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HOT LIST These 27 professionals are reshaping the future of HR in Canada

HUMAN-CENTRIC LEADERSHIP Aurecon’s Liam Hayes on design thinking and future-ready workforces

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D&I THAT GOES BEYOND CHECKING A BOX What can HR do to truly move the needle on diversity and inclusion

DESIGNING FOR SUCCESS How to ensure your organizational redesign achieves its targets

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ISSUE 6.01



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

HOT 22



These 27 visionary leaders are reshaping the future of the HR function in Canada


Recently named Young Executive of the Year, Aurecon’s global chief people officer, Liam Hayes, outlines his vision for human-centric leadership


UPFRONT 02 Editorial

How design thinking is transforming HR

04 Head to head

The next steps toward gender equality

06 Statistics

Ready or not, automation is coming


08 News analysis


10 Rewards/benefits update

A renewed focus on sexual harassment has underlined the need for comprehensive D&I policies

Keeping extremism out of the workplace ‘Best practice’ isn’t always the best idea

12 L&D update

Updating L&D to reach older workers

14 Opinion

Four key qualities of tomorrow’s leaders



20 Successful organizational design


What millennials can teach us about creating inclusive workplaces




The keys to making sure an organizational redesign works as intended

24 Evolving mindsets, evolving business

St. Joseph’s Healthcare harnessed the power of co-op students to pull off a major digital transformation

46 Measuring peer coaching


48 Inside HR

How one firm determined whether coaching was driving profitability

J.P. Morgan has found success by looking outside traditional fields for tech talent

52 Clarity in a world of change What’s in store for L&D in 2018?

PEOPLE 55 Career path

Naomi Titleman Colla thrives on change FEATURES


How technical firms can benefit from identifying potential leaders early

56 Other life

Georgina Boyd’s peak performance


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Putting humans first


f there was one overarching theme that emerged in the HR sphere in 2017, it was the rise of design thinking principles. As a discipline, design thinking has proven to be extremely effective for disrupting internal processes and enabling businesses to innovate and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace. In a nutshell, design thinking is a problem-solving approach focused on understanding customer needs by using empathy alongside rapid prototyping and testing. The approach is ideal for solving complex challenges that require simple customer-centred solutions. Professor Bill Barnett, a strategy expert at Stanford University, says “leading by design” means that a leader’s role is not to predict the future, but rather to design it for adaption. Not only does HR need to be more dynamic in its response to strategic shifts, but it also has a role to play in increasing the organization’s ability to scan for and adapt to new opportunities.

HR teams are now focusing on how they can create exceptional employee experiences to drive exceptional customer experiences As Jennifer Pangas, an experienced HR professional who consults on OD and design thinking, explained to HRDC, a “perfect storm” has shepherded in this focus on design thinking in HR. First, it’s the acknowledgement that many Silicon Valley success stories (LinkedIn, Google, Airbnb) focus as much on the employee experience as they do on the customer experience. HR teams are now focusing on how they can create exceptional employee experiences to drive exceptional customer experiences. Second, as the business environment gets more complex, so does HR – business needs are more diverse, strategy can shift quickly, and there is a move towards personalization of benefits for employees. HR needs to move more quickly, and the problems it is solving are more complex; this calls for a more structured and rapid approach to finding solutions. Finally, HR is being exposed to the innovation techniques and mindsets of other business functions. When HR has a practical understanding of tools like design thinking, it is better equipped to understand and drive the cultural traits that support greater innovation and agility across the business. Looking to shake up your internal operations and perhaps even reshape your business model? It might be time to focus on human-centred design.

Iain Hopkins, editor



Editor Iain Hopkins

Senior Business Development Manager Sarah J. Fretz

Senior Writers Laura McQuillan Nicola Middlemiss Writers Libby Macdonald Joe Rosengarten Hannah Go Copy Editor Clare Alexander

CONTRIBUTORS Kylie Wright-Ford Michael Horvat Kim Tabac Ken Senda Kentaro Iijima Mathieu Baril Vicky Bartolacci Matt Malouf


National Account Manager Andrew Cowan Vice President, Sales John MacKenzie Associate Publisher Trevor Biggs Marketing and Communications Manager Melissa Christopoulos Project Coordinator Jessica Duce

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

Designer Marla Morelos Production Manager Alicia Chin Advertising Coordinator Ella Dayandante



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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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Is enough being done to close the gender gap? Gender inequality remains a persistent problem. What else should employers be doing to address it?

Jacq Hixson-Vulpe

Christina McClung

Jennifer Heath

“While marginally more cisgender women are entering senior levels of organizations, the question of how trans women enter and fare in the workforce is rarely a topic of conversation when discussing gender inequality. Most often trans issues are discussed under the banner of LGBTQ issues, which conflates issues of gender identity and sexual orientation and leaves trans people completely out of the conversation. Support of trans people in employment is only now beginning to be discussed by employers. Now is the time to change the conversation on a fundamental basis in a way that includes the truth of gender diversity.”

“I’m hyper-aware that employers can always be doing more to foster gender equality in the workplace and increase the focus on women as leaders in minority groups. Further, the lack of women in STEM is a significant issue facing our workforce and one that I’m personally passionate about. Our approach is to acknowledge the unique challenges women face and address these directly within the support framework we build for all our associates. Unless we continue to push for change, we’re going to have a tough time attracting women to the field, building their expertise and growing the leaders of the future.”

“Many employers have begun formal initiatives to increase female representation in leadership roles, including establishing sponsorship programs. Those initiatives should be applauded; however, more needs to be done to establish informal measures to address inequality at work. Discrimination lurks in all aspects of employment, from being overlooked to contribute to an interesting project or to attend post-work drinks. In order to effectively target inequality, employers need to address the issues faced by female and transgender employees. Further, employers need to tie eligibility for management positions and other rewards to employees’ demonstrated adherence to values such as equality and inclusion.”

Specialist, education and training The 519

Chief people officer Capital One Canada

Partner Rubin Thomlinson

LEVELLING THE PLAYING FIELD While the Canadian labour market has one of the OECD’s smallest gender employment gaps, the average full-time working woman in Canada still only earns 81 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterpart – a gap that has altered little over the course of the last decade. That figure puts Canada below the average gender pay gap of 85.7 cents to the dollar across the OECD. The state of parental leave can be seen as a component of the disparity: While leave in Canada is shareable between parents, women often end up taking the lion’s share to lessen the economic impact on the family. The introduction of dedicated paid parental leave specifically for fathers, coupled with an increase in the benefits paid out, could help to address this.


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A few high-potential heroes can’t save your business.

Fortunately, they aren’t the only ones with potential.

At DDI, we are the leadership experts who will help you unleash potential in your people, within your teams, and across the full force of your organization. Find out how 4

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The future of work

Canada 47.0%

The world of work is in transition, and the pace of change will likely only gather speed TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION has already dramatically changed the way we conduct business – and, going forward, the manner in which humans use technology will be the driving factor that determines what the working world will look like. For example, through the use of technology that’s currently available, some countries could see up to 55% of full-time positions eliminated. Worldwide,


of workers worldwide believe technology can never replace the human mind


of employees are prepared to upskill or retrain to ensure future employability

this translates to the loss of more than a billion full-time-equivalent jobs. But workers aren’t unprepared for this shift. More than 80% of respondents to a PwC survey said they possess attributes such as adaptability and problem-solving – traits that will become more valuable as the constant evolution of work requires people to contribute in ways that make the best use of their talents.


of workers think technology will improve their future job prospects


of employees believe upskilling is their responsibility, not the employer’s

United States 45.8%

Mexico 51.8% HOW MUCH WORK CAN BE AUTOMATED NOW? According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the equivalent of 1.2 billion full-time positions, accounting for US$14.6 trillion in wages, could be automated by adapting current technology across the globe. In most countries, roughly half of workers’ time is currently spent on activities with the technical potential for automation, although in some countries (such as Peru, Thailand and Japan), that figure is already above the 50% mark.

Source: Workforce of the Future: The Competing Forces Shaping 2030, PwC, 2017



Of the skills likely to be in short supply in the future, executives surveyed by Mercer said they were most concerned about a leadership shortfall.

The one constant in the future world of work is likely to be change – nearly all aspects of work will continue to experience transformation, and organizations will need to evolve rapidly to keep pace.


Administration Finance Legal UNDERSUPPLY

IT/technology Core operations/service delivery Leadership Marketing Sales Source: Mercer Global Talent Trends Study: Empowerment in a Disrupted World, 2017


Constant change Change will come to characterize nearly all aspects of work

Fluid work The changing nature of work will require people to adapt their talents to suit the job

Collaboration Creating value in a complex world will entail working closely with others

Keeping ahead of machines Enhancements to machines will shift focus to things that only humans can do

Diversity Diverse ways of thinking are necessary to keep ahead

Working with machines Collaboration between people and machines will lead the future of work

Source: The Commonwealth Bank Jobs and Skills of the Future Report, 2017

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Russia 50.3%

Germany 47.9%

UK 42.8% Czech Republic 52.2% China 51.2%

Italy 50.3%

France 43.1%

Egypt 48.7%

Japan 55.7%

UAE 47.3%

Qatar 52.0%

Thailand 54.6% India 51.8%

Kenya 51.9%

Brazil 50.1%

South Africa 41.0%

Indonesia 51.8% Singapore 44.2% Australia 44.9%

Peru 53.2%

Source: A Future That Works: Automation, Employment, and Productivity, McKinsey Global Institute, January 2017



In today’s semi-automated world, STEM skills are in high demand as companies seek to build new automation technology; in the coming years, uniquely human qualities will likely assume greater value. Eventually, however, PwC projects that automation will evolve to a point where the need for humans at work will be questionable.

Employees are keenly aware of the need to prioritize and refine human-specific traits in order to succeed in an automated environment. ATTRIBUTES EMPLOYEES BELIEVE THEY POSSESS Adaptability

86% 85% 81% 76% 74%


Assisted intelligence TODAY Repetitive, standardized or time-consuming tasks are automated

Autonomous intelligence

Collaboration skills

Augmented intelligence


Emotional intelligence


Adaptive systems will take over decision-making

Humans and machines will collaborate to make decisions

The future of humans at work will be questioned

Creativity and innovation Leadership skills

69% 69%

Digital skills Risk management skills

Uniquely human traits will become more valuable

STEM skills

STEM skills are in demand to build new tech


Entrepreneurial skills Source: Workforce of the Future: The Competing Forces Shaping 2030, PwC, 2017

60% 50%

Source: Workforce of the Future: The Competing Forces Shaping 2030, PwC, 2017

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Extremism at work Dissenting viewpoints are often lauded in business – but what happens if an employee’s extremist views infiltrate the workplace?

WHEN SO-CALLED alt-right groups descended on Charlottesville, Virgina, last August, several of those taking part were identified on social media and subsequently lost their jobs. It was a timely, if troubling, wake-up call for employers globally: When employees are involved in causes that are distasteful or might be characterized as extreme, what can an employer do? In Canada, it’s important to be mindful of what criminal law covers. “It’s unlikely that someone will be terminated or disciplined because they’re involved in a hate crime,” says Lorenzo Lisi, partner at Aird & Berlis LLP. “If they are, that would be a terminable offence for a number of reasons, including the fact that they couldn’t show up for work because they were arrested. However, gener-

hate groups, says XpertHR legal editor David Weisenfeld. For instance, someone who believes homosexuality is immoral but otherwise is an exemplary employee would likely not fall into the category of someone who supports hate groups. Weisenfeld cites North Carolina employment attorney Robin Shea, who suggested that employers should limit defining hate groups to those that preach the racial or ethnic inferiority of others or that espouse violence. However, it’s a fine line to tread between respecting freedom of speech and protecting a company – and its employees – from harm. “Employers don’t want to be seen as stifling any dissenting view,” Weisenfeld says. “If the employee is expressing political views outwardly to customers during work hours in

“One employee saying a coworker is in a hate group doesn’t necessarily make it so ... The accuser may have an axe to grind” David Weisenfeld, XpertHR ally, if someone is guilty of a hate crime – and the criminal code is very specific about what that is – then an employer could probably take the position that those actions would undermine the relationship between the employer and the employee.” All employers must be careful in defining


a way that affects the business, then it would be a different matter.” He adds that it’s important to consider the business impact if political extremism is left unchecked, including distraction or causing top performers to look for work elsewhere. He adds that doing nothing is a decision in

itself and “could be tantamount to giving tacit approval to the political extremism.” All Canadian employers are responsible for ensuring their workplace is free of harassment and violence. An employer must treat any complaint by an employee seriously, and if the employer knows that certain employees are acting improperly or in a manner that could invoke concern about violence or harassment, then they are obligated to investigate the matter, which means making judgment calls about what is simply a difference of opinion and what might create what Lisi describes as “a poisoned work environment,” which creates an obligation to do something about it. “An employer can always terminate without cause; they can say, ‘Your comments or actions are not appropriate for our workplace,’” Lisi says. “But an employee does have a right to express themselves. Where that expression goes over the line is when it creates that kind of intimidation, harass-

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5 STEPS FOR RESPONDING TO EXTREMISM Ensure your workplace is compliant with relevant occupational health & safety legislation in your province.


Ensure your policies are distributed to your workforce so they understand what their rights are regarding a harassment-free workplace.


Take all complaints seriously. Do at least an initial triage of an investigation to ensure you understand what the nature of the allegation is and who the parties are to determine whether you want to proceed with an internal or a thirdparty investigation.


Collate all relevant information, obtain legal advice where appropriate, and determine what you’re going to do, consistent with your own policies.


