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INCREASED CHRONIC DISEASE In 2016, 59 percent of employees are living with a chronic health condition1

AN AGING WORKFORCE AND CHANGING FINANCIAL HEALTH NEEDS Canadians are living longer2 and many are not retiring as planned3



By 2020, 50 percent of the global workforce will be millennials4

Technological advancements will continue to change the health benefits landscape and evolve the employer role



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Contact us to learn more or visit 1 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey | 2 Yves Decady and Lawson Greenberg. 2014. “Ninety years of change in life expectancy” Health at a Glance. July. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-624-X | 3 2014 Sun Life Financial Canadian Health Index | 4 PWC, “Millennials at work, Reshaping the workplace”, November 2011

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ISSUE 4.03

CONNECT WITH US Got a story or suggestion, or just want to find out some more information?


UPFRONT 04 Editorial

Are CHROs ready for the CEO role?

06 Statistics

CEO succession around the world

08 Head to head PEOPLE


How can companies really promote diversity & inclusion?





HRD chats with the CEOs of Google Canada, Freshii and the City of Calgary to get a sense of the challenges and opportunities in a VUCA world PEOPLE

INTERNATIONAL PROFILE LinkedIn’s global head of talent, Pat Wadors, on the power of being an introvert

32 2


What impact are flatter hierarchies and changing worker expectations are having on succession planning?

10 News analysis

The Fort McMurray fire has underlined the need for disaster recovery plans

12 Rewards/benefits update

Why employers shouldn’t just reward big achievements

14 L&D update

Virtual reality comes to L&D







Find out who’s in the running for an award on the industry’s night of nights


FEATURES 30 Tackling conflict head-on

Strategies to help leaders develop better conflict resolution skills

36 The benefits of forward-thinking benefits

What the next generation wants from their health benefits

41 Helping staff reach their potential

The importance of everyday mindfulness

52 Fixing an unsustainable benefits system

What should be done to curb rising healthcare costs?

PEOPLE 54 Career path FEATURES


The technology is available to help employees work flexibly, but how does the increasing mobility of the workforce impact Canadian employers?

How Viv Maza has helped shape the culture at Ultimate Software

56 Other life

Marni Johnson hits all the right notes


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Perfect candidates for the top job?


o HR professionals make good CEOs? It’s the question we asked in our Head to Head page last issue. The consensus from our participants – and backed up by research from the likes of Dave Ulrich – is that CHROs can move to the top position. In fact, of all the executive roles, the CHRO shares the most traits with the CEO. There are, of course, quite a few precedents. Lisa M. Weber was president of MetLife (2004-2010), Anne Mulcahy was CEO of Xerox (2001-2009), and more recently, Mary Barra became CEO of GM. All three previously held VP roles in HR. Barra’s story is interesting. Having spent most of her adult life working at GM, starting with an engineering internship at a manufacturing plant, she eventually became VP of global HR from 2009 to 2011 and was named CEO in

CHROs can move to the top position. In fact, of all the executive roles, the CHRO shares the most traits with the CEO January 2014. When asked about what she learned from her time in HR, Barra told the LA Times, “I try to create an environment where people feel they [can] voice their concerns and that we can get the best ideas on the table and then make the right decision. But at the end of the day, when the decision has to be made, if we don’t have complete unanimity, I have no qualms about making it.” A quick glance at some of the skill requirements for a successful CEO shows they must have the ability to trust, ability to listen, ability to sense, ability to observe and the ability to collaborate. The modern-day HR professional thinks and operates this way. CEOs must also, of course, have business acumen – which today, more and more HR professionals also have. Today’s HR professional is collaborative, strategic and understands not only the world of HR, but also the business needs of their organization. They can be instrumental in helping to create the link between business strategy and talent development. They are in the somewhat unique position of operating across all business functions. And with the majority of financial resources spent on talent, who better to lead an organization than someone who has led the HR function? FALL 2016 EDITORIAL


Editor Iain Hopkins

Business Development Manager Sarah J. Fretz

Senior Writer Nicola Middlemiss

National Account Manager Andrew Cowan

Writers Miklos Bolza Libby Macdonald Joe Rosengarten

General Manager, Sales John MacKenzie

Copy Editor Clare Alexander


ART & PRODUCTION Design Manager Daniel Williams Designer Marla Morelos

Associate Publisher Trevor Biggs Project Coordinator Jessica Duce

CORPORATE President & CEO Tim Duce Office/Traffic Manager Marni Parker Events and Conference Manager Chris Davis

Production Manager Alicia Salvati



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Iain Hopkins, editor




Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.


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The facts on CEO turnover


A new study reveals the growing prevalence of ‘outsider’ CEO hires, disappointing figures on female hires and why the ‘global CEO’ might be a myth IT’S OFTEN one of the most vexing challenges facing boards: CEO turnover. With the stakes so high, it’s little wonder why. Research from Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) shows that turnover among Canadian CEOs and their American counterparts has been on the rise since 2000 and now sits at 16.6%. Global research shows that 30% to 40% of CEOs fail within their first three years, and it can take 10 years to recover from a poor CEO selection.


Percentage of companies that made a deliberate choice to hire an ‘outsider’ CEO from 2012–15

Number of women among the 359 incoming CEOs at the world’s 2,500 largest companies in 2015

20% 18% 2008-11



The Strategy& study found that the majority of companies have continued to promote insiders to CEO: 77% insiders versus 23% outsiders in 2015. Achieving gender diversity remains elusive. In the US and Canada, the share of incoming women CEOs fell for the third year, and there was just one woman among the total 87 incoming CEOs in the region (1%), compared to 4% in 2014 and over 7% in 2012. Both nations, however, lead the pack globally in terms of gender diversity.



Rate of CEO turnover at the 2,500 largest companies in the world

21% 2004-07

Compared to other regions (particularly Western Europe and developing economies such as Mexico and South Africa), the US and Canada hire relatively few outsider CEOs. What’s more, in almost every other region of the world, the hiring of outsider CEOs has increased or remained relatively steady since 2004, while the practice has gradually declined in the US and Canada. Global


Percentage of incoming CEOs who had international work experience


21% 24%




Source: Strategy& 2015 CEO Success Survey



Low-performing companies are more likely to hire outsider CEOs than high-performing companies, except in forced turnovers. Interestingly, the longer the tenure of the former CEO, the less likely an outsider CEO is to be hired.

More outsider CEOs now join a company via planned successions, showing that hiring an outsider is more of a deliberate choice than a necessity. Industries experiencing the most disruption have brought in a higher than average share of outsider CEOs.



35 30 25


38% 26%


10 5

Forced and planned turnovers

Forced turnovers Low-performing companies

Planned turnovers High-performing companies Source: Strategy& 2015 CEO Success Survey


















Outsider CEOs were more likely to be hired if the: • Chairman did not have CEO experience in the same company • Former CEO was also an outsider







Outsider CEOs were less likely to be hired if the: • Chairman was hiring their first CEO at the company • Company was large Source: Strategy& 2015 CEO Success Survey

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Western Europe


32% 30%





3% 2004-07





China Emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India)













Other mature economies (Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Hungary, New Zealand, Poland, Korea)

Other emerging economies (Egypt, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam)


26% 30%









2012-15 Source: Strategy& 2015 CEO Success Survey


GENDER DIVERSITY DECLINING Over the last 12 years, the female percentage of hired CEOs has been highest in the US and Canada. However, in 2015, the percentage of incoming CEOs that were women fell to 2.8%, the lowest since 2011. PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN CEOs, 2004–2015

3.0% Global







Western Europe


Female CEOs are more often hired from outside the company than male CEOs are. 77%



Insider CEOs 68%


Outsider CEOs

32% 0








80 Source: Strategy& 2015 CEO Success Survey

The median age for incoming CEOs globally was 53; CEOs in Japan were the oldest (median of 60). Western European companies are most likely to hire a foreign CEO – 30% of incoming CEOs there had a different nationality than company headquarters (16% in US/Canada and 17% globally). US/Canadian CEOs were most likely to have an MBA (41%). Japan had the lowest percentage (3%). Globally, the figure is 30%. Chinese CEOs are the least likely to have had international work experience (3%). Globally, the percentage of CEOs who have had international experience is 28%. Source: Strategy& 2015 CEO Success Survey

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Diversity & inclusion – is it just paying lip service? Are employers all talk and no action when it comes to diversity & inclusion in the workplace?

Pauline Kayes President DiversityWorks

“Changing demographics are revolutionizing HR management, just as information technology transformed communication. However, there was a serious commitment to education and action on technology in the workplace, whereas diversity is still seen as optional. This lack of seriousness is telegraphed by upper and mid-level management’s reluctance to ‘get involved’ beyond advancing a few dollars for a workshop and/or passing a diversity resolution. Taking recommended action is rare, so real inclusion occurs slowly. This inertia to act and educate on diversity and intercultural competence is preventing progress on many HR issues, especially recruiting, hiring and keeping diverse employees.”

Kerilee Snatenchuk Director, people & culture ATB Financial

“Diversity & inclusion work starts and ends with listening to conversations about perspective, data, demographics and lived experiences. Diversity & inclusion should never be something that is considered ‘complete,’ because it’s an evolving concept that’s reshaped as the world shifts. At ATB, we’ve turned these conversations into action by increasing awareness amongst our team members. We’ve highlighted our demographic data and delivered helpful materials for leaders to facilitate discussions with their teams. By listening to feedback, we’ve seen positive shifts in our culture translate into action, including new policies, new team member networks, better onboarding policies and an ally-centred consciousness.”

Mary Lou Maher Chief inclusion officer KPMG in Canada

“Most organizations are trying to incorporate diversity & inclusion initiatives in their culture. For KPMG, it’s not only imperative for us to lead through action, but more importantly to deliver results. Being in this role has taught me that diversity & inclusion is a journey. You have to search deep within yourself as a firm and as a leader to drive the outcomes you want to achieve. At KPMG, we have built a robust strategy and are holding our people accountable. We’re getting stronger every year. We’re taking action and ensuring we achieve the results we’re aiming for.”

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION – IT’S THE CANADIAN WAY Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that for Canada, where one in five inhabitants was born outside the country, “diversity isn’t a challenge to be overcome or a difficulty to be tolerated; rather, it’s a tremendous source of strength.” According to figures from Statistics Canada, by next year, visible minorities will account for approximately 20% of the nation’s population, and by 2031, one in three workers will be born outside Canada – however, StatsCan also reported that minority groups are under-represented in professional positions, despite being more likely than homegrown workers to hold a tertiary qualification. With the large cohort of Baby Boomers poised to retire and immigration forecast to account for all net labour force growth in Canada going forward, employment diversity is only going to grow in importance.


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Help for HR from afar Fort McMurray employers faced an unprecedented challenge during the recent wildfire – yet the tragedy was a timely reminder to all employers about having a disaster recovery plan, Nicola Middlemiss reports EARLIER THIS year, Fort McMurray found itself at the centre of Canada’s most costly disaster ever – and many employers, unfamiliar with emergency situations, were left scrambling to develop suitable response plans. “We found many HR departments wanted to assist their employees through this difficult event, but were unsure of how,” says Carmen Bellows, senior mental health consultant at Sun Life Financial. Bellows – who has local and international experience as a critical incident responder – works with Sun Life’s disability management team to effectively manage mental health claims. “The recent wildfire in Fort McMurray had the potential to exacerbate mental health challenges for those who were currently on a disability claim, trigger those with historical trauma and/or illness, and potentially contribute to a mental health

training on best practice and evidence-based research, I found very little,” she says. “What information I did discover was often in relation to disasters in third-world countries, which were not the same as what was affecting us.” However, one study – conducted more than 8,000 miles away in a city ravaged by earthquakes – would prove to be the invaluable guidance that Fort McMurray employers were looking for. Five years ago, Christchurch, a city in the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island, was shaken by an earthquake that registered at 6.3 on the Richter scale. Buildings and infrastructure had already been weakened by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake just six months earlier, and the resulting damage was catastrophic; 185 people lost their lives. Like Bellows, University of Canterbury academics Bernard Walker and Ven Nilakant

“We found many HR departments wanted to assist their employees through this difficult event, but were unsure of how” Carmen Bellows, Sun Life Financial event for others,” she says. Bellows coordinated with several HR departments to provide a learning session on what to expect from such an event and how to react, but a dearth of solid information hampered her efforts. “As I worked to base my presentations and


had also noticed the startling lack of guidance available to employers and launched a comprehensive study exploring the response plans of impacted organizations. “This is part of the reason we did the research, so that other people in other disasters could learn from the major learning curve

that Canterbury organizations went through,” says Walker, an associate professor of HR management and organizational behaviour. “The purpose was to provide guidelines to managers and HR staff about handling the twin tasks of restoring their businesses while also attending to the well-being of staff.” In-depth interviews with affected employees revealed exactly where organizations had failed – or succeeded – in the post-disaster setting and offered insight into what was most important for employees. “The critical riddle was that although all the organizations coped with the disaster and recovery, some didn’t just survive the adversity but actually went from strength to strength and were able to learn from their quake experiences to radically transform the way they work so that they are now smarter, faster, more competent and expanding their businesses,” Walker says.

