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READ MORE: 4 | Mental Health facts and figures 6 | News/Appointments 8 | Legal Insight: supporting transgender workers 10 | HR Q&A with Rocky Mountain Equipment’s Jon Beatty
COVER STORY CEOs on Leadership As HR evolves from a transactional role to a strategic position, HR executives need to embody the traits of a great leader. HRD talks to Canadian CEOs about the most important traits HR needs to help lead organizations to success
FEATURES: 18 | Cross-provincial recruiting HR leaders across Canada face vastly different hiring environments – from serious shortages in the West to an abundance of candidates in Central Canada. HRD addresses recruitment problems peculiar to each region
22 | Workplace mental health Employee mental health is one of biggest issues facing HR executives, and the right policies and procedures can make a big difference in reducing the impact on your organization 28 | Psychometric testing best practices Modern psychometric testing continues to make big advances and HR leaders are reaping the results of most of those new techniques in better hiring decisions and long-term outcomes
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CONTENTS / EDITOR’S LETTER
COPY & FEATURES EDITOR Vernon Clement Jones SENIOR WRITER Caitlin Nobes CONTRIBUTORS Melissa Mancini, Liz Brown, Jill Gregorie, Joshua Gliddon COPY EDITOR Tanya Enberg
THE C-SUITE HAS THEIR SAY
ART & PRODUCTION GRAPHIC DESIGNER Joenel Salvador
SALES & MARKETING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Sarah J. Fretz NATIONAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER Andrew Cowan GENERAL MANAGER SALES John MacKenzie ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Trevor Biggs MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Claudine Ting PROJECT COORDINATOR Jessica Duce
HR directors have earned a seat at the executive table, but how often is it the driver’s seat? In this issue we chat with four Canadian CEOs about what advice they have for their HR colleagues about assuming the mantle of leadership. Coming from a range of backgrounds, from retail and banking to non-profits and education, see page 14 for these CEOs’ insight into leadership. Future leadership and succession planning is one of the biggest challenges HR is facing, and forward-thinking organizations are finding innovative ways to find the best high-potential hires. There are few more forward-thinking than Google Canada, and on page 19, the organization’s director of engineering tells HRD what the internet giant looks for when hiring leaders. The month of May sees Mental Health Week bring the focus back to the mental well-being of all Canadians, and with the costs of mental illness climbing, it’s a big concern for HR as well. In this issue HRD looks at building and maintaining a psychologically healthy workplace (p24), and in a special feature, addresses the rising costs of mental health-related disability leave (p30). In this issue we also look at a small social media site you might know called Facebook (p50) and the lessons it offers for HR leaders in scaling your workforce as your organization grows.
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2 | JANUARY 2014
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NEWS / APPOINTMENTS
The spy who came in from HR HR INSIGHTS
Can HR legally spy on employees? Are your workers actually working while they’re at work? From video surveillance to biometric IDs to key stroke tracking – there are any number of ways to watch the workplace, but not all are worthwhile. Video surveillance
Recording employees while they work can be problematic in two ways: privacy and effectiveness. Privacy concerns mean employers in general cannot record employees without their knowledge, and courts have shown that not all workplace video recording will be accepted as evidence. Court cases show employers can use video surveillance in some circumstances when it is overt and only used for stated purposes such as crime prevention. However, you cannot record employees without their knowledge.
WHAT FORMS OF EMPLOYEE SURVEILLANCE DO HRMONLINE.CA READERS USE?
Case law is not consistent on whether biometric scanners infringe on an employee’s privacy interests; however, employers have still had some legal issues implementing biometric IDs. One surprising case backfired on the employer, when religious employees requested accommodation because there was no way to know if the number associated with their handprint contained the number 666, which they claimed could prevent them reaching heaven.
The lesson for HR is that when implementing biometric technology, HR must show they have considered all options for accommodating employee requests – no matter how strange. Keystroke tracking
It is possible to track an employee’s keystrokes and figure out what they’re doing with their day, but the amount of information HR ends up with is likely more than it can feasibly use. “The employer or the government collects so much information and in the normal course they are never going to look at the information until they think they have a reason,” employment lawyer Karen Bock told HRD. “The issue becomes are they looking fairly? Is the reason justifiable?” If you’re using tracking technology, make sure you have a good reason to look at an individual, rather than looking for evidence of bad behaviour based on a hunch. Computer use monitoring
One thing for employers to monitor is use of bandwidth and downloads. But beware: high readings can be an indication of an IT issue such as malware or a malfunctioning program, but it can also catch out those who are misusing office computers. Streaming a lot of video, or downloading large files can increase up an employee’s bandwidth use. By tracking these numbers, HR has a justifiable reason to investigate computer use.
HR ON THE MOVE Health-care technology company Kallo appointed Drew Coderre to Director, Human Resources in April. Coderre held a number of senior Human Resources leadership roles with two global, industry-leading technology companies, Sun Microsystems and Compaq, and also with smaller Canadian companies. Throughout his career, he has always maintained a continuing commitment to learn and understand the needs of the business and subsequently develop and execute an effective HR strategy that translates executive goals and vision into operational programs and strategies.
Montreal-based Christophe Hennebelle was named Vice-President, Human Resources and Talent Management at tourism and travel leader Transat A.T. Inc. He starts Aug. 1, 2014. Hennebelle has held the position of Human Resources Manager, Transat France, since 2009. He has more than 15 years of experience in human resources management and is a graduate of the EDHEC Business School. He succeeds Jean-François Lemay, who up until now fulfilled the dual role of Vice-President, Human Resources and Talent Management, Transat A.T. Inc., and General Manager, Air Transat.
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MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE HR professionals are increasingly aware of the importance of supporting mental health in the workplace. But while one in five Canadians grapple with those illnesses, so many employers are caught flat-footed when it comes time to help them in that struggle. More and more, say experts, knowledge is key MENTAL ILLNESS OUTPACING HEART DISEASE AS THE FASTEST GROWING CATEGORY IN DISABILITY COSTS
MENTAL ILLNESS COSTS CANADA $51B A YEAR
ONE IN THREE WORKPLACE DISABILITY CLAIMS ARE RELATED TO MENTAL ILLNESS
of people with serious mental illness want to work
500,000 Canadians miss work each day due to mental health issues
OF PEOPLE WITH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS ARE UNEMPLOYED
In the federal civil service, mental health conditions account for
of all approved disability claims.
MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION: • Lack of motivation: 90% • Waning ability to enjoy favourite activities: 80% • Difficulty concentrating: 77% • Feeling of isolation: 74%
Only of employees would talk to their employer about their mental illness
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MIND AND BODY Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness, affecting 9% of men and 16% of women.
of Canadian employers say the continuous rise in employees’ mental health claims is a top concern
of Canadians experience seasonal depression, or “the winter blues”
700% in five years: the increase in court awarded settlements due to mental injury
People with depression are: 4 times more likely to suffer a heart attack
of Canadian organizations have no structure to support employees’ return to work
Almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer THREE IN 10 CANADIANS SAY THEY WORK IN ENVIRONMENTS THAT ARE NOT PSYCHOLOGICALLY SAFE OR HEALTHY
More than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s
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INSIGHT / LEGAL
Making the transition:
HR’S LEGAL AND ETHICAL OBLIGATIONS TO TRANSGENDER EMPLOYEES The ‘T’ in LGBT sometimes gets forgotten even as organizations become more accepting and understanding. But how a workplace handles an employee’s gender transition is pivotal in shaping that experience. HRD looks at the legal requirements and best practices for supporting those employees
As transgender Canadians become more vocal and visible — and more employers face discrimination lawsuits — it’s vital that HR leaders understand the key issues and introduce policies in their workplaces to ensure transgender employees are supported at work. In many provinces, gender identity is not specifically protected, but most jurisdictions have included gender identity discrimination in the protected trait of sex. When the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal denied a claim from a transgender teacher on the grounds that gender identity is not specifically protected, the Court of Queen’s Bench overturned the decision, requiring the tribunal to hear the case. Proposed law changes that are currently before the Senate would criminalize gender-identity hate crimes and outlaw discrimination at the federal level. If a HR manager in your organization was approached by an employee who planned to transition, would they know how to react? Poor training for frontline supervisors could mean an expensive lawsuit for your organization, so what can you do to prepare managers? And what should the process look like? A key step is ensuring that managers know they cannot ask an individual to prove their gender. One common misconception is that sex reassignment surgery is required for transitioning, but that is not true and even asking an employee about their surgery plans could be considered discriminatory.
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Training programs are available in most areas and there are many good online resources available. Employment and labour lawyer Gita Anand, who specializes in human rights law, says the first step managers should take involves collaborating with the employee to make a plan. Ask them what they need and what their plans are. She suggests if possible the employee should take a short break from work after the first announcement to give people a few days to adjust. “The HR person and the transitioning employee should write a communication to be delivered prior to a weekend saying ‘Jack will be transitioning from male to female. After a one week vacation Jack will return as Jill and will be using the woman’s washroom,’” says Anand, a partner with Miller Thomson LLP. The other employees will likely have many questions, but the employee involved should not be expected to answer them. Contact your EAP provider for the suggestions of local experts who can come in and hold an educational seminar for employees and managers. The seminar should emphasize that this is an ordinary process people all over the world go through. That meeting should also be seen as an opportunity to reiterate the company’s bullying and harassment policies. It is important to take action against any employees that demonstrate harassing behaviour. Beyond showing support for your transgender employee, this type of incident can also result in the company being found liable for failing to protect its employees. “Next, clarify issues that would cause the most anxiety, such as using the right pronouns,” says Anand. “It can take a while for people to start adopting the language.” Finally, understand what your benefits programs cover and don’t cover so you can help employees navigate the options. “Some transgender medical needs are not covered by (provincial health insurance), and what you want to do, legal issues aside, is treat transgender people with dignity and fairness,” Anand says. By putting the right training and processes in place before the situation arises, HR executives can prevent later problems for their organizations. It requires going above and beyond their legal obligations to ensure transgender employees are welcomed, supported and understood.