Once you act, ensure you communicate to all employees what occurred and what was done so the message isn’t ‘spun.’


ment or aggression in the workplace. In these instances, an employer can take action and oftentimes will remove the employee from the workplace, even on a without-cause basis.” A common defence employees give is that their personal life has nothing to do with their work. However, in an age of social media, this argument is tenuous at best. And an

Indeed, Lisi says there have been cases in Canada of employees being terminated as a result of discriminatory or offensive comments they’ve made about other employees on social media, and arbitrators have upheld those decisions. “The employee is entitled to say, ‘This person has an open post on their Facebook

“Be sensitive to employee concerns. Don’t automatically assume anything, and don’t automatically assume guilt” Lorenzo Lisi, Aird & Berlis LLP employee who expresses their extreme views in a public social media forum “would have less of a leg to stand on,” Weisenfeld suggests. Once coworkers have seen those views, it could greatly hamper employee morale, not to mention the damage caused if customers stumble upon them.

page – they called me something that is either gender or racially offensive, or said something offensive to my religion,’ and that is actionable by an employer,” Lisi says. However, Weisenfeld urges employers to gather all the facts before taking action. “One employee saying a coworker is in a hate group

doesn’t necessarily make it so,” he says. “The complaint may be 100% legitimate, or the accuser may have an axe to grind. Either way, the employer should speak to the accused before taking disciplinary action.” Lisi advises employers to continually remind employees of their expectations regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the workplace, and to have policies that reinforce these expectations. “It’s not only important from a business perspective ... legally, if you’re not communicating those policies to your workforce and ensuring they understand, you may not have complied with your obligations at law,” he says. “Your policies are important for your employees to understand what’s right and wrong, and what the company’s response will be.” Lisi adds: “Be vigilant. Be sensitive to employee concerns. Don’t automatically assume anything, and don’t automatically assume guilt. Be measured, be responsive and, wherever possible, be confidential.”

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REWARDS/BENEFITS UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Study finds Canadian employees are less loyal According to the ADP Research Institute, 61% of Canadian employees feel the expectations they had in joining their company have been met. However, more than half (53%) said they’ve left a job because it turned out to be different than what they expected. Just 57% of Canadians are loyal to their employer, compared to 70% of employees globally. Canadians are also willing to jump ship for a much lower incentive: On average, they said they’d change jobs for a 12.2% salary increase, compared to the 15% required by workers globally. Canadians cited work hours, flexible schedule and the work itself as their top three factors for selecting a job.

Global demand for health and well-being benefits surges

In a survey of 150 HR directors worldwide, Bupa Global found that just over a quarter (26%) of staff expect more from their employer in terms of health and well-being benefits than five years ago. Respondents named international private medical insurance and flexible working hours as the most desirable benefits. When asked more specifically about looking after their health when abroad, 82% of senior executives and 90% of employees say they consider it the responsibility of their employer. Some 79% of HR directors said providing private medical insurance is an important differentiator from competitors.

Glassdoor names Canada’s best places to work

Glassdoor has announced its roundup of the best places to work in Canada for


2018, based on employee reviews and taking into consideration criteria such as staff satisfaction, company culture, benefits and work-life balance. This year’s top 10 list includes SAP, Paysafe Group, Shopify, Microsoft, Salesforce, Lululemon, Apple, Ceridian, Hydro One and Starbucks. “Employers where employees love to work continue to prove that they have a recruiting and business performance advantage,” Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman said of the results.

Aviva bolsters parental leave policy to foster greater equality

Insurance giant Aviva has announced that all of its Canadian employees will be eligible for equally paid parental leave. Aviva has promised to give all parents the same amount of paid time off work following the arrival of a new child, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or how they became a parent. Aviva is offering up to one year of leave, including 12 weeks of full pay for each parent employed with the firm. The move is part of Aviva’s new parental policy, which extends to both full-time and part-time employees.

Purpose and meaning are key to keeping employees happy The most effective approach for getting employees to promote their workplace? Aligning their role with the organization’s narrative, according to Dr. Lindsay McMillan, lead researcher at A Future That Works. McMillan added that happy employees with purpose and meaning in their work will be the best advertisement any company could possibly hope for. “Giving employees genuine purpose and meaning in the work negates the need for employee advocacy,” he said.

Don’t get caught up in ‘best practice’ While benchmarking your benefits is important, one HR leader cautions HR not to simply jump on the latest fads Many HR professionals strive to follow best practice when it comes to employee benefits, but according to one industry figure, it may be time to rethink that age-old approach. “Ignore best practice,” says Evan Bateup, who has served as Vista Group’s chief people officer since 2016. “This is too often an American construct that has little relevance to the people in your own companies.” Bateup explains that employers shouldn’t blindly follow industry trends just because a certain perk or policy is popular. Instead, they should actively explore what would work best within their own workplace. “Talk to your staff, find out what they’re after, what their goals are – personal or workrelated – what their stressors or distractors are, and what reduces their ability to focus,” he says. “Challenge your own thinking about what is and isn’t possible. You will find a lot of what they are after will not cost you a lot of money, but will make an enormous difference to how they feel valued.” Following this approach, Vista introduced a ‘career break’ policy where staff can choose to have a sabbatical of three to six months to follow any passion they have, whether that’s travelling or writing a novel. “This came from staff talking to us about where they were at, what they wanted and how they felt conflicted because they didn’t want to resign but they didn’t want to feel stuck,” Bateup says.

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Listening to employees and taking their advice can also have a major impact on attraction and retention, as many workers – particularly millennials – seek out organizations that respect and value their employees. “The wonderful thing about millennials is that it’s not all about the base salary,” Bateup says. “Their expectations are wider – they want to know the company they work for values and

“Challenge your own thinking about what is and isn’t possible” respects them. This could be [demonstrated with] benefits such as generous health insurance, wellness programs, flexibility, global mobility, career break opportunities or any of a myriad of other flexible benefits.” Of course, regularly reviewing these policies is key, as wants and needs will undoubtedly change as both the employees and the environment shift. “I don’t believe in a set cadence about this – more that it should be a continuous, iterative process,” Bateup says. “Not everything will work as you anticipate, and some will have no take-up. Having a genuine open-door policy where you want to hear what they are after and why, and then seeing what is possible before closing the loop back, is key.”



Years in the industry 25 Career highlight Becoming president of Benchmark in June 2007

Benefits for a multi-generational workforce How have employers’ perceptions of benefits packages changed in recent years? HR leaders now have a heightened awareness of the importance of addressing long-term sustainability issues, such as the high cost of biologic drugs, and also designing a benefit plan that incentivizes effective employee behaviours and healthy decisions.

How have benefits had to change to accommodate the multi-generational workforce? There has been a prevalent shift by the entrance of the millennial generation into our workplaces. I think in our younger years, we all believe ourselves to be invincible, buying into the idea that we don’t need to worry about our health. However, increasingly there’s a focus on being proactive with our overall wellness, as well as companies placing a more intensive focus on safeguarding mental health. Through health claims experience, employers have a great gateway to understand their employees’ needs and how to facilitate a plan that will ultimately reflect and bring forward a workforce that meets an organization’s vision and mission.

What can younger workers learn from their older colleagues? One of the most interesting aspects of the multi-generational workforce is the new phenomenon of knowledge transferring, namely from baby boomers to gen x. Organizations want talented older workers to stay in their ranks as long as they can, and in an effort to do so, organizations have had to rethink and adapt their benefit plans. Age of coverage termination has surpassed 65, going beyond that to anything between 70 and 85 years. As a reaction to this, some employers offer benefits into retirement, most commonly health and dental packages. HR leaders should be constantly looking at the statistics and data out there to keep at par with mature-aged workers’ wants, while balancing that with their younger colleagues’ needs. There should be a balance between the two generations.

How would you define the link between benefits and recruitment? It’s a vital part of the total compensation package. Benefits cover a significant financial risk on behalf of the employee and their dependents. If an employee has to take leave due to a disability, a percentage of his/her earnings will be covered throughout the eligible disability period. An ill spouse could have part of their medications covered, taking away some of the burden from the family’s financial needs. It’s a hugely important part of their financial well-being. When organizations talk about retention and attracting talent, a comprehensive benefits plan is the difference between securing the top tier of talent and missing out on skilled candidates.

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Why L&D isn’t just for young people Older workers are too often neglected or overlooked when it comes to L&D, says one expert

lenge and the depth of energy they’re going to have to invest in this role? Perhaps it’s a younger person’s gig.’ Knowing those people, I know that, more broadly speaking, they’re fair, they’re ethical, and they’re certainly operating with the intent to build the right team around them, so there’s often a need to challenge that thinking and that unconscious bias.”

“There is a misconception that as people get older, they struggle to adapt to new ways of working”

In 2016, individuals aged 55 and over accounted for 36% of the working-age population, the highest proportion on record. By 2026, that figure could reach 40%, according to data from the last Labour Force Survey. In light of this increasingly older Canadian workforce, HR advisor Karen Gately is calling on employers to provide greater L&D opportunities to older staff, whom she says are too often overlooked. “There is a misconception that as people get older, they struggle to adapt to new ways of working or new technology,” Gately says.


“A lot of the age discrimination I see going on in the workplace is based on an assumption that older workers are limited in their potential to learn or keep up. Those older workers might lose confidence over time and might not be putting their hand up for those learning opportunities.” Gately adds that while the assumption may be misinformed, it often comes from a well intentioned place. “I hear leaders who are in their 50s and 60s themselves reflecting on candidates, saying, ‘Well, they are older – are they really up for the chal-

Canadian companies’ L&D spend on the rise

According to the Conference Board of Canada’s latest study, Canadian employers are investing more into L&D and are catching up with their US counter­ parts. Employers spent an average of $889 per employee on L&D in the 2016–17 period, an increase of $89 from the previous year. The average Canadian employee spent 32 hours learning in the same period, compared to just 25 hours the year before. Canadian firms are now spending an average of 81 cents for every dollar spent by American companies on L&D.


Gately says if older workers aren’t pursuing L&D opportunities, HR professionals should feel obligated to intervene. “An organization cannot continue to learn and grow if it doesn’t have a learning culture where employees have an attitude that they want to challenge themselves,” she says. That learning culture, Gately adds, must be present across the entire organization. “As much as we need to support younger people in understanding the world of work, making the connections they need and finding the right path, it’s equally important to help older people find the right path for them in the later years of their career. So rather than staggering to the finish line and falling over, perhaps we can actually sprint across the line because we’re really passionate about what we’re doing.”

Today’s L&D programs often miss the mark According to new research by Bendelta, which surveyed 500 senior business leaders and their teams, the majority of organizations are not prepared to successfully compete in today’s cyberphysical age. The research found that 78% of respondents run development programs with little idea of what world-class in that capability looks like; only 5% said they have a very clear view of it. In addition, 74% of programs give participants either no feedback or sporadic, delayed feedback on how they are improving over the course of the program.

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Justin Deonarine I/O psychologist

How to improve leadership development


Years in the industry 5 Fast fact Deonarine previously led psychological evaluation teams for Canadian reality TV shows

How can organizations improve current leadership development efforts? Research consistently shows that many leadership development efforts have been deemed ineffective, and knowledge of these statistics hurts the chances of securing buy-in toward these efforts. Leaders may question the purpose of participating when they are skeptical about seeing meaningful returns, but development efforts are most effective when the individual is a willing participant. I’ve found that basing development plans around psychometric assessments to be the most effective route towards earning buy-in from the leader and developing the best action plan. Scientifically valid assessments are effective at identifying the strengths and blind spots of leaders, and often help coaches start potentially tough conversations with clients. Perhaps the leader you’re working with is skilled at developing and executing plans to move the business forward, but they aren’t as strong with their relationship-building skills and are completely unaware of this challenge. Psychometric assessments can help you start that conversation by constructively revealing those blind spots.

What will be the key qualities of an effective leader in 2018? The top leadership quality for 2018 will be selfawareness. Self-awareness is the foundation for much of quality leadership. If a leader does not accept their strengths and weaknesses, they will face many

New report identifies top soft skills and traits

A report by iCIMS has identified the top three soft skills recruiting professionals value most in a job candidate: problem-solving (62%), adaptability (49%) and time management (48%). The top three personality traits valued most in a candidate included professionalism (71%), drive (50%) and enthusiasm (49%). Recruiting professionals named customer service (67%), HR (67%) and sales/ marketing (53%) as the three main areas where soft skills are more important than hard skills.

challenges that will hinder their success. I find that 360-degree feedback assessments greatly help leaders improve their self-awareness. The concept of the empathetic leader is currently a popular trend and will continue to be so in 2018. The ability to lead diverse groups is an increasingly important skill to have, and the ability to empathize with different individuals will impact one’s ability to lead these diverse groups. Connecting these qualities together: Even if you think you’re empathizing with the needs of your team or organization, do they feel the same?

Do you have any tips for leaders on how they can inspire others in 2018? One tip would be to engage in more coaching initiatives. For example, when providing feedback to direct reports, focus on ways they can grow as a contributor, instead of how they can change their methods to better fit into the organization’s desired procedures. This will inspire your team to continue harnessing their strengths, and they will be more receptive to ideas for growth. Also, you will begin to discover the unique views, skills and insights that your direct reports bring to the team, getting to know them better. Another tip would be to provide your team with clear outcomes to aim for, but grant them the freedom to accomplish tasks however they see fit. This ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal, but it shows that you trust them enough to use their judgment to reach the goal.

New program to help immigrants land jobs

A new mentorship program, the Canadian Work Experience Initiative Evaluation Mentoring Project, aims to help newcomers to Canada get work experience in their field of expertise. The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, which will implement the pilot, will identify barriers that prevent highly skilled newcomers from obtaining Canadian work experience. It will also conduct a comparative analysis and establish a model to scale mentoring on a national level. The Canadian government is investing $490,000 in the project.

Automation and the skills that matter

The recent World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report predicts that more than one-third of the skills that will be required by 2020 are not being taught in universities and colleges today. Another report by global consulting leader Mercer indicated that digital and data analytics skills will require a strong focus as the global economy shifts to a more automated model. However, less than 10% of organizations consider themselves digital, while only 35% of executives believe HR provides a digital experience.