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THE FOUR PHASES OF POST-DISASTER RECOVERY PHASE ONE: Physical needs and communication Ensure physical and psychological safety and evacuation, contact staff, communicate with family, provide necessities such as food, water and shelter PHASE TWO: Monitoring changing needs Seek constant feedback from employees to identify the evolving needs of workers – from housing and child care to social support and counselling PHASE THREE: Expectations and maintaining equity Engage in short- and long-term post-disaster planning to address current needs and anticipate emerging needs; devise assistance measures that are seen as fair and equitable to all employees and ensure they are sustainable PHASE FOUR: Leadership behaviour of supervisors Increased focus on the emotional awareness of supervisors and middle managers, including their ability to empathize with others, offer support, and recognize and respond to needs – both emotional and practical If organizations fail in these types of areas, workers will view the company negatively, seeing it as uncaring and unsupportive. One of the key points that came from the Christchurch earthquakes was that people’s needs do not stay the same – they continue to change and evolve in the days and weeks following a disaster.

follow the others by providing the very obvious tangible kinds of initial support, the sorts of things you can see and touch, like water and food supplies. The real difference comes after that, when two patterns emerge.”

“The most important thing an organization can do to be able to cope with a disaster is to be a good employer” Bernard Walker, University of Canterbury “It means that you can’t simply write disaster plans in advance and then follow them,” Walker says. “You have to constantly keep in touch with the changing situation and staff issues that are more subtle rather than in-your-face. During the very early days, virtually all the larger businesses tended to

According to Walker, organizations that listen to their staff are able to pick up on changing issues and address them, but employers that aren’t in touch with staff tend to miss the less obvious signs. “Those organizations get into difficulty,” he says. Walker and Nilakant’s resulting article –

“Leading in a Post-disaster Setting: Guidance for Human Resource Practitioners” – offers a practical four-phase model for HR professionals and employers to follow (see above). However, Walker says there’s a simpler message at the heart of the piece. “Apart from developing contingency plans, the most important thing an organization can do to be able to cope with a disaster, or any other major upheaval, is to be a good employer,” he says. “Having engaged employees, competent leaders who understand people and excellent two-way communication are some of the capacities that will really equip your organization for turbulent times. If HR takes the initiative in shaping these people-related processes, then they will be leaders in developing organizational resilience. The sorts of factors that build engagement also contribute to resilience.”

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REWARDS/BENEFITS UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Majority of employees will leave if they don’t feel valued A survey by Hays revealed that 62% of workers would look for another job if they did not feel valued at work. Fortunately, most employers recognize this fact: 87% of employers indicated that ensuring every individual feels valued is ‘important’ or ‘very important,’ and the same percentage said recognizing staff for doing a good job is ‘very important’ or ‘important’. However, more than half of employers also said they needed to improve in this area. The survey also found that 87% of employees would go ‘above and beyond’ if they were made to feel valued.

Incentive programs are missing the moral mark

Using incentive-based programs could have harmful side effects, and those who win competitions due to their performance are more likely to act dishonestly later in life, says Matthew Beard, moral philosopher at the Ethics Centre. Conversely, non-monetary incentives like the opportunity to work on a passion project, greater autonomy in decision-making or simple recognition of achievement are cultural inputs that aren’t dependent on an employee’s particular work over a given time. “This builds a culture of collective achievement because there is less emphasis on competitive schemes that pit employees against each other,” Beard says.

Cash rewards don’t always reward employees If you ask an employee how they’d prefer to be rewarded, chances are they’ll ask for money – but that doesn’t mean you should listen, says one global engagement expert. “If you give someone money, then they feel an obligation to spend it on the


things that they are supposed to spend it on ... but a non-cash incentive allows the employee to treat themselves to something as an added bonus,” said Rodd Wagner, VP of employee engagement at BI Worldwide. “When you actually go back and look at what kinds of incentives that had the greatest effect ... many times it’s some kind of a non-cash item.”

Firm gives $5,000 reward for best employee idea A US firm has found a unique way of motivating its employees – offering $5,000 to the person who comes up with the most innovative idea. Through a virtual suggestion box, staff members at AFN Logistics can submit ideas on how to make the workplace better. Other employees then ‘up vote’ ideas and make comments on submitted proposals. In addition to the cash reward, the employee will also see their plan implemented. “We’re in the process of building a fantastic business with an orientation around our people and an orientation around the fact that I don’t have all the answers,” said CEO Ryan Daube.

Rewards guru praises peer-topeer recognition A leading voice in the R&R sector has spoken out about the importance of peerto-peer recognition. “The employees know what’s going on in the day-to-day lives of the people that they work shoulderto-shoulder with,” said Rick Patrick, CEO of Beyond Boardrooms. “So you have the opportunity to identify hidden skill sets and informal leaders.” Patrick added that peer-to-peer recognition is more effective than managerial recognition because employees don’t inherently expect positive feedback from their peers. “Unexpected and unsolicited positive interaction with one’s peers fosters relationships and friendships,” he said.

Employers overlook everyday successes One expert warns employers not to disregard the small things when it comes to recognizing staff Celebrating major achievements is undeniably important, but employers who overlook the smaller successes may be missing a chance to influence everyday behaviour, warns one rewards & recognition expert. “If a customer comes into your store and has a heart attack, and one of your employees leaps over the counter, applies CPR and saves the customer’s life, you want to celebrate that story,” says Steven Green, president and founder of TemboSocial. “It’s a big deal, but hopefully it’s not something that is going to occur each day.” Instead of recognizing the rare but remarkable achievements of staff, Toronto-based Green says it’s just as important – if not more so – to reward positive everyday behaviour. “The employee who stops in line on the way back from their lunch break to introduce themselves to two customers before heading back behind the counter – that is a behaviour that impacts the customer experience,” he says. It may not be as exciting as saving a life, but Green says employers can actively steer company culture by rewarding the everyday behaviour that aligns with corporate values. “Corporate values are always the outcome of a process involving much thought, deliberation and refinement, but to make them consumable, your values are boiled down to a brief list of key words, and this is what most employees see on posters around the office,” he says. “The obvious challenge is to bridge the gap between the value state-

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ments we promote and actual culture shaping.” Bridging that gap, he claims, is only possible when employers focus on the frequent everyday occurrences that differentiate good employees and desired behaviour. “By celebrating these desired behaviours that bring your values to life, employees will be exposed to them and say to themselves; ‘I can do that when I come into work tomorrow; I just never thought of it,’” he says. “Home runs are exciting, but I suggest you design your program to focus on the ‘base hits,’ since these are what shape culture and drives business success.” Employers are also starting to appreciate the power of social recognition. “The social element of recognition is very important,”

“By celebrating these desired behaviours, employees will say to themselves, ‘I can do that when I come into work tomorrow’” says Jeremy Salter, employee solutions lead at Grass Roots. “Recognitions appear in live recognition feeds that others can comment on and like. Having your peers see you being recognized in this way amplifies the value of recognition. It positively reinforces an organization’s values.” Indeed, social recognition goes further than empowering and encouraging peers to acknowledge the work of others – it also reinforces peer relationships and serves a number of important functions, including communication, coaching and social support. “Socially astute leaders understand this and use social recognition as a powerful and authentic way to communicate,” Salter says.


Chris French VP of customer success GLOBOFORCE

Fast fact Respondents to Willis Towers Watson’s Global Recognition Survey reported they had received their most fulfilling recognition within their teams or work groups (35%) or at the department level (37%)

The changing face of R&R How has the R&R space changed in the past five years? Over the past five years, we’ve witnessed the traditional pillars of human capital management fall as old HR processes continue to be dismantled and revolutionized. As part of this, we’ve found that talent management tactics such as annual performance reviews are no longer the best method to determine how employees are contributing to a company and helping it to flourish and succeed. According to a recent Willis Towers Watson study of senior managers at large or mid-sized companies, only half said their annual incentives and bonuses made any difference in how well employees do their jobs. This indicates that the days where a one-time annual bonus could keep employees happy and motivated to work hard are gone. Instead, the most successful companies are realizing the power of a more human-centric approach, where employees are treated not as human capital, but as people. The core differentiator between companies competing to attract talent will be how they encourage and inspire an employee experience that uses social recognition to enhance connections, strengthen relationships and empower people.

Where do you think R&R will be in 10 years’ time? Over the next 10 years, recognition & rewards programs will continue to drive humanity in the workplace. This means that traditional metrics such as engagement, retention and employer brand, as well as emerging metrics such as happiness and optimism, will directly correlate with human workplace practices such as recognition, transparency, and respect for individual needs and growth. Research from Globoforce’s 2016 WorkHuman Research Institute shows that companies on the vanguard of creating a more human workplace stand to reap significant rewards in terms of people metrics and ROI. In 10 years’ time, the most successful companies will be the ones that concentrate their efforts on creating a more human workplace, which will be driven by the most crucial element of employee happiness: recognition.

What is a common weakness found in R&R programs? Common weaknesses found in R&R programs include both gamification and incorporating artificial stimuli into recognition. Gamification can include elements like leader boards, awarding points for hitting milestones and competing for prizes – these don’t mix with recognition. The problem is that gamification recognizes people for the wrong reasons. Gamification introduces an artificial set of goals into recognition programs. It also shifts the focus from the recipient of recognition to the nominator, making the data more focused on competition rather than a reflection of employees’ values and behaviours. Instead of using leader boards for motivation, leaders should implement social recognition programs so they can thank colleagues for going above and beyond, make a colleague feel appreciated for their work or reinforce behaviour that benefits the company. The results will be far more powerful.

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Virtual reality the next big thing to hit L&D A perfect blend of face-to-face and online models, virtual reality learning may soon take off

technologies, and group and private messaging. VR may also result in a simplification of the lecture and presentation process, giving students the ability to ask and answer questions with their trainer and each other. Incredibly, 95% of respondents to the Kallidus survey said they could see the value of VR in training situations, and 81% said it has “real potential” to impact learning. The subject areas where respondents would most like to see VR used within their organ-

“It’s possible that this immersive technology could be adopted faster than previous new learning approaches”

Virtual reality [VR] could be latest development to disrupt the HR industry – an overwhelming 91% of L&D professionals say they plan to use the emerging technology in their own organizations. Kallidus, a workplace learning specialist, surveyed 200 L&D professionals to find out whether employers could see a future for VR within their companies. “Although only a third of the L&D professionals we surveyed have had any hands-on experience with VR, the vast majority are very


excited about its potential to add something special to the learning mix,” says Tim Drewitt, product innovator at Kallidus. VR, which has been gaining traction in recent years, has the power to transport users out of their everyday world and immerse them in a 360-degree virtual environment with a high sense of reality. Among the concepts being developed are avatars that represent educators and students, voice and video capabilities, PowerPoint and other collaborative whiteboard

Starbucks trains staff to be more parent-friendly

Starbucks is teaching staff in all of its 800-plus UK stores how to take a more parent-friendly approach to serving customers by providing an environment in which mothers can feed their babies without being judged. This includes tasks such as offering comfortable and private seating, helping carry equipment such as strollers, and safely warming bottles. Starbucks branches will display Parent Friendly Places badges in their windows to demonstrate they have committed to ensuring a supportive environment for parents.


izations were technical skills development (64%), health and safety training (54%), and onboarding/orientation (41%.) More than a third of respondents said they aim to use VR within the next three years, and 11% dubbed the development “the next big thing” for L&D. Conversely, only 8% said VR was “just hype.” With so many positive attitudes in the industry, VR could have the scope to change the landscape of learning forever, Drewitt says. “Time will tell, but it’s possible that this exciting immersive technology could be adopted faster than previous new learning approaches and may prove to be as game-changing in learning as the advent of the PC.”

Diversity training fails at Canada’s Wonderland

Ontario’s largest theme park came under fire after an employee asked a gay couple to stop hugging – despite it being the park’s official Gay Day. “They were told that Wonderland is a ‘family’ park and that they should monitor their behaviour,” said a representative from PFLAG, the advocate group behind the annual event. “We are also disappointed [that] Canada’s Wonderland ignored our offer to provide diversity training.” Wonderland’s general manager apologized for the incident but said employees already received discrimination training.