What you want to do, legal issues aside, is treat transgender people with dignity and fairness Gita Anand
GLOSSARY OF COMMON TERMS Transgender: A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behaviour is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is a broad term and one members of that community prefer nontransgendered people to use. Trans is shorthand for transgender. (Note: Transgender is correctly used as an adjective, not a noun, thus transgender people is appropriate but transgenders is often viewed as disrespectful.) Transgender Man: A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a man. Transgender Woman: A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a woman. Gender Identity: An individual’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others. Gender Expression: How a person represents or expresses one’s gender identity to others, often through behaviour, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. Transition: The time when a person begins living as the gender with which they identify rather than the gender they were assigned at birth, which often includes changing one’s first name and dressing and grooming differently. Transitioning may or may not have medical and legal aspects, including taking hormones, having surgery, or changing identity documents to reflect one’s gender identity. Medical and legal steps are often outside the financial wherewithal of employers. Source: The National Center for Transgender Equality, nctequality.org
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PROFILE / JON BEATTY
HR BREAKS NEW GROUND
Rocky Mountain Equipment VP of HR Jon Beatty talks foreign workers, HR strategy in a changing industry, and communicating with employees across three provinces and numerous locations HRD: RME employs a number of foreign temporary workers. What unique challenges does that offer for HR? Jon Beatty: Our Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) strategy was never designed as a short-term solution to the challenges RME faces in securing talent in a highly competitive market. So part of my vision was to build a program that did not have workers coming to Canada for 12-24 months but rather eventually becoming permanent employees who have long and fulfilling careers with us. These individuals and their families are to become part of the RME family. This meant ensuring our on-boarding process looked at things such as cultural-sensitivity training for managers and employees, ensuring our TFW strategy was aligned with our corporate values, supporting family transitions and educating and communicating as much as possible with all parties involved. This communication had to happen not only through the recruitment process but also once we have deployed those temporary foreign workers into the business. HRD: Agriculture and construction are industries that have faced a lot of HR changes and challenges in the past decade. How do changes in your clients’ industries impact RME’s human resources strategies? JB: Ultimately, any HR plan will fail if it is not aligned with what the business needs. As a result any HR goal my group takes on must align to RME’s greater strategic business goals. These HR goals become talent objectives that are then delivered through multiple-actions items within the disciplines of HR and recruitment, payroll and benefits, and training and development. Operating in an industry that is
consolidating, accretive year-over-year growth through acquisitions has been a major strategic business goal for RME. The result is having a HR strategy that has a full end-to-end talent integration plan for future acquisitions. HRD: How do you build career paths with employees so they feel they can have successful careers at RME? JB: Ensuring that our employees feel connected, cared about and contributing when they come to work every day is critical to getting that “discretionary effort.” Part of that is making sure they see and feel there is a career path for them. This path can be in the current role they reside by continuing to develop mastery, through new disciplines/divisions within the company and through increasing levels of responsibility or authority. Whatever the path, we are mapping competencies and ultimately training to meet the demands of those roles. RME will be launching its first Learning Management System this spring that will allow for management and employees to have a better line of sight and transparency on their career paths. HRD: What drew you to a HR role initially? JB: My career started as an educator and then turned to recruitment — two professions that in order to be great you have to be a strong communicator, be orientated toward continual learning and have a desire to work with people around solving problems. This, in my mind, was both an excellent training ground to ultimately end up in human resources but also develop characteristics that are too often lost in HR depart-
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JON BEATTY TIMELINE 1994 – 2000 Calgary Academy ● Teacher
2000 - 2002 Inlets (Innovative Learning and Teaching Solutions) ● Director of Business Development
2002 – 2003 KornFerry International
● Senior Associate
2003 – 2006 Conroy Ross Partners ● Executive Search Consultant
2006 – 2008
Petro-Canada ● Team Lead Global Recruitment
2008 – 2009
Devon Energy ● Recruitment and Talent Management
2010 – 2011 ● General Manager Team Development
2011 – 2014
Rocky Mountain Equipment ● Director of Corporate Services,
2014 – present
Rocky Mountain Equipment ● Vice President of Human Resources
Ensuring that our employees feel connected, cared about and contributing when they come to work every day is critical to getting that ‘discretionary effort’ Jon Beatty
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PROFILE / JON BEATTY
ments. The goal is for the HR department to be viewed by operations as a business driver rather than just a service provider.
HR bragging rights “Rocky Mountain Equipment is a consolidator of agriculture and construction equipment. We are the largest independent dealer of Case IH and Case Construction equipment in Canada, and the second largest in the world. RME’s business employs nearly 1,000 people directly and serves tens of thousands more customers and their employees. Operating 38 dealerships across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as customers radiating beyond those three provinces, RME’s goal is to bring professional, stable, and dependable equipment partnerships to its customers. We see ourselves as a key part of the efforts to feed the world by filling our customers’ need for a dependable equipment partner. “
HRD: When do corporate communications intersect with your role? JB: HR must continually be communicating both formally and informally with the executive team, functional leaders, managers and employees. Rocky Mountain Equipment’s (RME) success relies on our people and HR is the steward to ensure that things like aligning performance with rewards reinforcing culture, predicting and meeting talent requirements and managing change to minimize productivity gaps are not only communicated but understood and heard. RME’s HR group engages with employees through multiple channels and modalities depend-
ing upon the target audience, the outcome or goal, level of detail, what the stakeholders prefer and potential threats to buy-in. With close to a 1,000 employees in multiple locations (many of them rural) across three provinces, we never rely on just one tool but many. They include but are not limited to corporate communications, webinars, town halls, training sessions, our HRIS and SharePoint. HRD: What do you consider to be your biggest career achievement to date? JB: Great leaders see success through others and my success at RME has been as result of putting together a great team. I love the Margaret Mead quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can the change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” So for me
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the team I have built today is by far and away what I am most proud of. HRD: Describe yourself in a few key words JB: I thrive on a challenge and solving problems and my job gives me plenty of both. I describe our organization often as a billion-dollar start up because so much of what we do in HR is from scratch. When I arrived at RME, HR was making sure everyone gets paid on time and that their benefits work, that’s about it. But I believe I had a crystal clear vision of a better tomorrow such that very little was going to stand in my way of building something great and every day we move closer to that vision being reality. HRD: Where do you see the future of HR as a profession heading? JB: As I mentioned earlier, HR professionals need to move from service providers and business partners to business drivers. The majority of businesses out there will see success or failure because of their people and HR can play more of a role in that than they have in the past. Too often we find ourselves as gatekeepers and not trusted advisors who solve business problems around human performance.
Great leaders see success through others and my success at RME has been as result of putting together a great team Jon Beatty
HRD: What do you think it takes to succeed in HR? JB: I believe successful HR professionals need to know the business they operate in and what drives it, including the financials of how of how oerations measure success to what front-line staff members do day-to-day — this is what make them great at their job.This only comes by being engaged in the business, building a strong reputation and trust with your clients, being a subject-matter and technical expert and knowing what value looks like to the business.
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COVER STORY / CEOS ON LEADERSHIP
As HR professionals evolve from transactional players to strategic ones, CEOs are demanding increasingly complex deliverables from those leaders. HRD reveals the key expectations of some of Canada’s most influential corporate heads As the head of Plan Canada — one of the country’s oldest and largest charities — Rosemary McCarney is an award-winning humanitarian and business leader. And as all organizations struggle to do more with less, non-profits like hers are offering valuable lessons in keeping operational costs down. Plan Canada, for example, spends no more than 21 per cent of its budget on those expenses. HR leadership has a key role to play. Here’s her advice.
Rosemary McCarney President and CEO Plan Canada
1 Adapt your communication abilities: Great leaders take the time to genuinely care for and get to know their employees as people, not just resources, by using both speaking and listening skills. At Plan, through town halls, roundtable discussions or conversations in the hallway, I strive to cultivate a “push back” culture to exchange ideas and an open-door work environment, which helps encourage spontaneous feedback and reflection. This can really shape how you think about your organization’s culture and those at the core of it.
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2 Look for ways to deepen the accountability of your organization: The diverse 200-member team I’ve recruited and the 200,000 plus donors who engage in our mission have built their trust on our proven track record of excellence in governance, accountability and transparency, fundraising, staff management and volunteer involvement — standards that we adhere to with utmost rigour and consistency. Creating clear and articulated performance ideals and exploring how to better manage multiple accountabilities is how leaders can encourage their employees to take responsibility in their own roles for the greater organizational mission. 3 Boldly step out of your comfort zone: It’s important to take risks — whether they’re career, personal or financial risks — and have a high comfort level and tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. HR leaders shouldn’t be afraid to be innovative and courageous in creating a vision for a better future of their organization and that also means being proactive in addressing sensitive and delicate challenges as well as opportunities. 4 Be an agent of positive change: Understand that you’re in a crucial position to change minds, lives and policies — whether it’s for hundreds of thousands of marginalized people worldwide or for those within your own sector. In leading Plan, I’ve seen that as busy as we are, we can still dig deep to harness the power of change within ourselves to add new opportunities and rich experiences day after day, not only in our own lives, but also for entire communities and countries that we are working in to change destinies. 5 Passion is key: Recognize that if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing then it’s time to change. I’ve seen passion at work through the tremendous dedication of our staff in our Toronto and Ottawa offices and our teams on the ground that are positively impacting the lives of communities in developing countries every day. Our unreserved commitment to working with the world’s poorest children stands strong and at the heart of everything we do. For everyone, do what you’re passionate about and do it with passion.
As head of an organization with almost $5 billion in annual sales and more than 600 stores throughout Ontario, LCBO CEO Bob Peter oversees one of Canada’s biggest retailers, winning awards in customer service, social responsibility, staff training, marketing and corporate communications. “No matter the sector or size of an organization, in my 40-plus years of experience, I have seen that there are several traits common to all good leaders, which help drive success. Here is my Top 10 list.”
Bob Peter President and CEO LCBO
1 Appreciate that employee engagement is paramount Employees are at the core of your organization’s success, so they need to know they are valued and appreciated through both informal and formal recognition. This is a fundamental part of LCBO’s corporate culture and as a result it is not uncommon to see LCBO staff with 30-plus years of service. 2
Understand all aspects of your organization
By understanding all the aspects of your business — and not just the business of HR – you can add value in discussions on broader business opportunities and be a strategic partner with the CEO and other decision-makers.
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COVER STORY / CEOS ON LEADERSHIP
Older and younger workers have different expectations and requirements and demonstrating that you understand these needs is appreciated with your employees will keep them engaged, enthusiastic and willing to go the extra mile. LCBO has
a very comprehensive three-year strategic and annual business planning process that is shared with all staff to help them understand our priorities and how they can help us achieve those goals.
Provide opportunities for growth and promotion While every organization needs new perspectives and ideas from new employees, long-serving employees know the business and provide valuable insight. At LCBO, we leverage that experience and expertise as much as possible through encouraging innovation from staff and by promoting qualified employees within the company.
Make your business part of the community
A commitment to social responsibility and the community not only affords a strategic business advantage — it’s the right thing to do. Everyone at LCBO is expected to consider social responsibility implications when making a business decision or introducing a new program. Preventing sales of alcohol to minors and making a difference by raising more than $8 million for Ontario charities are key drivers of LCBO staff pride and engagement.
Soft skills are just as important as hard skills It’s not enough to understand a balance sheet, develop a strategic plan or meet key performance metrics. We likely spend more time with our
co-workers than we do with our families, so relating well to co-workers is essential to creating a successful workplace.
7 Develop a leadership culture and avoid micromanagement You’ve presumably hired people with the right skills to perform their jobs. Give your employees enough space and autonomy to allow them to grow, succeed and take pride in their accomplishments — this is always appreciated and fosters goodwill all around. At LCBO we’ve identified the key leadership drivers by position and are now developing e-learning programs to match these competencies.
8 Be sensitive to the requirements of different employee demographics Older and younger workers have different expectations and requirements and demonstrating that you understand these needs is appreciated. For example, LCBO is improving working conditions for older workers by implementing technology to make the job easier and improving accommodation and return-to-work policies. This not only helps our employees, but also makes good business sense through reduced Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claims and absenteeism. We also recognize the tech-savvy nature of younger workers, so are looking at “use your own” device policies at work and piloting intranet portal home access for store managers. 9 Walk the talk Successful leaders possess integrity, passion, curiosity and drive and they bring it every day. In doing so, they set an example for others to follow and emulate. 10
Keep an open mind and be a good listener Successful leaders surround themselves with other smart people. They make sound decisions in part by recognizing good advice when they hear it.
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Peter Aceto President and CEO Tangerine
With nearly 1,000 employees in Canada, Tangerine (formerly ING DIRECT) is the country’s leading direct bank. Between a recent rebranding, and keeping his 14,600 Twitter followers informed, Peter Aceto makes employee engagement a priority for his organization.