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Future-proof leaders An era of changing demographics demands that we rethink our leadership qualities and behaviours, writes Kylie Wright-Ford IN THE new world of work, which some refer to as the “fourth industrial revolution,” there are major disruptive forces due to the multi-generational nature of the labour market, globalization and new technology, making some roles and routines in the workplace obsolete. The ability to adapt to such an environment and constantly revisit leadership behaviours with a view to the future (not just the past) will determine the difference between companies that survive and those that thrive. Many leaders are in denial, while others are looking for answers in an age without a rule book. Future-proofing your leadership style will require developing a stellar ability to lead across generations and styles. Consider for a moment the demographic shifts we are about to experience. We will soon have four different generations in the workforce. This is certain to cause both conflict and opportunity. The conflict will come from the clashing of communication preferences and differences in motivations. The opportunity will come from being able to assemble teams across different geographies and time zones more seamlessly than ever, thanks to rapidly advancing technologies that make remote work possible, and from the ability to find people for specific tasks on demand, thanks to the large and growing freelance workforce. In conducting hundreds of interviews with executives and rising leaders to talk about what they see, hear, love and hate about the


leaders they observe, executive coach Debra Benton and I have identified four behaviours that matter for leaders of the future: dynamic, playful, unblocking and uber-communicative. Dynamic leaders enable change in themselves and others. They produce motion instead of static. They are more than just spirited and magnetic, and much more than

Unblocking refers to a leader’s ability to free their people by, for example, providing them with the tools to succeed, offering support so their efforts flourish, encouraging risk-taking where appropriate and keeping tabs on progress along the way. They help remove the barriers to progress, including legacy thinking, risk aversion and tunnel vision based on group think. People of all ages – but especially the rising generations – want to be empowered, authorized and enabled to fix the inefficiencies their predecessors created. Finally, the uber-communicative approach is potentially the most essential trait needed for the future. Uber-communicative leaders know that good communication requires a leader to both deliver a message and establish common understanding of the message, and they use many different channels to do so. While this trait is essential, in our view, it still needs a lot of attention, especially from experienced leaders who are often over-

“The ability to constantly revisit leadership behaviours with a view to the future will determine the difference between companies that survive and those that thrive” charismatic. While an important aspect of leadership used to be about change management, the leader of the future is about enabling change in processes, culture, product development and more. Playful is perhaps the most controversial of the four behaviours because to some, it may imply frivolity. In the context of the new world of work, it means having fun and trying some new things. The days of a clear line between work and non-work disappeared with the advent of the mobile device; good leaders embrace the mash-up of work and life. Playful leaders are good-humoured and build a creative and positive environment. They are approachable and do much more than simply provide free food and ping-pong tables at work.

heard moaning about the way that rising generations don’t use correct grammar or overuse emojis. In the new world of work, with the constant distraction of our devices and more diverse constituents than ever, it’s not enough to send a message and expect that everyone receives it in the same way. Leaders of the future will meet their teams’ needs and preferences for communicating, whether it is by town hall, instant message, social media, email, carrier pigeon, conference call or text.

Kylie Wright-Ford is an operating executive, advisor and board member of growth companies. Her first book is The Leadership Mind Switch.

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Human-centric leadership Aurecon’s global chief people officer, Liam Hayes, explains why human-centric leaders are critical in a globally disrupted marketplace

OVER THE past three years, HR professionals have seen elements of employee engagement evolve into something that, although similar, is perhaps even more critical: the employee experience. The employee experience takes into consideration the physical environment in which employees work, the tools and technologies that enable their productivity, and the learning opportunities they have access to – all with the end goal of ensuring employees can achieve their best at work. Redesigning the employee experience is something Aurecon’s global chief people officer, Liam Hayes, has prioritized. To help the global engineering and infrastructure advisory company achieve its ambitions, Hayes recruited an industrial designer with an innovation background to join his leadership team at the start of 2017. Her role is to embed design thinking into Aurecon’s employee experience. “If we tried to do this as an HR team, with our HR knowledge, the danger is we’d probably get a similar outcome to what we have today,” Hayes says. He adds that his team is challenging itself


to do things differently in order to engage with the end users of HR’s services. “We’re working with our senior leaders to look at this from a holistic perspective,” he says. “We’re not looking at the employee experience just from the HR point of view, but taking all elements that impact the employee experience and ensuring they align with and support the type of client experience

HRDC: Can you outline your career to this point? Liam Hayes: Technically, I’ve only worked at one company, but it has evolved during the last 15 years. I started my HR career as an intern at the end of my second year of university – it was a six-month work placement with one of Aurecon’s heritage firms, Connell Wagner. At the end of that six-month period,

“We’re entering a period of dramatic change ... Never before have we seen good people practices being so important, because today organizations need to take people on a journey” we want to deliver as a business. It is taking us down a very different path than anything we have done before.” This human-centric approach to leadership has helped shape Hayes’ career – and it has reaped dividends, culminating in him winning a Young Executive of the Year Award in July. Hayes chats with HRD about his career challenges and highlights.

they offered me a full-time HR officer role, which I accepted. I subsequently completed my degree part-time over a couple of years. I was in that position for about four years before moving up into a regional HR operations management role that covered Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East. Adding to the role, I was lucky enough to be asked by the CEO at the time to lead a

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PROFILE Name: Liam Hayes Company: Aurecon Title: Global chief people officer HR experience: 15 years Previous roles: »»Global talent and culture leader, Aurecon »»Human capital leader – ANZ and Asia, Aurecon »»Group manager, human capital operations and culture change – ANZ, Asia and Middle East, Connell Wagner »»Human capital advisor – ANZ, Asia and Middle East, Connell Wagner »»Human resources officer – ANZ and Asia, Connell Wagner Qualifications: Bachelor of business, human resources management, Victoria University; “Driving Performance Through Talent Management” course, Harvard Business School

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culture change program as part of a broader business transformation program that he was running. After a couple of years handling this function, I was appointed to the regional people leader role for our operations across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. I then moved into a global talent and culture leader capacity for around a year before moving into my current position as the global chief people officer for Aurecon.

HRDC: How did the Young Executive of the Year Award come about? LH: There were 100 nominations that were whittled down to 10 finalists and then six winners. There were two parts to being selected as a finalist. The first involved going through a pretty gruelling ‘CEO for a day’ simulation exercise. In this, we were assessed not on whatever our core capability was –

CEO, not just as an HR professional – an ability to take a broader view of a business beyond the people lens. We’re entering a period of dramatic change in which leaders will need to use a very different toolkit of skills in order to thrive in a globally disrupted marketplace. Never before have we seen good people practices being so important, because today organizations need to take people on a journey. We’ve got to embed an understanding of a new vision and changing future; we’ve got to be able to retrain people, to encourage them to adopt new skills.

HRDC: What can HR professionals do to ensure their own skills remain sharp during this time of disruption? LH: Growing your technical HR capability is always going to be important, and through

“What will really differentiate all professionals, not just HR professionals, is their ability to problem-solve and innovate” marketing, finance, HR, etc. – but rather on our competencies as a CEO and our ability to run a business. It was one of the most intense things I’ve ever done, but it was also a great learning experience. The second part was facing a rigorous panel of heavyweight business leaders in an interview. We were quizzed about our backgrounds and our career aspirations.

HRDC: The judges said all of the finalists showed emotional maturity, resilience and a genuine passion for their business, their teams and their community. Is there anything else you feel the judges saw in you personally? LH: What I talked to the judges about, and a key part of my nomination, was a focus on human-centric leadership. That came through, I think, in how I simulated running the business and my decision-making as a


this period of rapid change, you’ve got to be able to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. Personally, I do a lot of reading. We’re fortunate in this day and age to have access to a vast amount of tools and research online, and making sure you’re aware and learning from what others are doing is extremely important. I’ve always got a business book I’m reading on my iPad. But I think what will really differentiate all professionals, not just HR professionals, is their ability to problem-solve and innovate. If we look at the rise of AI and machine learning, there is no doubt that some of the tasks HR does today will be automated in some way in the future. But it’s much harder to automate someone’s knowledge, their ideas, their ability to ask the right questions and their ability to work with stakeholders, as well as innovate and develop solutions. From an HR point of view, the whole workforce of the future will look very different.

FROM LOCAL TO GLOBAL “I’ve been lucky to have worked in both regional and global roles, and I love the challenges that come with these,” Liam Hayes says. A few of his top tips for navigating those challenges: Be mindful of different cultures. One size doesn’t fit all. The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that how you might roll out an initiative in Australia is the same as what you’ll do in Asia or Africa.


Look at projects to get involved in that might give you exposure to working across geographic boundaries and different cultures.


Look for a mentor to help you navigate the challenges you will face. Go in with a learning mindset; you don’t know everything, and it’s OK to ask questions.


If we can take those problem-solving and innovation skills and work with our client groups, we have a huge opportunity to shape and drive this workforce of the future.

HRDC: What are you doing to shape the future workforce of Aurecon? LH: One thing we’re doing as a business and in our people team at Aurecon is building this capability by applying and developing concepts around design thinking. We are using design thinking to reimagine our employee experience. Last year as a people team, we went out and asked some of our clients about the attributes they believe Aurecon people will need to have in the future. Based on what we gained from those interviews, we developed what we call the eight Aurecon Attributes. We look for these attributes when we’re recruiting people into the business, and we aim to build teams embodying all eight attributes in order to solve client problems. We’ve created a whole new people development framework around those attributes to help people grow their future capabilities.

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Successful organizational design Brenda Barker Scott outlines the key aspects of effective organizational design for the 21st century AS TECHNOLOGY and automation continue to have an increasingly significant impact on the world, organizations are being forced to rethink their strategies and redesign their structures. The world of business is growing more and more competitive; as a result, organizations across all industries must find ways to boost efficiencies and differentiate themselves from the crowd. Effective organizational design is rapidly

her own home. Barker Scott, who is an instructor on a number of programs at the Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre, including “Designing Collaborative Workplaces,” “Organizational Design” and “Organization Development Foundations,” instantly noticed a parallel between her professional life and her attempts to build her dream home. “We really wanted to build a house that

“Designs with steep hierarchies, centralized authority and narrowly defined jobs are hopelessly out of date” Brenda Barker Scott, Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre becoming a fundamental aspect of enabling successful companies to continue achieving good results. The very nature of work is changing, and organizations that recognize this and commit to analyzing and, if necessary, altering their organizational design have a good chance of remaining both relevant and successful in the new age of business. When Brenda Barker Scott started working in the organizational design space many years ago, she also happened to be working with an architect to design and build


would take of advantage of our resources and fit within the external environment, but also meet the needs of our family,” Barker Scott says. “That is exactly what I am doing when I help an organization design their most ideal structure. I don’t go to them with five different designs that might fit their business or industry; I start with their needs. From there, we figure how best to frame the key building blocks of good organizational design for their specific situation.” Just as an architect needs to understand a

client’s needs and desires before starting to design a home, Barker Scott says an organization eager to embrace change must consider some key questions in order to get a clear and holistic picture of their needs and capabilities: What are the performance drivers? What capabilities need to be developed and honed? How do resources need to be shared? Who needs to link with whom? What mindsets and protocols are required, and who decides? “Good design incorporates these relational, procedural and social elements – the DNA, so to speak – to ensure that people are grouped and linked, as well as led and supported, to focus on the core work,” says Barker Scott, who co-authored the book Building Smart Teams: A Roadmap to High Performance and graduated with a master of industrial relations degree from Queen’s. “Just like a building is composed of many design elements that must fit together – from the plumbing to the electrical to eventually the curtains – so too do the design tests combine to create a holistic foundation for design. With the strategic goals as the base foundation, the tests combine to support the right types of work, capability development, flexibility, coordination, accountability, lead­ ership and motivation.”

The key to good design One of the key aspects of organizational design is alignment. An organization can have a well thought out and proven strategy, but without meaningful connection and engagement or the right resources or relationships, the strategy is ultimately just a piece of paper. Rather than creating a level of cohesion that enables an organization to frame core work, an ineffective structural design creates a friction that is detrimental to employee happiness and organizational success. “With global, technological and social trends dramatically altering customer expectations for quality, service, timeliness and innovation, new organizational forms are evolving to enable greater innovation, speed and flexibility,” Barker Scott says. “Designs with steep hierarchies, centralized authority

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and narrowly defined jobs are hopelessly out of date. From Lars Kolind’s spaghetti organization to Gareth Morgan’s organic network, the DNA of these new forms is dramatically different from that of the traditional bureaucracy – they are entirely different entities.” For any forward-thinking organization that wants to rethink its design, Barker Scott recommends first ‘living’ the design process. Select a team, department or division in the organization as a case study, and then get a clear handle on the events, trends and developments that are impacting this team’s success and viability. When the designers are firmly rooted in the things that are driving the redesign effort, they can test the fitness of their current design to meet those challenges and opportunities.

Avoiding cracks Common design issues, also known as cracks, include an inability to adapt, role confusion, duplication of work, poor relationships, unclear authority, insufficient resources and, in some cases, an inability to focus on the core value-added work. In order to test the fitness of the design structure, Barker Scott has developed a series of organizational effectiveness tests related to the core capabilities that every organization should develop, hone and align. Fit for strategy test: Does your design enable staff to focus on and achieve your strategy – the core value-added work? Flexibility test: Does your design enable people to adapt as necessary to day-to-day shifts, fluctuating workloads, customer needs and developing strategies? Capabilities and resources test: Does your design focus resources on and enable the execution of required capabilities? Relationships test: Does your design permit seamless and easy interactivity between areas that need to cooperate and collaborate?

“As designers reflect on each test, they will identify the design issues, or cracks, that need to be addressed via the design process” Brenda Barker Scott, Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre Accountability test: Do people know who has accountability for what? Are they enabled to make decisions and act? People test: Do we understand the job roles that are critical to organizational success (pivotal roles for now and in the near future)? Are we able to fill them with talented and motivated people? Leadership test: Do our leaders at each level of the hierarchy add value through a knowledge or coordination or performance coaching benefit? Do our leaders infuse the organization with a common performance spirit? Feasibility test: Do we understand, and are we operating within, the finan-

cial, technological, legislative or resource constraints bounding our organization? “As designers reflect on each test, they will identify the design issues, or cracks, that need to be addressed via the design process,” Barker Scott says. “Depending on the focus, breadth and depth of the design issues identified, the work may require fine-tuning within a unit or a full-blown examination of multiple units and levels. If, for example, the current organizational form does not easily permit people to focus on the right work or to develop core capabilities or to coordinate activities, the scope of the work will be quite broad. On the other hand, if the current form permits the right kinds of work focus, flexibility and connectivity, but blocks accountability, then accountability will be the primary focus.”