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Fast fact According to Statistics Canada, Canada is home to 6.8 million foreign-born residents, or 20.6% of the population – the highest percentage in the G8 group of countries

Breaking down barriers for immigrant employees In terms of L&D, what barriers are there for immigrant professionals that may not necessarily exist for others?

practices that may be needed to deal with the issues mentioned above.

As in any work situation where individuals from different cultures come to work together (multinationals, cross-cultural teams, etc.), migrant professionals may bring different working styles and cultural norms to work. What is critical in these circumstances, especially when host country employees are working together in teams with newcomers, is to provide an inclusive environment where all employees have mutual desire to learn from each other, listen, and openly share and discuss diverse views and ideas.

How can HR professionals counteract these barriers and better support immigrant employees in their professional development and career success?

Do you think many HR professionals are even aware of these barriers and do enough to help immigrant employees overcome them? The above-mentioned environment will be achieved if HR professionals are, first of all, aware of the importance and organizational benefits of integrating migrant professionals into host organizations. Secondly, in most organizations, especially in small and medium enterprises, not enough attention is paid to the above issues, and in most cases, HR professionals are focusing on basic day-to-day tasks and are not able nor given time or resources to further examine and tailor their recruitment and selection procedures, as well as training and development

Poor training to blame for payroll mess

The federal payroll disaster that hit around 80,000 public servants this summer was the result of inadequate employee training, according to one government official. Public Services Minister Judy Foote toured the struggling Pay Centre before laying some of the blame on a lack of proper education for workers who input information within each federal department. New software purchased by the previous Conservative government, which was first put into operation this spring, was at the centre of the pay debacle.

There are several avenues to do this, given, first of all, that there is motivation on the part of the organization and its top leadership to invest resources and to truly pay attention to integration of migrant professionals. HR professionals can start by reviewing recruitment and selection procedures to make sure they are biasfree in the context of hiring these types of newcomers. Secondly, integration efforts have to be aimed at both local employees and newcomers – therefore, these initiatives can work only if all employees take part in mandatory cultural intelligence training, for example. Third, issues around building internal social networks and successfully working with diverse colleagues must be integrated in the performance evaluation processes (i.e. providing and demonstrating inclusive advancement and career success for migrant professionals). Lastly, programs aimed at fostering development of networks between employees, such as mentoring programs and cross-cultural social capital building processes, must be part of everyday life in the organization.

HR happy to cover the cost of education

Employees who are keen to pursue further education are increasingly likely to receive financial support from their employers. Recruitment giant Robert Half surveyed 270 Canadian CFOs and found that 68% offered some form of financial backing to employees pursuing education and helped maintain credentials once earned. “Many employers support ongoing training because they’re aware of how valuable well-educated professionals with up-to-date knowledge of industry trends are,” said Greg Scileppi, president of international staffing operations.

Expert says transferable skills are easily lost

Workers won’t retain transferable skills learned during corporate retreats or volunteer initiatives unless employers follow up, warns Mark Thompson, chief engagement officer at McKinley Solutions. “Unless you practice the skills on your own and really have that level of diligence, your ability to apply the new skill on the job will be between 10% and 15%,” he said. “That can happen as rapidly as just 30 days.” Thompson added that employers should aim to do between five and seven follow-up interventions.

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The VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world in which businesses operate means that CEOs today face unprecedented challenges. HRD sat down with three of Canada’s leading CEOs to discuss innovation, handling change, disrupting the market and their most pressing people-related issues

A NOTE FROM OUR SPONSOR In KPMG’s “2016 Canadian CEO Outlook: The race is on,” 75% of CEOs surveyed agree that the next three years will be more critical for their industry than the previous 50 years. In the race to become more agile and techsavvy, CEOs are facing unprecedented pressures to respond to ever-changing customer demands. In this race, a company’s talent makes the difference. In this issue of HRD, three CEOs share their perspectives on how these business challenges are impacting their talent strategies, and how they are adapting to this unyielding pace of change, uncertainty and ambiguity. These leaders’ views relate to ‘influencing’ critical dimensions for success: grooming their leadership pipeline to master capabilities and a mindset that is agile, diverse and proactive. Defining a culture that encourages people to be the best versions of themselves – including the CEOs – plays an important role. The need to be authentic in their personal leadership style and readying a workforce that can execute against business strategy, ranging from post-merger integration, international expansion, product/service innovation and synchronization of customer-employee experiences, all add to the equation. Believing in the power of enabling people to play to their strengths and skills – the true sense of the word ‘talent’ – and developing capabilities for people to be the best they can be while meeting an organization’s needs is the foundation for success. Soula Courlas Partner and national lead, people & change services, KPMG Canada Management Consulting

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A ‘fresh’ approach to leadership Freshii opened its first 100 restaurants faster than Subway, Starbucks and McDonald’s. The key to its success is not just the vision of CEO Matthew Corrin, but also the innovative people policies of its VP of people culture, Ashley Dalziel, as Iain Hopkins discovers FANS OF the popular television series Undercover Boss may recall Freshii CEO Matthew Corrin’s appearance on the show six years ago when he became the youngest-ever CEO on the program. Although the show is notoriously confronting for business leaders – they get a ‘sneak peak’ of what it’s like to work ‘undercover’ in their own organization – Corrin says it was a “fun experience.” Importantly, it reminded him of how family-oriented Freshii’s stores are. “The franchise partners treat employees like family, and there’s no better feeling than that,” he says. While franchise operations have their own unique challenges, Corrin says he wouldn’t have it any other way: “With a franchise model, with the exception of being the founder of your own business, there is no greater entrepreneurial venture – you’re effectively running your own business and living the Canadian or American dream.” This entrepreneurial spirit is embedded in Freshii’s culture. Corrin cites one of the company’s hourly workers, Jason, who started working with Freshii when Corrin himself


managed one of the stores. “I let Jason buy into that store,” Corrin says. “He bought a 10% stake in the store, and just over two years ago, he took a 100% stake in that store. Then he purchased a second location, and now he’s about to buy his third. That’s a brilliant story

success? It’s beneficial to backtrack to Corrin’s original mission for the company: to encourage people to live healthier lives by making healthy eating as convenient and affordable as possible. “Ten years ago when I founded the business, what I found was that people would take

“We’ve created a place where people can achieve their personal goals, their philanthropic goals, their financial and philosophical goals. When you find a place where you can do all that, it may be forever” of living the American dream, but equally it makes me so proud that he’s now paying it forward by letting his employees buy stakes in the stores that he runs so they can all become entrepreneurs.”

Tapping the power of millennials How else can one account for Freshii’s massive

the path of least resistance – they’d eat a burger or pizza,” Corrin says. “I believe the more convenient and affordable we make it, the more we’ve eliminated the excuses of why people won’t eat healthy food.” The company’s employees live and breathe this mission to this day – and Corrin insists it has been critical to attracting the right talent

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LEADING MILLENNIALS: MATTHEW CORRIN’S COMMUNICATION TIPS 1. “I talk in sound bites because sound bites are memorable. They are easy for others to understand and articulate, and by others, in Freshii’s case, I mean not only the hundreds of franchise partners but the thousands of employees who don the Freshii uniform every day and the dozens of team members at HQ.” 2. “Choose the right communication channel. Pick the right moment to know when to make a verbal statement or type a personalized letter to someone. In the world of information, you’re being hit by hundreds of data points. You want your messages to cut through and be memorable. I’d say I spend a disproportionate portion of my energy thinking about the packaging of the message as much as the message itself.” 3.“Be accessible. Of course I use email and social channels, but face-to-face is so important. The power of looking someone in the eye and reading their reaction – you can’t get the same feeling any other way.”


to the company. Some 98% of the company’s management team are millennials, including Corrin himself. In addition, two-thirds of the company’s franchise partners are millennials – and these employees, he says, want to work somewhere they can truly believe in. Corrin has become something of an expert in recruiting, engaging and retaining millennials. He insists that his generation doesn’t learn and respond to traditional communications the same way as other generations. As a result, Freshii has created tools that appeal specifically to these younger workers. Examples include ensuring all training tools are online, with a strong focus on images and videos and less focus on text. The company’s VP of people culture, Ashley Dalziel, adds that a key to retaining these notoriously (but perhaps incorrectly branded) fickle employees is to provide what she describes as “experiences money can’t buy.” “We provide experiences that they might not have access to at their age and stage of life,” she says. “It might be doing a team workout with a world-class triathlete or sitting in the box seats at a sporting event. We’re cognizant that it’s not just about giving people more money.”

The triple bottom line Another key is triple bottom line reporting. Corrin says his generation cares deeply about more than just financial results – they care about people, profit and planet. Freshii’s commitment to CSR is impressive. A partnership with Free the Children ensures that more than 1 million meals per year are created for those who are less fortunate. While a major focus is on feeding kids in Kenya, the initiative is global. The company also invests in creating school gardens and kitchens so young people can access healthy, sustainable food options. Corrin’s personal motto is ‘Freshii forever.’ He says loyalty to one company is a very un-millennial concept, but he believes his management team is prepared to spend their entire careers at Freshii. “One of the biggest knocks on millennials is that we get bored very easily and we will gladly go to another company with the same pay and same title just because the colour of our business card is different,” he says. “What’s refreshing about our company is we’ve created a place where people can achieve their personal goals, their philanthropic goals, their financial and philosophical goals. When you find a place where you can do all that, it may be forever.”

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Unique insights Millennials are projected to make up 30% of the workforce by 2025, and Corrin says his company is in a fantastic position to capitalize on this. “I think there are few brands in the world that have a better idea of what makes that generation tick,” he says. “Most other bricksand-mortar brands typically have a head office full of Baby Boomers, people in their 40s and 50s. They may be working on brands that are very millennial-centric, but they

company grew from 28 stores to 350 stores globally, and culture was critical to the company’s success. It was a perfect training ground for Dalziel. “When I came onboard, one of the things I wanted to do was define our people values,” she says. “These are the core values that are true to all Freshii people. We’ve worked those values through the recruitment and onboarding processes, our performance reviews and how we recognize talent.” She places alignment to Freshii’s values

“Most other bricks-and-mortar brands typically have a head office full of Baby Boomers. We don’t have to think about what millennials want; we simply ask ourselves, ‘What do we want?’” need to put their feet in the shoes of millennials and ask, ‘What do you think millennials would want?’ We don’t have to think about what millennials want; we simply ask ourselves, ‘What do we want?’” This, in turn, allows the company to move fast. “It’s how we can scale so quickly,” Corrin says. “We’re more nimble because it takes us less time to go through that exercise.”

A helping hand Like a true entrepreneur, Corrin had a vision for the company that helped shape its culture. However, with such rapid growth, he realized he needed help. “I had to empower someone who I thought was culturally aligned with me and then find ways to push it through the system as we expanded.” He lured Dalziel from Lululemon just over a year ago. “Our success is not about the business plan or the products; it’s about the people,” Corrin says. “So our head of people and our investment in people power are really a statement of how important people are as we scale the business.” During Dalziel’s time at Lululemon, the

and culture fit as essential ‘must-haves’ in the hiring process. Every person who hopes to open a restaurant comes to a ‘discovery day’ where the Freshii team spends time with them to ensure they are culturally and philosophically aligned. “It’s critical we bring the right people on as franchise partners,” she says. “We don’t do any advertising for these roles, so whoever comes to us is already engaged and a fan of the brand. Then we go deep in our behavioural interviewing and testing because we need them to be passionate about our vision, and they need to create the type of store culture that we envision at Freshii.” Once selected, every partner who opens a restaurant anywhere in the world spends two weeks at corporate HQ. Time is spent not just on training but also Freshii culture. As the company grows and grows – next stop is Perth, Australia – Corrin and Dalziel will be working doubly hard to ensure Freshii’s winning culture remains strong. “As the brand has gotten bigger, the culture has gotten stronger,” Corrin says. “That’s counterintuitive, but it’s true. With Ashley’s help, I believe it’ll continue to gain strength.”

WHAT’S THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL HR/CEO RELATIONSHIP? Matthew Corrin: “The people element is entwined in everything we do, regardless of whether it’s finance or supply chain or marketing – so I immediately shone the light on Ashley when she joined and told our department heads that she’d be involved in their work. That’s recognition that trust is essential to our working relationship. Ultimately what she’s trying to do is take my vision as the founder and, through coaching and guidance, scale that through our organization. Given her experience at other global consumer brands, I think she sees things differently than other people on my executive team. She offers me perspectives I haven’t considered before.”