Strategic Mind: Today’s HR leaders face the same pressures as IT leaders or any other function within a business, frankly. They must understand the core of the business. They clearly see how their role impacts the bottom line, not from a numbers perspective, but from a strategic competitive advantage. They recognize that a transactional mindset is limiting and that systems and metrics alone do not sustain the growth of the business.
Business Acumen: Leaders keep their fingers on the pulse. They understand and acknowledge that just as consumer preferences have changed, so have the desires of employees. They discover what it takes to innovate the corporate culture to meet the needs of today’s employee. They ask questions such as How do I compete for employees? How do I keep them engaged beyond the numbers?” And they come to the CEO with a strategic objective that keeps productivity levels high.
Visionaries: Strategic HR leaders with business acumen not only believe that culture is at the heart of the business, but that change and evolution are inevitable. They are visionaries who — in partnership with their CEOs — enable change and motivate across all boundaries to enable employee groups to learn and embrace change. They think beyond the ordinary and guide the entire organization to do the same.
Teach and Inspire Leadership: HR leaders must be great leaders of people. Arguably the most important trait for a HR leader is to inspire and coach other leaders to be what they are — great leaders of people. They inherently know that everyone is different and are skilled to deal with those differences. As a CEO, I look for HR leaders who adopt a coaching and mentoring focus, naturally and responsibly. They are role models who work tirelessly to help others become great leaders.
Strategic HR leaders with business acumen not only believe that culture is at the heart of the business, but that change and evolution are inevitable
5 Self-Motivation: A leader with a clear view of the business objectives and the direction in which it is moving must be a proactive driver. I look for my HR leader to come to me with thoughtful plans and ideas that tie with our core business objectives. They measure progress and help us understand what the metrics mean for the overall strategy. They know how to measure what is important and ensure we are improving. MAY 2014 | 17
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COVER STORY / CEOS ON LEADERSHIP
a year and speak with as many clients as possible. Seeking understanding is critical, but can be difficult because the signal-to-noise ratio can be really high. We are all dealing with vast amounts of information. It can be overwhelming. Leaders now need to communicate constantly to translate complexity and to keep people aligned as the pace of change continues to accelerate. Tuning in to and maintaining awareness of informal networks and channels of communication is crucial for a leader since it is these systems that often determine what really goes on in an organization.
Michele Milan CEO Rotman Executive Programs
Michele Milan leads Executive Programs at the business school consistently rated as the best in the country. As the head of an organization that trains leaders and executives, Milan is up to date with the latest theory and best practice for being an effective leader.
Strong Ethical Foundation Leadership is more difficult than ever. We are in a period when trust in leaders and our institutions has been eroded. Society is demanding and deserves leaders who are moral and ethical. Leaders with character. Authentic leadership means speaking and doing from a centre of moral conviction. It is personal integrity that cultivates credibility and trust. I also believe this is key to finding real meaning in one’s work, and enabling employees to do likewise -- to find their work meaningful and really believe they are contributing to something worthwhile. This is important not only for individuals, and not only as a driver of productivity, but for society as a whole. Businesses have a huge impact on the world around them. A strong ethical foundation in an organization means it will contribute to society in a way that sustains and enriches the lives of all.
Ability to Communicate It is still true that a good leader has the ability to envision her organization’s future, and to clearly communicate that vision. Clear and straightforward communication allows everyone to understand their individual roles, in making decisions in line with strategy and moving the organization forward. But good communication is two-way and goes beyond formal occasions. In our more collaborative work environments, with rapidly changing demographics, leaders really need to listen and they need to seek to understand what is really going on. I personally meet with everyone in the organization at least once
Strategic Agility Creating and maintaining a path for advancing an organization’s agenda in a rapidly changing environment requires strategic agility on the part of a leader, both to synthesize and assess vast amounts of information, and to readjust as necessary. This means responding to new circumstances, research and technology in real time. The pace of change is incredible. Leaders must constantly fine-tune their strategy to keep their organizations agile. Clear, two-way communication about changing circumstances and strategy allows employees to respond and realign their own initiatives and roles.
Self-awareness Self-awareness, self-regulation and a habit of self-reflection are essential for a leader’s personal effectiveness; they also determine the tone a leader sets for her organization. A leader must be able to manage her own emotional reactions, and to understand the effect she has on others, both personally and in terms of the organization’s power structure. There are many techniques for developing greater self-awareness and the ability to self-regulate. My personal favourites are journaling and mindfulness meditation.
5 Good Practices and Habits Effective leadership occurs not just in grand moments, but in daily hourly habits. In addition to a practice of reflection, habits of learning and self-care are critical. Habitually seeking learning prepares a leader for rapid change. Leading also takes a tremendous amount of energy and stamina; a good leader must create habits that foster resilience, practices that recharge and replenish her resources in order to maintain health and well-being. Of course, this is true of everyone in the organization as well and supporting the health and wellness of employees makes the whole organization more resilient and productive.
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WHAT GOOGLE WANTS: leadership
tips from the Internet giant’s
Steven Woods, director of engineering, Google Canada Leading a team at Google is similar to managing a sports team: a successful leader can effectively manage top talent and help the team succeed as a unit within the organization’s cultural parameters. Sports teams hire gifted athletes who have trained their entire lives to be the best at their respective sports. Successful general managers are able to create a winning culture and recruit and retain talent able to thrive in that environment, working with the coach to create strategies and tactics to succeed. With the general manager’s support, the coach is able to lead the team by pulling all those individual performances into a cohesive unit far stronger than the strength of its parts. Similarly, while Google’s culture has remained
consistent, the landscape we work in is constantly changing in terms of competition, partnerships, product priorities and opportunities. In a world that changes so quickly, the ability to adapt and learn is highly valued. Just as NHL teams build and draft individuals based on talent plus future growth potential, we look for these qualities in our software engineering and design team leads. The currency of talent in Google’s engineering and product development teams is cognitive ability rather than goal scoring. As others have pointed out the No. 1 factor we look for is not IQ, but learning ability. People come to Google to do cool things that matter in the professional league, if you will. From Search to Android, YouTube to Chrome, Fiber to Maps, “Googlers” work on products that touch billions of people around the globe and transform the way they access and use information. To be successful we continue to encourage and challenge leaders at Google to be able to learn quickly and think bigger, like 10 times bigger, and to empower their teams to do so as well. Googlers come here to build, lead, break, create, improve, ship and shoot for the moon. That major impact is the championship our team pursues. Lacking a draft, we must attract great talent to achieve our goals. When hiring leaders at Google we hire candidates who can bring their own expertise to the team and who can work closely with a team of high performers to effectively act as a unit. Great leaders at Google realize that they are surrounded by people at least as talented as they are and are expected to be transparent about their decision making and planning as well as open about challenges, successes and failures. At Google, no major product decision will be made by senior leadership without the representative team members being present for the decision-making discussion. This level of transparency in the context of decisions empowers supporting leaders to offer their sincere and honest input and promotes a “Google-first” mindset rather than a me-first model, and this is the core philosophy of a Google team. Ultimately, what’s critical to being an effective leader at Google is you have to be willing to relinquish power and work with your team as a unit to win at a very ambitious and complex game. MAY 2014 | 19
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FEATURE / CROSS-PROVINCIAL RECRUITMENT
A MAP FOR RECRUITING FROM ACROSS CANADA With vastly different hiring environments – from serious shortages in the West, to an abundance of candidates in Central and Eastern Canada – HR executives in tight labour markets are getting creative about hiring from outside their regions. Melissa Mancini finds out what two corporate leaders are doing to win at that game and what you can do to enhance your own acquisition strategy
On the Facebook page of Calgary-based ENMAX sit testimonials from employees who’ve joined the utility company only after a relocation process increasingly common among Canadians. “I moved here from Nova Scotia with my girlfriend at the beginning of January 2014, and I can’t tell you how easy the move was,” says one post from Jeremy, a recent Nova Scotia transplant. “The mountains are so close.” Logan Nixon is another ENMAX employee sharing a relocation story, he having packed up his belongings and his young family before making his own trek from the East Coast to the Alberta energy company. “One of the big incentives for us moving here is the lifestyle,” he writes. “I am home every night,
which is important because I have a little one at home and a second on the way.” The move west isn’t new. The booming economy continues to steal workers from Central and Eastern Canada, highlighting the strategies of organizations such as ENMAX. But it’s not alone. A November 2013 Bank of Montreal report reveals interprovincial migration reached peak levels late last year, with the number of Canadians moving between jurisdictions hitting a 25-year high. The biggest factor for moving, unsurprisingly, was employment prospects.
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A sense of belonging is very important not only when you’re changing companies but when you’re changing provinces Shelley Billinghurst, ENMAX
50,000 The number of people who moved to Alberta in 2013
The phenomenon has forced HR directors in mature Canadian markets to refocus their energies on employee engagement and other retention efforts. But how should a company focus its recruiting to make sure to get the best workers from other provinces, especially employees who will stay long term? Shelley Billinghurst is ENMAX Corporation’s manager of strategic staffing. She says the social media campaign that won skilled workers like Jeremy and Logan was successful because it direct-
ly connected employees who had already made the move with those willing to take the same step. “It started a really authentic conversation,” she says, with potential recruits sending Facebook questions and messages to those employees who had volunteered testimonials to ask them questions about the move.” Of course social media isn’t the only best practice the company uses to recruit top talent from other provinces, says Billinghurst, and she stresses her company tries to hire locally first. But like many companies looking for skilled labour in Alberta that isn’t always possible. One of the main sources of new recruits is from referrals from current employees. This helps the company recruiters to ensure they are getting a good employee who will fit with the culture, as many referral programs strive to do. Beyond that, recruiting through referrals has an added bonus when the referrals are long-distance applicants. It guarantees the new employee has a base of support already established in their new home. “I think it’s critical. I do,” she says. “A sense of belonging is very important not only when you’re changing companies but when you’re changing provinces.” Like ENMAX, Calgary-based Suncor Energy tries to hire local first, so people can stay in their hometowns. “We know that not all of our recruitment needs can be filled across local communities,” says Suncor MAY 2014 | 21
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FEATURE / CROSS-PROVINCIAL RECRUITMENT
EAST COAST BRAIN DRAIN
JOBLESS RATE ACROSS CANADA:
5.9% St. John’s
A quick search on Kijiji in an East Coast town or city shows how even the smallest companies outside Atlantic Canada are trying to attract locals. Businesses are looking for skilled labour. Pipefitters, cabinet installers, farm help, plumbers — the positions are too many to name. Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate last March in Newfoundland and Labrador was 11.6 per cent. It was even higher in Prince Edward Island, where it was 11.8 per cent. Even Ontario’s 7.3 per cent rate is higher than the Canada’s unemployment rate at 6.9 per cent. Much higher than Saskatchewan’s (4.5 per cent) and Alberta’s (4.9 per cent), even though those provinces had seen a bit of a jump in their unemployment rates from the month before. It’s no wonder then that a November 2013 BMO report showed Regina and Calgary as the most attractive cities to move to for work. They were the highest places on the list in median levels of employment income. They had the lowest unemployment rates and lower taxes. Most job seekers were headed West. In Alberta inward migration in 2013 was the highest year on record. In the year preceding November 2013, more than 50,000 had moved into the province. Where were all the employment seekers coming from? The highest numbers were from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, according to the report. But the biggest workforce drain was coming from the East Coast. Atlantic Canada lost 11,000 people to outward migration in that year. That’s 0.5 per cent of the population of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
Energy spokesperson Nicole Fisher. Social media is part of the energy company’s strategy as well. Suncor has 45,000 followers on LinkedIn. Fisher says the company uses the site to recruit because their HR professionals know leveraging personal connections is important in recruiting. Also key is keeping candidates informed of what life will be like on the other side of the country. Providing potential hires with information up front about the city or town is essential for best practice recruiting, says Kael Campbell president of Red Seal Group a recruiting company for trades and industrial management based in B.C. that recruits for employers in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Everything from cost of living, to cost of rentals, provincial taxes and availability of housing for sale is important for job seekers to consider, says Campbell. “Sharing that information early really helps with
people’s decisions for both them and their families to make a move,” he says. Relocation packages are a good tool for getting top talent. A lucrative package can help draw people but even a smaller stipend can still be helpful, says Campbell. HR strategists should tell their recruiters to look for employees that have done some research on the community where the job. This shows job seekers are genuinely interested in living in the city they have applied to, he says. “Everybody has their myths about what Fort McMurray is like, or what living in Vancouver or Calgary is like, but if they’ve actually done some research and gives a bit of a compliment or appreciation for the community it really helps,” he says. Dispelling myths about living away is something that is a factor in Suncor Energy’s recruitment efforts. The company has set up a microsite, www.goaheadfortmac.ca, which depicts what the community in Fort McMurray has to offer. It features about 30 of Suncor’s employees who talk in brief videos. It also introduces candidates to the range of positions available from Suncor in the area. “I think a lot of the times people don’t realize how many kinds of jobs we have to offer,” Fisher says. If an applicant has visited the city or town they plan on making home for a new job that’s a great sign of a committed future employee, says Campbell. The cost of travelling from East to West for an exploratory trip be high, so if a potential hire has taken the step of booking a flight that’s a sign he is serious about opportunities there, he says. Once a new employee arrives from another province the fight to achieve high levels of retention begins. It is important to have a strategy to keep new employees who have left their hometowns to start a career, or recruiting will be a constant challenge. ENMAX sets all new employees up with an in-company pal as part of its buddy system for new hires. It is one of the company’s strategies for getting
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every employee accustomed to the company culture, but it is incredibly crucial for relocated employees. It also helps ensure their families are happy once they move. A happy family can make the difference between an employee willing to stay and put down permanent roots and one who’s soon ready to leave. “Although the employee’s excited because they have new people to meet, new opportunities, it’s exciting to move into a new job and a new company, we can never lose sight of the impact on the family,” says Billinghurst.