ABOUT QUEEN’S IRC Changing demographics, new technologies and a globally competitive market are transforming the work we do and the way we do it. How do you keep up with the skills and tools needed to manage and thrive in this evolving business environment? Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre [IRC], a professional development unit within the Faculty of Arts & Science, delivers programs in labour relations, human resources and organizational development, based on more than 75 years of experience and research. Our programs are led by industry leaders and designed for busy practitioners who want to directly apply their knowledge to their work environment. Human resources: Learn how to build and engage teams in multi-disciplinary environments, manage change, and transform key HR data into business strategy. Labour relations: Develop the skills to effectively handle disputes and negotiations, build trust, and manage unionized environments. Organizational development: Diagnose organizational challenges, explore design issues and develop robust solutions. Choose from two- to five-day open enrolment programs delivered across Canada or customized on-site training solutions that address your organization’s specific needs. We also offer certificate programs in advanced human resources, organizational development, labour relations and advanced labour relations for professionals who want to continue to develop their skills and contribute to their organization’s success. Why Queen’s IRC? • Opportunities to network with high-level colleagues from across the country • Coaching from internationally renowned facilitators with real-world experience • Experiential programming to test theories and ideas • Skills and strategies that directly apply to work environments • Mentoring beyond classroom sessions Learn more at

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Fostering D&I in the workplace As sexual harassment continues to dominate headlines, Michael Horvat outlines why equal opportunity, not just equal treatment, is both a legal and social expectation for businesses ORGANIZATIONS FOSTER diversity and inclusion for a variety of reasons, including to promote fairness, retain and internally advance talent, and reflect the demographics of their client base. At the same time, there are daily reports about the inappropriate treatment of women, harassment of subordinates and marginalization. While the current

equal treatment, is becoming a legal and social expectation, and it must be presented and pursued as an immediate goal, not just a far-off objective. Diversity and inclusion policies are now a C-suite issue, and they must reflect the company’s internal business values and minimize risk and exposure, both financial and reputational.

Revised legislation and changing expectations are putting pressure on employers. But simply adding policies is not enough focus has been on complaints arising out of film, television, media and politics, all employers must be prepared for the day that a complaint reaches their desk. Every workplace should consider creating a diversity and inclusion policy. Such policies not only acknowledge and address the necessary and growing legal requirements related to accommodation, harassment and sexual harassment, but also meet the growing social expectation among employees (particularly millennials) that employers will eliminate barriers that impede full inclusivity in the workplace. Providing equal opportunity, not just


Why it matters Any company that is not ready to address issues of harassment and sexual harassment (whether in the workplace, on social media or even outside of work hours), as well as the inclusion, accommodation and internal advancement of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and LGBTQI2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersexual and two-spirit) people, could find their business fundamentally impacted. Top employees could leave, the company’s reputation could suffer, and business could decline, all of which affect the bottom line.

Appropriate policies, training and enforcement are the first step to not only changing workplace culture, but also to ensuring it reflects how a company wants to engage with its employees, customers and stakeholders. The development and implementation of policies that promote diversity and inclusion can create a virtuous cycle of positive reinforcement. Diversity among management expands the scope of personal and professional experience relating to discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace; provides a more open and welcoming environment to address and resolve complaints; avoids or limits prejudice and bias when making personnel decisions; and potentially creates an environment in which difficult decisions can be made more easily, on the basis that such action or misconduct is simply not part of the company’s DNA. Kimberley Thomas, affiliated independent counsel to Aird & Berlis, provides advice to the firm on Indigenous matters. When asked about the first step employers should take to create a more inclusive workplace for

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Indigenous team members, Thomas said, “Indigenous people are growing at a population rate that is four times faster than the rest of Canadian society, according to Statistics Canada. Indigenous people bring a unique worldview to their professions and can offer creative problem-solving and strategic thinking, which adds to a company’s bottom line. Employers must consider the Indigenous people on their teams and foster an environment where Indigenous values are part of the work culture.” Addressing workplace culture is also a key message from Helen Kennedy, the executive director of the EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust. In a recent webinar offered by Aird & Berlis on gender roles in leadership, Kennedy provided some tips and resources for employers who are looking to enhance their diversity and inclusion strategies for LGBTQI2S people. “In-person training and policy review are key to creating safer and accepting workplaces that foster inclusivity and diversity,” Kennedy said. “Policies around gender identity and gender expression in the workplace

are changing rapidly, and there is a need for employers to stay up-to-date with today’s workforce. This, of course, is only the beginning, and employers should invite feedback, talk to their team, review their documented policies and ensure they are nurturing the success of this initiative on all levels.”

Leading from the top Aird & Berlis launched its own diversity and inclusion program just over a year ago. The partners of the firm appointed Corrine Kennedy as diversity and inclusion partner. When asked for her input on what she believes corporate leaders can do to educate themselves on diversity and inclusion matters today, Kennedy said, “My biggest concern in working to build a diversity and inclusion strategy was: Where do I start? Certainly, the process can feel overwhelming. Organizations can start by actively communicating with and understanding their stakeholders, both internal and external. Whose voices are not currently being heard or built into our decision-making processes? What barriers are preventing certain employees from

reaching their full potential or being their authentic selves at work? “Moreover, information sharing has to be an ongoing process. As we move forward with initiatives, it has been critical to get feedback from as broad a cross-section of stakeholders as possible. You’ll be surprised how much people are willing to invest in that process when they feel like the intentions are authentic. In addition, getting a sense of what I didn’t know about diversity and inclusion was both a humbling experience and a useful starting point. I have found it necessary to get comfortable with key concepts, including various forms of unconscious bias and change management models. “Ultimately, however, I keep reminding myself that it is a process,” Kennedy concluded. “To be effective and enduring, change requires a thoughtful approach, extensive planning, widespread buy-in and long-term commitment throughout an organization – particularly, though not exclusively, from the top. Resolve to keep at it, maintain flexibility to respond to challenges and celebrate the small victories. Anything that keeps lines of communication open, conversations going and strategy evolving is a win for your workplace.”

More than policies alone Revised legislation and changing expectations are putting pressure on employers. But simply adding policies is not enough. Those policies will have a greater impact and a more faithful following when implemented within a corporate culture that recognizes, accepts and promotes diversity of people and thought. Absent thoughtful application, such policies are in danger of suffocating in a vacuum of indifference or neglect, leaving companies legally and financially at risk, and their reputation exposed. Michael Horvat is a partner in the workplace law group at Aird & Berlis LLP. He can be reached at or 416-8654622. For more information on Aird & Berlis’ complimentary HRPA-accredited webinars and newsletters, or to register for the firm’s annual Workplace Law Summit, please email

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Evolving mindsets, evolving businesses It’s time to harness the power of the Inclusion Generation, writes Kim Tabac, chief talent officer for Deloitte Canada ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS the globe are anticipating the next generation of business leaders to enter their doors: millennials. It seems that while many businesses in the marketplace are talking about and preparing for the shift, this ‘new’ generation (composed of those born after 1982) has already made its way to our firm, making up more than 70% of Deloitte Canada’s practitioner base. Having millennials within our offices has given us a head start on better understanding the type of talent experience they’re looking for. These educated, tech-savvy, hungry millennials are looking to grow their careers, and they have vastly different expectations than the generations that came before them when it comes to how they work, how they are valued, and perhaps most important, how they feel inspired and included by their employer. In addition to this firsthand experience, Deloitte has conducted extensive research on both millennials and inclusion in the workplace over the past several years. Although all generations value inclusion, we’re seeing that millennials place much greater emphasis on its importance. It’s why at Deloitte, we often refer to them as the Inclusion Generation. Our research tells us that almost 50% of millennials consider diversity and inclusion an important component of their job search criteria. Interestingly, since this generation expects an inclusive work environment, we’ve seen that they are more likely to notice the absence of inclusion in the workplace than when it exists. As HR professionals, we know that inclusion is no longer simply the right thing to do,


– it’s the smart thing to do. How employers approach and manage inclusion will only increase in importance as millennials become more prominent in the workplace. Having an inclusive culture is critical when attracting top talent, and we know that organizations that bring together people with a variety of experiences, mindsets and skill sets often outperform the rest.

as likely to associate inclusion with a variation of backgrounds, educations, skill sets and mindsets as they would with a variation in skin colour, religion and ethnicity.

Creating an inclusive culture The time for organizations to stop planning for the future arrival of millennials and to start making changes is now. Based on our own

Whereas previously inclusion has typically pointed to sociocultural traits ... millennials describe an inclusive environment as one where there is a high variety of ideas and work styles Inclusion as defined by millennials It’s important that organizations understand how millennials define inclusion, since this generation’s definition has shifted what the term now means in the corporate arena. Whereas previously inclusion has typically pointed to sociocultural traits, today we see millennials describe an inclusive environment as one where there is a high variety of ideas and work styles. This means that they are just

experiences and the research Deloitte has conducted, we’ve identified three areas where we believe businesses can shift their focus to begin creating the inclusive cultures millennials are seeking, as well as the actions they can take to reach this illustrious goal.


Disrupt leadership

Millennials, like generations before, want the opportunity to grow and enhance

AND AFTER THE MILLENNIALS CAME GEN Z… As companies are focusing their efforts on millennials, there’s an even newer group of employees entering the workforce: Generation Z, or as some have called them, centennials. Early research shows that, similar to millennials, Gen Z wants to have a voice in the future of their work. They too want to be involved in the thinking and ideas around improving inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Only time will tell what the impact of these individuals – currently aged 18 and younger – will have on the corporate landscape and creating inclusive cultures.

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their capabilities. Leadership positions in many organizations are held primarily by experienced generations; however, we’re seeing that the businesses that engage deeply with younger workers to understand how they want to grow as leaders are fostering some of the most inclusive workplaces. More often, we’re seeing yesterday’s corporate hierarchy become today’s flat landscape – an environment where different generations can work, learn and grow together. At Deloitte Canada, our people have opportunities to lead at every level. These aren’t just on the job alongside experienced professionals, but in the classroom with learning and development opportunities, and in the community as well. Take action: Identify and provide opportunities for millennials to lead earlier in their careers. This might mean giving them the chance to spearhead projects with support from senior leaders, using them as ‘reverse mentors’ to help experienced executives learn about new hot trends or simply promoting them into leadership positions faster.


Create a sense of belonging – put all ideas on the table

With the Inclusion Generation, it’s less about

counting and cataloguing differences, and more about valuing how different people come together to work and achieve common goals. That’s why it’s important to millennials to have diverse thinkers within a group, all sharing their different perspectives and ideas. It’s what we call ‘unite to include’ at Deloitte Canada, and it’s how we ensure we foster an environment where all of our people feel respected, valued and productive. As a firm, we celebrate our differences, and we want our people to be their true, authentic selves. Take action: Capitalize on the Inclusion Generation’s thinking, and encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds, educations, experiences and mindsets to work together. This can help generate incredible ideas and results for your organization.

Offer flexibility and autonomy – individualize the employee experience


We’re seeing more organizations today shifting away from hard and fast dress codes, punching time cards, and strictly defined work arrangements. Research shows that for millennials, flexible working arrangements support greater productivity and employee engagement while enhancing their personal well-being, health

and happiness. It’s time for organizations to stop assuming what’s best for their people as a whole and start letting their people define the possibilities themselves. We encourage our people at Deloitte Canada to work in the way that works best for them. We describe it as ‘your work, your way,’ and it’s how we support our people to more quickly achieve the impact they seek, both inside and outside of our office walls. Take action: Aim to create conditions that allow creativity and inspiration to flourish. Think about the ways you can build an inclusive culture where individually designed workstyles are accepted. This could mean flexible work hours and innovative workspaces, or empowering your people to take sabbaticals and have more control over the time they spend with family and pursuing passion projects. Truly inclusive cultures are those that enable their employees to connect, belong and grow. Organizations must ensure they’re creating inclusive cultures with strong foundational elements not only for millennials, but also for future generations. Note: Information in this article reflects the research and results from three Deloitte sources: the “Outcomes Over Optics” inclusion report, the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey and the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report.

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27/02/2018 4:34:23 AM

HRTechSummit T O





THE ULTIMATE STOP IN NORTH AMERICA FOR ALL HR PROFESSIONALS TO DISCOVER INNOVATIONS IN HR TECH! WHY ATTEND:  Network with over 1500 HR Professionals and Technology innovators  Unparalleled learning and networking opportunities at the upcoming event  Uncover two separate conference programs catering to all HR professionals featuring a contemporary trade expo, interactive workshops, thought-leadership interviews, engaging activities, Tech Den, Tech Talk Stage, and Disruption Ally  Hear innovative ideas about AI and machine learning, automation, blockchain, HR analytics, D&I tech and much more




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 Valid for vendors/solution providers  Two Day Collaboration Pass  Access to the Collaboration Zone (CZ)  Option to arrange vendor meetings  Access to Expo Hall  Full Hospitality

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Tech Talk Pass  Valid for HR professionals  Expo Stage Sessions – Tech Talks  Access to Expo Hall  Full Hospitality

27/02/2018 4:34:46 AM





Head of Strategic Workforce Planning Facebook

Founder Tenfold & The Talent Agency

Advisor/Evangelist/Investor in People Technologies, Digital Transformation, Management Consulting; Co-Founder & Partner, People Conscience




Managing Director of Work & Learning, MaRS Discovery District

Global SVP, Human Resources

Globally Recognized and Respected Influencer, Speaker, and Writer on Workforce Analytics, Data-driven HR, and the Future of Work; Global Director, People Analytics Solutions, IBM Watson Talent



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In a year marked by relentless change, the HR professionals on HRDC’s annual Hot List thrived, thanks to resilience, innovation and a can-do attitude MANAGING THE people-related needs of major acquisitions. Being D&I advocates for under-represented minority groups. Recruiting hundreds of new employees within tight timeframes. Relaunching brands while dealing with major industry disruption. These are just a few of the major accomplishments achieved by this year’s group of stellar HR professionals. HRDC’s annual Hot List has become a byword for HR excellence and best practice. The 27 professionals profiled here continue to enhance the reputation of HR both


within their own businesses and the wider business world. This group would no doubt agree that it’s a fascinating, if not slightly daunting, time to be in the profession. After years of struggle to be taken seriously at executive and board level, most HR professionals are today acting as trusted advisors to their businesses. Indeed, it’s remarkable how many people listed on this year’s Hot List mentioned the importance of being seen not just as HR professionals – and therefore being good at the ‘people stuff’ – but also being good at

business, period. HR professionals today must look through a lens that views their role in the context of broader business operations. They must know the key business drivers while also excelling at all items traditionally viewed as HR’s responsibility. From breakthrough strides in D&I to handling delicate workplace negotiations and ensuring their teams keep up with both technology and changing employee expectations, the members of this year’s Hot List are all talented, passionate and successful business leaders.