98% 23 2 100+ 4

Percentage of millennial employees at Freshii HQ; the figure is 85% at the store level Matthew Corrin’s age when he established Freshii 10 years ago Average number of new Freshii stores opening every week of the year Number of cities (in 15 countries) with Freshii stores Number of hours Matthew Corrin sleeps each night, primarily thanks to having two young children


See Matthew Corrin and Ashley Dalziel talk at the HR Leaders Summit 2016 at The International Centre Toronto, November 16 & 17. For further information visit

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Managing complexity with innovation Google may be one of the most iconic brands in the world, but behind the scenes, its success lies with its innovative people. HRD sat down with Sam Sebastian, the head of Google Canada, to discover how he thrives in an ultra-competitive field THE HIGH ESTEEM in which Google’s HR operations are held was never more apparent than in July when Google’s head of HR, Laszlo Bock, stepped down. Holding the role for 10 years, Bock transformed Google’s workplace and culture, helping the company grow into the 65,000-strong workforce it is today. His announcement made global headlines. Bock’s influence has reached beyond Google; his policies have changed the fundamentals of how today’s modern tech firms operate. His book, Work Rules! Insights from Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead, has also inspired HR leaders outside of the tech world. “Part of the reason I wrote Work Rules! was to open source what we’ve been doing so that others can borrow, tweak and adapt what we’ve done that works,” Bock said in an interview last year with the website Lifehacker. Bock radically changed Google’s hiring processes from clunky methods such as using brain teasers on billboards into a much smoother system. He also introduced employeefriendly policies such as free meals, shuttle


buses and ‘take your parents to work’ days. Sam Sebastian, managing director of Google Canada, says Google’s culture is driven by challenge, so it’s no surprise Bock shook things up. “We attract folks who want to work on some of the biggest issues and challenges the

Google department works on innovation or whether we have a chief innovation officer,” he says. “We don’t have any of that. All 60,000 Googlers globally just have that innovation trait. That’s the way the company was built. We’re almost 18 years old, and this is how we’ve always been, and it kind of

“A lot of companies I work with ask me what Google department works on innovation or whether we have a chief innovation officer. We don’t have any of that. All 60,000 Googlers globally just have that innovation trait” world faces,” Sebastian says. “What really drives the culture and innovation here is solving big problems.” Innovation, he adds, is ingrained in the company culture. “A lot of companies I work with are trying to be innovative, and they ask me what

self-sustains based on the folks we bring in.” Google has been the recipient of just about every HR accolade out there. So how does the company maintain that high standard? “It’s not even something we think about in terms of how we sustain excellence to win these awards,” Sebastian says. “It’s more

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WHAT’S THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL HR/CEO RELATIONSHIP? “It’s straightforward, but because this is a people business and because I need my HRBP to understand our business very closely, it all starts out with trust. They must know the business and our teams inside and out, because when we’re brainstorming on everything, I want them totally to be in the know and then challenge me at every turn. Once we’ve built that trust, we can debate the issues; we can make decisions together. Our HR decisions are data-based decisions. That means I rely on my HRBP to come to me with their business knowledge and data, not just opinions.”

about how we maintain this culture and continue to attract the best and brightest who want to have an impact on the world. That forms a nice circle: The talent we get in wants to solve those problems, and they help to validate and sustain that culture.” Amidst the long-term Googlers, who have been the DNA of the culture from day one, is fresh blood. “It’s a living, breathing culture that can change over time for the better because we attract the best talent.


Essentially the culture is still driven by the key tenets of the company: thinking of our users first, delivering great utility and solving big problems. Those are still the bedrock of the company.”

Working hand in hand with HR Unsurprisingly, Sebastian works closely with his HR team. He expects his HRBP, Tati Costa, to understand the business and

perspective on what other offices around the world who are our size and strength are facing,” Sebastian says. “It would be much more difficult for me to have that knowledge by myself, but with an HR business partner who is tied in with this global organization in this matrix fashion, I get a lot from that.” Sebastian thrives in a global organization. Having been employed by Google for more than 10 years, he has developed strong

“Because we’re doing things that others haven’t, it’s a whole new world – we just need to find people who can excel in that world” work with teams closely “because we’re a people business, and almost everything we do is people-related.” A matrix structure means that the Canadian management team, including Costa, consists of people who report directly to Sebastian and others who report directly to Mountain View (Google’s global HQ) or New York. This provides not just local but global context for these leaders. “It means they can get a great global

relationships with his global peers. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of folks around the world, but it’s been a very organic process,” he says. “As an organization, we’re set up in different regions, so I’d see the CEO of Google Brazil and Spanish-speaking LATAM a lot because they’re in my Americas region – but then I might have to try a little bit harder to reach out to the head of Australia, France or the UK. That being said, I do know them and have met them at

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various events. If they’re operating in a market with similar issues, they are great advisors, and we have this loose affiliation, which is particularly helpful.” He’ll likely need to draw on that pool of knowledge to face future challenges, including Google’s current number-one challenge of managing complexity. “The environment we’re in, the digital ecosystem, the products and services we offer, the competition, the co-opetition – many of our competitors are also partners – means we have to continue doing things no one else is doing to stay ahead,” Sebastian says. “With that level of complexity, it’s not easy to manage and build the business, build great products and attract great Googlers. It’s one of our

leadership style in just one word, it’s authentic. “I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m the smartest guy or most talented guy – sometimes I am; often I’m not – but I’ll always be authentic about it no matter what,” he says. “People always know where I stand, and that authenticity is hopefully why folks enjoy working with me.” As for de-stressing away from work, Sebastian says the key is balance. “I’ve been here 10 years, and each year is different than previous years. You never quite know the cycle you’ll go through or the time commitments you’ll need. So I mostly just try to start out with balance. If I’m having a year that is just so tough from a work perspective, I’ll try to dial back my commitments outside work so I have a good

“When we hire folks, we’re not necessarily hiring them for a particular job. We are in the short-term, of course, but the sense is they can scale with the company and do many great things for many years” biggest challenges, but it’s something we all embrace. There’s no work plan for us to follow. We’re inventing a lot of this as we go along.” Related to that challenge is finding leaders who can manage in such a complicated environment. “Because we’re doing things that others haven’t, it’s a whole new world – we just need to find people who can excel in that world,” Sebastian says. Google relies on a mix of external hires and internally grooming talent to ensure that the next generation of leader is in place. “When we hire folks, we’re not necessarily hiring them for a particular job,” Sebastian says. “We are in the short-term, of course, but the sense is they can scale with the company and do many great things for many years, so we’re building leaders from within wherever possible.”

work-life balance. Once things are more settled and I do have the balance, then I’ll try to put myself a little bit outside of my comfort zone and take on a little more.” He adds that he moved to Canada two years ago to take on this role because he felt he was easing into his comfort zone in his previous US-based role. In his first year on the job, he didn’t do much outside of work because he was trying to get up to speed. Now in his second year, he’s joined a few boards “to stretch my thinking and develop some skills I need,” he says. “It really is about balance. To use a sporting analogy, balance ensures I don’t get too far out over my skis. It means I can make sure I’m doing my job well but also serving my most important constituency, which is my family.”

Where to next? Self-reflection If Sebastian could describe his personal

So where is the global behemoth headed next? Sebastian says his team put together a busi-

WHAT IS ‘GOOGLINESS’? Googliness is a combined handful of attributes that Google hires for. It consists of: ƒƒ An ability to collaborate ƒƒ Checking your ego at the door ƒƒ Supporting your colleagues ƒƒ Being open, transparent and direct ƒƒ Having the skills to manage through chaos and change “All of those are intangibles that you have to look for because we move so fast and it’s such a crazy place,” Sebastian says. “We want folks who embrace change and aren’t defensive about it.” ness plan when he first started in the job, and it consists mainly of continued discipline and focus on building world-class products both with and for Canadians. “Customers, partners, Googlers and users – that’s the balance we have to be very respectful of, and therefore that’s what’s next: continuing to maintain that balance across all those customer groups,” he says. How can HR play a role in working towards that goal? On the user side, Sebastian says Googlers are an extension of the Google brand, so HR is always mindful of how employees can represent the brand as best as possible. On the customer side, he says one of his most common conversations with fellow CEOs is, ‘What are the challenges you’re having on the people side?’. Often he’ll connect Google Canada’s HRBP with the client’s HR head to exchange insights. “That’s great for us on the customer side, but also good for HR to build up their network in Canada,” he says. “This is a people business, and HR is a critical function. It’s one of my tightest partners in my management team.” leaders

See Sam Sebastian talk at the HR Leaders Summit 2016 at The International Centre Toronto, November 16 & 17. For further information visit

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Leadership lessons Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, is in the unique position of being a highly experienced leader herself, and being exposed to leaders from all backgrounds and industries. She shares her thoughts on leadership with HRD MARY MORAN’S mix of personal experience – she has worked for both national and multi-national organizations, including TELUS, Delta Hotels, Canadian Airlines and WARDAIR – combined with the scope of work undertaken by CED, means she is exposed to leadership best practice day in and day out. Here, she discusses the power of a successful corporate culture, the importance of flexible work and her own leadership style.

HRD: During your career, have you developed an acute understanding of the importance of corporate culture to organizational success?

HRD: Can you briefly outline the mission of CED?

“Culture is not something you establish and leave – you have to be consistently revisiting it and considering the changing needs of employees, the organization and the community at large”

MM: Our organization is a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary, but we operate pretty independently of them. They fund about 65% of us, and the rest comes from the private sector, so we have many privatesector partners who support the work we do and invest in us in order to tell Calgary’s story. Our primary role is as stewards of the 10-Year Economic Strategy for Calgary. It’s not just our strategy; it’s the entire community’s, but our role is working with business, government and community partners to position Calgary as the location of choice for business, investment and people attraction and retention.


MM: Yes, I’d say that’s true. Where the importance of culture became really apparent to me was when I worked in the private sector in the airline industry and the telecommunications industry. I went through quite a few mergers and was often either the director or the depart-

ment lead of the integration. What was always amazing to me was how leaders in the organization often focused on the business processes, and culture was often an afterthought. This is as far back as the late 1980s, but it became apparent to me how important culture is and

how important it is to put your people first. The rest will more or less happen after that. Culture is not something you establish and leave – you have to be consistently revisiting it and considering the changing needs of employees, the organization and the community at large.

HRD: What type of leadership style would you say you have? MM: As a leader, I’m keen on inspiring people,

on leading by example and being fair. I demand a lot, and a lot is expected from us as an organization right now, so I try to be very accessible to listen to new ideas. I also try to inspire people to think critically and be solutionoriented, because that will make them good

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leaders within the organization. I’m learning every day, and I often make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from them, and I think I’ll be learning till the day I retire.

HRD: What inspired CED to launch its flexible work initiative, WORKshift? MM: It actually followed a discussion with Transport Canada, which is a federal body. They were looking across the country for a city that is progressive, which Calgary certainly is, and also a young city, which again Calgary is – we have the youngest population across Canada. We are also one of the highesteducated communities in the country, so we have a lot of knowledge-based workers. Calgary is an ideal market for us to pilot WORKshift. We looked at how flexible work can have a triple bottom line impact – for organizations as well as cities. That includes things like reduced traffic gridlock and road infrastructure, reduced greenhouse gas emissions. From a financial perspective, it’s about reducing real estate costs and improving productivity for businesses. I always like to refer to WORKshift as the equivalent of the green bin for recycling. People just need to be shown how to do it.

HRD: What flexible work options is WORKshift focusing on? MM: We encourage people to work at least one day a week at home, and part of that is because they are knowledge-based workers. They need think time. But we also have a lot of women in the workplace, and many of them have young children who have a lot of outside commitments. Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 might not suit them. Flexibility is really important for the changing demographics of the workforce.

HRD: What’s the key to making flexible work successful? MM: It really is trust and communication. In spite of people wanting the freedom, they still like to be connected somehow. They like to get feedback from me or even understand where my head is at. We’re looking at ways to communicate through video, voicemail and email communication to keep people in the loop on the very dynamic environment we’re in. I have to work harder in order to communicate with everyone because I’m not going to run into them in the office kitchen.