It helps to ensure families are happy once they move. It can make the difference between an employee willing to stay and put down permanent roots and one who’s soon ready to leave
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SPECIAL REPORT / MENTAL HEALTH
WORKPLACE WELLNESS: Promoting a culture of mental health and safety Most Canadian employers are aware of the occupational health risks facing their staff, and take extensive measures to prevent such common ailments as carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury, and asthma. These efforts reduce costs, increase productivity, and promote engagement between employer and employee. There is one area of health and safety, however, which frequently remains overlooked â€“ even though it costs the Canadian workforce billions of dollars in lost revenues and work hours every year: mental health and wellness. Fortunately, several advocates are bringing to light ways that organizations can make their workplace environment better and safer for the people in them. Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), spent more than 30 years working in the medical field, which
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It’s essential for employers to be educated about workplace mental health and to have policies in place that protect the employees and the employer prompted her to realize that addressing workplace mental health was “irrefutable and long overdue.” Bradley points out, “The annual productivity impact of mental illness in the workplace is estimated to be over $6.4 billion in 2011, increasing to $16.0 billion in 2041.” She also notes that of the $51 billion mental health-related costs that Canada shoulders every year, “a staggering $20 billion stems from workplace losses.” Some of the reasons she attributes to this phenomenon include absenteeism, turnover rates, and presenteeism – “people who are physically there, but they’re not productive.” Sarika Gundu, the National Director of Workplace Mental Health Program with the Canadian Mental Health Association, also recognizes the urgent need for employers to implement programmes and initiatives that address psychological health and wellness in the workplace. “It’s essential for employers to be educated about workplace mental health and to have policies in place that protect the employees and the employer.” Gundu points to the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety as a starting point – a free, modifiable guide that provides a framework for implementing tools and strategies to make workplaces more psychologically healthy and sound. “The Standard,” developed by MHCC in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association and Bureau de normalisation du Québec, has already been adopted by dozens of Canadian organizations,
IS YOUR WORKPLACE CONDUCIVE TO MENTAL HEALTH? In a psychologically healthy workplace: • Do employees feel valued, energized? • Is open communication encouraged? • Are mental health benefits offered? • Do you offer accommodations in case of mental disability? • Are managers and supervisors trained for mental health emergencies? • Do you offer resources on mental health education? Source: workingminds.org
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SPECIAL REPORT / MENTAL HEALTH
Taking measures, such as implementing the Standard, may decrease liabilities because you’re doing something to mitigate those risks PROFESSIONS WITH THE HIGHEST RATES OF DEPRESSION Nursing home / child-care workers
Food service staff
Social workers Health-care workers
Artists, entertainers, writers Teachers Administrative support staff Maintenance and grounds workers Financial advisors and accountants Salespeople Source: CBS News
including GE Canada, the University at Waterloo, and Toronto Eastern General Hospital. Bradley, who was instrumental in its design, emphasizes that the Standard does not require an overhaul of an organization’s existing health policies, but rather, outlines a number of recommendations that employers can use to complement their existing health and safety codes. “It is a voluntary set of guidelines, tools, and resources focused on promoting employees’ psychological health and preventing harm due to workplace factors,” Bradley said. “It was created to be voluntary, ultimately so that it is customizable for all of the varying sizes and sectors of organizations in Canada. This allows for the Standard to be implemented in whole or in part based on an organization’s capacity and readiness.” She explains that the Standard sets out to address several aspects of psychological safety, including the identification of hazards, assessment and control of risks, promotion of a wellness-oriented culture, and institution of evaluation systems to monitor progress. In addition, she points out that the Standard is critical for risk management, saying “Employers may be held liable to claims, for example, if an employee is harassed or bullied, or chronically overworked. Taking measures, such as implementing the Standard, may decrease liabilities because you’re doing something to mitigate those risks.” In addition to this framework, Bradley also recommends a two-day training course called Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), which helps managers react quickly to an employee who may be experiencing a psychological crisis. “MHFA trains managers and employees how to recognize emerging mental health problems or crises in themselves and their colleagues, and provide initial help,” Bradley explains.
INITIATIVES AT WORK Linda Brogden is an occupational health nurse who leads the psychological health and safety efforts at the University at Waterloo, a pioneer in workplace
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mental health promotion and early adopter of the Standard. Remarking upon the university’s decision to take part in these initiatives, she explains, “We could enhance our ability to support our employees and make our organization one that people would want to be associated with.” She helped institute a protocol that helps with early identification of mental health issues. “We have a system set up where we hope managers will advise our human resources when they have an employee who appears to be struggling, and then we will look at what’s going on,” said Brogden. “I will meet with them and talk to them about that, what they need - if that may be reduced hours and/or they may need a reduced workload while they’re beginning medication or getting treatment, we are willing to work with them to set a period of time in which we would work to get them back to their full-time job, but we will be very accommodating to help them.” In addition to early identification, Brogden mentions that she tries to keep policies known to the university’s entire workforce, so colleagues don’t feel frustrated if they have to help absorb someone’s workload due to a mental health-related sick leave. “They understand that if it was them who was off, they would get the same kind of support.” Bell Canada has also made workplace mental health a priority, and carries out an array of initiatives to address psychological wellness. Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell’s Mental Health Initiative and outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, also emphasizes the importance of early identification.
“As it relates to training, what we started with is making mental health training for managers - all people leaders at Bell, anybody who manages staff - mandatory that they attend a 3-hour face to face session in small groups of 15 to 20 people, to learn all about mental health as it relates to the workplace.” Specifically, these sessions sought to educate managers about “…some basic mental health literacy, what is illness, what isn’t, how to have difficult conversations, what to do and say, what not to do and say, how to support an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue, resources available to you as a manager, and where to go for additional support and information.” In addition, Deacon highlights some of Bell’s other notable undertakings, such as multimillion dollar research and awareness campaigns, the development of a leader guide to help managers handle emergencies, and the addition of $1,500 a year to the employee benefits package for psychological and counseling services. Finally, GE Canada has become the first of its global divisions to take initiative on work-related mental health matters, and hopes to become an example from which its other offices will follow. The organization has a team of 30 people across all businesses and functions who work on implementing five streams of action, which includes such tasks as self-assessment, training senior leadership and front-line managers, and providing information through an online resource portal and GE’s monthly newsletter.
We have a system set up where we hope managers will advise our human resources when they have an employee who appears to be struggling, and then we will look at what’s going on
IS YOUR WORKPLACE CONDUCIVE TO MENTAL HEALTH? In a psychologically healthy workplace: • Do employees feel valued, energized? • Is open communication encouraged? • Are mental health benefits offered? • Do you offer accommodations in case of mental disability? • Are managers and supervisors trained for mental health emergencies? • Do you offer resources on mental health education? Source: workingminds.org
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SPECIAL REPORT / MENTAL HEALTH
SEVEN PROVEN STEPS TO MANAGE MENTAL HEALTH CLAIMS IN THE WORKPLACE As mental Health laws and legislation change it becomes essential, legally and financially, for HR leaders to ensure their workplaces are doing all they can to manage disabilities caused by mental health issues. Organizational Solutions Inc. is a top Canadian provider of Disability Management services and we specialize in resolving mental health claims. These account for almost a quarter of all our claims. From first-hand experience, there are seven essential steps we know can positively help employers manage an employee’s away from work for mental health reasons:
1 2 3
Intervene early following an absence and encourage workers to take part in decision-making when planning their return to work. Show fairness in management style, disability policies and applying these policies.
Manage issues compassionately. Health Professionals at Organizational Solutions have expertise in psychiatric issues though sometimes we find next steps can include movement into our preferred network of providers for counselling or psychiatric consultation.
Encourage employees and their managers to bring any workplace observations they have forward and make suggestions to resolve any concerns. Concerns could include workplace conflicts with coworkers / managers, performance issues, attendance issues, substance abuse or other factors. All parties should understand, address and act on the results in compliance with company policies.
5 6 7
Employers should follow through on any valid concerns for improvement in the employee’s working conditions or environment. Communication. Your leaders should have strong people skills and the ability to encourage constructive two-way communication at all stages of any absence and return to work.
Follow up with the employee throughout the entire process and keep them connected to their workplace. We believe care management, focused on capability, not disability gets the best results. It should never be an employer or managers’ place to probe or try to diagnose any type of illness, including mental illnesses. Putting the right strategies in place though can help prevent issues escalating and decreases time away from work. Find out more about Organizational Solutions Inc. by calling: 1-866-674-7656, email: email@example.com or visit our website: www.orgsoln. com.
“My advice to companies who want to go down this path is to talk with other companies. There’s a lot of great ideas and we spent a lot of time, about six months or so, researching the topic, talking to other companies, and seeing what the best practices were,” said Diana McGiven, Manager of Compensation and Benefits. “That’s why we went so quickly to the training, even though we hadn’t discussed all the gaps in the Standard yet. We heard from other companies that leadership buy-in and first line manager training were critical.”
