990s” meant that “many geology or engineering students or professionals … could not find work in mining,” Montpellier concedes. The labour shortfall in this industry is an estimate that could be erased by a fluctuation in prices. So how much of this projected labour shortage will be covered by current and continually rising immigration levels?

IMMIGRATION AND THE SKILLS MISMATCH Ellen de Witt, a regulated Canadian immigration consultant (RCIC) and owner of De Witt Immigration Services in Windsor, Ont., points out that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has for the past several years “released occupational eligibility lists to target immigrants with particular skills” to meet Canada’s labour-market shortage. If candidates have the skills, education, and experience, and can speak English or French fluently, they are often accepted as skilled immigrants. In 2008, the CIC introduced an additional immigration class called the Canadian Experience Class designed to keep foreign students with a minimum of two-years postsecondary study and one year of employment. The strategy, says de Witt, is “to keep the skills in Canada, and not just educate foreign students and let them take their skills and education away.” The plan, as of 2013, has allowed only 25,000 of these students to remain in Canada. No mention is made either about whether or not these newly credentialed students may bring their families to Canada, which is precisely the kind of “fiscal burden” that the Fraser Institute decries, instead advocating for

CHANGES TO FOREIGN WORKER LAWS The new Temporary Foreign Worker Program brings a number of changes for Canadian businesses, especially around approving labour market opinion (LMO) applications, which prove the need to hire international workers over Canadian ones.

1. Workplace inspections Federal officials now have the power to inspect workplaces without a warrant for a period of up to six years. Employers, who will not always receive advanced warning, must ensure their workplace is free of abuse, and will need to keep paperwork for six years.

2. Fewer foreign sex workers New rules intended to protect potentially vulnerable groups mean strippers, erotic dancers and escorts no longer qualify for LMOs.

3. New powers The federal government will also have the authority to suspend or revoke LMO’s or refuse to process LMO applications, to revoke work permits or suspend processing of work permits

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Winning the Battle With Conflict Winning the Battle With Conflict Everyone expects you to solve their problems. Could you be better at resolving Everyone expects you relationships to solve their intact? problems. youyou be deal better at resolving conflicts and keeping HowCould well do with employee conflicts and keeping intact? How well people? do you deal employee disputes? How do yourelationships deal with upset and stubborn Do with you help disputes? How do you deal with upset and stubborn people? Do you help employees negotiate when they have problems? Can you identify talents and employees when have to problems? Can you identify talents personality negotiate types? Are you they expected implement people strategies thatand support the organization’s personality types? AreDoyou to implement people strategies supportwith the finance organization’s business objectives? youexpected find yourself playing the role of a linchpinthat - working and business objectives? Do you find yourself playing the role of a linchpin working with finance andat operations to help drive business? Our training will provide you with the tools you need to excel operations to face help every drive day. business? training will provide with the tools you need to of excel at the tasks you Since Our 1994, more than 30,000you business professionals (many them the tasks you face every day. Since 1994, more than 30,000 business professionals (many of them from the HR field) have turned to us to learn new approaches to conflict management. We have from the HRprograms field) have to usand to learn approaches to conflict management. We have conducted forturned the HRPA for HRnew groups worldwide. conducted programs for the HRPA and for HR groups worldwide.

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more mining workers needed now in B.C.

an “employer-driven system” for companies that have done their market analyses. In a November 2013 press release, the CIC admits that it has an “overrepresentation of certain occupations in the program,” so has introduced caps. “Cooks, food service supervisors, and retail sales supervisors” occupy half the list. None of these require special credentials or are in demand. Are these then the kind of positions that the CIC really needs to recruit actively through a special program? Minister Kenney states that “new Canadians represent a valuable source of skilled labour.” De Witt rightly notes that Canada has “a fantastic family-stream immigration program that strives to unify families, particularly spouses and children.” However, she adds, “we need to work on our economic immigrant program to attract the skills we really need.” Steve Guagliano agrees. The former president of Mississauga-based pallet-truck manufacturing company Mobile Industries says the company faced “a chronic shortage of (factory-)floor workers for years at a time.” When asked what the government can do to remedy this dire situation, Guagliano replies, “If there’s no one willing to take a floor position, then it’s up to the government to reduce restrictions to streamline immigration protocols for small- and medium-sized businesses to recruit the labour they need, here or abroad.”

THE MYSTERY OF TALENT RETENTION Tushar Pandit, VPresident of human resources with Victoria-based Seeker Solutions, a healthcare informatics software company, says that “companies—regardless of the industry or sector—must have a clear value proposition in order to win the very best talent.” “Being abundantly clear about who you are,” Pandit continues, “and what you can deliver for your employees is everything—talent gravitates to companies with clear value propositions.” Pandit knows international recruitment. In a former position, he was tasked with relocating global talent. “The cost of relocation alone is prohibitive,”

he says, “Only seldomly is it worth it.” To recruit international talent “costs three times the candidate’s salary, including benefits.” Many times, he adds, “a company has to place a spouse, too.” International recruitment was “a big trend in the 1980s and 1990s,” he says, “but it’s just too onerous and costly for today’s competitive marketplace.” Pandit’s response is to focus on building the “reputation and prestige of your own company.” Talent is “attracted to organizations that are highly regarded for being well managed and highly ranked as a great place to work.” “If you build an organization like that,” Pandit states, “then you will have all the world-class talent that you can handle — and you’ll keep them, too.” The cost of turnover is estimated to be between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of a departing employee’s salary. High employment, aggressive recruiting and the lure of compensation packages — health benefits for pets anyone? — have all contributed to stratospheric turnover rates. That’s devastating for small businesses unable to absorb the reverberating costs or the productivity downtime between fleeing employees and hiring and training new ones. Principal of a boutique Brooklyn, NY, marketing agency, Mikhael Brovkin sighs at even the mention of talent recruitment. Arguably operating out of the epicentre of the marketing industry, Brovkin’s small agency is always looking to obtain and retain talented and reliable creatives — visual designers, web designers, animators, and copywriters. “Online venues for creatives have made the global talent pool more selective about the jobs they’re willing to take,” says Brovkin. “When you do find great talents, it’s really difficult to keep them.” Talent retention distresses the public sector, too. Labour Relations Officer for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Breann Pyke observes that the board has “high turnover rates in the lower-paid positions, like caretakers, office assistants, (and) payroll.” It’s costly to “train new employees in addition to the actual monetary losses related to

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human capital walking out the door.” For these reasons, the board’s policy is to “promote from within whenever possible.” Meghan Caibal, HR Manager with bearings manufacturer Koyo Canada, says they “have no need for international recruitment.” Koyo Canada is the type of company that Tushar Pandit envisions if Burlington-based Koyo’s turnover rate is any guide. “Our employees are extremely happy,” enthuses Caibal, noting examples of the company’s long-serving staff: “We have a salesperson who’s been with us for 30 years, a customer-service rep for 20, an account manager for 12 years—we take care of our team.”

EMPLOYEE FLIGHT — ‘A HUGE HIT’ The construction sector generally lets the market dictate its in-house policies. Human resources manager for construction giant EllisDon’s Western Canada division Andrea Bherer says that “we don’t have a codified corporate policy per se. As such, we’re able to respond creatively to the most current employment market conditions.” Bherer stresses that EllisDon has company-wide, best-practice “standards and procedures, but no firm policy around recruitment and retention.” The construction industry is continually beset by a lack of skilled tradespeople, particularly in a construction boomtown like Calgary where office towers go up like weeds. EllisDon just put shovels in the ground for the new $1.3 billion, 56-storey Brookfield Place Tower, and is currently working on Calgary International Airport’s $1.1 billion expansion as well as the second Eighth Avenue Place Tower and Eau Claire Tower. EllisDon’s strong reputation for recruiting, managing, and keeping prime talent in all branches of the skilled trades as well as in its C-suite has bolstered its reputation and laid the foundation needed to win those types of contracts. “We understand the importance of immigration for hard-to-fill roles,” says Bherer, noting that EllisDon uses “international recruitment strategies” whenever necessary. “If it’s

needed for the business, then it’s supported,” she adds. Because of the scale of EllisDon’s projects, they do “very comprehensive workforce planning,” according to Bherer, which means that if the company recruits foreign talent, they really need it. All recruitment is market-driven. “We bring in estimators to carpenters,” says Bherer, “and it all depends on the market and available workforce.” The company is strategically well-managed throughout its divisions, Bherer observes, and proudly states that EllisDon has “a very low turnover rate of salaried staff partly because we manage it so closely.” EllisDon “understands the high cost of turnover,” says Bherer with professional seriousness. “The cost of recruiting and training talent, and then hiring and training a replacement—well, it can be organizationally catastrophic.” Bherer expands on the intangible costs: “Projects can suffer greatly because when a person leaves, they don’t just take themselves, they take the project’s history — it takes years for people to develop into senior positions on complex projects, so if they leave it represents a huge hit.”