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Kathy Enros


Aecon Group

Gordana Terkalas


Air Canada

Arielle Meloul-Wechsler


Bank of Canada

Alexis Corbett


Bennett Jones LLP

Daryl Refvik



Anne-Marie Ostiguy


Deloitte Canada

Kim Tabac



Tania Oppedisano


HomEquity Bank

Lori Sone-Cooper


Horizon North Logistics

Ben Bazinet


Igloo Software

Kristen Ruttgaizer



Kristin Coulombe


KPMG Canada

Soula Courlas



Avery Francis



Anna Crane




Lisa Butler


SVP, human resources

O2E Brands

Jerry Gratton


Platinum Investments

Jennifer Vantuil


Royal Bank of Canada

Zabeen Hirji


SAP Canada

Agnes Garaba



Cheryl Stargratt


The Little Potato Company

Susan Vann


Town Shoes

Kelly Davis


Ubisoft Toronto

Poonam Tewari


Ultimate Software

Vivian Maza


Vision 7 International

Yee Makowich


Kaitlyn Apfelbeck



In 2017, HomEquity Bank experienced a year of unprecedented growth. Lori Sone-Cooper and the HR team were at the forefront of the accompanying transformation by hiring 100 new employees, providing support for the business transformation and leading a large facilities expansion, all of which were needed to accommodate the company’s significant growth trajectory. The team also worked to enhance the talent acquisition and L&D functions, which were key to maintaining highly engaged employees and effectively contributed to the company’s impressive 36% growth. For 2018, Sone-Cooper and her team are looking to implement a new HCM/payroll system with mobile functionality for employees. The team also plans to implement a new organization-wide culture survey that will provide the insights needed to cultivate a culture that can support continuous growth amid evolving employment trends.


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Since 2014, Kaitlyn Apfelbeck has brought impressive knowledge and leadership to, a company that connects businesses to voice-over actors and artists. In the past 12 months alone, Apfelbeck has been promoted to HR director, joined the executive team and participated in the raising of venture capital, which resulted in an $18 million investment from Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital in June 2017. As director of HR, Apfelbeck specializes in team management, full-cycle recruitment, strategic planning, coaching and mentoring, as well as legislation compliance. Given that one of’s aims is to revolutionize a 100-year-old industry, the biggest challenge for Apfelbeck is to ensure that all team members remain focused on the key goals and big picture in order to implement the aggressive growth plan that has been mapped out for the next few years. As such, change management will continue to be a key focus for the HR team. “The main challenge we’ve faced through the years is entering – and becoming a leader in – a market made up of professionals who are accustomed to the traditional way of doing things,” Apfelbeck says.

DARYL REFVIK National director, human resources BENNETT JONES

Law firm Bennett Jones keeps going platinum – literally. The firm was named an Aon Platinum Level Best Employer in Canada again in 2018, marking the 16th consecutive year Bennett Jones has been selected a Best Employer. National HR director Daryl Refvik, who has been with the firm for more than 30 years, has been a key part of Bennett Jones’ success. He’s helped create a culture that’s been described as creative, collegial and influential with clients. Continuous learning is highly valued at Bennett Jones, which is critical during a time of significant disruption for the legal industry. While this disruption has created opportunities to serve clients more effectively, constantly evolving new technologies also bring HR challenges. “Adapting means moving with the changes, using technology to the greatest advantage and being transparent with employees,” Refvik says. In addition to overseeing all HR functions for the firm in Canada and in its international offices, Refvik is active in the HR community locally and globally through the Association of Legal Administrators and the ALA’s Calgary chapter.



Kristen Ruttgaizer has a problem shared by most other HR professionals operating in the tech industry: ensuring her company’s talent strategy keeps up with the rapid pace of change. In order to scale seamlessly, the Igloo HR team has focused on refining the company’s recruitment efforts, onboarding program and succession planning. “With the tech industry in the Kitchener-Waterloo area growing quickly, we’re competing against our fellow small and mid-sized tech companies for talent,” Ruttgaizer says. “Our recruitment efforts have been branching into different industries other than software for our technical positions, and it is definitely paying off. We’ve had a number of recent hires from different industries, and they are offering new ways of thinking, rounding out Igloo’s overall success.” Critical to this success has been HR’s position within the company. Ruttgaizer has aimed to build solid consultative relationships with the leaders of Igloo. By developing and delivering on strategic quarterly objectives, Igloo’s HR team is viewed as a key stakeholder in organizational discussions.

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Always looking to what’s next, Avery Francis works with leading startups to navigate the world of talent, drive diversity initiatives and develop a creative culture. Francis is passionate about building inclusive work environments and often speaks at industry events. Her 30 speaking engagements over the past year included a talk at the DisruptHR conference, where she shared her experience with sexual harassment in the workplace. “Although it was difficult, it was an important step in my journey to recovery,” she says. “The amount of support I received that evening was overwhelming and so moving … I’m hoping that by sharing my experience, it will encourage other people to do the same.” Francis believes it’s imperative for leading talent professionals at all levels to embrace the challenging landscape in HR today, lean into difficult and complicated conversations, and strive to do better by the constantly growing and evolving workforce. Not surprisingly, given that her company specializes in insurance and health benefits, a major focus for Francis in 2018 is a new initiative called Jumpstart, which will offer wellness programs for employers to help keep their employees active and healthy.

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27/02/2018 5:59:08 AM


SPECIAL REPORT ANNA CRANE Director of human resources LUMENIX

With more than 15 years of experience in senior HR roles in both early-stage and global corporate environments, Anna Crane knows how important solid HR foundations are to any business. Since joining lighting specialist Lumenix, her focus has been on both building a solid foundation and introducing innovative initiatives to support the growth of the business. She started by working to strengthen existing practices in relation to HR systems, policies, compensation and benefits, and talent acquisition. Since then, Crane and the management team have been able to deliver a consistent message to employees and also hear their feedback in a thoughtful manner. In 2017, Crane focused on how the company can adapt to its evolving workforce. Lumenix expects to accelerate its growth plans in 2018, which means Crane will be working to preserve the company culture among existing staff while also ensuring buy-in from new employees.


Cheryl Stargratt had a landmark year in 2017. She was awarded the prestigious Canadian HR Leader of the Year Award at the Canadian HR Awards in September – the perfect capstone to her efforts in developing a new people strategy for Tangerine. The bank’s multi-year people strategy was developed in the context of an organization with an evolving strategic plan, fragmented HR processes and a significant need to align people plans to support business growth. The strategy aspires to transform Tangerine through its people, and included the creation of a Tangerine Leadership Academy. Through the Leadership Academy, Tangerine strives to invest strategically in its employees and equip them with a range of capabilities to shape, influence and lead with purpose. Additional work from Stargratt – whose impressive HR career includes stints at Becton Dickinson, Virgin Mobile, Nike and Walmart – in developing Tangerine competencies, known as Orange iQs, have further helped to define Tangerine’s culture. The Orange iQs were created in partnership with a working group of employees and relate to how Tangerine’s promises (“We dare. We care. We share. We deliver”) translate into everyday behaviour. Effective in 2017, the Orange iQs became part of Tangerine’s talent acquisition process, as well as every employee’s performance review and development plan.


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27/02/2018 5:59:11 AM

LISA BUTLER Chief talent and diversity officer MANULIFE

Manulife entered a new era in 2017 with the addition of a new CEO and his subsequent appointment of a new leadership team. Lisa Butler played a key role in this leadership transition, which she lists as one of her biggest achievements of the past year. Additionally, Manulife’s leaders across the globe are embracing unconscious bias training and leading the way with strong messages relating to D&I. The company has launched a PROUD Hong Kong chapter and a new VIBE [Valuing the Inclusion of Black Employees] Toronto chapter, and Manulife’s inclusion index scores place the company in the top quartile on Aon Hewitt’s Engagement Survey. Elsewhere, the Manulife Vitality programs in the US and Canada and Manulife Move in Asia are great examples of how the company is using innovation and technology to incentivize and reward customers for healthy living by doing something as simple as monitoring their daily fitness levels on their Apple Watch. Asked what’s in store for 2018, Butler doesn’t hesitate: “Speed and agility!” She adds that this will involve greater collaboration with Manulife colleagues across the globe, learning and applying new skills, and learning from customers.

KATHY ENROS Vice-president, talent ACL

Since joining ACL as vice-president of talent in October 2014, Kathy Enros has had a major impact on the company, transforming the culture through the engagement, development and retention of highly sought-after professionals in the tech, governance, risk and

compliance industries. Through a detailed branding plan that includes the use of social media, community involvement and industry events, Enros and her team have witnessed a 127% increase in inbound job applications and a 74% reduction in time to hire. Thanks to their focused efforts, the team has also managed to double employee satisfaction rates and decrease turnover by more than 50%. Given the growing demand for tech talent and the limited pool of local talent, one of Enros’ priorities is to partner with other tech firms to bring awareness to government agencies about the need to attract talent from other markets, which will possibly lead to the easing of immigration processes. Outside of her duties at ACL, Enros volunteers as an advisor on HR issues for startups and has appeared on many expert panels to share best-practice insights. She has also presented at multiple HR and recruitment conferences.

GORDANA TERKALAS Vice-president, human resources AECON GROUP

As the private-sector partner for the L.F. Wade International Airport redevelopment project in Bermuda, sponsored by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, Aecon is responsible for the development, financing, and long-term operation and maintenance of the 40-month project. The project has posed many challenges for Aecon’s HR team, including the transitioning of staff from one entity to the other. As VP of HR, Gordana Terkalas was responsible for structuring the transition strategy into several key segments, including organizational design, talent acquisition, development and assessment, and HR infrastructure. For OD, the team leveraged the prior operating model to further enhance the new terminal model, highlighting core competencies and capabilities critical to ongoing success. In terms of HR infrastructure, Terkalas was responsible for developing everything from base compensation and variable pay structures to insurance and pension plans and retirement programs, and for setting up policies on salary administration, general employment, recruitment and performance management.

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27/02/2018 5:59:14 AM



SUSAN VANN Vice-president, human resources THE LITTLE POTATO COMPANY

Susan Vann and her team are keen to maintain the culture of a company that has sustained a year-over-year growth rate of 25% to 30%, especially in light of the launch of the organization’s first facility in the US. For Vann, understanding the disruptive nature of exponential growth is key to achieving continuous success. To ensure consistency and stability, Vann ensures that the same principles The Little Potato Company applies in nurturing, tending and harvesting its crops are extended to how it hand-picks, fosters and grows its people. This means building an environment of learning and development for all team members, and grooming employees to accomplish not just organizational goals, but also their personal goals. In 2018, Vann expects to focus more on engaging employees who are doing remote work to help them remain attuned to the company’s business plan and culture, and to continue attracting and retaining leaders who are able to bring new experiences and expertise to the business to identify and seize opportunities for further growth.


Kelly Davis spent 2017 preparing Town Shoes for acquisition. Today, the company is more than three-quarters through the process of its acquisition by Columbus, Ohio-based shoe-store chain DSW; the US and Canadian teams recently held their first integrated strategy session. Because traditional bricks-and-mortar retail is experiencing constant disruption thanks to online shopping, Town Shoes’ HR team is working with an innovation group at DSW headquarters to discuss advanced innovation ideas for retail, including new shopping experiences and artificial intelligence. Davis and her team have also been doing extensive work around instilling a sense of purpose among employees, including the company’s recent national campaign to support ongoing movements against gender-based violence. Town Shoes’ #LaceUpSpeakOut charity campaign involves all stores selling orange shoelaces and asking people to #LaceUpSpeakOut about gender-based violence. Davis’ priorities for 2018 include successfully completing the DSW acquisition, managing the impact of the minimum-wage changes in Ontario and Alberta without impacting customer service levels, completing pay equity, and retaining top talent throughout this time of significant change.

ALEXIS CORBETT Managing director of HR and chief HR officer BANK OF CANADA

In undertaking the process of modernizing the Bank of Canada’s HR function in late 2015, Alexis Corbett knew it would require the HR team to scale up in order to meet the ambitious goals that were set. Thus, for the past 18 months, Corbett has been focused on the training and development of the HR staff on all fronts.

Corbett and other HR leaders created a multi-pronged development plan to support the team in terms of innovation and engagement, along with an HR innovation strategy that highlighted the prioritized areas of improvement. These led to specific training initiatives for process and project leads, along with participation of all staff on a process improvement activity. The HR leaders also piloted bank-wide training on coaching and feedback, and restructured leadership meetings to include monthly development sessions on specific topics such as fostering innovation and managing poor performance. In addition to this project, Corbett has also championed a significant transformation of HR programs, services and tools. One key initiative was the redesign of performance management, which entailed changes not just to the process and tools, but to the whole experience for both staff and leaders. This required shifting time and resources to facilitate clear goal-setting and ongoing meaningful conversations.

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27/02/2018 5:59:19 AM

BEN BAZINET Vice-president, human resources HORIZON NORTH LOGISTICS

When Horizon North’s new CEO decided to centralize the HR function, Ben Bazinet had just taken on the role of VP of HR, and he immediately started planning this significant change, beginning by gaining the confidence of the HR team members and business owners. Once the change in reporting lines was settled, Bazinet dove into the restructuring phase, which led to adoption of a new shared services model that helped centralize policies, align processes and streamline efforts to reduce

excessive or duplicate paperwork and efforts. In 2017, Bazinet helped to lock in the right executive team to expand Horizon North into a new business vertical focused on modular construction, realigned the HR team to provide better and more consistent services at a lower price point, and implemented a metrics-based variable compensation program across the organization to improve goal alignment and accountability. Bazinet is also known for championing nontraditional hires. He prefers to hire people from different fields, industries and locations, seeing this as key to sourcing dramatically different thought processes and ideas to generate more opportunities for innovation within the organization.