BENEFITS OF STANDARD FOR BELL CANADA • Since 2010, 15% fewer short-term disability claims related to mental health
• 27% Reduction in combined relapse and recurrence rates
• EAP utilization up from 12% to 21%
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INDICATORS OF A MENTALLY ILL EMPLOYEE High absentee rates Frequent late or missed assignments
Although workplace mental health practices are obviously beneficial from a humanist point of view, Deacon reiterates that they make sense for a company’s bottom line as well. “It’s practical, it’s very practical. It’s good for employees, good for companies, and good for the Canadian economy.”
Low levels of engagement Consistently late arrival
Loss of interest
http://www.mentalhealthworks.ca/ https://uwaterloo.ca/psychological-health/ http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/node/5346 http://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com
Angry or defensive outbursts Source: Sarika Gundu, Canadian Mental Health Association
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SPECIAL REPORT / MENTAL HEALTH
Although mental health disability claims are on the rise, many employers are without the programs to help employees reduce time away from work and reenter the workforce. But with certain policies in place, organizations are lowering the costs associated with both short and long-term disability as well as preventing relapses Taking time off from work due to injury or illness can be a trying experience and mental health disability often presents an additional set of challenges. Unfortunately, this type of leave is not an uncommon or unfamiliar experience for many Canadians. Citing a report released by the Government of Canada, Sarika Gundu, national director of Workplace Mental Health Program for the Canadian Mental Health Association, asserts that 30 per cent of disability claims and 70 per cent of disability costs among Canadian businesses stem from mental health-re-
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lated afflictions. Thus, it’s imperative that organizations put practices into place to manage disability claims and facilitate a quick return to work. One of the best places to start is ensuring that employees receive a proper medical diagnosis. Liz Scott, CEO and owner of disability management firm Organizational Solutions, oversees a staff of 120 health care professionals who monitor short and long-term disability claims and help clients restore their health and resume work. “We find that one of the complexities in managing mental health claims is if an individual doesn’t get into appropriate treatment and care, they may not have been diagnosed correctly,” says Scott. She points to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as examples of ailments with key similarities in symptoms but which require very different courses of treatment. In addition to an accurate assessment of mental illness, continues Scott, it’s important to ensure that the employee complies with the treatment. She says that patients sometimes enter into the mindset of “I’m feeling better so I can go off my medication,” but proper followthrough is necessary to avoid setbacks and relapses, as well as minimize future costs. She notes that she has seen cases where a mental health claim turned into a long-term disability, accumulating $250,000 in reserves on file.
is your modified task,’ but within the workplace, they may not actually explain those new work conditions clearly to the supervisor who’s supervising the worker. Then the worker may have a really nice program developed with HR, but in practice, go back to something that is not accommodated at all, and the supervisor’s heart really isn’t into helping the worker because they don’t understand the problem or situation.” Mary Ann Baynton, the program director for the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, also makes clear the value of communication. “With the best of intentions, employers may avoid having the conversation directly with the employee and instead ask others in disability management or vocational rehab or human resources to come up with a plan for the employee,” Baynton says. “But by engaging the employee, we can deal with both past and potential issues in a way that works for them because every employee is going to be different. We’re not asking them what work they want to do, we’re asking them how we can support them to do the work they’re hired for.” Baynton notes that it’s also important to ask the employee how they’d prefer to re-enter the workforce, either by meeting with the entire team, consulting with each member one-on-one, or let it
With the best of intentions, employers may avoid having the conversation directly with the employee and instead ask others in disability management or vocational rehab or human resources to come up with a plan for the employee
Dr. Ellen MacEachen has been studying disability management and return-to-work (RTW) issues for years as a senior scientist for the Institute for Work and Health and as co-director of the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy. She maintains a well-executed reintegration program is paramount, sending “a message to everyone at the workplace, not just the returning worker.” As a starting point, she emphasizes that clear and open communication is necessary for any RTW to be successful. “For instance, you might have a worker negotiating RTW with their HR department, and they’ll say, ‘you’re going to do this when you get back and this
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SPECIAL REPORT / MENTAL HEALTH
BEST PRACTICES FOR ENTERING INTO A SERVICE AGREEMENT There is little doubt that the landscape for health and wellness providers is quickly changing. Demand for their services is growing as employers want to offer leading edge wellness benefits. The result is a dynamic business climate with challenges and opportunities which can be intimidating to some. So where do you begin? Start by checking the provider’s references. Pick two or three of their customers. You want to know if the service provider did what they were supposed to do; the impact and outcomes; satisfaction levels; and ways to improve the service. Next is the service agreement - your best safeguard to ensure a good working relationship. Using a service agreement ensures you and the service provider are on the same page before any work has even begun. It essentially puts into clear, written language what you expect from the provider and what they should expect from you. You may include as many business terms as you like. We recommend the following key terms: 1 A full description and cost of each service, including who is covered (i.e. employee, immediate family, others); 2 Roles and responsibilities of each party; 3 Service metrics; 4 Expected impact and outcomes; 5 Frequency of reporting (include sample reports in an appendix); 6 Initial contract term (including what happens, and when, at the time the contract is to renew); 7 PIPEDA compliance. SOS Resource Group is a professional consulting company specializing in health, wellness and disability management services. For more information please visit us at sosresource.ca
happen organically. What’s important, though, is to make sure the employee returns to an environment conducive to success? She advises human resource managers, “One of
the best approaches is to speak privately with each coworker, not to have a session about the person who isn’t their, but rather to ask what it is that you need to work professionally with that returning employee.” Gundu recommends working with the employee on a solution as well. “Helpful questions can sound like this: ‘Help me understand your condition?’ and ‘What is the impact of your condition on your work?’” Gundu says. She mentions that options for accommodation include flexible work hours, adjustable workloads, working from home, or job sharing options, but notes that many mental health conditions are episodic in nature. “The main thing for employers to understand is that if they offer accommodation, it might need to change over time.” Baynton also notes that it’s critical to keep focused on job duties and work responsibilities in order to avoid potentially touchy situations. “This becomes a grey area and employers can get into hot water by focusing on the health, which could be construed as discriminatory,” Baynton says. “My advice to employers is to focus on the work.” “Ask: ‘What gives you energy? What do you think you’ll be successful at?’ then add other tasks over time? This approach will not only help your team to avoid crossing boundaries or breaching confidentialities, but it also keeps our intention on what the workplace is responsible for — which is supporting someone to work in a healthy environment.” Baynton recommends regular check-ins to ensure an employee is meeting pre-arranged benchmarks that were established and discussed with an employee. “Now the thing I say about the review is in order to manage this for everyone — for the manager, for the employee — we want reviews to be 10 minutes, just a very short check-in on how things are working; Is everything in order? If you need to talk about another issue, you make another appointment because we don’t want this to become a therapy session where we’re talking about everything on a regular basis,” Baynton says.
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Innovation is essential for success in modern workplaces. With that in mind, connect the dots. What you create is up to you.
Effective leaders see the potential in everything. At Royal Roads University, weâ€™re looking for people like you for our Professional and Executive Development courses. Learn more at royalroads.ca/HRDirector
17/05/2014 12:43:41 AM
HEALTHY WORKPLACES / BULLYING
YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE BEING BULLIED – what can you do?
Almost half the Canadian workforce experience bullying every week, so if HR leaders think it’s not happening in their workplace they’re probably wrong. But what can HR directors do to address the growing problem?
Bullying used to be associated primarily with schoolyard taunts and stolen lunch money, but that viewpoint is quickly becoming obsolete – especially as many provinces introduce specific legislation around workplace bullying and harassment. And the problem isn’t contained just to “bad” organizations – about 40 per cent of Canadian workers experience bullying every week. “At the executive level in HR they can’t assume it’s not in their organization, they should assume it is whether they can see it or not,” Morneau Shepell director of workplace learning solutions Jennifer Starr says. “With the problems we’re seeing in the Canadian workplace, I think it’s appropriate to assume it’s
an issue in their workplace. From there it’s about putting together a plan to address that.” Employers have a general duty to ensure the health and safety of their workers, which has been expanded in some regions to include addressing harassment and bullying in the workplace, says legal expert Deborah Cushing, an associate at Lawson Lundell LLP. “A number of employers are not aware of their obligations to have policies and procedures in place. So they’re at risk that if there is a complaint or inspection then they’ll be found to be not in compliance,” Cushing says. HR directors in particular have to ensure that policies and procedures have been brought up to date and that training and information has been provided to all employees, especially supervisors and managers who might deal with this on the front line, she says. The risks of not addressing bullying in the workplace go beyond legal ramifications. Workplace bullying causes increased absenteeism, lowered productivity and can permanently damage morale, even for employees not directly involved.
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Workplace bullying can be insidious and hard to spot. From taking credit for someone else’s work, or intentionally leaving someone off an important message, to intimidating or belittling a co-worker in private or public, bullies will use a range of behaviours to isolate their victim. “It’s all about marginalizing someone,” says Jessie Callaghan, Senior Technical Specialist with the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). “Usually there is a pattern of behaviour but I always say don’t dismiss it because it’s only one incident. The earlier you get on top of these things and identify them as inappropriate behaviours, the easier they are to rectify.” Part of preventing escalation is giving employees the tools they need so they can get support from HR before it turns to violence, or they develop a stress or mental health issue related to the bullying. Ensure employees know who they can contact and what resources are available, Cushing says. “It’s important that the people on the receiving end of those complaints know what they should do or know the process for passing that on so there is some consistency about what’s being done so employees feel they are treated fairly,” she says. Organizations that intervene early can find solutions before the issue escalates. For people engaging in bullying behaviour, coaching and sensitivity training can help them understand and become aware of their behaviour and the impact that’s having on others, Starr says. The more entrenched these behaviours become the harder it is to turn it around, which is why training frontline managers should be a top priority. Building the right corporate culture can also play a role in whether bullies thrive. “Workplace culture is very important. Your culture can unintentionally foster the types of behaviour you don’t want to see,” Callaghan adds. “It’s by ignoring or not addressing negative behaviour so it becomes part of the culture and more easily escalates into bullying situations.” “The idea is to be aware of what kind of corporate culture you have and then to put policies and procedures in place to convey to staff that this is a corporate culture,” she says. Include bullying behaviour workplace violence prevention plans, and incorporate the culture you want to see into wellness policies. Even if you’re away from the front line, HR and other company executives have a vital role in modelling good behaviour, triggering a “trick-down” effect of respect and positive behaviour.
“Even if you’re at the top, there’s an echelon of managers below you,” Callaghan says. “If you expect managers to model good behaviour, you intervene when you see inappropriate behaviours.” Make it clear that managers and supervisors are not only obliged to address bullying in others, but to make sure they’re not exhibiting such behaviour themselves, Cushing says. “I think it’s important for managers and supervisors to be conscious of the way they manage or supervise because sometimes that can cross the line,” she says. In management positions the difference between managing someone and bullying someone comes down to approach and tone. It’s not bullying to tell an employee that they should be at work on time, but it is bullying if the manager is berating them. Cushing also stresses the role HR directors play in keeping records. If your organization has implemented or revised their policy and distributed it, you should have a record to show employees received and read it, demonstrating that they have fulfilled their obligations. The same goes for training and education efforts. Organizations that successfully address workplace bullying see an increased sense of engagement, employees who feel supported and a more productive and effective workforce with better morale.