CALIBRATING THE SYSTEM Canada’s star continues to ascend globally. Our banks, economy, cities, healthcare and education systems are the envy of the world and make us highly attractive to international talent. Yet we hobble ourselves precisely when our innovative companies desperately require this foreign talent. Because our economic stream of immigration is often restricted to occupations that are not market-driven, we leave “highly skilled individuals looking elsewhere for relocation,” says de Witt. Asked what we could do better, de Witt points out that “economic immigrants face long wait times for processing, which is unattractive.” “If we truly have a shortage of skills,” she continues, “then more needs to be done to expedite the process of economic applications, or we’ll continue to lose these precious skills to other nations.”

1 in 5

people in Canada were born elsewhere


the median age of coming to Canada Where they come from:


from the Philippines

10.5% from China

10.4% from India

Where they move to:

43.1% to Ontario

19.1% to Quebec


to British Columbia

12.4% to Alberta

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“What gave me goose bumps, and really excited me, was being given a blank sheet of paper. No instructions from anyone. I had to stand on my own feet and seek out every opportunity” Yasu Sato

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GLOBAL TRAVELLER After studying industrial relations at McGill and working with some of the most innovative global companies around, including GE and UBS, this HR professional has found himself playing a key role at one of the best-connected companies in the world: LinkedIn. Yasu Sato talks to HRD Just over two years ago, Yasu Sato was looking for a fresh challenge and a change in career direction. He did what just about every professional does these days: he logged onto his LinkedIn profile. On his homepage a job ad caught his attention. “I clicked on it and looked at the description. I literally fell off the chair – I thought, wow, this is really me,” he recalls. The targeted, specific ad created the momentum that led to him joining LinkedIn. It also provided a valuable lesson for Sato about the value of data. “Later on I learned this is the power of data insights – there are algorithms built behind these advertisements that provide relevant information to the right party, to the right candidate. I felt it was personalized to me. It was another turning point, and told me that we – as HR professionals – need to be attuned to data and what it can bring to business.”

ROAD TO HR Sato’s first inkling of a career in HR came about in high school. After spending his formative years in Japan, his high school offered a one-year exchange program to the US. The father in the American family he stayed with had the misfortune of losing his job. Talking about possible careers with him one day, Sato expressed, understandably at that age, some uncertainty for his own future path. It was suggested he should consider HR; being multi-disciplinary, the host father mentioned, it contains elements from a

broad range of specialist areas – from L&D to compensation and benefits to talent acquisition. “At the age of 16, to have that kind of message from somebody who had gone through the tough experience of being laid off – that stuck in my mind for a long time. When I went to university in Canada I decided to major in industrial/labour management relations. That’s how my introduction to the HR world came about,” Sato says. He completed a BA in Industrial Relations at Montreal’s McGill University, setting him up for a varied and impressive international career.

A GLOBAL CAREER Skip forward a few years, and Sato can list on his CV HR roles at General Electric (GE) and GE Capital, as well as UBS. He holds a Certified Six Sigma Green Belt from GE and is truly the definition of a global professional, with work experience in Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and US; and projects in Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Poland and Thailand. Sato says he’s taken best practice elements from each workplace and each project on which he’s worked, especially from GE. He says the learning opportunities were everywhere in the company, and this, in turn, laid the foundations for his career as an HR professional. “I directly benefitted from the leadership and management philosophy that emerged from GE,” he


“It’s probably not a concern as such, but more an opportunity, and that is to ensure we maintain a high quality of hiring. That’s critical. Without that raw material, or if you get the wrong type of raw material, it’s difficult to change. If you get it right, it’s one of the strongest assets any company can have.”

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I’m in a serious relationship but no kids yet.

Travelling, especially to places that might not be as urbanized as Singapore.


I love swimming and rollerblading. Something I’d like to learn is aikido, a martial art. BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED

It’s from a past colleague – “It is ok to lose a battle as long as you win the war.” SELF-DESCRIBED

I’ve used a psychology trick. I asked myself what my three favourite animals are: the reason you like the first one is that it represents your desire, what you want to be; the second represents how you want to be perceived by others; the third is who you really are. So for me, in that sequence I would chose elephant as my favourite animal. The second is tiger, and then bird. Elephants are very calm but also very strong – the qualities I’d like to possess. The tiger is very strategic and independent – I would like to be perceived like that. As for the bird, my true self, they are free, intuitive and perceptive.


I was stranded at the airport in Moscow in the late 1990s, along with hundreds of passengers. It was a frenzy as hundreds were fighting to get a room in a transit hotel, but there were less than 10 rooms available. Amidst the chaos, I saw a hotel receptionist. I went up and said “they are busy, but I am free.” I was promptly handed a key to one of the precious few remaining rooms. FIRST JOB 

First part-time job was at high school working for KFC. My first formal job was as an analyst at GE. IF NOT IN HR

Psychiatry is a profession I’d like to pursue but knowing myself I lack insight into anything even remotely related to science, so it’s probably not realistic. So a realistic one would be an elephant rider in Laos during the daytime and then at night owning my own bar and being a sommelier –


“I think HR can borrow some tools from marketing to help with this. It comes down to two things. Firstly, VOC – voice of customers. That can be internal stakeholders, candidates, managers, external interest parties, and so on. In particular, to have the EQ to correctly interpret what stakeholders may leave unsaid – that’s something I believe HR professionals will require. Secondly, VOD – voice of data. We’re now surrounded by so much data. How is that relevant to HR? How can HR use the data at their fingertips to make more informed decisions, to highlight possible implications, and build the road ahead?”

says. The formidable shadow of former CEO, Jack Welch, still lingers at GE, and Sato adds that Welch’s words of leadership wisdom are still embedded and felt throughout the organization. “That’s certainly the benchmark other companies aspire to. Even at LinkedIn, although it’s a very different company in terms of scale and being a young start-up, we’ve taken bits of that philosophy.” Sato’s own experience at GE involved extensive formal and informal learning opportunities, ranging from classroom learning and formalized leadership training. He was fortunate to be chosen to join the GE HR Leadership program, a two-year intensive program which involved rotations through different assignments in different businesses under the GE umbrella. At UBS Wealth Management, where Sato worked as director and deputy head of HR, one of his major take-aways was how to work in and benefit from a client-centric organization. “Anticipating client needs, whether internal or external, was something that became even more imprinted in me,” he says. “When I was at UBS, our HR function played several key roles, from recruiting the best talent to advising the business on succession plans so that ultimately, we can ensure the client experience remains positive and uninterrupted.” From all his experiences, Sato has tried to use what he refers to as “the PIE model”. The P is performance, the I is image, the E is exposure. “I’ve utilized the PIE model to determine where I can focus and where I can build credibility as a HR professional, ensuring I deliver on performance, manage perceptions, and have the right amount of exposure to ensure the business is moving and growing.”

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HR AT LINKEDIN As director of HR for Asia-Pacific at LinkedIn, Sato oversees all HR operations, including a team of 30 and employee base of over 500. To put that in perspective, it’s eight-fold growth in the space of two years. The company follows a business partner model, with dedicated Centres of Excellence (comp & ben, HR operations, talent acquisition, etc.) working in support. “Given the type of growth LinkedIn is currently undergoing, it’s important to focus on the HR business partner capability to equip the leaders and the people managers to harness the growth for the business,” Sato says. Two years ago, the Asia-Pacific region was the “new kid” on the block for LinkedIn. In some ways Sato could borrow strategies and policies from other regions where LinkedIn was more established – but ultimately it was a Greenfields operation for Sato, setting up HR from scratch. He loved it. “What gave me goose bumps, and really excited me, was being given a blank sheet of paper. No instructions from anyone. I had to stand on my own feet and seek out every opportunity. It was certainly the turning point in my career, coming from the well established companies to a pure start-up environment.” Being one of the earliest senior hires in the region, Sato took a ground-up approach to building the employer brand of the company. Every candidate, every person encountered, was informed about the company and its background. Sato says that telling this story accurately required him to learn quickly about the business. Employer branding is multi-faceted, he adds. The strong consumer and client awareness about LinkedIn’s value proposition did help to bolster the employer brand but there is also a disciplined process in place to target, reach out and engage potential talent pools with a compelling proposition. “This EVP offers talents the opportunity to transform how businesses


“Perhaps it wasn’t a challenge per-se but it was a turning point in my career. It was to take an intelligent risk and step out of my comfort zone – to go from established, familiar companies and take the leap of faith to join a start-up company like LinkedIn. In an established company, it doesn’t really matter which company, but any established presence, one person can be just a number. In a start-up environment every hire makes such a huge difference – that’s a key lesson I’ve learnt.”

and professionals work,” Sato says. Does LinkedIn use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool? “Not surprisingly, we eat in our own restaurant,” Sato says. “We leverage tools available via LinkedIn, such as Company Page and Recruiter to brand ourselves in creative ways to reach the right audience.”