HRD: What’s next for CED? MM: We’re in a very vulnerable position right

now where about 25,000 employees in the Calgary city centre have been displaced from the energy industry. We have the highest unemployment since the 1980s. If you don’t have the right talent in your city, it can mean a low ceiling on economic development with respect to diversifying as well as growing an economy. There are two major focus areas to retain this highly skilled talent. The first is trying to encourage people to retrain or redirect their skills to growth opportunities outside of oil & gas. A great example would be to renewables. Secondly, Calgary is a global talent hub, so we’re doing an extensive supply-and-demand study: What is the supply of the people who have been displaced out of the energy industry, and where is that demand required around the world? We’re working to convince companies based elsewhere to set up remote or virtual offices in Calgary, because in some of these other cities, it’s prohibitively expensive for people to move to. Calgary has relatively low cost of living. We also have office space availability. On top of that, we know how to work flexibly. This global talent hub is us working hard to find opportunities so people can stay in Calgary – and we know that they want to stay here.

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Evidencebased practice


Enabling change management

Source: Cloud HR: the future belongs to the bold report, KPMG International, 2016. During February and March of 2016, 854 executives from 52 countries participated in the HR Transformation Survey (formerly the Towers Watson HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey).

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HR Leaders are finding that now is the time to embrace technology. With Cloud revolutionizing the HR function by enabling organizations to coordinate data-based decision-making, gain cost advantages and generate new value for the bottom line, many organizations are working towards adopting these changes. What many are now discovering, however, is that HR transformation entails much more than simply plugging into the Cloud. Find out more about KPMG International’s global HR Transformation Survey and stay tuned for the Canadian point of view coming this October at

Contact Soula Courlas National Lead, People & Change KPMG in Canada

To learn more visit © 2016 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. 13991 The KPMG name and logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International.

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CONFLICT RESOLUTION in effective ways, and that includes dealing with conflict,” says Bernie Mayer, a professor of conflict resolution at the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University. “We know that conflicts that are not dealt with properly cost millions of dollars a year through lower productivity, absenteeism, turnover and poor team morale. All of those are traceable to the capacity of an organization to deal with conflicts effectively.”

Tackling conflict head-on

Fluid, flexible conflict resolution

Failing to implement an effective conflict resolution strategy has the potential to drain a company’s resources. HRD investigates how employers can help their leaders develop conflict intervention skills and how this helps promote healthy workplace relationships TURNING A blind eye to a workplace conflict can often seem like the only option. In some instances, when personalities seem so diametrically opposed, ignoring the problem and maintaining the status quo may appear to be the most appropriate way for leaders to move forward. The reality is that such a fundamental breakdown in communication between team members will have a negative impact on performance, whether that’s tangible to leaders or not. Tackling conflicts head-on is essential.

The role of leaders “Leaders need to role model the fact that it’s OK to talk about conflict, and that it’s much better to do that at an early point rather than years down the road,” explains Dr. Julie Macfarlane, a law professor at the University of Windsor. “I’ve gone into some organizations as a mediator and found two people who share a desk but haven’t spoken to each other for five years because something ridiculous happened years ago and no one ever confronted the issue.”


Leaders should give their staff the confidence and trust to raise conflicts in private because, in many cases, a staff member will want to air their grievances to someone but not take the next escalatory step. In some organiza-

Organizations operate most effectively when all staff members are bought into the mission and philosophy of the company. One of the most common causes of alienation is when employees feel as though they’re not being treated well by their coworkers or managers. This is when a fluid and flexible conflict resolution program comes into play. Although most companies do have some sort of policy in place to deal with disputes, the majority of organizational conflict resolution systems often turn issues into a legalistic ‘right versus wrong’ debate. “You may get a resolution from these systems, but they further discourage and demoralize people; these systems make work a less fun place to be, and they don’t solve the

“I’ve gone into some organizations as a mediator and found two people who share a desk but haven’t spoken to each other for five years because something ridiculous happened years ago and no one ever confronted the issue” Dr. Julie Macfarlane, University of Windsor tions, staff members feel reluctant to raise their issues for fear of being labelled as a troublemaker. Managers and HR leaders must themselves adopt a healthy approach to conflict, which involves becoming a good listener. “The job of a leader is to create an organization in which problem-solving can be done

real problem,” Mayer says. “It’s about the everyday issues. Companies focus all their energy on big grievances, like collective bargaining, but the real sludge in organizational performance is day-to-day interactions that don’t go well. People don’t raise issues well, they don’t respond to issues well, and

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Brought to you by

“The job of a leader is to create an organization in which problem-solving can be done in effective ways, and that includes dealing with conflict” Bernie Mayer, Werner Institute of Negotiation and Dispute Resolution that makes organizational life less efficient.” A modern ‘conflict competent organization’ is likely to have both formal and informal conflict resolution processes in place. These organizations establish cultural norms around conflict and help people develop their conflict skills. “Talking about those skills should then become part of the performance review, and organizations should look for these skills when choosing new leaders,” Mayer says. “Increasingly, organizations get this.”

Strategies to resolve conflict A well designed conflict resolution intervention system should aim for early intervention and encourage people to communicate effect-

ively. At the other end of the process, when a decision has been made by an appeal or arbitrator, more work is required. “You have to help people get past the issue, heal and move forward,” says Mayer. “You don’t just implement these systems from the outside. For a conflict resolution strategy to really work, you must involve employees horizontally and vertically across the organization in terms of understanding goals, the nature of the problems, and designing and implementing the systems.” In an attempt to empower organizations with the knowledge and confidence to implement effective conflict strategies, the Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre [IRC]

has teamed up with Macfarlane and Mayer to create the Strategies for Workplace Conflicts development program. “We were aware that creating a program that teaches people a particular kind of process, most commonly mediation, is no longer flexible or sophisticated enough for what people are actually having to deal with in organizations,” Macfarlane says. “What leaders need instead is an idea that there is a whole toolbox of possible informal process choices and skills. A lot of these are skills that you could use if you were acting as a coach, third-party mediator or a confidential listener.” The program was developed to provide practical tools to deal with all types of conflicts that occur in workplaces. Macfarlane and Mayer were less interested in developing a prescriptive process model – their aim is to help attendees develop the communication, confidence and rapport-building skills to get people to talk about difficult issues. “One part of the program is going to be on how to run a team meeting when you have conflict amongst members of the team, which needs to be raised and addressed,” Macfarlane says. “That’s going to be far more about how you have a constructive conversation and how you deal with someone who is especially difficult, rather than about a particular set of process steps.” In her work as a mediator, Macfarlane often sees a reluctance from organizational leaders to deal with conflicts in a proactive way. “Organizations need to recognize that this is an area in which they need to invest time,” she says. “That could involve running information sessions, training staff and rewarding people within the incentive structure if they’re good at dealing with conflict.”

Strategies for Workplace Conflicts: Practical and Effective Conflict Resolution Skills for Managing Everyday Workplace Disputes runs December 6-8, 2016, in Toronto, May 2-4, 2017, in Kingston and November 21-23, 2017, in Toronto. For further information, visit

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A thinker in a world of talkers Leading as an introvert presents a unique set of challenges – and no one knows that better than LinkedIn’s global head of talent, Pat Wadors. She chats with Iain Hopkins about how she uses introversion to her advantage

FOR PAT WADORS, global head of talent at LinkedIn, one personal anecdote from when she first started at LinkedIn three years ago perfectly encapsulates what it means to be an introverted leader. “People would see me standing at the back of leadership meetings. Someone said, ‘Pat, what are you doing? You’re head of HR; go sit on the front table.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ When I was asked what that meant, I explained that I felt overwhelmed and didn’t want to use up all my energy in one go; it was like stranger danger in my head. I felt uncomfortable.” Wadors explains that it wasn’t that she felt overwhelmed by her role, which is the most senior HR position globally at LinkedIn, but rather that she was displaying the typical traits of an introverted leader. “Being an introvert has been interesting to me because that’s my energy – I like to read, to be with my family, to spend time with a few close friends,” she says. “My energy thrives when I’m mainly by myself. When I’m with my work team and my employees, they see me and think I’m extroverted because I give all my energy away. They don’t see me at the end of the day when I’m by myself and exhausted.” Wadors says “unstructured” settings


make her anxious – hence, she generally does not stick around for after-work happy hours, and networking in her previously held sales roles was difficult. It was only when a coach told her that she was an introvert, but that no one else was aware of it, that things started to click. “If you want to lead, you need to take away the guessing work of people around you. You need to tell them who you are so they don’t misinterpret you,” Wadors says.

ality type. She discovered her strengths, weaknesses, how she communicated and how people perceived her. These personal experiences have resulted in a LinkedIn program called Quiet Ambassadors, co-designed by Cain and her organization, The Quiet Revolution. “It’s teaching people about how to pull out the best in yourself, no matter your personality,” Wadors says. “It’s about not feeling overwhelmed by the extrovert who likes to speak over the top of others.”

“If you want to lead, you need to take away the guessing work of people around you. You need to tell them who you are so they don’t misinterpret you” “For example, if you want to bring the best out of me during a brainstorming session, it’s probably not going to happen – introverts want to have fully formed ideas, not half-baked ideas, before they open their mouths.”

Leading as an introvert With the help of a coach, as well as renowned author and TedX speaker Susan Cain, Wadors says she “learned to navigate” her own person-

Those on the pilot program are being taught how to be advocates for others so it can eventually scale up in every LinkedIn location around the world. “They’ll be taught how to be an introverted leader or how to manage introverts,” Wadors says. “We’ll include extroverts next time around so they can manage introverts and get more from them. “There’s a perception that introverts want to

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PROFILE Name: Pat Wadors Company: LinkedIn Title: Global head of talent Years in the industry: 30 Previous roles »»HR executive advisor, Twitter »»SVP of HR, Yahoo! »»CHRO, Align Technology First HR role Senior compensation analyst at Viacom Honours and awards 2015 Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology, National Diversity Council Education Ramapo College of New Jersey – BS in business and HR management, minor in psychology

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INTERNATIONAL PROFILE be let off the hook and not have to talk, not have to contribute,” she continues. “That’s not really true. It’s getting them to talk in a way that they don’t lose energy. We’ll teach both sides of the coin, so how to get the most out of each other. The ambassadors are being taught how to do that in a six-month program; they’ll get a certification and then they’ll do the next class.” Within the program, Wadors spends a lot of time focusing on brainstorming sessions, which for introverts can be scary. “You’re processing a million things really fast, and by the time you format an idea, the room has already moved on,” she says. “Then people are pressuring you – you’re not adding any value because you’re not talking. Introverts like to write their notes and

targeted D&I. Although she’s undertaken research and spoken on the topic, she says this isn’t sufficient to “move the needle.” Instead, she says it’s necessary to change people’s minds and hearts and concentrate on belonging. “That’s what people need – to feel like they belong,” she says. “They want to know they are wanted, needed; they are safe. It’s one of those things that we as humans seek. If we don’t create belonging moments, if we don’t transform the moments of uncertainty when you’re being hired or onboarded, these people won’t stay. They won’t feel they fit in, they won’t thrive, and they won’t show their best selves.” Wadors has developed the DIBs [Diversity,

There’s a perception that introverts want to be let off the hook and not have to talk. That’s not really true. It’s getting them to talk in a way that they don’t lose energy submit their notes to the team, but the ship has already left, so it leads to frustration.” Wadors teaches others how to inject their initial thinking in a room of people and to validate that this initial thinking is worth communicating. It’s not about being 100% right; rather, it’s about getting into the habit of speaking out. She also teaches people how to use their body language to communicate more. “I actually spent time in a leadership meeting a year ago to test my theory out,” she says. “I said, ‘I communicate more with my body than I do with my words’ – no one believed me. When I was in a three-hour meeting, all I did was lean in, write notes, and nod my head. By the time I walked out, my boss said, ‘Great meeting, everyone participated; I know what everyone is thinking’. He never knew I didn’t say a word. He read my body language; he knew where I was aligned, where I wasn’t aligned – just because of how I was behaving. That’s powerful.”