WHAT IS WORKPLACE WHAT IS NOT BULLYING? WORKPLACE • Abusive, insulting or offensive BULLYING? language or comments
• • • • • • • •
Unjustified criticism or complaints Deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities Withholding information that is vital for effective work performance Setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines Setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level Denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the worker Spreading misinformation or malicious rumours Changing work arrangements, such as rosters and leave, to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers
✔ Setting reasonable performance goals, standards and deadlines
✔ Rostering and allocating working ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
hours where the requirements are reasonable Transferring a worker for operational reasons Deciding not to select a worker for promotion where a reasonable process is followed Informing a worker of their unsatisfactory work performance Informing a worker of their unreasonable or inappropriate behaviour in an objective and confidential way Implementing organisational changes or restructuring Taking disciplinary action including suspension or termination of employment
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TECHNOLOGY / APPLIED ANALYTICS
Using data to drive results
HR leaders globally know they need to use data and analytics to ensure their programs are working and to identify problem areas, yet just 12 per cent* say they use analytics in an ‘advanced way.’ HRD investigates what’s holding HR back, and how it can better use data every day
Organizations that are able to harness data and analytics are able to make better, more informed decisions, but few are making the most of the information they already have on hand. One issue holding some organizations back from fully embracing analytics and data is a lack of confidence or deeper understanding, consultant David Creelman says. While analytics can be useful for a range of different departments, many teams did not have the expertise to understand the core data. He suggests utilizing the people in the organization who understand numbers and statistics to find ways to communicate and educate what the analytics mean to other employees. “Start by finding the people in your organization who are number oriented and work with them on some projects so you don’t have to hire someone specific,” Creelman says. “In the long run you should be looking to bring people into HR who are analytically inclined.” For those just starting to use data to measure HR
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trends, Creelman suggests starting with comparisons over a period of time. Compare absences from last year to this year to see if it’s getting worse, or look at the reasons for absences to see if there are steps HR can take to address the root causes. Sometimes organizations struggle with the concept that analytics is a tool to help them manage their business particularly their workforce. “Analytics on its own won’t solve a business problem. Organizations need business intelligence strategy,” Kronos presales manager Charis Sie says. HR leaders need to determine what they need to measure and how they want to view those Key Performance Indicators. Once those are established they can start to understand the health of their organizations, and the root causes of both good and bad outcomes. With that understanding, it’s easier to prevent problems from increasing, rather than addressing it once it’s already affecting the business. Real time tracking gives managers the ability to correct trends before they go over budget so if they’ve used more than half their overtime budget in the first 10 days of the month they can correct to ensure they’ll be within their overall limits. “It doesn’t have to be really sophisticated to be really helpful,” Creelman says. “Analytics help you identify where the issue is and then you have to go in and creatively solve that issue.” “I often tell clients that information is power and insight,” Sie says. “We are often seeing front line managers being asked to do more with less and that is a tough stressful scenario to be in. Having access to information helps front line managers be more nimble and agile to react and impact a company’s operations as they are occurring.” Analytics offers a big picture that can help managers look beyond single factors or isolated events, and access to real time information can also prevent errors and mistakes. By giving insight into how front line behaviour effects results, companies give managers the ability to understand and repeat best practices, which can lower costs and increase productivity. “The managers are absolutely the people on the front line who have to take data and use it to improve operations and performance,” Creelman says. “Almost any decision that they want to make is always better made if it’s backed up by some data.” He suggests communicating analytical information to managers with a “green, yellow, red” system to
help them quickly identify problem areas. Green means everything is fine, yellow shows an area of concern that is not urgent, while red indicates something that needs to be promptly addressed. “Analytics is becoming a necessity instead of a luxury,” Sie says. “Organizations can prepare themselves by understanding how to measure the health of their organization. These defined KPI’s will help them implement a tool that can be the competitive advantage difference.” Once organizations have the basics in place, a lot of data becomes more useful if it can be integrated with other data, such as linking staffing information to sales information or scheduling to patient outcomes and ward costs.
We are often seeing frontline managers being asked to do more with less and that is a tough stressful scenario to be in. Having access to information helps frontline managers be more nimble and agile to react and impact a company’s operations as they are occurring “It becomes more powerful, but that requires integrating two systems,” Creelman says. “That can require a fair amount of analytical sophistication. Formal training in stats and research methods. That’s the next frontier. I don’t want people to not do the basics because they think they need a PhD, but the time will come when they’ll want people with that level sophistication.” Creelman emphasizes the need to match the increase in sophistication with appropriate communication techniques so managers still understand what the figures show and how they can use the information to improve their methods. “How the data geek thinks about data and how the manager thinks about data can be quite different.” *Source: Harvard Business Review Analytics 3.0
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TECHNOLOGY / APPLIED ANALYTICS
HR executives relying on outdated methods to test candidates are holding their organization back from getting the best results possible. Liz Brown investigates the science behind the tests, and finds out how proactive HR leaders are improving psychometrics to advance hiring practices There are no doubts about the kind of person that ServiceMaster of Canada is looking for when they’re scouting for new franchisees. For 30 years the company has been using personality assessments as part of their overall screening process. “I’ve actually got mine right here in front of me, done in pencil back in 1986,” jokes ServiceMaster of Canada chief operating officer Ian England during a phone interview. But it’s not just the move from pencil and paper to computer that has changed in the world of personality and behavioral assessments. The tests themselves have become more sophisticated as test makers develop more customized assessments and try to proof the tests against invalid results. And as these assessments become more popular, it’s important that HR professionals are using the most updated methods and that they are educated in how to inter-
pret their results. “It has evolved,” says England, whose organization includes franchises for ServiceMaster Restore, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, AmeriSpec and Furniture Medic. “It’s the same style of test, but obviously the world has changed a lot so how we use it has changed.” “In terms of the basics on how tests are developed, that hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years,” agrees Richard Goffin, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario whose focus is on the improvement of pre-employment testing practices. According to Goffin, the thing that has changed is the development of another component to the assessment – something called a personality oriented job analysis – an analysis that takes a close look at a particular job in a systematic way to find out the right personality traits needed to ensure success at that job. “This is the thing that has shown the most success (in predicting future performance),” says Goffin. “It’s a relatively new area of research.” The job analysis component is something that ServiceMaster of Canada has adopted recently. “I would say this is the major thing we do different today as opposed to years ago,” says England. ServiceMaster of Canada uses the Predictive Index System along with a job analysis component called Performance Requirements Options (PRO). This companion tool allows all those people involved in the recruitment decision to outline the behaviors they desire in the ideal candidate. “You develop a profile from this and select candidates against the profile,” says England. Outdated testing methods that do not have this front-end job analysis tool can be problematic for recruiters, because there is no clear picture of what the ideal candidate looks like. “The danger in behavioral assessment is that you
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can be flippant with the analysis,” says England. “You think you know what you’re looking for, but you really might not. We want to get away from the guesswork and put a little more science in it. So we get consensus from our stakeholders using the PRO. It creates some very interesting dialogue internally.” Technology has made creating these types of analytic tools much easier, according to Dr. Donald Macnab, a psychologist at Psychometrics Canada who has over 25 years experience developing tests. “It wasn’t done as much in the past because it was difficult and time consuming, but now everything is computerized so it’s a relatively easy thing to do and it brings much more valid outcomes instead of just saying I’m going to use the scores on the test without knowing what I’m really looking for. Now you can get experts to analyze the position and think deeply about what the position requires.”
PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING PROBLEMS Beyond the risk of misinterpreting test results, using outdated tests can also prove problematic not necessarily because the testing methods have changed, but because people and society changes. According to Dr. Macnab, a good assessment should be reviewed and ‘normed’ every eight to 10 years. This means the test makers have a cross section of thousands of people take the test who are as demographically representative of the general population as possible. “You administer the assessment to this group and you come up with scores that tell you what an average person in the population is like,” says Dr. Macnab.“If you have norms from 1980, it’s probably not something that would represent the population of 2014. People change, societies and cultures change,” he adds. There’s also the worry that people may bluff on assessments in order to get the job. So, for example, if a candidate was applying for a sales job and assumed the test would be measuring traits for extroversion, they may select answers that would demonstrate they have an extroverted personality. “It’s a major concern among managers and it’s a perfectly legitimate concern,” says Goffin. “The frank answer is we don’t have all the answers to that issue.” One way test makers have tried to combat this problem in recent years is by using forced choice testing, according to Goffin. Where a typical personality test may have a question like “I naturally assume leadership roles in group situations” followed by a five point agree/disagree scale (from strongly agree to strongly disagree) a forced choice test will give
groups of descriptive statements and have the person choose which best describes them. For example the options might be “I am a person who naturally assumes leadership roles” or “I am a cautious and diplomatic person.” “This approach generally is more successful to combating faking because people can’t always tell which choice would put them in the best situation for getting the job,” says Goffin. The most obvious problem with using an invalid or outdated assessment in recruitment is hiring the wrong candidate. And the costs of such a decision can be massive in high stakes hiring. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Report, a mishire for a second level manager can end up costing an organization almost 300% of that manager’s salary over 2.5 years. For ServiceMaster Canada, the costs can be even greater and this is why they take great care in assessing potential franchisees. “It’s not like an employee,” says England. “We have a contractual relationship. It’s easy to sell a person a franchise, but it’s not easy to get rid of that person once you’ve made a wrong selection.”
SELECTING THE RIGHT TEST With the advent of the internet, it can seem like there’s a plethora of assessments to choose from and all at varying price points. So how do you pick the right one for your human resources department? Macnab says a good place to start educating yourself about psychometric testing is through the American Psychological Association’s book Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, which outlines validity, testing persons with disabilities and different linguistic backgrounds, as well as test development details. Another book Macnab recommends as background research is Buros’ The Mental Measurements Yearbook, which is a third party that reviews psychometric tests. There are also workshops that Psychometrics Canada and other test making companies offer. “I think lack of education in this area is a problem,” says Macnab. “It’s not just the HR industry, even in the education industry we find people who were in positions making judgements on what achievement tests to use in a school district and they would often not have the education you’d really like to see in someone making those decisions.” “If you’re going to be making decisions based on results of these tests, it serves you to be up to date on these sorts of things,” he adds.
This approach generally is more successful to combat ‘faking’ because people can’t always tell which choice would put them in the best situation for getting the job
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INSIGHT / DIVERSITY
TACKLING UNCONSCIOUS BIAS:
HR’s next frontier
As industry leaders work to advance diversity and inclusion across their organizations, is unconscious bias derailing efforts to create a highly competitive workforce? Organizations have long recognized that people are their most valuable asset. Creating diverse and inclusive teams to harness this value has been a focus for HR as organizations hire top talent to reflect the markets in which they do business. Progressive organizations have evolved, or are in the process of evolving, from having diversity, which is interesting, to doing something with it, which is powerful. They are using their diversity to create a truly inclusive workplace where everyone feels encouraged to participate. Full inclusion means everyone feels empowered to bring their perspectives, knowledge and experiences to the table. Inclusive work environments create equitable access to opportunities and leverage individual and collective strengths. Diverse and inclusive teams make stronger teams, and strong teams make better business decisions.
GOOD INTENTIONS, MIXED RESULTS
Zabeen Hirji is RBC’s Chief Human Resources Officer with global responsibility for Human Resources as well as Brand, Communications and Corporate Citizenship. As a member of RBC’s Group Executive, she is one of eight executives responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of RBC.