NEXT PLAY: ONWARDS & UPWARDS How does Sato sum up the culture at LinkedIn? He says the concept of “next play,” frequently cited LinkedIn’s CEO, is all-pervading. Next play comes from a basketball coach from Duke University. In basketball, like most things in life, there are some days where you win and others where you lose. Winning in one game will not necessarily mean you win the next game. It’s important to celebrate, but then move on and concentrate on the next thing, the ‘next play’. By the same token if you lose a game don’t dwell over it too much – learn the lesson why you lost and then move on and focus on the next one. “We used this next play concept when we as a company worked through an IPO process in 2011. That was a huge turning point for the company and I joined the company soon after that. I could see the focus and intensity the employees put into that continuing in other areas. There’s always an eye on what’s coming next,” Sato says. “That’s something I believe differentiates us from other companies.”



● Master of Philosophy, Development Studies, University of Cambridge ● Bachelor of Arts, Industrial Relations, McGill University

● GE/GE Capital – HR leader ● GE Money Singapore – head of HR ● GE Capital Asia – regional director of

HR operations (Thailand)

● GE Capital – C&B

senior specialist/HR generalist (Japan) ● GE Capital – C&B senior specialist/HR generalist (Japan)

2008–2011 ● UBS Wealth

Management – director and deputy head of HR

2011–present ● LinkedIn

– APAC regional head and director of HR

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Rising healthcare costs are the No. 1 concern for HR professionals in 2014, according to a new survey. But wellness programs can keep those bills in check, if you choose wisely. HRD reports


It’s the time of year for diets and gym memberships, when people quit smoking and take up jogging. How can you support your employees’ New Year’s resolutions to the benefit of themselves and the organization? Build a healthier, more-engaged workforce with some of these hot wellness trends.


Wellness programs can boost productivity and reduce the impact of absences and disability on your bottom line, but first you need to know your company’s baseline. An effective program is based on your organization’s specific health needs. A Health Risk Assessment, which focuses on employee demographics and health risks, allows you to set a benchmark and plan strategically to improve employee health. Instead of using blunt tools, an assessment could help you guide specific, specialized programs to have a true impact on employee health and well-being. It also lets you set objectives and measure success, which has long been a weak point in employee wellness initiatives.

PERSONALIZED PROGRAMS No matter how good your data is, there is no onesize-fits-all system. No matter how many employees you have in your organization, it’s unlikely any two will have the exact same needs. In order to see widespread organizational improvements, it’s important to offer programs with the flexibility to be adapted to different employees. Making data from health risk assessments available to employees helps them focus on their personal risks, and offering services such as a trainer and dietician can help guide them in making better choices. Offer a range of ways to learn, such as online resources, webinars and lunch-and-learn sessions to make wellness more than just a policy. Good role models can also make a big difference. If one of your employees is training to complete a marathon, or just a 10km run, share their stories to inspire others.

EVERYDAY FITNESS It’s no longer enough to offer gym memberships or

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WORKPLACE WELLNESS: THE EXPERT’S TAKE access to company exercise equipment. Fitness needs to be integrated into the everyday. From standing or walking desks to “stretch sessions” and in-house classes, it’s important to make fitness accessible and easy to fit into the day. For example, try replacing some sit-down meetings with walking meetings. When business consultant Nilofer Merchant was asked if she could have a meeting while a contact walked their dog she was surprised, and ended up out of breath by the end of the walk. However, it’s an idea that’s stuck for her. “I used to think about it as you could take care of your health or you could take care of obligations and one had to come at the cost of the other,” she says. Now she invites people on walking meetings to the tune of 20 miles a week. For much of the country walking outside isn’t feasible, but there are alternatives. University of Prince Edward Island kinesiology professor Jamie Burr has helped a number of companies convert boardrooms into “walk and talk” rooms by removing the table and taping a track to the floor.

MOBILE SUPPORT Employees, especially those under 30, expect everything to be available on the go for them. If you haven’t got mobile and online tools available consider adding it to your 2014 to-do list. There are lots of available programs and apps, from free downloads to sophisticated vendor-provided systems. It’s an aspect of health that insurers have already embraced with digital health trackers and fitness apps being increasingly incorporated into plans, which can see premium reductions of up to 30 per cent. The most sophisticated systems can see users log the number of miles run to receive a per-mile discount based on their fitness efforts.

HOLISTIC HEALTH There will always be a place in wellness for healthy snacks and gym membership subsidies, but wellness in 2014 is about more than just carrot sticks and treadmills. From mental health and stress, to supporting employee financial health, employers need to look beyond just physical well-being. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, burnout and stress cost Canadian business an estimated $12 billion a year. Companies offering outdoor activities, massage therapy and meditation are all focused on that mindbody connection, which is also reflected in the popularity of classes such as yoga and pilates. A recent

From SOS Resource Group: It wasn’t so long ago when health and wellness meant safety and injury prevention for workers in manufacturing. Full stop. Then workplace wellness programs evolved to include a broader selection of industries, molding the services to assist employees in adopting healthier behaviours, such as being more physically active or quitting smoking. Not too complicated. Today wellness has exploded to mean multiple offerings such as onsite elite gyms, expedited access to medical professionals, HRAs, flu shot clinics, cancer navigation assistance – to mention just a few. Are employers getting enough support to be able to discern among this jungle of health and wellness options? The simple answer is they are not. Feeling the increasing pressure for a healthy and active employee base, the need to decrease absenteeism and increase ROI, Canadian employers are investing in wellness programs without the proper due diligence required. This can be dangerous, as choosing the wrong program can be more costly than not having a program at all. We will share with you what we tell our clients before you invest in any more wellness programs, ask yourself if you have a true understanding of your organization’s health issues. With the right metrics in place, you can have that information at your fingertips. Full health data integration is critical to any business to successfully provide employee specific health solutions. You will then be armed with information that will guide you to the right providers to target the unique health and wellness needs of your employees. We are a professional consulting company specializing in health, wellness and disability management services. Please visit us at

study from Thompson Rivers University found that relaxation training offers significant benefits to employers in terms of preventing absenteeism and improving work satisfaction, while Google has incorporated mindfulness meditation into its leadership training. Overall the trend for 2014 is about looking beyond the standard wellness tools to ways to reach employees outside work, encouraging good lifestyle choices and helping alleviate stress wherever possible. With a healthier, happier team in 2014, your organization will see better outcomes and lower costs associated with absenteeism and disability claims. JANUARY 2014 | 39  

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Misconceptions follow chronically ill Canadians right into the workplace — a problem only expected to grow as workers age and more are hit by long-term illness. Does your organization have the right supports in place? If Canadian organizations can’t improve how they manage people with chronic illnesses, they’ll lose employee trust, productivity and loyalty – especially as the aging workforce makes such illnesses more common. As labour shortages increase and the average age of the workforce goes up, it will be increasingly important for employers to find ways to retain experienced talent and expert employees – even if chronic illnesses limit their ability to offer discretionary effort.

More than 17 million Canadians live with a chronic health condition, and many are working around their illnesses, but as these issues become more prevalent employers need to know how to best manage employees with these kinds of diseases. Institute of Work and Health Senior Scientist Monique Gignac has been studying chronic illness for many years and tells HRM that one challenge for employees and employers is not understanding what chronic illness looks like.

WHAT IS CHRONIC DISEASE? According to the Center for Managing Chronic Disease, the term includes any long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured. Although chronic diseases are among the most common and costly health problems, they are also among the most preventable and most can be effectively controlled. Common chronic diseases or illnesses include asthma, arthritis, diabetes and epilepsy.

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Many chronic illnesses are invisible and episodic. People look the same as yesterday but could be suffering with pain and fatigue Monique Gignac


Many people with chronic illnesses say they aren’t sure what is already available to them because their illness starts years after their onboarding process, Monique Gignac says. Make sure employees know where to get information about the benefits and supports already in place.


“There’s an awareness issue,” she said. “Many chronic illnesses are invisible and episodic. People look the same as yesterday but could be suffering with pain and fatigue.” She said one of the things she hears from people interviewed about their experiences working while managing an illness such as arthritis was that they didn’t understand the support already available through their employer. An overview of benefits is often given in the first few months of a job. By the time chronic illnesses start, employees have often been working for many years and the details of the support available is no longer top of mind. Annual reminders of what the organization offers can make sure the systems you have in place are making a difference in your employees lives. Many managers believe people use chronic illness as an excuse not to work, exaggerating symptoms and unnecessarily refusing to do some tasks. However, Gignac’s research shows people compromise their social and family lives to continue working, even taking on tasks that are detrimental to their health because they fear being unemployed. “People don’t want to be put on the shelf,” said RBC investment advisor Mary Warwick, who has lived with arthritis and Crohn’s disease for 20 years. “It’s probably one of the biggest uphill battles for employers, is getting people to feel comfortable revealing their weaknesses.” Warwick was able to use the company’s benefits and HR services to ensure she had the equipment she needed, but for many years did not tell her manager or coworkers, fearing she would lose some of the advantages she got from being viewed as a high-potential employee. “You can’t make trust happen. Corporate culture has a long way to go,” Warwick said, adding that starting discussions around wellness was a good start. Employers shouldn’t try to push employees to be

Many chronic illnesses can be eased with small changes such as improvements in work-space ergonomics, but employees are nervous about making requests because they don’t want to have to “come out” to everyone they work with. Have your frontline managers check in regularly with their teams to see if their chair, computer and other tools are still working well for them. This process doesn’t need to be arduous. An automated email checking in will do the trick, and gives employees a way to start a conversation about what they need.