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27/02/2018 5:59:26 AM



Of the many initiatives Kristin Coulombe launched at JDIMI over the past year, there are two she considers most notable: the focus on enhancing the employee experience for new hires during their first year of employment through increased levels of communication, accountability and transparency between employees and managers; and the creation of two new roles that have improved the efficiency of the hiring process, thus drastically reducing the company’s time-to-hire ratio and external vacancy rate. Facing the same challenge as many HR leaders in terms of competing for talent, Coulombe and other HR leaders and staff at JDIMI have been working intently to solicit employee feedback and listen to their concerns in order to predict and solve potential issues before they escalate. In 2018, Coulombe expects the client and employee experience to remain a top priority for the HR team as they work to meet growth targets that have been set out. The team will be focused on recruiting top sales talent and introducing more training and development programs, as well as new reward and recognition programs to acknowledge and motivate existing teams for their contributions.


Under Arielle Meloul-Wechsler’s leadership and influence within HR, Air Canada has been named for several consecutive years among Canada’s Top 100 Employers and Top Diversity Employers, in addition to being recognized for having one of the Top 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures in Canada. With an organizational focus on being “top 10 in everything we do,” one of MeloulWechsler’s key initiatives has been helping frontline leaders enhance their visibility and increase support for their staff, which has become challenging after 80 years of complex labour relationships. For Meloul-Wechsler, communication remains the one critical element of Air Canada’s people strategy: building trust, demonstrating transparency, and cultivating a healthy two-way channel for employees to express, share and participate. Building this culture of trust and engagement has meant creating an atmosphere of full disclosure through initiatives like employee town halls, management summits, manager-employee reconnection workshops, keeping a pulse on employees via social media and rethinking the approach to recognition through social platform Shine.


KIM TABAC Chief talent officer DELOITTE CANADA

In 2017, Kim Tabac and her team took on the major initiative of redefining the Deloitte Canada employment experience. To further amplify the employment brand, Tabac reviewed the ways in which the firm attracts, recruits, develops and supports its people, and then implemented a strategy to change traditional impressions of Deloitte both within the firm itself and in the wider talent marketplace. Just as critically, Tabac has introduced inclusive leadership training to all of Deloitte’s partners and continues to underscore the importance of cognitive diversity in the workplace. In an effort to enable employees to bring their “true authentic selves” to work, Deloitte offers ongoing leadership development opportunities at an in-house educational facility, Deloitte University North, and also provides coaching to employees. The focus on the employment experience has paid off. Tabac has seen a significant increase in the number of applications for employment at Deloitte Canada, both on and off campus, and the highest employment acceptance rate in the history of the firm, from both students and experienced individuals across industries. Deloitte’s social media channels have also seen a sharp rise in popularity, including a nearly 50% increase in Instagram followers.

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27/02/2018 5:59:30 AM

AGNES GARABA Head of human resources SAP CANADA

Agnes Garaba and her team at SAP Canada had a fulfilling year in 2017. Following the global HR digital transformation journey the company launched a few years back, SAP Canada became the first early adopter in the country to go live with the new HR operating model just over a year ago, which has brought about many positive changes for both customers and the team itself. Recently, SAP Canada landed the top spot on Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Places to Work in Canada list – a recognition accorded by

the employees themselves. To ensure that SAP Canada continues to foster an inclusive culture, Garaba and her team implemented the Autism@Work program and Pride@SAP Canada, a grassroots employee network running across the country and supported by increasing participation from employees. In the year ahead, Garaba will be looking at how her team members can harness social media to become thought leaders in their respective communities in order to better know the organizations they support, broaden their skills, and deepen knowledge of workforce insights and analytics to enable effective decision-making.

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27/02/2018 5:59:37 AM


SPECIAL REPORT TANIA OPPEDISANO National director of human resources DIALOG

ANNE-MARIE OSTIGUY Vice-president of human resources, people and culture CERIDIAN

Achieving workplace flexibility has been one of the most notable accomplishments for Anne-Marie Ostiguy and her team within the past year. Whether engaged in implementation work or customer support, more Ceridian employees now have the ability to work from home as needed while remaining engaged with their teams and customers. Ostiguy and her team also introduced a program called Take2, which allows employees to take a couple of hours off as needed without impacting their vacation balance or requiring a manager’s approval beforehand, thus demonstrating the high level of trust and empowerment within the Ceridian culture. Another key focus for Ostiguy over the past few years has been shaping culture. The merger of Ceridian and Dayforce, which combined the former’s domain expertise and customer-focused reputation with the latter’s spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, has necessitated joining two disparate cultures as one. The new entity also required the creation of a new brand promise and a set of shared values. To equip and empower people to become the best advocates for the organization, the HR team also began to emphasize hiring for cultural fit while facilitating open and continuous feedback from employees, in addition to supporting their growth and development, diversity, and equity.


In addition to overseeing culture development and mentorship at architecture and design firm DIALOG, Tania Oppedisano works to identify business strategies and relevant metrics to ensure retention rates remain high across all four of the firm’s studios in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Oppedisano and her team have revamped DIALOG’s performance review process, coming up with four major touchpoints to replace traditional annual reviews and scrapping the typical ratings system for more focused and continuous conversations around employees’ goals and current standing. Overall, the process entailed a shift from performance reviews to development coaching sessions, which has greatly improved the working relationship between managers and employees and empowered the employees to take charge of their personal and professional development. Oppedisano was also part of an expert panel at the HR Tech Summit in Toronto last June, where she discussed the importance of applying design thinking to HR systems to ensure that employees remain truly at the centre of HR efforts and that the experiences effectively address their core needs.

POONAM TEWARI Human resources director UBISOFT TORONTO

A techie at heart, Poonam Tewari holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in computer application, along with a diploma and certification in human resources. Thanks to Tewari’s recruitment strategies and progressive HR programs, Ubisoft Toronto has grown from 150 employees in 2011 to more than 650 in 2017, and is on track to reach 800 team members by 2020. In the last fiscal year, Tewari and her team hired more than 200 people, exceeding their target by 26% and increasing the year-over-year hiring rate by 41%, which Tewari considers her top achievement of 2017. To ensure the smooth integration of new employees, Ubisoft Toronto’s HR team provides managers with an onboarding checklist, ranging from IT checks to managerial guidelines. New hires are invited to a team welcome lunch on their first day, and each one is assigned a buddy to help them adjust to their work environment. The HR team also checks in with the new hires at the three-day and two-week marks, and sends out a satisfaction survey at the two-week and three-month marks to ensure that the onboarding program remains effective.

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Recognized with the award for Lifetime Achievement in the HR Industry at the 2017 Canadian HR Awards, Zabeen Hirji joined RBC in 1977 as a teller in Vancouver. Over the years, she brought her business acumen, determination and creativity to progressively senior roles in retail banking, operations and credit cards. She joined the HR function in 1997 and was appointed CHRO in 2007, a role she held until her retirement last year. Under Hirji’s leadership, RBC received many employer awards, including being acknowledged as one of the best workplaces in Canada for eight years running. One of Hirji’s most influential contributions was her championing of diversity and inclusion, an area in which she is recognized as a global leader. She has also guided the development of RBC’s new corporate citizenship strategy, focused on unlocking the potential of youth. Hirji also helped shape RBC’s Collective Ambition, which embraced the idea of leadership as a collective accountability. Just as innovative was the bank’s Vision and Values Jam, which Hirji was heavily involved in. The event involved CEO Dave McKay and the company’s leaders asking questions, giving opinions, reacting to posts and fielding responses to unfiltered commentary on RBC’s purpose, vision, values and desired leader behaviours.


For the past four years, Yee Makowich has headed the Toronto talent team of Vision 7 International (which includes two creative agencies, two PR firms and a media division under its umbrella) and supported a 38% growth in the people function during her tenure. In 2017 alone, Makowich oversaw the implementation of a national mentorship program, the curation of a robust L&D curriculum for Vision 7 University and the renewal of the company’s onboarding program. One key initiative Makowich has championed recently is a new flex work program for the media team. Instead of specifying where employees can work or how they should work, Makowich and her team created a program that focuses more on providing the right tools and programs to meet their objectives. Employees are issued a company cell phone in addition to their laptops, and the IT team has worked hard to ensure that working from home, a coffee shop or client locations is the same as working from the office. Vison 7’s people team also introduced Slack, a platform that allows for optimal collaboration and team work without the need for people to be physically in the same location. Managers are able to have ‘stand-up’ virtual meetings daily to ensure team members are on track with expectations.

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SOULA COURLAS National lead, people and change services KPMG CANADA

Having accumulated more than 18 years’ worth of extensive HR experience, Soula Courlas has become a trusted advisor to business executives undertaking transformation initiatives, technology implementations, talent/leadership strategies and sustainable change programs to achieve results. At KPMG Canada, Courlas and her team continue to demonstrate their leading capabilities in HR transformation and in enhancing the employee experience for more than 80,000 members throughout the organization. Under Courlas’ leadership, KPMG’s people and change advisory practice has grown from approximately 25 members in 2015 to more than 55 in 2017, with further growth plans in the pipeline. In 2017, KPMG was named the partner of choice to lead and support the implementation of a leading cloudbased HRIS solution for one of Canada’s Tier 1 international banks, which Courlas considers a notable personal and professional accomplishment. In the year ahead, Courlas will be looking to help KPMG expand its market presence and support the growth through enhanced recruitment and training and development programs.


Vivian Maza and the Ultimate Software people team celebrated a landmark year in 2017, hiring the company’s 4,000th employee and achieving a record-high seventh-place ranking on Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The company was also named the number-one Best Place to Work for Women in Technology. Within the past year, the Ultimate Software people team also managed to successfully implement a new program to cover the costs of IVF, a major addition to its existing 100% employer-paid healthcare coverage for employees. Maza and the rest of the team are anticipating an action-packed year ahead, as Ultimate Software is on track to become a $1 billion company. “Being one of the original four employees, I’ve seen firsthand how much we’ve grown in our 27-year history,” Maza says. “One thing hasn’t changed is our commitment to putting people first. In 2018, we’ll continue to care for our employees every day; protect our workplace culture; focus on delivering innovative HR, payroll and talent technology; and work to make a meaningful difference in our community.”



In late 2016, after witnessing business on the decline due to a dwindling economy and a nearly saturated hotel market, Jennifer Vantuil and other business partners decided it was time for everyone, HR included, to develop a much better understanding of their sales department. This meant looking closely into the performance of the sales teams and implementing efficiency strategies for them to widen their client reach while also improving the engagement levels of the salespeople themselves. After gathering more information about sales structures outside the hospitality industry, Vantuil and her team came up with a new team structure with redefined parameters and focus, and provided new sales skills training. They also implemented a new compensation strategy that awarded commission for each business booked. To support the sales team, HR compiled data on feeder markets, clients and geographic location, placing it in a CRM that enables the setting of benchmarks and measuring of metrics. The result has been a more engaged and better trained sales team, and a significant growth in sales outreach.

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JERRY GRATTON Vice-president, people and culture O2E BRANDS

Under Jerry Gratton’s leadership, O2E Brands has won a number of awards, including being named BC’s Top Employer and a Great Place to Work. In 2016, the company was also nominated for Best Learning & Development Strategy and Best Workplace Culture at the Canadian HR Awards, and CEO Brian Scudamore was named HR Champion of the Year, demonstrating that best practice in people management flows from the top down. As head of HR, Gratton has spearheaded key programs such as the Leadership Way Development Program, which leverages experiential, social and formal learning by incorporating methods such as in-person workshops, leadership events, on-the-job challenges, 24/7 online resources and one-on-one coaching. Gratton also helped to create the A-Player Development Program, which focuses on equipping employees with professional skills such as project and time management, financial literacy, and communication. In addition, Gratton led the O2E HR team to develop a new benefits program, which includes two types of plans that offer flexibility and more options for employees.

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Mission: possible Go from paper to digital in less than a year. Hire a team of co-op students to make it happen. That was the task in front of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton – and the hospital rose to the challenge

YOU’VE BEEN asked to hire for a major project – but only for the short term. Where do you find a team with the skills to support a major initiative and the willingness to accept a short-term contract? This was the challenge posed to Chelsea King, a project analyst at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. St. Joe’s tasked King with recruiting a large team – specifically, a

King posted jobs at 15 post-secondary schools across Canada, screened 300 applicants, conducted 150 interviews and ended up with 58 of the best co-op students in Canada (including 35 from her alma mater). In just four months, this team helped St. Joe’s become a fully electronic hospital, one of only eight in Canada today with this level of technology.

No longer does the term ‘intern’ or ‘co-op student’ conjure an image of a coffee-fetching assistant. Today’s HR managers are hiring for the true knowledge, expertise and energy students can bring into the workplace team of co-op students – for a major digital upgrade at the hospital. “When I heard we needed to hire 60 students, I thought it was crazy,” King says. But as a former co-op student herself (she graduated from the University of Waterloo’s Science and Business Program in 2017), she knew how to recruit the top talent.