Yet while growing numbers of organizations are working hard to create a diverse and inclusive work environment, many struggle. If intellectually we understand the value of diverse teams, what exactly is holding us back from realizing diversity’s full potential? It could be our mindset. Research conducted by a team of world-renowned social psychologists led by Harvard University professor Dr. Mahzarin Banaji reveals the human brain is hardwired to make quick decisions, drawing on a variety of assumptions and experiences without our conscious awareness. It is these decisions that reveal our unconscious bias or blind spots. Research reveals that unconscious preferences are common and exist in all of us. Unconscious bias can be responsible for limiting diversity in such a way that it prevents organizations from realizing the power of diversity.
HIDDEN BIAS: WHAT IS IT AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? A hidden bias or blind spot is a preference for or against a person, thing, or group held at an unconscious level. This means we don’t even know that our minds are holding onto this bias. In spite of the best intentions, most people harbour deep-rooted resistance to the “different,” whether that difference is defined by such evident factors as gender, race, ethnicity, age or physical characteristics, or more subtle ones such as background, personality type or experiences. More subtly, people may show distinct bias in favour of the “same”. These implicit biases are shaped by many factors including past experiences, our local or cultural environment and the influence of our social community or media.
THE EFFECTS OF UNCONSCIOUS BIAS Whether it’s an unconscious discomfort with one group or, more commonly, a preference for another, hidden biases in the workplace can affect everything from: • hiring and promotion • team and project assignments • openness to new sources of ideas and innovative solutions • relationships
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Once we acknowledge that our brains are wired to be biased and we begin to explore our personal biases, it becomes possible to identify the disconnect between our intentions and our actions. Leaders can adopt a more mindful approach to their interactions and decision-making by adopting simple methods to counter their unconscious tendencies. At RBC, we recognize that we are on a journey
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and we are learning at each step of the way. We have taken a strategic approach to addressing unconscious bias within our organization. Our approach includes four steps: creating awareness; providing tools; enabling comfortable conversations and taking action.
about judgment or faulting. We are creating a language that is allowing our employees to engage in the right conversations.
Most importantly many of our leaders have become agents of change — speaking about unconscious bias, becoming aware of their own biases and taking action. I recently heard from one of our senior vice presidents of finance about a situation when he was planning for some business activities in New York. He quickly made the decision about which team member to send, and then his unconscious bias training made him pause to think about why he had made that decision. He realized he had chosen an individual because he had already been to New York on assignment and it would ultimately be easier than briefing someone new. Rethinking the situation and sending a new team member produced a better outcome, which was better for the individuals involved as well as for the business. That made it a win-win.
The first step towards addressing unconscious bias is creating awareness. Organizations must be prepared to work hard to increase their employees’ self-awareness. Communicating that having a bias doesn’t make you a bad person is fundamental to advancing this concept among employees. While this is a journey, we are making inroads. Our team has co-developed a white paper with EY - Outsmarting our brains: Overcoming hidden biases to harness diversity’s true potential — that addresses unconscious bias and how it applies to leadership. By making this white paper widely available both inside and outside our organization, our goal is to encourage conversations that ultimately lead to action.
TOOLS TO EXPLORE UNCONSCIOUS BIAS Through self-reflection, consultation with trusted colleagues and exploration of such tools as Harvard University’s Implicit Association Test, leaders are beginning to identify their own hidden biases. This process takes personal courage and a willingness to consider potentially unwelcome aspects of our own mental framework. By understanding the value of overcoming our biases, leaders can step past the discomfort and begin to acknowledge and eliminate their hidden biases. We have introduced inclusive leadership assessment tools such as the Intercultural Development Inventory, which help individuals rate themselves on a continuum. We have also developed a brief web-based vignette and a series of Q&As for employees designed to increase their awareness of unconscious bias and help eliminate barriers.
Taking Action – Putting our Learnings into Practice
A time for change: Intentional action makes a difference Focusing on hidden bias pushes us into uncomfortable areas and raises issues that we are cautious to talk about — for fear of offending or saying the wrong thing. Leaders everywhere should feel encouraged to take the time to think about their unconscious biases and show the courage to address them. It might be uncomfortable at first, but worthwhile change is seldom easy. With diversity and inclusiveness issues top of mind for high performing businesses in Canada and around the world, there has never been a better time to be courageous in this regard.
Enabling Comfortable Conversations As Dr. Banaji makes clear in her research findings, having a bias is only human and should carry no shame. The only shame is in making no effort to improve. The discussions we are having about unconscious bias are about educating and improving; not MAY 2014 | 41
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GROWING TRUE GRIT:
How you can build resilience to thrive in the most challenging of times It’s quite a list — the rapid pace of change, economic uncertainty, restructuring, redundancies, performance targets, cost pressures, increased competition. They’re only some of the pressures weighing on the minds of your workers. A little resilience, it seems, is in order The result of this high pressure environment is rising stress levels in the workplace. The impact of this workplace stress is increasingly psychologically unhealthy and unhappy employees. In fact, it is estimated to cost Canadian business approximately $33bn each year in lost productivity and stress/psychological injury claims. The challenge to business today is what to do about it. The answer is to build resilience. Resilience is an individual’s capacity to respond constructively to change, challenge and other stressors and to learn from that adversity to be even stronger and more capable than before. In other words – it’s our ability to withstand stress and recover quickly from life’s challenges. Building resilience, together with organizational level strategy such as effective change management practices, realistic job design, and providing role autonomy and flexibility, are fundamental parts to lowering workplace stress. Building resilience is becoming increasingly important to businesses in the industry because of the direct commercial benefits of having employees who deal effectively with change and other challenges and stress. Individuals who are resilient are happier, less stressed, and report higher overall wellbeing than those who are not. The improved performance outcomes of increased employee resilience and overall wellbeing are increased engagement, improved productivity and
decreased stress/psychological injury claims. Importantly, what we know is that resilience is a skill. The most recent advances in applied psychological science tell us that whilst some of us are naturally more resilient than others, resilience is a defined set of characteristics and behaviours which can be learnt. If we can understand and embrace these qualities we will deal with change more effectively and respond to change and stress in our lives in ways that are helpful.
BUILDING RESILIENCE There are three key dimensions to resilience. They are what we call Active Self-Management, Taking Control and Meaning & Purpose. These dimensions form the foundation of the qualities and characteristics of resilience. They empower us when facing challenges and allow us to feel happier and healthier in life to perform at our best.
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ACTIVE SELF-MANAGEMENT Active Self-Management refers to managing our initial response to stress and how we can proactively establish helpful choices around what we call the Big Four Lifestyle Factors of resilience – Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise and Positive Relationships. 1. One of the most scientifically established and simple ways to manage your initial reaction to a stressful situation is conscious and controlled breathing. There are a number of ways this can be done. One tool is called 5 x 5. It allows us to take control of our automatic and biological stress response and minimise the many unhelpful stress responses we can sometimes display. Try this: a. Take a deep breath. Check that your abdomen is moving, not your shoulders. b. Count slowly to 5. Hold for a count of 5. Breathe out for a count of 5. Hold for a count of 5. c. Repeat this cycle 5 times and then return to breathing normally. 2. Getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising daily, and investing in building and maintaining supportive relationships all help us deal with life’s ups and downs more effectively. It’s not easy in today’s busy world and it takes discipline. It is also one of the cornerstones of resilience. Ask yourself – “What is just one thing I can do to improve one thing in the Big Four Lifestyle Factors?”
TAKING CONTROL Taking Control focuses on consciously choosing our thoughts, feelings and behaviours in response to any situation by taking control of our thinking and the results that we get in life. Individuals who believe they are in control of their lives are more resilient, and no matter what happens it is our choice how to think, feel and behave. One of the ways we can do this is reframing – a way to look at difficulties in a fresh and positive way. To help us reframe a challenge we can ask ourselves: 1. What is the outcome I am trying to achieve? 2. What is my current response to this situation? What am I currently thinking, feeling and doing? Is this getting me the result that I want? 3. What is a more helpful response to this situation? How do I need to be thinking, feeling and behaving? Will this get me the outcome I want to achieve?
Whilst some of us are naturally more resilient than others, resilience is a defined set of characteristics and behaviours which can be learned MEANING AND PURPOSE Finding meaning and purpose is about the need to explore the value and opportunity in a situation to be able to embrace it positively so we can learn and grow. This is not a process for pretending everything is rosy. It is about acknowledging a situation is not easy and experiencing the emotions associated with this whilst knowing the circumstances can be overcome. It is a process of consciously thinking to help us consider what opportunities a change or challenge presents and searching for where we can find meaning – wherever that meaning and purpose lies for us. One of the most powerful tools we have to help us search for that meaning and purpose in a situation are questions. The brain has an automatic response to search for the answers to questions it receives. This means that strategic use of questions can be a powerful tool to influence both our own thinking and others. Questions we ask ourselves determine what our brain focuses on and strongly influence how we approach a challenge. Consider the individual who asks themselves “Why does this always happen to me?” compared to the individual who asks “What do I need to do to meet this challenge?” We would suggest the second individual is going to achieve a better result and show greater resilience in facing the challenge. When feeling stressed about a situation we can ask ourselves: “How am I going to constructively overcome this challenge/respond to this change/ deal with this situation?” While some people seem to naturally display more resilience than others, all of us can improve our resilience by investing energy in the three dimensions of the Resilience Model. And in the simple, yet deeply insightful words of Khalil Gibran: “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” MAY 2014 | 43
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FEATURE / GLOBAL SALARIES SURVEY
RAISE WAGES, CREATE JOBS? Raise the minimum wage and companies hire fewer staff. Itâ€™s perfect capitalist logic. Each time the government raises the lowest payable hourly rate businesses suffer as they canâ€™t absorb the cost and still make a profit. Well, it seemed like perfect logic until 1994 when two academics, David Card from Berkley and Alan Krueger from Princeton, released a study examining
Is raising the minimum wage the key to lifting living standards?
410 fast-food restaurants in Pennsylvania and New Jersey before and after a minimum wage rise. Their study showed that instead of losing jobs, the restaurants actually acted contrary to the longaccepted classical supply and demand theory predictions. Armed with this paper (and a subsequent book of theirs featuring further studies), many pro-higher
CHANGES TO MINIMUM WAGE IN CANADA OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS 2005
Alberta British Columbia
Manitoba New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Nova Scotia Nunavut Ontario Territories
Prince Edward Quebec Saskatchewan Yukon Island
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work week hours
44 work week hours
TOP 10 HIGHEST MINUMUM WAGES
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $11.09
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $10.25
40 work week hours
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $10.99
work week hours
6. SAN MARINO
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $14.24
work week hours
35 work week hours
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $11.49
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $12.22
3. MONACO 5. BELGIUM
38 work week hours
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $11.69
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $12.83
39 work week hours
38 work week hours
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $16.88
7. NEW ZEALAND
40 work week hours
minimum wage advocates have used their work to counter businesses that bemoan increased staff costs. Since the report, however, Card and Krueger’s report has been heavily criticized. David Neuman, another Californian academic, and William Wascher, an economist at the US Federal Reserve Bureau, looked at two decades of research (including studies that had used the Card and Krueger’s approach) and found nearly 70% of them showed the exact opposite of the 1994 paper. Other critics also point to the fact that the test was limited to fast food chains whose lean operating costs helped them manage to survive and prosper while the small, private, high labour cost cafes around them perished. Whichever is correct, a higher minimum wage is still an imperfect wage for reducing poverty – it’s estimated in the case of the US, nearly a third of the earnings from a minimum wage hike would go to families earning three times the poverty threshold. What do you think? What role should minimum wages play in a modern Canada? Join the debate on our lively forum – www.hcamag.com
Hourly Minimum Wage (US$) $11.18
TOP 10 LOWEST MINUMUM WAGES Country
Work week (Hours)
Federally imposed minimum hourly wage (US$)
Central African Republic
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TECHNOLOGY / FACEBOOK
FACEBOOK TIMELINE ● 28 Oct 2003 – Prelude Mark Zuckerberg releases Facemash, the predecessor to Facebook. It is described as a Harvard University version of Hot or Not. ● Jan 2004 – Creation Mark Zuckerberg begins writing Facebook. ● 11 Jan 2004 – Creation Zuckerberg registers thefacebook.com domain.