Tackling gender inequality Being an introvert advocate is not the only issue Wadors has focused on; she has also


Inclusion, Belonging] initiative, which refers to the practice of ‘calling dibs’ on something – on a last slice of pizza, for example. “I thought it would be interesting to call dibs on diversity,” Wadors says. In March, she spoke to around 5,000 women at the Professional Business Women’s Conference about the DIBs concept, and it was well received. “Since then, I’ve been saying that belonging has no borders – it includes everybody,” she says. “It’s whatever makes you unique – it could be your religion, your socioeconomic status, your age, the colour of your skin. It doesn’t matter; everyone wants to belong. It takes the emotional heat out of diversity and asks, ‘What is the natural social grace you want to apply to everyone? How do you make people feel warm and welcomed and relaxed and free to be themselves?’” Wadors cites myriad research; one study, which looked at students and belonging, suggested that around 20% to 30% of time is wasted when students don’t feel they belong. “It’s the black male at university who worries about how closely he follows a white female through a door,” Wadors says. “It’s how they

USING INTROVERSION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE Pat Wadors provides three tips for bringing your best self to work if you’re an introvert: 1. Make a development plan “Introverts love processes and lists. If you create a development plan for yourself each year and create an agenda for your boss, it can be easier to articulate your needs as an introvert. For me, I go to my boss, my CEO, and ask for feedback every other week. I do it as part of a routine. I ask him, ‘What do you need me to do?’ If I put it as part of my everyday process, I’m less shy and reluctant to speak up.” 2. Preview the agenda “As part of a typical team meeting, there might be, say, eight agenda items. I’ll highlight two of them that I’m very passionate about. I’ll write one note on each. I commit to verbalizing that idea. I start to voice my internal thinking.” 3. Follow the rule of three “Another rule of thumb: If you think of something three times, you must say it in that room. Don’t let yourself off the hook. Once you become good at that, do it two times. If you think it twice, you must speak up. You care about that thought for some reason, so let’s voice it and see what happens. That gives you the power to talk where an introvert would naturally want to recline. You can train yourself, and it does get easier.”

dress, how they talk. They put so much energy into that, it distracts them from their study. It distracts them from how they listen and learn in class because they’re worried about the next thing they’re going to say. So the thought to my peers is to create belonging moments and teach belonging behaviours to make it natural, like building blocks.” To ensure the program is gaining traction, the next biannual LinkedIn Engagement Survey will introduce five new questions about the DIBs initiative. “I can’t wait for those results,” Wadors says. “I’m super excited to see how we’re tracking.”

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The benefits of forward-thinking benefits HRD sat down with Colleen Hutchings of Sun Life Financial to discuss emerging trends in the health benefits space and to find out what future generations will be looking for in their benefits packages THE WAY that modern organizations manage health and health benefits has never been more important. The Canadian workforce is changing, and today’s employees expect empathy and flexibility from their benefits packages. Employees who are struck by a health or disability issue expect the opportunity to be able to continue in their jobs in the same way as the rest of the organization – and rightly so. But what challenges are organizations facing in the current climate, and what


trends are likely to dominate the health benefits space over the next few years?

Demographic shifts “Demographic changes are one of the key trends shaping benefits now and into the future,” says Colleen Hutchings, director of service and support for Integrated Health Solutions at Sun Life Financial. “You’ve got the differing demands of Baby Boomers, who are getting older but staying in the workforce

longer, and millennials, who are attracted by less traditional benefits options.” In order to provide the right benefits solutions for each generation, organizations are under increasing pressure to properly understand the needs and preferences of both groups. “An emerging trend in the absence and disability area resulting from this shift will revolve around the organization’s ability to respond to the disease risk and potential associated attendance challenges of these new gener-

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ations,” Hutchings says. “That attendance support infrastructure is still a space in the industry that remains misunderstood and poorly managed by many employers. There is still a vast opportunity for innovative solutions in this area, particularly in response to the growing middle-aged populations with chronic conditions who may experience episodic absences or require accommodations to deal with their conditions.” The 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey found that 59% of today’s workforce reported suffering from a chronic condition, most commonly diabetes, heart disease, stroke and arthritis. “This high percentage could drive workplace programs that support prevention,” Hutchings says. “Increasingly, it will tie into attendance support programs and help manage episodic absences, which are going to require extra support from the employers in the workplace outside of the traditional insured benefit plans.” Many people from the Boomer generation are also preoccupied with how to achieve the financial security that will enable them to retire. They may still support children of school or university age, and increasing numbers of 25- to 30-year-olds still live at home with their parents. Many Boomers also have elderly parents they have to care for. “There are lots of emotional stressors for aging populations, and we’re seeing an increase in mental health issues in these older working employees,” Hutchings says. “Health concerns – and being able to manage their benefits to fit their needs – are at the top of this generation’s mind. There is a chance that these physical health limitations will start to have greater impact on personal finances.”

The emergence of mHealth Another trend that’s impacting the health and benefits space is the emergence of mobile health [mHealth] devices and mobile apps. “mHealth is a general term for the use of mobile and other wireless technology to support various aspects of health,” Hutchings explains. “One example is the ability to trace and leverage data from the user, so the longer it’s in use, the smarter it gets. A recent article

in The Economist1 cited there are over 165,000 mHealth apps currently on the market, and some of the most sophisticated are able to interface with a doctor or therapist directly. “A small group of patients – mostly chronically sick – are disproportionately costly in any healthcare system,” she continues. “An mHealth

capabilities and built a team of organizational health specialists to operate across the country. The team has expertise in every aspect of wellness, absence and disability, and mental health. “We’re taking innovation and disruption as far as we can across the full healthcare continuum in order to provide strategic

“There is an increasing realization that businesses need to connect their health and business strategies together to drive the best outcomes” Colleen Hutchings, Integrated Health Solutions, Sun Life Financial environment that can monitor the sick continuously, with potential to improve the way conditions such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes might be managed in a remote manner, could revolutionize the healthcare system.” Labelled as the first generation to be ‘digital natives,’ millennials are keen to embrace these technological innovations. With this in mind, employers are asking insurers, vendors and providers for solutions that will help them drive employee health engagement on digital platforms. Another word that resonates with millennials is flexibility – they want it, and they demand it. In order to meet these needs, benefits providers are beginning to introduce super health spending accounts [HSAs], which provide employees with choice and flexibility while controlling costs. “The super HSA doesn’t force the employees into a box; it allows them to direct their benefits funds into a much wider selection of their own choice, giving paramount flexibility,” Hutchings says. “This is definitely a trend that’s creating a fertile environment for innovation and the emergence of disruptive solutions in the industry.”

Help at hand In response to the trends that are fundamentally changing the health benefits space, Sun Life has brought together their leading

consulting solutions,” Hutchings says. “A first of its kind in the industry, the objective of our new team is to simplify the client experience and offer support to address employee physical, mental and financial health needs. We want to demystify both the processes and the systems for our clients.” As the first Canadian group benefits provider to have entered into a licence agreement as a disability management auditor with the National Institute of Disability Management and Research [NIDMAR], Sun Life has access to an exclusive suite of assessments and audits. “NIDMAR is internationally recognized as the leader in reducing the economic cost of disability, and these industry-leading services deepen our insights,” Hutchings says. “They allow us to examine a client’s absence and disability programs to measure performance against validated benchmarks with a view to improving what they’re currently doing. “We use the outcomes provided by the tools in conjunction with our health and disability analytics to deliver strategic solutions that help improve their entire organizational health platform. The future of health is integrated, and there is an increasing realization that businesses need to connect their health and business strategies together to drive the best outcomes.” 1 The Economist, “Things are looking app,” March 12, 2016

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The big squeeze:

Succession in the 21st century Flatter hierarchies, changing worker expectations and demographic pressures are transforming how succession planning is handled in many businesses. HRD explores what best practice looks like in 2016

they’ve managed to achieve that growth with fewer people. “Technology has enabled that to happen by removing layers of jobs that, to a large degree, have become automated,” Lash says. “We’re also seeing technology starting to encroach on moderate-complexity jobs through the impact of increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence systems. Technology is removing jobs that aren’t just assembly line types of roles.” Another common facet of the latticed workforce is the matrixed form of organizations. It is now uncommon for an employee to report to one boss; most answer to multiple people across multiple functions. “The traditional management role has given way to people who act more as facilitators,” Lash says. “These new managers need to possess the ability to bring together and lead very diverse groups in order to solve complex business issues that can’t be resolved by any one area or individual.”

Moving away from tradition THE EXPECTATIONS of the workforce are changing. The modern employee demands flexibility, variety and the opportunity to progress. Workers are now prepared to make important career decisions based on an employer’s willingness or ability to work around these factors. These changing expect-

planning. The career ladder is increasingly taking the form of a career ‘lattice.’

The career lattice “The lattice is a phenomenon that’s been happening over the past 20 years; it’s a general flattening of the overall organizational hier-

“We’re now seeing recognition that, in order for employees to move up in an organization, they’ll have to move laterally” Rick Lash, Korn Ferry Hay Group ations, combined with the shifting structures of many Canadian companies, are forcing organizations to develop new, innovative succession plans. The changing nature of organizational structures and new employee priorities are making the traditional form of the career ladder less prevalent. Organizations have become much leaner in the past two decades, and this has had major consequences for succession


archy,” explains Rick Lash, a senior partner at Korn Ferry Hay Group. “Organizations have a lot fewer managerial layers than before, and part of the reason is that they can function with fewer people. That’s been primarily enabled by the impact of technology.” Lash points out that many startup organizations that have emerged in the past 15 years are able to compete with large, traditional organizations in terms of profitability. Yet

In order to fill the management gap being created by the Baby Boomer generation entering retirement, organizations are being forced to rethink the traditional linear career path. The days of entering an organization at an entry level and then gradually moving up are over. “We’re now seeing recognition that, in order for employees to move up in an organization, they’ll have to move laterally,” Lash says. “Employees need to experience various areas of an organization in order for them to build a base of knowledge, which they can then use to move up.” He gives the example of a major retailer that was trying to develop a career path for a chief marketing officer [CMO] role. Traditionally, the CMO started off as a junior buyer, then moved to a senior buyer role and then, if they performed well enough, would eventually move into the CMO role. But the CMO role is now infinitely more complex than it was 10 years ago. “The CMO role is now much more diverse than it once was, so a prospective candidate has to spend time working in various departments across the organization,” Lash says. “You need

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to be doing a number of lateral moves across a number of functions so that when you end up as the CMO, you know the business from a number of different perspectives.” Although there is a growing awareness among employers around the importance of lateral movement and experience-building, many organizations still struggle to implement policies effectively. Lash has noticed organizations making fundamental errors when developing their future senior executives. In certain industries, there is a common belief that a future senior executive must get experience in international positions. Often, employees are placed in these international roles but given limited support in their new environments. “These organizations do not make it completely clear what the employee should be learning in that position to help their development towards the senior execu-

“Employees want to know what their organization has in mind for them, but most of the time, they are not told; it’s a huge waste of human potential” Paul Juniper, Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre tive role,” Lash says. “Many organizations make the mistake of asking, ‘How do we develop our leaders?’ rather than, ‘What are we developing them for?’” The organizations that manage succession and lateral movement most successfully are the ones that consider the mission-critical roles they’re going to require in the next few years. When those future roles and their competencies are clarified, organizations can then work

backwards and begin to identify the kinds of experiences people will need to fulfil those roles. “That’s how you build more of a lattice, rather than a delineated path,” Lash says.

Changing attitudes Paul Juniper, director of the Industrial Relations Centre [IRC] at Queen’s University, believes that the current lattice structure can be connected to the changing demographics of the

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Proctor & Gamble purposely moves leaders across regions and countries to give them ‘discontinuous’ experiences that accelerate their growth and help them learn to operate in a multi-dimensional business environment.

CORPORATE LADDER yy Traditional, hierarchical structure yy Top-down authority; limited information access yy Linear, vertical career paths yy Low workforce mobility; loyalty is based on job security yy Work is a place you go to yy Individual contributor-driven yy Separation of career and life yy Tasks define the job yy Many workers are similar to each other Canadian workforce. He also thinks that as the demographics continue to change, so will the shape of the lattice. “So many people will be leaving the workforce in the next five years, and there is going to be a real shortage of people coming through to fill those gaps,” he says. “When the economy was slow in the 1980s, not many people were hired or promoted. That, combined with the vast number of people reaching retirement age, will cause a change in the lattice and open up more senior jobs. But the people going into these jobs won’t have the level of management experience that they might have had in the past.” The structure of the traditional career ladder also has been altered by another factor: the desire for work-life balance. Many employees aren’t interested in the longer hours and increased stress levels that come with a management position. People have other things they want to do with their lives away from work. These members of staff are often steadfast in their desire to work conscientiously for 35 or 40 hours a week and then forget about their job when they leave the office.