Many managers don’t know what chronic illness looks like, especially when it’s “invisible.” If an employee can’t help move heavy boxes or often avoids after work events, it may not be that they’re less engaged. Turning down requests and opportunities that would make their illness flare up is smart for their health, but can have negative consequences at work.


Because chronic illnesses often set in around 40 or 50 years old, many sufferers are reaching management positions and fear disclosing their illness will affect their career opportunities and progression. To keep talent and experience in your organization, it’s vital to ensure you have the right processes and support in place so these senior staff can remain and progress in the company.

open with their illness, but should ensure that they have the supports in place to get employees any necessary accommodation. Having a confidential support service means an employee who needs specific equipment or accommodation can ask for it without fearing for their job and career opportunities. JANUARY 2014 | 41  

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According to the Canadian Cancer Society, almost 200,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with the disease this year, receiving news that absolutely nobody wants to hear. But HRDs have a key role to play in lightening the burden, if not the shock, for employees and their families When Ana was first diagnosed with cancer, a colleague suggested she contact CAREpath, a provider of cancer assistance programs. Her initial reaction was resistance. As an independent and self-sufficient person, she just didn’t think she needed that help. Now she can’t imagine navigating the system without it. “It felt like I wasn’t travelling this road alone,” says the Southern Ontario cancer survivor. HRD has agreed to withhold her name. “That tunnel is so dark and you cannot see the light at the end of it,” she says. It’s the diagnosis no one wants, but two in five Canadians will learn they have cancer in their lifetime. It has an impact beyond simply health, affecting friends, family and, of course, employers. In offering access to a specialty cancer support service, such as CAREpath, employers give workers ongoing and expert support from oncology nurses and physicians. While the service is sometimes compared to second-opinion services, CAREpath president and CEO Phil Carter said the depth of relationship building and the ongoing consistent support sets it apart. EAPs and second-opinion services can be excellent support tools, but are transactional and short-term in nature. “I’ve got an issue and I phone for help, but I don’t have ongoing continuity of help,” Carter said. “Cancer’s one of those conditions that generally goes on over a long period of time and there is a lot to go through. To get one opinion at a moment in time is great, but it doesn’t really help you throughout as you experience different things and have different

questions and different needs.” A few decades ago people had a close relationship with their family doctor, who could guide them through the process and system. Few people have that kind of relationship anymore, but that leaves them to struggle alone through the system. “The most important part as I went along my journey was that they prepared me for each appointment I had with the surgeon, with the medical oncologist and with the radiation oncologist,” Ana says, who heard back from her assigned nurse within an hour of her first email and had weekly calls with the same healthcare professional throughout her treatment. Compared to the experience of being shunted through the medical system – just one patient in a long line – here was a real, personal relationship offering empathy and insight. “They held my hand all the way through and after and there is no abrupt end or termination to their support – you’re kind of weaned off it,” said Ana, who had her final call with CAREpath more than six months after finishing her radiation treatment. Compared to an EAP, there is no limit to the number of calls, and there is consistency in whom a patient talks to each time. “I used an EAP once when I was looking for a home for my mother-in-law and they sent me mounds of questions and information – what to look for, the questions to ask when you go to interview but there was no personal interactions, it was all paper. This was a real personal, human relationship,” Ana says. The nurses also help with holistic well-being by helping patients manage stress and anxiety,

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2 in 5

Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime


people are diagnosed with cancer every hour



estimated percentage of Canadians currently living with cancer



of new cancer diagnoses are for people over the age of 55

encouraging them to eat well and exercise, and after treatment is finished they complete a health analysis, including warning signs to look for in the future and a guide on reducing the risk of relapse and other health issues. Patients also receive a survivorship care plan, detailing their treatment and past experiences to give a copy to their family doctor and keep a copy themselves in case they need it again in the future. Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP has included CAREpath in its benefits package for more than seven years, motivated by wanting to better support employees with cancer. “At the time we’d had some experiences with people who had faced those issues and we wanted to be able to assist them,” Osler HR director Dave Tuck said. “As a law firm we understand the concept of going to experts when you need assistance.” The frequent calls are an opportunity for employees to ask any questions they may not have thought of while seeing the doctor or those questions lost during the “chemo-fog,” as Ana describes it. The experienced nurses can also ask questions that might prompt patients to remember details or recognize symptoms they may have missed. Ana thought she wasn’t sleeping because of the circumstances, until her nurse asked about her sleep patterns and told her it was a common side effect of the medication she was on. The knowledge and experience of the nurses can save a lot of stress and suffering. “From an employer’s perspective I think it’s a terrific opportunity for us to be able to refer individuals to experts,” Tuck said. “This is not my area of expertise but it is very comforting to be able to provide our employees with people who are able to help them and we know they’re in good hands.” Tuck has heard nothing but positive feedback, which he said reflects the people who work at

CAREpath. “It’s a tough job and some of our employees have not lived but it’s a very holistic view of life and they help not only the individual employee but their family as well,” he said. There is a strong moral and social case for offering the service, but Carter recognizes that many companies need a business case to consider adding anything to their benefits package. “The business case is that you provide a very valuable service to people that are providing a valuable service to you,” Carter said. “You speed up the recovery process and because of that you’re reducing a level of emotional drain on their coworkers. It gets people back faster and healthier.” It is a tool for “attraction and particularly retention,” Tuck added. “It’s worth organizations looking at whether they can manage it within their structure and budget.” Offering the service also has an unmeasurable impact on employee engagement, trust and morale – far beyond the individuals directly affected. Other employees see the care and support their coworkers receive and it raises their opinion of their employer. “Employees end up talking to their peers about the service, they tell their peers about the service and how fantastic it was for their employers to make it available to them,” Carter said. “I think you end up driving a level of employee loyalty and engagement that is important to many employers.” Having the service included in her benefits was vital to Ana, who was “very grateful” that her employer included it in her benefits. “It rounded out the package because I had the medical benefits, which deal with all the medicines I was taking, but this is more psychological,” she said. “People call me now from the board who have cancer and I immediately ask, Have you called CAREpath?”

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Guy and Tamara have been married for nearly 10 years. Tamara was cited as senior management material at the same company where Guy is a key engineer in the product development team. They have a lifestyle that makes them the envy of their friends and coworkers. They have a big house, drive a nice car, always dress stylishly and have the latest gadgets. However, they struggled with enormous debt. Guy hides his financial stress through drinking and Tamara deals with the anxiety and depression by smoking excessively. Guy was spending more than an hour a day at work trying to figure out where they were going to find the money to cover their bills. Their situation was taking a toll on their relationship and health, and their productivity and engagement at work had dropped dramatically. Their company announced a new financial education program and Guy and Tamara enrolled on the spot. The program included a series of seminars, online tools and workbooks to help them get their financial affairs in order. The first session was on goal setting and cash flow planning. It was an eye-opener for Guy and Tamara who really didn’t know where all their money was going. They were shocked to discover that they were spending $1,100 more than they brought in every month. No wonder they could never get ahead and only continued to accumulate debt. Over the next six months they learned how to destroy their debt and save interest, about various types of insurance and investments, how best to use their company pension and benefits, and about tax, retirement and estate planning. As they used the tools, Guy and Tamara slowly got their financial affairs in order. Tamara was smoking much less and Guy had reduced his drinking to weekends only. This saved them even more money. No longer did Guy come in to work late and hungover and Tamara found a new energy and drive that helped her earn a promotion. Although they still have other emotional and health issues to work on, regaining control of their finances has been a major part of improving their overall wellness. This has resulted in a higher level of engagement, productivity, and organizational commitment from both of them at work.

A NEW WAY TO THINK ABOUT EMPLOYEE WELLNESS. “If sitting is the new smoking, then financial stress is the new silent killer.” Financial education is the lynchpin to a successful wellness program. More than 60 per cent of people cite personal finances as their number one stress and this stress can’t be alleviated on a treadmill. Many are already on a financial treadmill, living paycheque to paycheque, never saving enough, never moving forward. If sitting is the new smoking, and nutrition and exercise are now key parts of employee wellness programs, then financial stress is the new silent killer – the body’s response to the constant stress generated by financial issues slowly becomes disease-inducing. Empowering your employees to take control of their finances will have the single-greatest impact on the success of your wellness programs.