Affectionately dubbed a “co-op army” by King, the students helped launch a fully integrated, safe and secure information solution that places all of a patient’s information into one digital location. Under the previous paper-based system, a single visit to the hospital could result in more than 180 pieces of paper, creating the potential for

errors and inefficiency. With the new digital platform, patients only need to tell their full story once, and all caregivers see that same information. The model used by St. Joe’s is certainly unique, even for those who have hired co-op students before. Onboarding nearly 60 hires for an intensive four-month project might seem intimidating, but Ross Johnston, executive director of co-operative education at Waterloo, says that support from fellow co-op students actually helps them to be more confident and successful in their roles. He’s in awe of the work that has been accomplished. “It’s incredible, the courage shown by St. Joe’s to take this leap toward becoming a fully digital hospital,” Johnston says. “The

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WHAT KINDS OF STUDENTS DID ST. JOE’S HIRE? The St. Joe’s project team was made up of students from multiple disciplines and across all levels of study. They brought a wide range of knowledge and experience to the team in the following areas: • Science and business • Health studies • Computer engineering • Pharmacy • Public health • Therapeutic recreation • Biology • Sociology • English • Biochemistry • Biomedical engineering

value that students bring to the workplace is increasingly being recognized as an essential tool in the progression and success of an organization.” That’s a trend Johnston sees across many employers. No longer does the term ‘intern’ or ‘co-op student’ conjure an image of a coffeefetching assistant. Today’s HR managers are hiring for the true knowledge, expertise and energy that students can bring into the workplace. The St. Joe’s co-op students embodied this trend. They participated in a variety of jobs, including technical readiness testing, change management, data validation and training hospital staff on the new software. Bharath Sritharan, a second-year biochemistry student at Waterloo, worked in the

operating room during live procedures, charting the digital process in real time as a training exercise for doctors and nurses. Maria Valencia helped run a technical ‘dress rehearsal’ at the hospital. Valencia, a second-year biomedical engineering student at Waterloo, tested more than 2,000 new digital workstations. When a workstation didn’t pass a test, her team would make the required changes to ensure it was functioning and ready for the system launch. St. Joe’s officially flipped the switch to become a digital operation on December 2, 2017, at 2:00 a.m., but the co-op team’s work didn’t end once the system was live. The hospital provided six weeks of 24-hour support following the launch, supported by

the co-op students. King says the co-op team has been up for the challenge, regardless of the unconventional hours and operation it required. “It’s not always ideal, and they don’t get a desk and an office at times, but they’ve been so flexible throughout all of this,” she says. Tara Coxon, chief information officer at St. Joe’s, isn’t surprised that the students are so adaptable. A strong proponent of the co-op experience, she knew that bringing in a large co-op team would get the job done. Her message to the students: “We would not be here without you. You are an integral part of our team. You are key.” University of Waterloo co-op students are available for hire year-round. Our team is based across Canada and is ready to provide on-the-ground support for your hiring needs. To post a job or learn more about our hiring process, contact us at

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Unleashing leadership potential Mathieu Baril provides some tips on how to surface, activate and accelerate leadership potential in expertise-based firms

UNTIL ARTIFICIAL intelligence replaces many of us, expertise-based firms in fields such as engineering, technology, finance and accounting will continue to rely on highly educated and talented individuals with specialized skills to accomplish their visions, service their clients and, ultimately, make money. Their ability to take on emerging challenges and lead initiatives across levels and functions drives strategy execution in our ever-accelerating world. A challenge many firms face is that the best people at their respective crafts tend to come in limited supply, and while they are valuable in their roles, they are also eager to grow and expand their horizons. They typically achieve this through increasingly complex and rewarding engagements, as well as through opportunities to evolve in a leadership capacity in one form or another. While not every savvy and ambitious technical expert has the same amount of potential to become a great manager or executive, there is an increasing recognition that potential to demonstrate leadership is not exclusive to just a few special individuals. In fact, enabling professionals to recognize and grow their potential is always a winning bet for organizations seeking to instill a culture of ownership and performance, broaden their leadership bench, and maximize retention.


For expertise-based firms, the challenge of unleashing leadership potential is often further exacerbated by the following: A common belief that growth (career and income) necessarily comes through formal leadership responsibilities; in reality, many organizations also offer rewarding technical career paths (such as managing

increasingly complex engagements, new solutions design and launches; lateral moves in business development; or functional area SME practice lead roles). Flatter client-centric organizations often require work to be completed by projectbased or agile teams, requiring individuals in every role to step up their ownership

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and demonstrate leadership behaviours. These team-based structures don’t necessarily entail an ‘official’ leader role, but always require people to care about common outcomes, bring the best out of others and proactively get things done. Because time really is money, firms can’t easily remove individuals from active projects to redeploy them on timeconsuming development initiatives. Therefore, any solution needs to be highly efficient and scalable. In addition to these factors, larger organizations need to account for geographical dispersion, varied yet deep specializations, often-decentralized execution structures and a large employee base at the professional level. These variables make it difficult to design and roll out relevant global practices to identify and develop those with the most potential for leadership. While larger usually also means more complex, a question typically emerges for all expertise-based firms: How can you generate more leadership and prioritize and accelerate relevant development with such a diverse audience without over-engineering the solution?

Straightforward steps make the difference There are some straightforward steps you can take to help generate positive momentum for these professionals and the companies for which they work. At the heart of the solution is building awareness, empowering people, catalyzing development earlier in careers and enabling individuals to actualize their potential for demonstrating leadership in one form or another. These steps include:

1. Surface potential Professionals interested in exploring if and how leadership can be part of their career

first require self-awareness, an understanding of what it means to be a leader and a sense of their potential to grow in this direction. These questions typically start to emerge after a few years of experience, and the more proactively these answers can be provided, the better. While many personality tests provide self-awareness, some organizations we work with have started leveraging an advanced online tool that integrates both psychometric assessment (personality) and leadership simulation (skills) to more accurately assess all critical variables of someone’s leadership

whole new scale. Arguably more important, empowering professionals with a clear understanding of their profiles, as well as insight into what they can do about it, catalyzes them to demonstrate leadership more consistently, regardless of their job titles. The result is bottom-up, decentralized momentum for an evolving culture of personal ownership and accountability.

3. Accelerate potential With a greater appetite for growth and energy building, the next piece of the equation

A challenge many firms face is that the best people at their respective crafts tend to come in limited supply potential. Results are provided in a way that builds a sense of ownership about how one can achieve, lead and grow in today’s fast-evolving world. By leveraging such a scalable tool, organizations can cast a wider net and achieve earlier detection of leadership potential.

2. Activate potential To build awareness, some organizations generate bottom-up interest and focus for individuals considering if and how they should invest energy to grow in a leadership track versus a more technical one. This helps build ownership and self-driven momentum as the individuals gain clarity about which career direction will be most rewarding and aligned with their motivations and chances of success. This early triage based on leadership potential also helps reduce the risks of frustration, career derailment and wasted time for everyone involved. Very little resources have been invested at this point, and parties emerge in a better position to prioritize efforts moving forward. In addition, talent management leaders have become equipped with unparallelled insight on leadership potential on a

is to support individuals with opportunities to learn and enable growth through action. The key is to avoid over-engineering what happens next. Effective and empowering coaching conversations, along with rewarding individuals who demonstrate ownership and try new things, typically pay massive dividends in terms of engagement, retention of top talent, strengthening the leadership bench and shaping a high-performance culture. In sum, organizations that are most successful at unleashing their full potential for performance are those that empower individuals to surface, activate and accelerate growth across the broadest possible audience. While they invest in the next generation of people leaders, they strategically broaden the distribution of leadership behaviours so that the entire employee base gets energized to evolve into the best possible version of itself.

Mathieu Baril is manager of business development at DDI Canada. To find out more information about DDI’s leadership expertise, email

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Measuring a peer coaching intervention HR professionals may be reluctant to implement initiatives that have an unclear ROI. Ken Senda and Kentaro Iijima provide their insights on peer coaching success – and its financial return – at Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory PEER COACHING – a key aspect of what is known as social learning – is a fascinating approach to developing leaders. Instead of focusing on pouring knowledge into leaders, it seeks to have them draw lessons from their own and their peers’ experience. At Fujitsu, we used an approach to peer coaching developed by McGill professor Dr. Henry Mintzberg. In his book, Managers Not MBAs, Mintzberg was sharply critical of existing approaches to management education, and colleagues challenged him to create something better. That something better was a master’s program based on learning from the managerial practice of its participants. At its heart was peer coaching. Mintzberg’s approach to peer coaching, translated into Japanese as ‘reflective round tables,’ is to establish a group of 10 to 12 people who meet for 75 minutes once a week to discuss a topic. The topics we used covered a wide range of issues, including becoming a visionary leader, silos and slabs in organizations, zen and management, and sources of motivation. Each topic had a study guide that structured the group conversation by providing provocative insights and asking


thought-provoking questions. What makes peer learning such a special means of leadership development is that the conversation is always in the context of the manager’s experience in the organization; thus, the relevance and the recollection of the conversation is high. This also means that two different groups studying the same topic

employees and posted revenue of ¥26.2 billion (approximately US$240 million) in 2015. It provides system integration and IT solutions to large organizations. The pressing business issue was a shift in strategy that required much more intense cooperation between the solutions business and the systems integration business. This ongoing cooperation is driven by a core of middle managers. The peer coaching model not only offered the opportunity to improve the capability of managers, but also provided a venue for building stronger cross-functional understanding as the peer groups, working as a team, reflected on the relevance of each topic to Fujitsu. We launched the peer coaching program in 2007 and have come to believe it is a powerful tool for improving performance.

How we tested to see if peer coaching was working It’s common to ask about the ROI of leadership development, but that’s too narrow a view. We needed to drive profitability, not merely cover the relatively small cost of the peer coaching intervention. The question we wanted to answer was: Is peer coaching effective in helping the business thrive? Luckily, we had a number of different units doing peer coaching, and this created a kind of

What makes peer learning such a special means of leadership development is that the conversation is always in the context of the manager’s experience in the organization might have quite different discussions. The structure of this learning intervention is ideal for a group of practicing managers facing real business issues. And real businesses issues were the reason we invested in this method.

The business context Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory is headquartered in Kawasaki, Japan, and is one of the central firms of the Fujitsu Group. It has 1,160

natural experiment. We could look at how the intensity of peer coaching was related to profitability. Furthermore, the program had a long duration – leadership development takes some time to have an impact on business results, and we were fortunate to have nine years of data to study. Our first hypothesis was that greater participation in the program would be positively related to greater sales and profits. The

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(participation was measured starting in 2008), it can be seen that where the participation rate exceeded 30%, there was an improvement in sales and profits. If it exceeded 50%, then the employee survey results improved.

Profit growth in 2015, relative to previous year (where 1 = same growth rate)


General lessons 1.5



0 0%






Participation rate in peer coaching

data in the graph above shows that departments with higher participation in peer coaching posted higher profits. Correlation does not prove causation, but there is a credible causal mechanism in this case. We believed that the business needed cooperation across silos to generate profits; we implemented a program to increase cooperation, and then profits went up. The evidence tilts towards the conclusion that peer coaching was having a positive impact. The weight of evidence strongly suggested to business leaders at Fujitsu SSL that they were much better off with the program than without it. Our second hypothesis was that the peer coaching program was one important cause of the organization’s success, and the business results could not be fully accounted for by other factors. Was there perhaps something else going on to explain the increase in profit – meaning that, in fact, the social learning was inconsequential? This is a difficult question, but to get some insight on the matter, we interviewed the managers. This led to qualitative evidence in the form of comments such as “I was able to understand and accept the characteristics of the type of manager that I am” (about the

servant leadership discussion topic) and “I tried to find the solution by intentionally letting the others talk and confirming the essence of the problem together” (about the topic of decision-making in groups). Another manager commented, “After participating in peer coaching in 2012, I started to ‘sow seeds’ in the project and finally brought on results in 2014 that made a beneficial change to profit and loss.” In addition to this qualitative data about individual experiences, quantitative data derived from our performance management system showed that participation was correlated with improved individual performance. Our third hypothesis was that the program had a positive impact on employee engagement. The results were clear: The higher the participation rate, the higher the satisfaction rate with management, teamwork and cross-functional communication. However, the sub-factors of personal growth, willingness to challenge and ability educate/support the next generations didn’t depend on the participation rate. We concluded that the program had an effect on engagement, but only by influencing some of the underlying sub-factors. Looking back at the past nine years

With respect to peer coaching, the weight of evidence at Fujitsu SSL suggests that it had a large positive impact on profits and engagement. It played a wide-ranging role in enabling our managers to successfully manage the transition to a more integrated strategy. As a result of this analysis, we are currently expanding the program to earlystage managers (in the second year of their managerial roles), selected female leaders and leaders of particular business sectors. For HR professionals and CLOs interested in applying measurement to learning interventions, we have several pieces of advice. One is to keep in mind that you are seeking to assess the overall weight of evidence, not to provide a scientific proof. You can never prove beyond doubt that a learning intervention is responsible for improved results; however, if you look at an assortment of different analyses and they suggest the intervention is improving business outcomes, then that’s usually all leaders want to know. Also, we didn’t feel the need to go as far as calculating ROI. Such a calculation would have been fraught with guesswork. The cost of the program is small compared to the improvements in profitability, and there was no need to calculate a precise ROI in order to decide to continue the program. Finally, we did our analyses running over nine years of data. You cannot expect leadership development interventions to have an impact overnight. If you are serious about assessing whether a program is working or not, then you have to give it time to show results.

Kentaro Iijima is president of Kentaro Office, a consulting office, and former corporate senior vice-president of Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory. Ken Senda is corporate vice-president of Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory.

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Thinking outside the box In an era when every employer needs to tap into tech skills, J.P. Morgan is proving that sometimes it helps to look beyond the traditional sources for the brightest talent

APPEARANCES CAN be deceiving. The public might consider J.P. Morgan a financial services firm – which it certainly is – but with more than 40,000 technologists among its ranks globally, it could also be classified as a technology firm. Because technology is rapidly transforming banking and financial services, along with every other sector, just about every company today needs to have workers with relevant IT skills. Right now, everything and anything tech is a focus for J.P. Morgan. “We have to compete with the Googles and other tech firms,” says Supriya Doshi, HR business partner at J.P. Morgan. “It means we need to get creative not just with our recruitment, but also with how we engage employees throughout their tenure with the company.” Indeed, J.P. Morgan is looking beyond conventional recruitment solutions in its hunt for talent, not just for traditional banking roles but also for operations and technology roles.

Tapping into the next generation As part of a global initiative, the company


kicked off its annual campus recruitment campaign in March 2017 with pop-up cafés at leading universities. In Asia-Pacific, for example, the cafes appeared at universities in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. The campaign aims to attract under­ graduates from multiple disciplines to careers with J.P. Morgan, in addition to educating

whom showed a keen interest in J.P. Morgan and registered for upcoming events and program information. The Central Forum at the National University of Singapore [NUS] campus at Kent Ridge Park (pictured above) was transformed into an al-fresco-style café where, over a period of four hours, students were

“We’re not afraid of the fintech firms as disruptors; instead we’re looking to work with them, to partner with them” Supriya Doshi, J.P. Morgan them about the company before they have the chance to opt out of pursuing certain career paths due to misconceptions about being unsuitable or not having the right skills and background. Doshi says last year’s Singapore event hosted more than 1,000 students – 650 of

able to network with former NUS graduates who had since embarked on successful careers at J.P. Morgan. The pop-ups provide a relaxed and informal setting for students to engage with the bank’s employees over coffee and snacks in order to learn more about the company.