CORPORATE LATTICE yy Flatter, often matrix structure yy Distributed authority; broad information access yy Multi-directional career paths yy High workforce mobility; loyalty is based on continuing opportunity yy Work is what you do yy Team and community-driven yy Integration of career and life yy Competencies define the job yy Many workers are different from each other In contrast, 20 years ago, this type of attitude may have been perceived as a lack of ambition or a sign of disengagement. That stigma has now largely been eradicated. “These can be very talented employees who don’t want to make a lifelong commitment to a job,” Juniper says. “This can make it harder for organizations to plan into the future than it used to be.” Canadian employees are taking more responsibility for their careers and becoming increasingly proactive in seeking out opportunities to progress. Juniper believes there was a complacency amongst previous generations, who were satisfied to join an organization, stay there for life and allow the company’s leaders to manage their careers. “That’s really changing with younger generations entering the workforce,” he says. “Millennials are much more likely to ask for their manager’s opinions on their performance, possible opportunities and how they can get into a position to take up those opportunities.” This desire of employees to take a more active role in their development gives employers a good opportunity to get workers involved in

Thompson Reuters, a publishing and information services company, transformed the decentralized finance functions of more than 40 portfolio companies into a more lattice-like, collaborative structure with service bureaus located around the globe. Now employees can move between business units, into a new geography, or in and out of corporate centres and division centres. The restructure has yielded US$50 million in annual savings. Cisco builds versatile leaders by moving high-potential executives around the company; for example, from manufacturing to materials procurement, or from finance to customer service. The practice aims to round out participants’ knowledge of the company’s operations. succession planning. In a course that he teaches, Juniper asks attendees two questions: 1. If you were highly valued by your organization and seen as promotable by at least one level or more above your current job in the next five years, how many of you would want to know that? 2. Does your organization provide this type of transparency? In response to the first question, Juniper typically finds that around 80% of his attendees say they’d like to know if they were seen as promotable. But only around 20% of people work at organizations that provide that level of transparency. “Employees want to know what their organization has in mind for them, but most of the time, they are not told; it’s a huge waste of human potential,” Juniper says. “Organizations have difficulty starting those conversations. Leaders should be telling employees about the opportunities or experiences that will help them build on the skills they already have.”

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Helping staff reach their potential Mindfulness training has the ability to improve productivity, increase creativity and reduce absenteeism. HRD finds out how TODAY’S WORKFORCE is stressed out. Every aspect of how we live and work is changing, and this evolution leaves many people feeling ill at ease. Staff members who experience such feelings have little chance of performing to their best ability and achieving their true potential. In the past, the vast majority of these employees would either be encouraged to work through their problems or prescribed with traditional healthcare, which, in many cases, only masks the problem and does not treat the root cause. However, there is a growing awareness

promise of excellence and perform at the highest level – on their own, as part of a team and as part of the organization as a whole,” says Jivi Cheema, founder of mindfulness training program Winds of Change. “Mindfulness training provides the missing tools that these individuals need to reach that potential, tools that inspire individual worth and align it with corporate goals. Healthcare is the most commonly given goal, but spiritual health and wellness are now being recognized as increasingly positive tools that can change the reality of today’s society.”

“Organizations that are committed to mindfulness training experience less turnover, less stress and fewer sick leave days and are more likely to have team members who exceed targets” Jivi Cheema, Winds of Change amongst organizations that a healthy, natural alternative exists – an alternative that is proving to have significant impacts for the Canadian workforce: mindfulness training.

How can mindfulness training help? “Each employee has the potential to fulfil the

As well as reducing stress and absenteeism, mindfulness training also increases both creativity and productivity. More than 30% of disability claims and 70% of disability costs in Canada are attributed to mental illness. It’s time that more Canadian organizations began to take advantage of the leading mindfulness

programs that are on offer in the country. “A spiritually healthy individual will experience an increased satisfaction with work purpose, higher morale and motivation to meet targets with ease, and greater engagement and happiness at work,” Cheema says. “They will also display an improved ability to cope with stress and change through tangible tools and techniques.” Employees who attend mindfulness training are enabled to discover self-awareness, selfreflection, self-governance, self-quality improvement and, above all, self-actualization. “These are the characteristics of a spiritually healthy individual who can contribute most effectively to the organization,” Cheema says. “Together, these individuals create an ecosystem that offers the organization an improved quality of performance with reduction in conflict. Organizations that are committed to mindfulness training experience less turnover, less stress, fewer sick leave days and are more likely to have team members who exceed targets.”

It starts with leaders In creating Winds of Change, Cheema realized that in order to achieve mindfulness at work, efforts must start with an organization’s leaders. “A soulful company is born from its leadership,” she says. “It begins with the desire not to be perceived as a thing – and to recognize and distinguish the individual personalities that make up your team. It is often easy to recognize symptoms such as dwindling employee morale, lack of internal vitality and disengagement, but where do you go once you’ve identified the problem? The way forward is mindfulness.” There is a common misconception that mindfulness training is only suited to trendy tech startups or corporate giants, but it’s time for this belief to be eradicated. Everyone can benefit from mindfulness, and flexible programs are in place to suit the specific needs of any organization or employee. “People need to stop viewing mindfulness as a luxury,” Cheema says. “It’s a requirement, and we all need to practice mindfulness in order to get a better understanding and a deeper appreciation of life and living meaningfully.”

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Thursday, September 15 The Liberty Grand | Toronto A record number of nominations came in from across the HR profession for this year’s Canadian HR Awards. Here are the best of the best HRD IS proud to present the individuals and organizations at the forefront of HR best practice who have made this year’s list of finalists. Together with our publisher, KMI Publishing & Events, we would like to thank all those who took the time to submit nominations this year and all our sponsors who continue to make this event a success. We look forward to celebrating your success at The Liberty Grand on Thursday, September 15, 2016. For more information about the event and to book your table, visit




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AWARD FOR CANADIAN HR LEADER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS yy Anna Petosa Pelmorex Media yy Colleen Bailey Moffitt Enercare yy Debbie Singh Plan International Canada yy Jenny Affe Greenwin yy Kamy Scarlett Best Buy Canada yy Keri Fraser Colliers International yy Melody Appelman Parkland Fuel Corporation yy Naomi Titleman American Express Canada yy Paula Harrington Centre for Addiction and Mental Health yy Stephanie Hollingshead Sierra Systems AWARD SPONSOR










yy DDI

yy BlackBerry


yy Enercare

yy Brian Scudamore O2E Brands

yy L’Entreprise360 Health and Wellness Services

yy GoodLife Fitness Clubs

yy Nudge Rewards yy Sprout Wellness Solutions

yy ivari yy Libro Credit Union

yy Tasytt

yy North Bay Regional Health Centre

yy VideoBio

yy TransLink yy University Health Network



yy Carol Annett VHA Home Health Care yy Chris Catliff BlueShore Financial yy Greg Malpass Traction on Demand yy Matthew Corrin Freshii yy Rick Watkin KUBRA yy Robert Gialloreto Consumer Protection BC


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yy Canadian Tire Retail

yy CAA South Central Ontario

yy BC Hydro

yy Cementation Canada

yy Coast Hotels

yy Canadian Tire Retail

yy Sierra Systems Group

yy Cementation Canada

yy Unilever

yy City of Vaughan

yy Vancouver Airport Authority

yy Ellicom

yy Cisco Canada yy LoyaltyOne yy Sienna Senior Living yy Tata Consultancy Services Canada yy Toronto East General Hospital

yy Colliers International yy Empire Communities yy Libro Credit Union

yy Big Viking Games

yy TeraGo Networks




yy Fairmont Chateau Whistler yy National Leasing yy O2E Brands yy PotashCorp yy Rogers Communications






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yy Canterbury Foundation

yy Fibernetics Corporation


yy Bell Canada

yy Freshii

yy Empire Communities


yy GoodLife Fitness Clubs yy H&M Canada

yy Horizon North Logistics

yy H&M Canada

yy TeraGo Networks

yy Left

yy Traction On Demand

yy O2E Brands


yy Sleep Country Canada yy SoapBox Innovations yy Tangerine

yy Hydro One yy Hydro Ottawa yy Royal Bank of Canada yy Starbucks Canada yy Tata Consultancy Services Canada

yy TradeRev

yy Conservation Halton yy County of Wellington yy FGL Sports yy JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa yy Left yy LoyaltyOne yy Toys “R” Us

yy WorkTango





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AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE HR INDUSTRY This is the highest honour and most coveted award at the Canadian HR Awards. This award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the industry as a whole through visionary people management strategies and leadership. Though there are no defined parameters, this award will acknowledge someone with an established history of distinguished service to the HR profession and who has exhibited leadership and provided inspiration to others in the sector while putting the interests of the industry at the top of their priorities.







yy FGL Sports

yy Cisco Canada

yy Fibernetics Corporation

yy City of Vaughan

yy Adidas Group Canada

yy Mindfield yy NexJ Systems yy The Beer Store yy WilsonHCG yy Woodbine Entertainment Group

yy Hydro Ottawa yy Loblaw Companies yy Rogers Communications yy Vancouver Airport Authority

yy Canterbury Foundation yy Corus Entertainment yy PointClickCare yy TD Bank yy TransLink


Winner to be announced on September 15



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yy Adam Shaen Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre yy Andrea Gutierrez Ecojustice yy Janessa Johnston Farmers Edge yy Kathleen Teixeira OLG yy Nicole Burke Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre yy Rachel Shapiro PSAV yy Sara Colliss EComm 911 yy Sarah D’Angelo Giant Tiger Stores yy Shelby Harrison MacDon Industries

yy JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa

yy Amec Foster Wheeler

yy Peak Performance Human Resources Corp. yy Clear HR Consulting yy Elevated HR Solutions yy HR Services – Rick Filsinger yy The Executive Roundtable (ERT) yy TSR Canada yy Vertical Bridge Corporate Consulting yy Workplace Law Consulting yy XNL HR



yy American Express Canada

yy Plan International Canada

yy Business Development Bank of Canada

yy Solaris-MCI

yy Edgewater Casino


yy Hydro One yy Island Health yy Symcor

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Is your organization ready to be flexible? The modern employee expects to be able to work remotely and operate on flexible hours. The technology is available to help fulfil these demands, but how does the increasing mobility of the workforce impact Canadian employers?

BEING FLEXIBLE, and offering flexibility, is a necessity for any organization that wants to attract the top talent in 2016. As well as desiring a healthy work-life balance and the ability to do meaningful work, modern employees expect to be able to fit their work responsibilities around their personal and family lives, not vice versa. The days of the

traditional 9-to-5, Monday to Friday workweek are fading fast, and employers need to be aware that to remain an attractive place to work, they must implement flexible working practices for their staff. “A lot of people like to schedule their time so that they can do their work when it’s convenient for them,” says Paul Juniper,

THE OVERWHELMING DEMAND FOR FLEXIBILITY • 62% of employees believe they’re more productive working outside the office • 61% of employees prefer working the equivalent of an eight-hour workday broken up over a longer day, rather than in a single 9-to-5 block • 57% of employees work remotely on personal or sick days, and 44% of employees worked on their last vacation • 59% of employees receive a device from their employer for work in and out the office • 24% of organizations have set clear policies and expectations around appropriate work activities after business hours • 74% of North American employees would quit their job for one that allows them to work remotely more often • 70% would quit in favour of a position that offers increased flexibility

director of the Industrial Relations Centre [IRC] at Queen’s University. “Parents want to be able to drop off and pick up their children and then do work when the kids have gone to bed. If an organization can structure work so that it can be done flexibly, and then find ways of monitoring that everyone’s work is being done, those situations can be very successful.”

The engagement link As every HR leader knows, attracting and retaining quality talent is a major challenge. Understanding the wants and needs of the talent pool and then implementing organizational policies and structures that reflect modern expectations is key for any organization that wants to hold on to its staff. People want to be able to customize their workday and have the freedom to run an errand or schedule an appointment without repercussion. “By not being flexible and accommodating staff to work from home and make their own hours, employers will have less engaged employees,” explains Spiros Paleologos, VP and general manager of Kronos Canada. “Now more than ever before, employee engagement is being linked to work-life balance.” A recent survey conducted by Softchoice found that 74% of North American employees would quit their job for one that allows them to work remotely more often, and 70% would quit in favour of a position that offers increased flexibility. “Employers who are reluctant to offer this level of flexibility, be it working remotely or making their own hours, create a real risk of not attracting the best talent,” Juniper says. “People like the flexibility, and staff members who are provided with the level of flexibility that they want are more likely to be loyal to their employer. People like to have more control over what they do and how they do it.” The Softchoice survey also found that 62% of employees believe they’re more productive when working away from the office, a discovery that did not surprise Juniper. “If I have the opportunity to work in a private space, whether it’s at home or in an office with a door closed, I’m more productive,” he says. “There

Source: Softchoice, “Death of the Desk Job”


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are a large number of interruptions in an open office environment, and every time you’re interrupted, it takes a certain amount of time to refocus on what you were working on.”