NOT ALL BENEFITS ARE CREATED EQUAL Understanding and addressing the issues that employees are facing will help you design and provide more-effective benefits. Employees are looking for flexible and more relevant benefits, beyond simply more money, they want benefits that help them to have a better quality of life. A financial education program can help more than the two-thirds of employees who say they are not in control of their finances. This education needs to be about more than pensions and benefits. According to the experts at the 2012 Financial Education in the Workplace Roundtable held in Toronto, financial education needs to start with the basics: setting goals, building a budget, understanding insurance, debt management, tax planning, investing 101, retirement and estate planning. Employee financial education can’t be the sole the component of a successful wellness program, but it must be part of the solution. By giving employees the ability to take control of their finances, you will get healthier employees who want to work for you. To learn more about how financial education can help your business, download a series of free whitepapers, guides and infographics at

Frank Wiginton is the CEO of the Employee Financial Education Division and author of the book How To Eat An Elephant: Achieving Financial Success One Bite at a Time. frank@ employee @1frankthought

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ON THE CAREER LADDER The proportion of women in senior management positions in Canada has stalled over the past 10 years. What can HR leaders do to change the pattern in their organizations? HRD talked to Catalyst’s 2013 honourees about their best-practice advice This year’s Catalyst Honourees show that while the overall trend for women in leadership roles may be slow to improve, many organizations have been fast to identify the need for change. In eight years the proportion of women in senior management positions barely increased, from 22 per cent in 2004 to 25 per cent in 2012. While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what is keeping the Canadian figures stagnant, Catalyst Canada CEO Alex Johnston says the status quo has been hard to shift. “It hasn’t been a core business priority for many organizations and the status quo is very powerful,”

Johnston says. “It’s not easy to make big changes and the status quo can be quite powerful for keeping people in one place.” However, there are good signs that change is coming, she said. “People have been talking for a long time, but now people are planting their flag more firmly.” From the federal government to oversight organizations, more people are setting quotas, holding leaders accountable and taking responsibility for change. So what can you learn from this year’s honourees?

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METRICS AND BENCHMARKING One piece of advice given by all the honourees is just how important benchmarking where your organization is now in order to track future progress. It’s a good way to analyze where you’re starting to lose diversity, and to figure out which programs aren’t being used. “If you’re in the HR function and you’ve got great functions but no one’s using them there’s a reason,” PwC Canada Assurance Partner Susan Allen says. “It could be that it’s not accepted and is considered a negative to put your name forward for something. If they’re not being used, find out why not and maybe you’ve got the wrong programs.”

WHAT’S HOLDING WOMEN BACK? Many organizations find that when they track where women start to disappear from the management track that maternity leave is one of the biggest culprits. Although men and women can split parental leave in Canada, many mothers choose to take up to a year after their child is born. Having two or three children can essentially put a woman two or three years behind their colleagues. McCarthy Tétrault chief diversity and engagement officer Lisa Vogt said two programs in particular have helped address this inequity. A mentorship program ensures that women are kept in the loop during their parental leave. Invited to events, informed of firm developments and supported on their return, the program puts someone in place who is invested in the woman’s success and can help make sure they can progress along the career path of their choice. The firm also found that some women were missing out on partnership because they missed specific windows of opportunity. A more flexible approach to making partner means all lawyers can take a few more years if needed to reach that milestone.




of Canadian senior managers are women



We developed a very sensible manual or brochure explaining gender diversity in the workplace and some of the differences in how men and women react in specific situations Susan Allen, PwC

of board members are women International companies with female board members performed



better than those with allmale boards

in the open helped start conversations about where there were unconscious biases in our assessment system or promotion system.” A common talking point for the honourees was that the conversation needed to become standard across all levels and departments so that even when HR isn’t in the room, someone is still asking “Why aren’t there women on this team?” or “How does this contribute to diversity?”

BEYOND JUST A “WOMEN’S ISSUE” Acquisitions cost



If fixing gender diversity is only seen as a women’s issue then it’s going to be impossible to change, says

less for every female director added to a board

COMMUNICATE “We developed a very sensible manual or brochure explaining gender diversity in the workplace and some of the differences in how men and women react in specific situations,” Allen says. “Having it out there JANUARY 2014 | 47  

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CATALYST 2013 HONOUREES Company/Firm Leaders

Kate Broer, partner and Canada region co-chair, Diversity and Inclusion, Dentons Canada LLP. “Some organizations are not doing enough to make every person who has authority understand how this is important to them and it’s not just the issue for women,” Broer says. “It needs to be engrained into the core of the business.”

Marc-André Blanchard Chair & Chief Executive Officer, McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Lorraine Mitchelmore, President and Country Chair & Executive Vice President Heavy Oil, Shell Canada Limited

WHO’S GETTING THE OPPORTUNITIES? HR directors needed to make sure their frontline managers were keeping up with who got offered stretch assignments and new challenges, and implement consistent processes across the organization for judging success and potential. “The frontline manager needs to be there to make sure that all members of their teams get access to opportunities. You need to be thinking about it all the time and reminding yourself,” McCarthy Tétrault chair and CEO Marc-André Blanchard says. “Making sure everyone has access to opportunities, and that everyone gets a second opportunity – if we make a mistake that we get the feedback and the next opportunity to succeed.” This focus on feedback and new opportunities helps foster a culture of transparency and respect, and ensures everyone gets the same chance to excel. It’s a key area where front line managers can make a vital difference by ensuring that all the people in their team get an opportunity to take on stretch assignments, and to make mistakes and improve.

Business Leaders

Susan Allen Assurance Partner, International Team Leader, Global Assurance Quality Group, PwC Canada

Colleen Johnston Group Head Finance, Sourcing and Corporate Communications, and Chief Financial Officer, TD Bank Group

Human Resources/ Diversity Leader

Special Recognition

Kate Broer Partner and Canada Region Co-Chair, Diversity and Inclusion, Dentons Canada LLP

Purdy Crawford Counsel, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

— Board Diversity Champion

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BUILDING ENGAGEMENT with a contingent workforce

Businesses are using growing numbers of contingent workers, yet an ‘us-and-them’ mentality still prevails in many organizations. Peter Szilagyi provides his tips on managing the complexities of a contingent workforce Over the past decade businesses have dramatically increased their use of contingent workers. The reasons behind this increase are many and varied. On the one hand, the need to reduce cost and improve productivity and flexibility has driven greater demand. On the other hand, contingent work is now widely recognized as an attractive career path both in the short and long terms. It can offer greater financial rewards and opportunities that may not be readily available through permanent employment.

CONTINGENT WORKFORCE GROWTH While there is no common definition of a ‘contingent worker’, this segment includes indivi-

duals who work on a non-permanent basis and could be called independent professionals, temporary workers, independent contractors or consultants. Results released last year from Statistics Canada estimated contingent workers made up 13.6% of the total workforce. Taking a more global view, a recent survey by Kelly Services found that in the US the number of contingent workers could be as high as 35% of the labour market. With such a large and growing workforce, are we doing the right things to manage and engage contingent workers in our own organizations? How can we improve the performance of this workforce without blurring the lines between employee and contingent worker?

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Independent contractor


Agency contractor


Outsourced supplier

Description (samples)

• A broad category • Independent • Agency contractors • Consultants work • Outsourced of worker who is are sourced on behalf of their suppliers provide contractors run their self-employed and own businesses, through an agency company (typically an ongoing/ hiring out their not committed to a (e.g. Manpower) in teams) to provide operational particular employer services to clients or and work on behalf services to a client for service through for any long period other organizations of that agency for a specific project or a contractual of time the client objective agreement. • These individuals Employees of these • Typically not • They typically • They typically provide will typically be companies work for registered as a registered under provide labour for professional services the client to provide business entity. a business entity temporary purposes outlined below that service Exchange of service • Exchange of service (e.g. replacing head • Consultants are is usually through count until a position • This work is typically is typically through engaged through a an invoice and not can be filled) nontechnical a formal contract formal contract for a formal contract and can relate to for service consulting services • A formal contact is the local site or between the agency operations across and the client sites (see below)

Type of work performed? (samples)

Miscellaneous (refer to links below) could include administrative support, customer service, software development or translations services

How procured? Online examples: (samples) Possible business practices

Strategy and planning project management, systems integration and implementation, other advisory services

Project management, systems integration and implementation, advisory services

Administrative support, customer service, specialist function roles (e.g. HR, finance and procurement support)

Direct engagement (agency or individual)

Examples: Kelly Examples: McKinsey, Services, Manpower, IBM, Accenture, CXC, Chandler Macleod Deloitte, E&Y, CGI, KPMG

Site: Security, cleaning services, onsite technology support Operations: Business process outsourcing teams, off-site customer support, etc. Examples: Serco, Veolia, ADT, IBM, Accenture, Infosys, HP, Oracle, ADP

Additional table rows could include: Approval process? Who directs their work? Responsibility to onboard and offboard? HR system classification (code)? Business system access? Contract ownership? Performance feedback responsibility? Engagement tips – communication/coaching/rewards etc.