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Following J.P. Morgan’s Careers Pop-up events in the spring, 600 students attended the annual careers lounge on a number of Singapore campuses. These were designed to help students navigate the different lines of business at the bank and network with employees in an informal environment.

that might not be obvious candidates to apply for roles at J.P. Morgan.” That said, there are certain traits the bank prioritizes. Students must be eager to learn, have an interest in financial services, have well rounded experience inside and outside of the classroom, and have demonstrated the ability to master new skills via a strong academic performance. From there, J.P. Morgan’s training and mentorship programs help build future professionals. “Each of our programs has unique training and mentoring tailored to help our interns and analysts to be successful in that area of the business, and also provides the foundation for them to be successful throughout their career,” Doshi says.

Building tech hubs

“This is a great opportunity for students to get to know J.P. Morgan, our people and our culture in a casual setting,” Doshi says. “By bringing in analysts and associates who were once in their shoes, the students are able to get tangible career advice and more insights on a career in the financial services industry.” Doshi adds that the initiative has extra resonance in Singapore, which has always been a competitive market for talent, especially at the graduate level. “We welcome students from all disciplines and majors, not just business or finance,” she says. “An inclusive and diverse workforce makes smart business sense. Bringing together employees with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives enables us to produce more innovative ideas and better solutions for our clients.” To illustrate this point, Doshi mentions a summer intern in 2016 who was a physics major. “She had an interest in HR, and we made her a full-time offer in HR,” Doshi says. “So it’s all about reaching out to populations

J.P. Morgan has several strategic technology hubs scattered throughout the world, one of which is in Singapore. The tech hubs bring together different technology focus areas – such as cloud, robotics and blockchain – in one location. Each tech hub harnesses innovation and thought leadership, and also provides L&D options to the wider J.P. Morgan employee base. “Our technology population globally is fairly significant and has grown in the last few years, despite challenges in financial services,” Doshi says. “I think we’re becoming a magnet for that talent – that’s part of the reason why we’re on campus doing innovative things. We’re trying to position ourselves so people know they’re coming into a firm that is investing in tech and investing in cloud, robotics – the future. We’re not afraid of the fintech firms as disruptors; instead we’re looking to work with them, to partner with them.” Doshi says the tech focus, as well as the campus recruitment initiatives, can be a tonic for existing employees who have weathered uncertain economic conditions for some time. The financial services sector in particular has been through a rough period recently. “When you see that growth is still happening in the junior talent ranks, you don’t get as nervous about joining a new firm,” Doshi says.


Supriya Doshi proudly describes herself as “a J.P. Morgan lifer.” She started as a summer intern at the company in 1999 and then converted to a full-time analyst’s role after graduating from university in the US. She then went through J.P. Morgan’s corporate analyst development program, rotating through multiple functions in the corporate business. After a number of rotations, Doshi was placed in the investment bank technology group. During her four years there, she was involved in HR-related activity (recruiting on campus, diversity events, mentoring), and it piqued her interest. She ultimately transitioned into HR in 2004, where she worked in L&D and as a business partner. She also undertook a six-month assignment in London. A few years ago, Doshi relocated to Singapore. “My first HR job was actually doing technology training,” she says. “This is the advice I give a lot of people. If you have a competency in something – for me at that time, I knew technology systems – and you want to get somewhere else, find that anchor and then try to get to where you need to go.”

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A focus on innovation Technology tends to go hand-in-hand with innovation, and J.P. Morgan is taking steps to ensure the creative ideas of employees are not neglected. The company holds a Global Innovation Week that involves different innovation-themed events around the world. In Singapore, for example, J.P. Morgan invited guests from New York and Hong Kong, as well as fintech experts and specialists involved in cloud and robotics technology, to take part in panel discussions and webcasts. In addition, its employees tackled real business challenges during a hackathon. “I was a judge for the Singapore hackathon,” Doshi says. “We had a ton of great ideas. It’s been a while since I was fully

definitely make an effort to make sure when we’re recruiting that we’re hiring the best and most qualified candidates, but also keeping in mind the elements of diversity,” Doshi says. “In Singapore, we want to hire local talent, and we want to ensure we’re hiring women into tech.” It’s significant that J.P. Morgan was deemed a top performer in the diversity and inclusion category of HRD’s Employer of Choice Awards in 2016, as this is a priority for the company. One example of progress in this area is the internal leadership development programs run by regional diversity councils, specifically aimed at diverse talent. These diversity councils are supported by business resource groups composed of more than 20,000 J.P. Morgan

“At J.P. Morgan, we have global themes and global messages – and diversity is certainly one of those themes” Supriya Doshi, J.P. Morgan involved in technology, but I was able to follow what was happening and listen in. They were literally building prototypes and demonstrating them. Many of these will be implemented and go into production.” Doshi says one great example was an idea for a virtual assistant – and while most of the innovations are intended for internal use, some may make their way into enhancing the customer experience. This past September, J.P. Morgan took the hackathon concept to the next level by hosting the Code for Good challenge – a companywide recruitment event in which undergrads competed in a day-long hackathon, coding to solve challenges for nonprofit organizations.

Future priorities A key focus for Doshi and her team, as well as for the company in general, is ensuring it’s attracting the right mix of diverse talent. “We


employees. For example, the Women’s Interactive Network [WIN] holds conferences and invites guest speakers to the company. WIN provides access to the tools that enable the successful development, advancement and retention of women at all levels of the business. New hires are also introduced to J.P. Morgan’s approach to D&I during their induction. “It’s something we’re passionate about, and you’re hearing about it not just in the recruitment process, but from day one and then all throughout your career here,” Doshi says. “At J.P. Morgan, we have global themes and global messages – and diversity is certainly one of those themes.” On a more personal note, Doshi recently experienced a new milestone in her own journey with J.P. Morgan, returning to New York in a senior HR role, no doubt keen to build the next chapter of a career that has already brought her a taste of global success.

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A Careers Pop-up event hosted by J.P. Morgan


$9.5 billion

Amount J.P. Morgan spent on technology company-wide in 2016, approximately $3 billion of which was dedicated to new initiatives

$600 million

Approximate amount the company spent on emerging fintech solutions in 2016, which included building and improving digital and mobile services and partnering with fintech companies


Percentage of J.P. Morgan senior hires in technology globally that came from non-financial-services companies in 2016; employee training programs cover new skill sets, such as cloud and agile development

J.P. Morgan invited 40 female undergraduates from STEM faculties across Singapore to its Winning Women in Technology event, which offers students a firsthand look at work in the tech field.

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Clarity in a world of change What’s in store for L&D in 2018? Vicky Bartolacci outlines the key themes of 2017 and looks ahead to what HR can expect in the new year

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE is the new business norm, and feeling the impact as much as anyone are those teams responsible for ensuring that workplace L&D is always hitting the mark. When I look back on the past year, the recurring theme I see is the pressure on these teams to be constantly abreast of new technology and, in some cases, the need to resist expectations (or even demands) that you will use something new just because it is avail-

be useful down the track, but you need time to properly appraise things. And sometimes you need a new skill set, which is one of the big changes we are seeing in the L&D space.

Big Data and L&D The same could be said about the constant and growing flood of data in 2017. We now have so much information available to us that it can be almost a full-time job trying to understand it – and we all know that analysis can quickly

There is a magical combination of asking the right questions, getting answers via the right content at the right time, while being supported by the right people able. It is not uncommon now to be asked to change tack mid-project. A lot of the well implemented L&D that I’ve seen over the past year has come about because people have stood their ground and stuck to a well-thought-out plan, rather than being distracted by something shiny. That’s not to say that the shiny thing won’t prove to


become paralysis. When it comes to L&D, it is more important than ever to focus first on the learning need, then to look for the specific data that will support that need. Of course, there is also a big upside to all of this data. We can now track and analyze learning activity to the same extent that marketers can keep tabs on consumers. For

the very first time, it is possible to measure the outcome of learning designs in a truly meaningful way. From my perspective, if everyone involved with L&D can prove measurable performance outcomes on their design and investments, then our industry will enter a new world in which solutions that work will be celebrated, and those that have clothed the emperor in nothing will be found wanting.

Learning preferences The other big talking point I kept bumping into was the importance of tailoring L&D programs to learner preferences, particularly their desire to aggregate content – and I was delighted to hear that, because it is without a doubt the biggest issue for our industry in the coming year and beyond. We are working with a modern generation

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MAKING THINGS HAPPEN For too long, learning content was just something people visited once a year to sign off their compliance training requirements. Now we are realizing that outside the workplace, smartphones, tablets and other devices provide the ability for true anytime, anywhere learning. On-demand, personalized, smart, fit-for-purpose content is what people need. For those of us involved with L&D, 2018 offers an opportunity to: 1. Identify common training topics – every organization has recurring training themes 2. Identify value-add topics that will keep the business innovative and performing well in the marketplace 3. Define career development topics to help people progress at the rate they need to 4. Widen our perspective on content sources to deliver the impact the business and learner want If we rethink the way we support workplace learning into three clear categories of compliance topics, value-add topics and career support, we immediately start to break down the content mass into manageable and more personalized chunks. of always-on learners. Learning in the workflow has become the new workplace training because people simply don’t have the time to spend learning or training as a separate activity; they want and need to learn as they work. To do that, there is a magical combination of asking the right questions, getting answers via the right content at the right time, while being supported by the right people. This mix of people, content and technology can drive and strengthen the talent pool of any organization. The digital learning revolution affords an efficient way to guide and support everyone’s potential to the max.

Don’t forget core L&D offerings We need to be willing and able to develop systems that provide desired content as efficiently as possible and offer as much support as possible. But we must not ignore our own

L&D knowledge and expertise. Whether working in-house or consulting to external clients, we must trust our ability and accept our responsibility to offer sound and, where necessary, frank advice. Listen to customers’ requests, but also validate them. This may sound odd coming from someone who heads up a digital learning company, but I think technology is one case in point. I have no doubt, for example, that there are training programs being developed with a VR component that really don’t need it, which makes it a pretty poor investment (albeit a lot of fun to use). More important, however, is the need to continue with the core L&D role of providing advice around content and how it is presented. We hear a lot of talk these days about customization and the ability to make content our own, but when we drill down a little further,

we find there are conflicting ideas about what this actually means. Many people are in fact looking for some degree of personalization that reflects their organization and its needs, but not the true customization that they do not have the time or resources to manage. The reality is that for all the increase in technology, L&D has become even more of a people business, because there is a greater need to talk with all stakeholders about what they are trying to achieve and the best way to get there.

Vicky Bartolacci is general manager at e3Learning, which is dedicated to providing corporate e-learning content that drives change, fosters growth and boosts innovation in ways traditional training cannot. Follow her on Twitter @BartolacciVicky.

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AGENT OF CHANGE Always an early adopter, Naomi Titleman Colla doesn’t fear change – she embraces it


Raised in an entrepreneurial family, Colla benefited from the strong role model provided by her mom, who ran her own store GROWS UP IN A “She was an entrepreneur with her own store and did everything SMALL-BUSINESS herself, but she was still there for us as a mom, as well as for her FAMILY customers. She balanced everything – she perfected the art of work1997 life balance and contributed a lot to my path” STUDIES INFORMATION SYSTEMS


CONSULTS WITH MAJOR ORGANIZATIONS Colla’s first position out of university was as a consultant with Deloitte & Touche, where she worked with large organizations – primarily financial services companies – to assess their level of operational and technology risk “What struck me was that even as they were talking about changes in processes or technology, they did not consider the massive changes employees would be required to endure”


RUNS THE GAMUT As part of Deloitte’s human capital consulting practice, Colla’s interest was directed toward issues surrounding change, although financial services continued to be the common career thread “I came in to human capital with a focus on change management, but I consulted on all different aspects of people-related issues”


LIVES THE FUTURE OF WORK In founding her own consultancy last year, Colla was able to harness her fascination with the future of work

“I am experiencing being part of the gig economy while I’m advising on it. I love the variety and flexibility – the balance of applying my consulting background and the ability to drive impact in areas I’m passionate about”

When faced with the prospect of choosing a degree concentration as a student at McGill, Colla opted for something different than what her friends were doing and pursued the relatively new field of information systems “The discipline was starting to really take off in the business world. I enjoyed coding; it was logical, and also like solving a puzzle. Ironically, I also very much enjoyed organizational behaviour, which was the first sign of my passion for the people side of the business”


EXPLORES HER PASSION FOR PEOPLE Having gained an understanding of business operations at Deloitte, Colla decided to pursue an MBA at Columbia Business School, rounding out her skill set in finance, strategy and marketing. After graduation, she returned to Deloitte, but this time in the human capital practice “I realized my passion was in the people side of the business. I had to tell my manager I was very interested in what I now know to be change management”


JOINS AMEX As both her career and personal goals evolved, Colla decided to make a career switch to HR, taking a post with multi-national financial services giant American Express. After spending four years working across numerous geographies and time zones, she assumed the position of vice-president of HR for Canada “I was able to own and drive the HR agenda for Canada; I was able to advocate for things I’m passionate about, such as gender diversity”

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Boyd’s training for a climb consists of at least a n hour of aerobic activity a day most days of the week


Days it took Boyd to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro


Elevation above sea level of Everest Base Camp in Tibet


Incline of the city street Boyd uses for training


For Georgina Boyd, there’s no better feeling than summiting a high peak FINDING NEW mountains to climb was an annual event for Georgina Boyd and her husband in their “pre-children” days. Boyd, an HR department head at Amadeus IT Pacific, developed her peak-bagging desire during a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro on a vacation in Africa. The climb wasn’t originally on the couple’s itinerary but seemed a natural fit, given their passion for bushwalking. “It was the best holiday I’ve ever had,” Boyd says. “The mountain climbing was like an extension of bushwalking, but more vertical.” The years following saw the couple summiting Mount Toubkal in Morocco (the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains) and visiting Everest Base Camp during the climbing season. It’s a pastime Boyd plans to re-explore as a family affair once the couple’s two small children are old enough. “It’s not easy,” she says, “but it’s really rewarding.”


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