Taking the good with the bad Although employees are happier, more engaged and more likely to be loyal if they can work flexibly, Juniper does feel that there’s the potential for some negative consequences. “Some employers have gotten into situations when they’ve allowed employees to work from home because they wanted to save money on premises,” Juniper says. “Certain organizations that have done this have created massive internal communication issues because their staff no longer bump into each other in the office. An amazing amount of work gets done just by being in the same

“Technology empowers managers to do a better job and empowers individual employees in an office or home environment” Spiros Paleologos, Kronos Canada office as somebody else. It’s one thing to be able to send out emails, but it’s another thing to be in the same room.” Paleologos also has seen the potential for remote working to create issues for organizations, especially if the employees are doing work that requires collaboration and team communications. “A big part of successfully working remotely is whether there is tech-

nology being deployed that allows for this virtual teamwork to continue uninhibited,” he says. “With that technology, it’s less of an issue. Without it, people clearly have challenges in being as effective as they would be in the same physical space as their colleagues.”

Millennial magnet Organizations are doing a lot of work and

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WHAT MILLENNIALS WANT In a PwC survey, millennials were asked what makes an employer attractive. The responses indicate that flexible work arrangements are highly sought after. »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »»

Opportunities for career progression: 52% Competitive wages/other financial incentives: 44% Excellent training/development program: 35% Good benefits packages: 31% Flexible working arrangements: 21% International opportunities: 20% Good reputation for ethical practices: 15% A reputation as an employer of the best and brightest people: 15% Values that match your own: 15% The employer brand: 10% The sector in which the organization operates: 8% Diversity/equal opportunities record: 8%

MILLENNIALS AND WORK-LIFE BALANCE »» 95% of respondents to the PwC survey said work-life balance is important to them, and 70% said it’s very important »» 30% of employed millennials feel their work-life balance is better than expected; for 28%, the reverse was true »» 41% of millennials would rather communicate electronically than faceto-face or over the telephone »» 65% of millennials feel that rigid hierarchies and outdated management styles failed to get the most out of younger recruits, and 46% thought their managers didn’t understand the way they use technology in their work


conducting a lot of research on how best to manage the current multi-generational workforce. Expected to account for 75% of the workforce by 2025, millennials are the group getting most of the attention. “Millennials expect to be technologically connected and to have flexibility in their daily lives,” Paleologos says. “The millennial group is less motivated by compensation; they’re focused on work-life balance. There was a time when, if your compensation and benefits plan was better than your rivals, that was enough to attract talent. But millennials are choosing flexibility over compensation and benefits packages.”

The trust issue Leaders who are skeptical of allowing their staff to work from home or make their own hours often cite trust as the reason for their reluctance: How can they be sure that their staff will work as hard when they’re not in the office? “If you have those sorts of trust issues within your organization, then you already have some cultural problems,” Paleologos says. “In these situations, improving company culture should be the main focus. Organizations should apply technology that helps them to do that – technology that minimizes concerns in all aspects of day-to-day work, including people working from home.” He adds that with adequate technology

and connectivity, organizations are able to manage and monitor the execution of corporate values easily, transparently and fairly. This makes it less of an issue if an employee works remotely. Technology is playing a key role in enabling companies to be more proactive in allowing employees to work away from the office. Ten years ago, automated HR and workforce systems were primarily designed to do the back-office administration side of people management, including applicant tracking, payroll applications and HR filing. The systems were designed with the department in mind, not the employee. “These solutions are now being designed to be much more employee-centric, which makes the whole process mutually beneficial,” Paleologos says. “Technology empowers managers to do a better job and empowers individual employees in an office or home environment. That’s the core goal behind these solutions.” Paleologos believes that, to address the expectations of current and future workforces, organizations must begin to allow employees to work from home and work flexible hours. “These things become an extension of your overall company culture and will help you to attract and retain staff,” he says. “For it to be implemented effectively, management needs to lead by example and embrace those cultural behaviours. That’s so important.”

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Fixing an unsustainable benefits system Bret Loge of ENCOMPASS Benefits & HR Solutions urges CEOs and business leaders to have a challenging conversation about the current trajectory of healthcare and group benefits costs – especially the cost of certain new drugs FOR THE last 10 or more years, your Canadian group insurance carriers have been estimating their annual adjustments for extended health care anywhere from +8% to +15% and pricing your renewals accordingly. Why have we put up with this? Is there an obligation for us to simply raise our eyebrows and reluctantly say, “Wow, OK …”? At what point does it become and undue hardship on us as employers? I talk to business owners, CEOs and senior HR professionals every week and ask them, “Did your business increase your rates by 12% or more for your clients during this past year?” Not surprisingly, none have! As the president of our company, I am acutely aware of the challenges that the group benefits industry faces as it relates to our culture’s relentless pursuit of a longer, less painful and healthier life. While the research & development industry has its


place, at what level does the percent of our personal budget, company benefits plan/ compensation budget, and federal and provincial healthcare budget become too much? No one is answering this question, let alone making firm decisions that have a clear ceiling to these costs.

The system is not working It appears the pharmaceutical industry is operating as if there is a blank cheque signed by the insurance carriers and provincial governments (in provinces with drug programs like Fair Pharmacare). The pursuit of better health is seen as big business, and

For the sake of the health and long-term sustainability of the rest of our family, our employee group and our country ... not everything can be covered with unlimited costs all the time These challenges are faced by all companies, all industries – no employers are exempt here, including for-profit, nonprofit and government – everyone is reeling from this challenge.

we seem willing to pay, as it seems that people will pursue anything to get and remain healthy and/or pain-free. The price increases of some drugs have been outrageous – including drugs that have been on the market

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greater good, for the long-term vision and for the pursuit of sustainability for as many people as possible, for as high a coverage possible and for as long as possible.

Taking longer-term action

for dozens of years. So what is the position of most insurance carriers? When commenting on the drastic increase in these super drugs called biologics, one carrier said to us, “If there is a drug out there, we want to cover it.” There was a strong undertone that communicated, “We don’t want to be the bad guys to say no, so let’s try to figure out a way to pay these claims.” The problem is, no one wants to be the bad guy and say, “No, we can’t afford this – I’m sorry.” One must realize there are consequences. For the sake of the health and long-term sustainability of the rest of our family, our employee group and our country, and to ensure there are budgets to cover other required budget items, not everything can be covered with unlimited costs all the time! That position is unsustainable. There might be some solutions that are simple to understand, yet challenging to

implement. These include: Placing a maximum dollar amount on drug costs per person or family per year Placing a maximum dollar amount on drug costs per person or family per lifetime Placing a maximum dollar amount on each prescription filled Place a maximum dollar amount on a single drug per year This approach may appear to some as harsh and unkind. On the flip side, if the carriers, the provincial governments and we do nothing, in a matter of just a few years, due to sustainability issues and fiscal impossibilities, entire benefits plans may have to be cancelled. Goodbye, life insurance … so long, LTD coverage … farewell, dental plan. These types of coverage adjustments are not designed to penalize anyone who needs the coverage; rather, they operate for the

While we are starting to see these maximums become more common in group insurance plans, it is also critical to ensure that these difficult amendments are supported with empathy to the employees who are affected. Your advisor has access to many creative ideas and ways to assist them, if or when they bump up against a maximum for their expensive drugs. First of all, we recommend working with your advisor to review your corporate values, which will determine your plan of action. Perhaps you want to afford 15% annual increases in healthcare and are able to budget accordingly. Others, after choosing to implement some plan design adjustments, will need to work with their advisor to create a strategy to ensure a supportive response is felt by the employees. There are many alternative avenues of funding besides your group plan, and it is up to your advisor to guide you to these possibilities. If you are struggling with some of these issues, or perhaps not getting leadership from your advisor, make sure you get involved now. Maintaining the status quo is not a good option. Delaying the decision does not fix the issue. I implore all CEOs, business owners and HR leaders to ensure this issue is discussed at your leadership table. Understand the issues and options, make some solid decisions, and then know that you are working hard for all your employees, both now and for the long-term.

Bret Loge is the president and owner of ENCOMPASS Benefits & HR Solutions and has more than 15 years of experience in the industry. He holds CHRP, CHS and GBA industry designations and leads his benefits and pension staff. The ENCOMPASS consulting firm is licensed in most provinces and has offices in several locations across Canada. Bret can be reached at or 250-763-6464, ext. 208. Find out more information at

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DOING THE RIGHT THING Instilling a people-first culture of trust is everything to Viv Maza, and her career to date shows that it’s paying off




GRADUATES FROM UNIVERSITY After seven years of study – during which she had two children – Maza graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management from Florida International University. She fulfilled a personal goal by graduating before her daughter’s second birthday, with a month to spare “It was survival – you go to school at night; you do whatever you have to. It was a personal achievement that I wanted for myself”


HIRES HER FIRST EMPLOYEE Ultimate eventually emerged from the startup years and began creating new departments, and Maza was able to hire the first employee for her team

“As we grew, I realized I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. We had to compartmentalize and create the facilities department, a shipping department, mailroom – at one time I was everything; I ran HR and payroll for 430 people by myself, and I realized I needed help” 2016

WINS BEST EMPLOYER IN TECH FROM FORTUNE Ultimate topped the magazine’s list of best employers in the tech sector. Of the many accolades she has collected, this distinction holds the greatest significance for Maza, as the ranking is based on employee feedback “I know the pulse of the company; I know that our employees are happy and are saying good things about us – but to see that publicly displayed, that means a lot to me. That proved that we’ve been doing the right thing for our people” 54

Maza worked with ADP for a period in the mid-80s, initially in sales administration and later in consulting, but was laid off while on maternity leave. Happenstance was on her side, though – mutual contacts connected her to Ultimate Software founder Scott Scherr, who was looking for a manager to run his nascent office “He knew my name and knew I was a hard worker. When one door closes, another one opens. It was the best thing that could have happened”


STARTS AT ULTIMATE Maza was the fourth team member brought onboard at Ultimate, where operations were so embryonic that the company had no logo, the office had no fax machine, and the HR department did not exist – so Maza had to negotiate many unknowns “There was nothing in place. We did whatever it took; we created handbooks and policies and implemented everything from scratch. Everything is selftaught – I never thought of failing; I was driven to survive”


BECOMES VP OF PEOPLE In the midst of growth of almost 20% a year, Maza was appointed VP of people. Throughout, she kept her attention on company culture “A lot of our culture has to do with trust and the core values of doing the right thing professionally and personally. When you build that family, when you have people who believe that mission, that goal – it builds trust”


BECOMES CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER The year after Ultimate was named the number-one Medium Sized Company to Work for in America by the Great Place to Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management for the second consecutive time, Maza was promoted to chief people officer “Sustaining the culture and making it better is my focus – but being able to sustain this culture with 1,000 people is tough. The awards and rankings speak for themselves, but it’s a matter of how can I make Ultimate better?”

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Number of instruments Johnson plays: alto flute, bass flute, piccolo and flute


Number of years Johnson has been playing the flute for audiences


Number of concerts she has played with the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble

THE PIPES ARE CALLING As lead flutist in a community wind ensemble, BlueShore Financial’s Marni Johnson and her team make sweet music IT WAS the hauntingly beautiful sound of the flute that drew Marni Johnson, SVP of human resources and communications at BlueShore Financial, to revisit as an adult the hobby she had set aside after high school. “It does bring me a sense of calmness,” she says, “and it allows me to be creative because there are so many ways in which you can interpret a given piece.”


The flute, however, “is a lonely instrument,” and Johnson’s preference is to play with other people, “be it with just a piano or a whole orchestra.” Hence her involvement with the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble, also known as PSWE, a Metro Vancouver-based 40-member wind and percussion collective composed of volunteer musicians. The time Johnson devotes to PSWE –

weekly group rehearsals in addition to regular practice at home – pays off in the concerts held four times a year. “I get so much joy from performing music with other people,” she says. “It’s very much a team – every single person has their role, and it’s all about working together. Technical proficiency is important, but just as important is the culture and the cohesiveness – just like at work.”

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Misunderstood e-mails. Difficult people. Team conflicts. Sound like your office? Every workplace deals with conflict on a daily basis – from the passive-aggressive e-mail to actions that can quickly escalate into serious situations. How we respond to and handle these issues is an important measure of our effectiveness as managers and leaders. Our new Strategies for Workplace Conflicts program teaches managers and leaders practical and essential skills for approaching everyday workplace disputes in a constructive and effective way. Learn how to: • Respond to different types of online, interpersonal and inter-team conflicts • Manage conversations with especially difficult or emotional people • Identify specific implications of different types of conflict

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HRD 4.03  

CEOs on Leadership

HRD 4.03  

CEOs on Leadership