KEEPING THEM FAR APART! DEFINING THE CONTINGENT WORKER... There are important reasons for differentiating between employees and contingent workers, the most fundamental of which is that contingent workers perform work under a contract for service as opposed to a contract of employment. This distinction has different legal obligations in relation to employment law, superannuation, workers’ compensation, health and safety, intellectual property and taxation. If incorrectly defined and managed, the blurring of the line between employee and contingent worker could easily happen. For example, a line manager focused on the performance of their division could easily keep an individual contractor for longer than planned or pay someone contractor

rates and call them a contractor without intending any employment relationship. Common law courts may treat custom and practice differently to a contractual agreement and use a variety of tests to determine whether an individual is a true contractor or in reality an employee. For many reasons it is vital to have a clear contingent worker strategy. This strategy should have definitions of the different types of contingent workers and outline business practices that sit under them. These business practices would include how these workers are defined, engaged (i.e. contracted), managed, reported on and exited out of the business. The table above shows an example of the range of different contingent worker relationships a business may face and the means to classify them. JANUARY 2014 | 51  

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Central to good business practice are clear contracts to cover the relationship between the ‘employer’ and the ‘supplier’ of the service (ie individual contractor, an agency or consulting firm, etc). Key provisions include the nature of the service provided, duration, rates, performance standards and termination provisions.


Did you know? Baby boomers (born 1946–1964) are the largest segment of ‘free agents’ (i.e. contingent workers), making up 52 per cent of surveyed workers. Gen X (1965–1979), on the other hand, was surprisingly the smallest segment at 9% Source: Kelly Services report, The New Workforce: Insights into the Free Agency Workstyle

Notwithstanding the need to differentiate, there are important reasons to build engagement. Research by Deloitte and Manpower shows the importance of contingent workers yet highlights that organizations could do a lot more to build engagement. A lack of engagement can result in inflated costs, poor productivity, and non-compliance with policy. Furthermore, the flexibility offered by contingent workers is not a one-way street. Contingent worker attrition is costly, both financially and operationally. Building contingent worker engagement starts with understanding what is important for this workforce. If companies measure the engagement of their permanent workforce, and regularly action this feedback, there are opportunities to apply similar techniques to contingent workers. Interestingly, ask yourself whether contingent workers completed your organization’s last employee engagement survey. Based on the commentary above, is this a good thing? A risk averse method to gauge contingent engagementis to assess the leaders who are managing contingent workers. Do leaders on the ground feel they have the right contingent talent in place and are they engaged and motivated? Another approach is to survey the supplier account managers to understand engagement drivers. The drivers of contingent workforce engagement will differ for many reasons, not limited to the type of workforce, skill base (i.e. niche vs transactional), generational factors, national culture, and years of experience. There are, however, key principles of employee engagement that apply, regardless of classification, including effective leadership, interesting work, opportunity and rewards.

A quick win with respect to HR practices and consistency in line management behaviour is to build greater structure in the onboarding process The most important way the business can build greater engagement and productivity is to build the capability of line managers. Line managers need to understand the different types of contingent workers, their role in relation to them, and the risks of noncompliance. Ultimately, contingent workers will want to feel included and part of a productive team. Applying the same company values for employees to contingent workers (i.e. respect, teamwork, accountability, etc.) is an essential starting point. The tools managers use on aday-to-day basis, including regular and open communication, coaching, feedback and delegation, should all be used for contingent workers. Unfortunately, too often supplier arrangements are viewed in binary terms, as ‘us and them’. The nature of a contractual relationship can easily lend itself to this outcome. It doesn’t need to be so. Engagement should not only be viewed operationally, and strong relationships need to be nurtured through the account management tree for both client and vendor (i.e. contract negotiators, account managers, line managers and operational staff on both sides of the contract). A good example of the impact of this relationship management is delivery of regular feedback and annualised feedback. Line managers should look to provide feedback to both the vendor and the contingent worker. Not only does this help course-correct and improve performance but it is also central to the concept of engagement between line manager, vendor account manager and contingent worker.

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WORKFORCE PLANNING FOR CONTINGENT WORKERS Matching skills and interest to the requirements of the role is a crucial means of building contingent worker engagement. Many contingent workers are completing an assignment or contract to build a certain skill set. From a strategic perspective, workforce planning plays an important role here. Workforce planning should not only forecast contingent worker numbers but also outline the process in which requirements are collected and provided to agencies procuring contingent labour. The more refined the requirements, the closer agencies can match capability and interest to business needs. This helps build the conditions for a motivated and engaged contingent workforce. From a practical perspective, managers play an important role here, and these requirements should be regularly calibrated, not set and forgotten. To do this, managers need to understand the contractual scope of work enough to make changes to better align interest and opportunity through an assignment. Again, strong engagement with the vendor account management teams is important. A quick win with respect to HR practices and consistency in line management behaviour is to build greater structure in the onboarding process. As we know, the first three months of any worker’s time in a role is crucial to success. If there are tools used for onboarding employees, these should also be leveraged for contingent workers. Too often contingent workers can be viewed as a ‘temporary fix’, and therefore they

are not afforded the same opportunities to ramp up and become effective. This is particularly true for knowledge workers who need the right context, tools and access to perform effectively their roles. Inaction here can set the tone for poor engagement from day one.

REWARD APPROPRIATELY Finally, rewards play a crucial part in building engagement and motivation. As contingent workers are under contract, there are opportunities to tailor terms to lead to targeted outcomes. One approach for individual contractors is staggering bonus payments to timeframes or outcomes. For agency contractors, utilization of the vendor relationship is essential, and regular performance feedback should be provided. As always, the small things are the big things, and making individuals feel part of the team through invitations to social events and the like is important. The contingent workforce is contractually unique but increasingly as critical as the regular workforce in delivering business outcomes. The trend of using contingent workers will only accelerate in the future. Managing the complexities of the contingent workforce requires an enterprise-wide approach with agreed accountabilities between the business, HR, legal and procurement. Ultimately, a contingent workforce strategy needs to be part of a broader workforce strategy. This strategy needs to balance legal compliance and business accountability with engagement and operational effectiveness. HR is in the driver’s seat!

Peter Szilagyi, CAHRI, GPHR, HRMP, is an experienced HR leader in talent management, transformation and change management.

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COMPUTING FOR AGILITY AND ADAPTABILITY Cloud computing is more than just a trend. It has become key to staying competitive and agile in the 21st century, not only for the organization but for its HRD More people are streaming movies than watching DVDs; they store documents in online servers instead of to their hard drive and they expect the same options from their employers. The competitive advantages of cloud computing are a benefit to many organizations, but it’s also a matter of adapt, or be left behind.

THE WAY OF THE FUTURE Only 38 per cent of all organizations currently use cloud services, according to a survey by research consultant company Gartner. However, 80 per cent intend to use cloud services in some form within 12 months, including 55 per cent of the organizations not doing so today. Cloud offers flexibility and functionality that is rarely available through in-house platforms. “Generally customers are looking for ways to improve productivity for their workforce,” says Andrew Manos, Kronos director, Services Portfolio Consulting. “They generally have competing IT resources and cloud is a strategy for business to allow them to drive functionality that helps them make better business decisions. Cloud technology is an enabler for them.”

FASTER, STRONGER, CHEAPER Cloud technology is usually faster to roll out than on-premise changes because it doesn’t rely on

in-house IT, who are usually already overworked. “The biggest advantage for most people is that you don’t have to do the IT yourself. It can be hard to get resources from a busy, overworked IT department,” says David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research and senior advisory board member for the Workforce Institute, a Kronos-sponsored think tank. “You may need to ensure it’s aligned with current systems, but for IT it’s great because it’s not something they have to worry about and for HR you’re getting your system implemented very quickly. It can be a matter of weeks and you’re up and running,” he adds. Cloud computing also has the potential of being cheaper. It can vary case by case, but it’s more efficient so ultimately should be cheaper.

CONCERNS AND MISCONCEPTIONS One of the biggest concerns for HR is around security, Manos says. However, that is often based on the misconception that all employee data is in the cloud. Cloud-based management systems usually only include data points such as ID numbers, hours and schedules, rather than personally identifiable information such as address, phone number and health status. “Cloud computing is not intrinsically more risky than on-premise, but it does have different risks,” Creelman says.

WHAT IS CLOUD COMPUTING? Cloud computing supports services or storage managed through the Internet, rather than an organization’s own infrastructure. This can include browserbased use and mobile applications. It is usually more flexible, easier to update and allows access from anywhere.

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For organizations concerned about access to data being compromised, a company with SOC 2 certification, such as Kronos, guarantees that appropriate security controls for privacy, confidentiality and availability are in place.

ENABLING YOUR WORKFORCE Cloud computing forms a strong base for other HR tools and objectives, including self-service, mobility and analytics. “We see these technologies synergistically coming together. You’re creating the infrastructure that will allow you to do data analytics,” Creelman says. “Your movement to the cloud and to integrated systems is helping to set the stage for advanced analytics, which will lead to better decision making.” The accessibility of a cloud system is something younger employees expect. Gen Y expect to be able to work from anywhere, anytime, and if your system isn’t up to scratch it could be putting off potential candidates.

BIG DATA “A lot of organizations have power of the pen and budget decisions by division, so many would have lots of little separate systems,” Manos says. “It works well at the local level but at a higher level it costs more to operate and you have to upgrade multiple systems. By leveraging the cloud, we’re helping executives and managers make better decisions about the business because all data can be contained in one database that’s accessed globally.” One concern specifically for HR directors is ensuring the cloud programs are integrated. It’s hypothetically possible to get 20 different cloud programs that won’t talk to each other, which immediately decreases the value of the move to the cloud. “This is particular advice for an HR director and above,” Creelman says. “Each of the people working for you has their own system that they’re most concerned about. What you want to do at the higher level is make sure all the different pieces are working together and you’re making the right tradeoff between people getting the system that best meets their individual ways, and the integration of systems so it meets organizational needs.”

MANAGING IN THE MOMENT “Our functionality allows executives and managers to run their business better,” Manos says. “Through the use of the cloud we give 24 hour access to employees and execs access to our software through mobile devices, tablets and iPads. Users find it easy because

all they need is a mobile device – punch in, punch off, check schedules. Managers don’t need to be at a computer to approve a time-off request or check employee absences.” It’s less prone to problems, too. Kronos has thousands of customers still using on premise systems, and their call centre data shows these customers have more issues than the thousands now deployed in the cloud.

CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT Cloud based systems also offer considerable opportunities for improvements and enhancements. A major hospitality chain with 83,000 employees deployed to the cloud last year. Previously they relied on an on premise system that was so specifically tailored that in 12 years they were never able to upgrade their systems. “Being live in the cloud, in 18 months they had applied four feature service packs for a range of enhancements,” Manos says. “The continued improvement they could deliver to the business is a complete paradigm shift compared to their former strategy. That’s a tremendous benefit to the business.” When a Canadian leader in distribution upgraded its local time keeping application to the Kronos cloud services, which included the applications support and maintenance, it found it easy to implement the technology so it could focus on its employees’ experience. “We made this decision to focus our IT efforts on our core International Express Business, and not on time keeping infrastructure, redundancy and security,” the senior director of IT says. “It provided a lower cost of ownership and certainty with our monthly operating costs. The Kronos cloud services also eased project deployment, allowing us to concentrate on the end user training and experience.”

LOOKING AHEAD The cloud opportunities aren’t slowing down. Kronos will soon roll out a social collaboration aspect that allows employees and managers to communicate and update each other in real time. For example, a hospital could use a social forum to nurse managers the ability to post real time updates as emergencies happen and schedules have to be changed. That frees nurses up to focus on patient care rather than worrying about checking in frequently to find out changes. “It allows the business to operate in a much more proactive basis by pushing technology and information for better decision making,” Manos says. In the next issue of HRD, Part Three of our four-part series looks at using workforce management solutions to improve employee work-life balance. JANUARY 2014 | 55  

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Following one of the biggest restructurings in entertainment history, HR at NBCUniversal was handed a colossal task: transform the splintered group, responsible for some of our most enduring popular culture icons. Aidan Devine discovers how strategic HR has helped the company adapt

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Every day, above a man-made lake in Orlando, Florida, thousands of people gather to brave the “Zero-G Roll.” Sitting in a boxy, car-like vehicle, they ascend a steel structure that bends and loops into the air like a scribble, before it peaks at 150 feet – high enough to turn a falling potato into mash. It’s a ride known as the “Incredible Hulk.” It gets that label by following a Hulk theme, but also because once the car reaches the steel structure’s full height it bullets down a sheer drop of twists – the Zero G Roll – with enough force to do to its passengers’ nerves what its comic book namesake does. Hulk smash. Just as regularly as this happens, far away in New York City, teams of writers and directors gather to produce some of the world’s most watched television content – everything from Saturday Night Live and The Office to breaking news. On the other side of the U.S., in Los Angeles, different teams work at the same time to create movies with eight-figure budgets. These seemingly random events do not happen by chance. They are connected by one uniting force. As different as the teams behind these operations may appear to be, they are all businesses under the umbrella of NBCUniversal. Created as a result of a 2004 merger between the then General Electric-owned NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, the company remains one of the largest diversified media and entertainment

conglomerates in the world. Its range of householdname businesses include Universal Pictures, NBC broadcast networks, cable channels such as E! and Syfy, and Universal Studios amusement parks. It’s a corporate structure that on the surface appears intricate, complex even, with a status that has been heightened by a succession of takeovers and restructuring. January 2011 saw cable TV operator Comcast acquire a majority stake in NBCUniversal, which set the company on a path of transformation and paved the way for Comcast’s 100 per cent buyout of the company in March 2013.

LEADING THE CHANGE The woman charged with the monumental task of leading the transformational change is executive vice president of human resources Pat Langer. After serving at NBC in the late 1980s and 1990s as an employment lawyer, Langer first entered the world of HR when a past NBC executive encouraged her to move to the woman’s network Lifetime. Here she led the network’s human relations, until Comcast’s 2011 takeover of NBCUniversal brought her back into the NBC fold. “Comcast was looking for someone who could transform HR in NBCUniversal,” Langer says. “They needed someone who could effectively change HR, but who also understood a little about the kind of culture at the company. I was a combination of old, but new. I had been gone from NBC for a very long JANUARY 2014 | 57  

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time so I came in with a fresh perspective, but I also had a lot of history.” Langer says that right from the Comcast takeover, the NBCUniversal HR approach has been for its businesses to create synergies with each other. The company acknowledges that it would be impossible for there to be one shared identity across the group, as the businesses are so different, but that they do need to be aligned when it comes to issues such as compensation, benefits and HR systems. For Langer, synergy means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to HR. The nature of each NBCUniversal business determines the individual HR response, but each business is encouraged to support its NBC sister organizations.

IN HER OWN WORDS As winner of the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association’s Leadership Excellence Award 2013, Pat Langer’s advice to HR leaders is to know your industry. “It’s key to understand the business issues affecting your company. Having the business expertise is important. I also think it is vital to realize that you have to earn a seat at the leadership table. You have to prove yourself. It’s only by listening and collaborating with business leaders that you get that seat at the table. It’s about relationships and you’ve got to focus on developing them.”

She compares it to a symphony. There is a centralized conductor, but each instrument plays a different yet complementary part. The music works, not because every player is the same but because they work together in accompaniment. “As we’ve had organizational announcements and reworks, changes in personnel, a centralized HR team has had to very quickly step in and ensure that the businesses continued to run and that employees were able to do what they need to do,” Langer says.

HR PARTNERSHIPS To be this stabilizing force in a transitionary period, Langer says it has been vital for HR to collaborate with the company’s business leaders. Leadership is where she sees HR making the biggest impact. “One of the things I always encourage my team to do is understand the business they work in, understand the particular challenges the industry faces, and partner with the leaders. HR has to see how it can help.” A concrete way HR can make a difference, Langer adds, is by recruiting the right people with the right skill sets to meet the multiple challenges of a changing company in a changing industry. The demands of the media and entertainment world mean NBCUniversal is a 24/7 company. All employees have to create and distribute content quickly and efficiently, so there is little room to make hiring mistakes. Partnering with the NBCUniversal leadership makes this HR function more efficient. It gets the right people on board and helps the company adapt and innovate. For Langer, leadership provides the

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tool for answering a vital HR question: “What are the business challenges looking forward and who do we need to hire to meet those challenges?”

FINDING TALENT In response to that question and to sure up its recruitment policies, NBCUniversal’s talent acquisition strategy was overhauled last year. The company now has its own executive search team and rarely uses outside parties to locate potential executives – far from a standard practice in its industry. Recruitment teams that work in each specific NBCUniversal business have also been strengthened, owing, in part, to a unique challenge the company faces. “We get a lot of resumés,” Langer laughs. Television and film being an appealing career field, there are a lot of people banging at the NBCUniversal door. And with so many people wanting to get into the industry, Langer says that picking the right candidate from thousands and thousands of job applications can be a harrowing experience. It has forced the group’s various recruitment teams to be highly rigorous in who they call back and interview.

“I was a combination of old, but new. I had been gone from NBC for a very long time so I came in with a fresh perspective, but I also had a lot of history” Pat Langer NURTURING EMPLOYEES As much as bringing in the best talent remains a core component of HR, another just as critical function is to keep and develop it. For NBCUniversal, HR has had to step in to fill a void left by a once-existing leadership university in the days when it was owned by General Electric. This precipitated the development of a new way to help nurture and grow employees: the company’s “Talent Lab.” The Talent Lab focuses on retaining and developing the best executives through leadership programs, the most significant of which is geared towards new managers. Essentially, the facility is a corporate university dedicated to growing great people in the media industry. “When we decoupled from GE, we had to develop our own leadership programs. We had the chance to re-envision what learning could be for our workforce, and we’re really proud of the Talent Lab. It’s received a really enthusiastic reception,” Langer says.

HR HORIZONS In the end, Langer says that being in a position to aid the transformation of a giant corporation has been highly rewarding. “The exciting thing about being in this job is that back in January 2011, when the Comcast takeover happened, it was like a massive start-up. There was so much opportunity and the chance to almost start from scratch. It’s been a privilege to work here and to build an HR structure from the ground up. “Into the future, we want to keep serving the business as strategic partners, because even after three years we are still a company in transition. Change is still occurring.” JANUARY 2014 | 59  

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What’s the forecast for the 2014 labour market? It depends where you are. Some parts of the country are in for a bright year, while others face clouds on the horizon Canadian employers expect a steady hiring climate for the first quarter of 2014, with the Construction sector reporting the strongest job prospects. With seasonal variations removed from the data, the Net Employment Outlook predicts an overall 12 per cent growth in staffing, about two percentage points more than in the previous quarter. That’s relatively stable compared to the Outlook reported during the same time last year, according to the global Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. The survey of over 1,900 employers across Canada reveals that 13 per cent plan to increase their payrolls in the first quarter of 2014, while 8 per cent anticipate cutbacks. Of those surveyed, 78 per cent of employers expect to maintain their current staffing levels and 1 per cent are unsure of their hiring intentions for the upcoming quarter. “Overall, a respectable national hiring climate is projected in the coming quarter,” says Byrne Luft, VP of operations for Manpower Canada. “Employers in the construction industry are again anticipating the strongest payroll gains; however, most new jobs in the sector are expected in Western Canada and Ontario. Nationally, though job creation continues at a steady pace, many of the gains are expected to occur in lower-paying sectors.”






Atlantic Canada


% +1 +8%

Western Canada






















Finance, Insurance & Real Estate







Manufacturing – Durables







Manufacturing – Non-Durables














Public Administration






8 9







Transportation & Public Utilities







Wholesale & Retail Trade







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10/01/2014 09/01/2014 4:30:35 2:38:46 PM PM


Don’t put on a corporate face. Be yourself; everyone else is taken


JEFF VIJUNGO, ADOBE The people resources team at software giant Adobe is 200-strong globally. Of those, 120 fall under the ‘global talent’ umbrella, and the man in charge is Jeff Vijungo, executive VP of worldwide talent. He spends five minutes with HRD

Photo: Thilo Pulch,

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HRD: How did you first enter the HR profession? Jeff Vijungo: I graduated from the University of San Diego and upon graduation I cut my hair and moved north to work in a suit-and-tie environment. There were three things I was considering: one was an executive search firm; another was an inside sales entry-level position with a software company; and a third was to undertake a training program with an investment bank. I chose the executive search route because I knew I wanted a sales-oriented role but I didn’t know what industry I wanted to be in. The recruiting firm worked in so many different practice areas and I thought I could vicariously get exposure to all these industries. It worked out, so I stayed the course. HRD: What’s the biggest HR challenge your organization is facing and how will you set about meeting this challenge? JV: We currently employ around 11,000 people globally and the biggest challenge we face as a company is we’re still growing. And what a fantastic problem to have! Coupled with that, we’re hiring. In fact, the Asia region is hiring a lot – they’ve done an exceptional job under my director of talent, who has ensured we’re also very selective in who we choose. So when we think about the talent pool broadly, coupled with our selection process and our filtering and vetting cycle, the talent pool gets increasingly smaller. We believe in combining talent selection and talent development. You have to approach both. Recruiting alone is not a good strategy, and what I mean by that is that you have to balance with building internally. So it’s succession planning on all the levels – that’s where we see 30 per cent of our hires filled with internals. When you look at CEO success rate in Fortune 100 companies, there’s a direct translation to CEOs that are hired from within versus hired externally. There’s no right or wrong, but we want to have that balance. HRD: Finish this sentence...the thing I love most about HR is... JV: Changing lives. We’re changing lives here – for the creative world. HRD: The thing I dislike the most about HR is... JV: I don’t know if I can answer that because I really love what I do. I would say if I were to

dislike something about HR – and luckily I don’t have this challenge – it’s HR professionals not understanding that at the core that people are the nucleus of success, and to treat people as innovators, revenue generators and big-scale operators versus transactors. So just understand that the crux of success is centred around people, and people with this good intellectual property and people with these brains that are muscles that can grow. We feel very fortunate because Adobe as a company is very people resources centric. HRD: What’s been your biggest career challenge? JV: My biggest career challenge was the big shift in rigor when managing a handful of people in the hallway to over 100 in over 12-plus sites around the globe across 14 different zones. HRD: What professional skills do you wish you could improve, or do you wish you could acquire? JV: To be candid, I’m still working on the biggest career challenge question. That’s still a work in progress. Other than that, I still could improve on not being a ‘hippo’: one big mouth, two small ears. Active listening is such a critical asset to not only show respect but to gather content to make the best recommendations. HRD: The best piece of advice you’ve ever received is... JV: Let’s start with the worst piece of advice: that I needed to learn how to play golf in order to be successful, because all relationships and business deals were born and sealed on the golf course. Best advice was 1) Don’t put on a corporate face. Be yourself; everyone else is taken; 2) It’s not the answers you have but the questions you ask; and 3) The team you work with makes any type of work fun. Team is everything and a sense of humour never hurts. HRD: What do you enjoy doing when not at work? JV: Love spending time with my family. I’m married with two kids and two dogs. I focus my life in these areas that I refer to as the ‘3Ps’: Personally – My family Physically – My health Professionally – My career

JEFF VIJUNGO CAREER TIMELINE Qualifications ● Stanford University Graduate School of Business – Executive program in human resources, 2006 ● Stanford University Graduate School of Business – Executive program in leadership, 2011 ● University of San Diego – Bachelor’s degree, 1991–1996

1996–2000 ● Sterling Truex Associates Principal, boutique executive search firm in Silicon Valley

2000–2002 ● Commerce One Senior talent scout – recruiting for following groups: sales, marketing, legal, finance, engineering, product development and other corporate functions


● Google Consultant to sales, marketing, legal – recruiting consultant for teams within the sales, marketing, corporate development and legal organizations


● Adobe VP of worldwide talent – Leads the global talent team responsible for identification, attraction, selection and development of a company with 11,000-plus employees that is growing both organically and non-organically through acquisition JANUARY 2014 | 63  

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‘CREATIVE’ SICK DAY EXCUSES Most employees use sick days for legitimate reasons, there are always those who will push the boundaries. Have you heard about the one worker who lost their teeth on the motorway or the worker who had all their doors and windows glued shut so they had no way of getting out to the office? No? Well some unfortunate employers have. Here are the best excuses from Careerbuilder’s annual employer survey: • Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway • Employee’s favourite football team lost on Sunday so needed Monday to recover • The worker was quitting smoking and was grouchy • Someone glued a female worker’s doors and windows shut so she couldn’t leave the house to come to work • One staff member bit her tongue and therefore couldn’t talk, stopping her from coming to work • An employee claimed a swarm of bees had surrounded his vehicle and he couldn’t make it in • Another staffer said an organic compound in turkey made him fall asleep and he missed his shift • Employee felt like he was so angry he was

going to hurt someone if he came in • The staffer’s fake eye was falling out of its socket Employers admit to checking in on suspected offenders (30 per cent) and they aren’t above using devious tactics to find out the truth – 19 per cent resorted to checking out the worker’s social media posts, 17 per cent had another employee call the ill staff member and 15 per cent took matters into their own hands by driving past the employee’s house. The most common reasons for taking a sick day were: • They didn’t feel like going to work (33%) • They needed to relax (28%) • Going to the doctor (24%) • Catching up on sleep (19%) • Running personal errands (14%)

WHO SAYS DOCTORS DON’T MAKE HOUSE CALLS? You think your organization’s sickleave policy is strict? The whole country of Belgium could soon be required to get a doctor’s note on a sick day. The country’s government has proposed a law that would require employees taking a sick day to stay at home for a medical checkup. Belgium media reports that under the draft legislation, people would be obliged to remain at home for a fourhour timeslot between 7a.m. and 8 p.m. to wait for a visit from a doctor who will confirm their reported ailments. If the person is not at home when the doctor calls they could lose their pay for that day. Belgium’s unions, however, have called the proposals unacceptable and that they amount to house arrest.

FAKE IT ‘TIL THEY MAKE IT Could a fake HR person help you separate the good candidates from the ones that should never, ever be hired? It can be hard to garner a person’s true personality in a half-hour interview; they seem nice enough; the skill set is there and they’re hired. A few weeks into employment it turns out they are not such a great person – they’re a bad hire. One organization has taken to tricking candidates with a fake HR CEO Andy Sernovitz wrote about the organization’s unorthodox approach on his blog. “We have a fake head of HR named Preston Firestone. Job seekers call and ask for Preston (who is never there, of course). We listen to how

they treat the person who answered the phone. Preston has saved us again and again from someone who would have been hired, but was actually a complete p***k.” It doesn’t need to be as elaborate – McCarthy Building Companies Corporate Director of Staffing, RJ Morris wrote that their company also tests candidates when they’re not expecting it. “In our shop, when college engineers visit, we get them to a dinner or to tour multiple jobsites. Part of this is a realistic job preview, but the other part is exposing the candidate to lots of our people and vice versa. Afterwards, we quiz everyone they met with — from formal interviewers to the staff members who drove them around,” says Morris.

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HR Director 2.1  

In the January issue of HR Director magazine hear what some of Canada's top HR execs have to say about restructuring, executive compensation...

HR Director 2.1  

In the January issue of HR Director magazine hear what some of Canada's top HR execs have to say about restructuring, executive compensation...