● 4 Feb 2004 – Creation Zuckerberg launches Facebook as a Harvard-only social network. ● Mar 2004 – Userbase Facebook expands to MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Dartmouth College, and Stanford, Columbia and Yale Universities. ● 30 Dec 2005 – Userbase Facebook achieves its one-millionth registered user.
● Early 2005 – Userbase Facebook adds international school networks. ● 26 May 2005 – Financial/legal Accel Partners invests $13m in Facebook. ● 19 Jul 2005 – Acquisition talks News Corp acquires MySpace, spurring rumours about the possible sale of Facebook to a larger media company.
● 23 Aug 2005 – Product Facebook acquires Facebook.com domain for $200,000.
● Dec 2005 – Product Facebook introduces the ability to tag friends in photos.
● Sept 2005 – Userbase Facebook adds high school networks.
● Sept 2006 – Userbase Facebook launches a high school version of the website.
● Oct 2005 – Product Facebook launches its photos feature with no restrictions on storage (but without the ability to tag friends).
● 26 Sept 2006 – Userbase Facebook is open to everyone aged 13 and over, and with a valid email address.
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HOW FACEBOOK SCALED ITS WORKFORCE If Facebook was a religion, its billion-plus members would make it the third largest on the planet. So what can HRDs learn from how the omnipresent social network has scaled its workforce? Facebook’s future is impossible to know. Despite stumbles including a botched public offering, some pundits predict it will become more dominant than Apple and Google; others predict that it will flail and fade away like America Online. Whatever Facebook’s fate, the twists and turns of how the company grew that colossal footprint in the eight short years before its 2012 public offering are instructive. By slowing down and shunning shortcuts when it came to developing the people who powered their expansion, leaders infused the company with the will, skill, and resilience to move quickly when and where it mattered. We’ve witnessed their ability to sustain this focus no matter how wild and out of
● 24 May 2007 – Product Facebook announces Facebook Platform for developers to build applications on top of Facebook’s social graph. ● 24 Oct 2007 – Financial/legal Microsoft announces it will purchase a 1.6% share of Facebook for US$240m, giving Facebook a total implied value of around US$15bn.
● Sept 2009 – Financial/legal Facebook claims it has turned cash flow positive for the first time. ● 28 Jun 2011 – Competition Google launches Google+, widely perceived as a competitor to Facebook. Commentators believe that Facebook’s subsequent rapid release of new features and improvements may have in part been hastened due to competition from Google+.
control the ride has become since 2006, when our conversations, interviews, and projects with people at Facebook began. They’ve done so despite brutal time pressures and distractions: adding as many as three million users per week and enduring intense media scrutiny, a Hollywood blockbuster that portrayed Zuckerberg in an unflattering light, nasty lawsuits, and withering user revolts – 750,000 users objected to the News Feed feature in 2006 and millions complained about ‘Timeline’ in 2012. This devotion to growing and grooming Facebook’s people happened informally at first. In the early years, Zuckerberg was jammed together with his employees in cramped offices. He talked constantly about his
● Apr 2012 – Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook acquires Instagram for $1bn. ● May 2012 – Financial/legal Facebook IPO: Facebook goes public at a share price of US$38, valuing the company at US $104bn, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company. ● Oct 2012 – Userbase Facebook reaches one billion active users.
● 4 Feb 2014 – Milestone Facebook marks 10-year anniversary of its launch and Zuckerberg writes a public post about why he is proud of Facebook so far. ● 19 Feb 2014 – Acquisitions by Facebook Facebook announces it is acquiring the Sequoia Capital-backed multiplatform mobile messaging app WhatsApp for US$16bn.
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TECHNOLOGY / FACEBOOK
SCALING MANTRAS 1. Spread a mindset, not just a footprint Running up the numbers and putting your logo on as many people and places as possible isn’t enough. 2. Engage all the senses Bolster the mindset you want to spread with supportive sights, sounds, smells, and other subtle cues that people may barely notice, if at all. 3. Link short-term realities to long-term dreams Hound yourself and others with questions about what it takes to link the never-ending now to the sweet dreams you hope to realise later. 4. Accelerate accountability Build in the feeling that “I own the place and the place owns me”. 5. Fear the clusterfug The terrible trio of illusion, impatience, and incompetence are ever-present risks. Healthy doses of worry and self-doubt are antidotes to these three hallmarks of scaling clusterfugs. 6. Scaling requires both addition and subtraction The problem of more is also a problem of less. 7. Slow down to scale faster – and better – down the road Learn when and how to shift gears from automatic, mindless, and fast modes of thinking (‘System 1’) to slow, taxing, logical, deliberative, and conscious modes (‘System 2’); sometimes the best advice is, “Don’t just do something, stand there”.
Facebook’s most sacred belief: “Move fast and break things” convictions and why they powered Facebook’s strategy. Once the company got too big for Zuckerberg to personally influence every employee, it took to more systematic methods, notably ‘Bootcamp’. Facebook engineers and other product developers are hired after rounds of gruelling interviews to assess their technical skills and cultural fit. But they are not placed in a specific job until six weeks after coming aboard. Management has a hunch about which role each new hire will play. Yet the final decision is not made until the end of Bootcamp, which is designed and led almost entirely by engineers, not the HR staff. During Bootcamp, every new hire does small chores for a dozen or so diverse groups. Chris Cox, Facebook’s 31-year-old vice president of product, emphasises that Bootcamp isn’t just for figuring out which role is best for each newcomer. A more crucial aim is to infect each with the Facebook mindset. Bootcamp requires recruits to live Facebook’s most sacred belief: ‘Move fast and break things’. As Cox puts it, it is one thing to
tell new engineers they can change code on the Facebook site. It is another thing for them to actually “touch the metal”. He adds, “We tell them, put your hand on it. Grab it. Now bend it.” Cox tells us about the newcomer whose dad called to say, “There’s a problem with this drop-down menu.” He called back the next day: “I fixed it, Dad. Did you see that?” That is the Facebook mindset: if you want people to move fast and fix things, they’d better feel safe to break some stuff along the way. When it comes to developing the site, going slow and trying to do things perfectly is taboo at Facebook. As engineer Sanjeev Singh explains, if you keep waiting for people to tell you what to do, don’t ask for help when you get stuck, and won’t show others your work until it is perfect, “you won’t last long at Facebook”. Bootcamp instills other beliefs about what is sacred and taboo. Engineers are expected to under-stand the code base, not just the part they tend to. Working on many different parts helps newcomers grasp the big picture. Rotating through many groups also sets the expectation that any role they play at Facebook won’t last long. Chris Cox worked as a programmer, product designer, project manager, head of HR, and vice president of product during his first six years at the company. After Bootcamp, these beliefs continue to be reinforced. Engineer Jason Sobel explains that Facebook doesn’t just tell new engineers they likely won’t be in any job for long; they live this philosophy via a “nearly mandatory” program called “hack-amonth” in which, each year, they are “loaned” to another group for a month. Each newcomer is assigned a mentor – usually an engineer who isn’t a manager – to help them navigate through Bootcamp. A new ‘class’ of 20 to 30 hires was started roughly every two weeks in 2011, which meant 70 or 80 engineers at a time were pulled away from their jobs to be mentors. This sometimes slowed crucial projects. Facebook’s leaders, including Cox and chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer, are convinced it is worth the cost – that their enduring success hinges on filling the company with people who live and breathe the right beliefs. Bootcamp also helps Facebook scale up talent because it enables mentors to “stick a toe in the management water”. It helps engineers discover if they enjoy mentoring and leading others. And Facebook executives get useful hints about whether employees are management material. Excerpted and adapted from the book Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I Sutton and Huggy Rao. Copyright 2014 by Robert I Sutton and Hayagreeva Rao. Published by Crown Business, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
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GREEN SHOOTS OF OPTIMISM The Global Accord on Workplace Safety It’s taken a disaster on the magnitude of the Rana Plaza collapse to push multinationals to negotiate and apply ‘global’ workplace standards across their supply chains. What does the Bangladesh Accord mean for global business operations? What does it mean for yours?
The Rana Plaza collapse: A tragedy that killed 1,129 people and injured nearly 3,000. The event represents the worst factory accident in history, as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern times. However, green shoots of optimism have since sprouted from this dreadful event. The Rana Plaza incident focused international attention on working conditions and workplace safety in the developing world, and the disaster may contribute to significant developments in the spheres of both corporate social responsibility and global industrial relations.
ACCORD ON FIRE AND BUILDING SAFETY Since April 2013, more than 80 international fashion companies with interests in Bangladesh have signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, an international agreement structured to address workplace safety standards in Bangladesh’s ‘Ready Made’ garment industry. Prime movers behind the Bangladesh Accord are the UNI Global Union and IndustriALL, two large trade union federations. For some time, these groups have pushed for multinational corporations to negotiate and apply ‘global’ workplace standards across their supply chains; but it is only in the wake of the Rana Plaza incident that their campaigning efforts have borne fruit.
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In certain respects, the Bangladesh Accord evokes the spirit of previous international concords, such as the International Framework Agreement (IFA); however, the provisions contained within the Bangladesh Accord go further, and will impact significantly on the ways in which global companies interact with local and international trade unions. Signatories include Canadian clothing retailer Joe Fresh, owned by Loblaw, which was one of a number of international companies selling clothing produced in the Rana Plaza factory. In mid-July 2013, signatories to the Accord released an Implementation Plan, detailing how the Accord would operate in practice. Considered together, these developments signal major changes in how companies deal with workplace issues within their global supply chains and how they engage with workers’ representatives across the chain.
KEY FEATURES Signatories of The Bangladesh Accord agree to take
The Rana Plaza incident focused international attention on working conditions and workplace safety in the developing world MAY 2014 | 51
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As a result, the Accord may play a role in developing, for the first time, a legal foundation for the relationship and interaction between companies and GUFs within the context of global supply chain management significant steps to implement, maintain and ensure safety standards in overseas workplaces to ensure adherence to internationally acceptable workplace safety standards. In order to achieve these goals, the Accord sets out a keen regimen of workplace inspections, reporting, remediation and training. From an IR perspective, the Accord has several features that are particularly notable: zz It is a legally enforceable agreement between companies and global union federations (GUFs) in respect of workplace standards in those companies’ global supply chains. zz It incorporates a strong legal adjudication mechanism in respect of disputes over the interpretation and application of the agreement. More specifically, the Accord provides that disputes will be arbitrated in accordance with UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. Arbitration awards made under the UNCITRAL arbitration procedure can be upheld and enforced by domestic courts, both in Europe and North America. zz It explicitly states that the workplace standards that must be adhered to include “internationally recognized workplace safety standards”.
THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN In July of this year, parties to the Bangladesh Accord
finalized their Implementation Plan. Perhaps the most noteworthy feature was the formal, multilevel governmental structure that will manage the implementation of the Accord. It will exhibit the following key features. FOUNDATION
The Accord establishes two primary offices: a bureau in the Netherlands will manage the affairs of the Accord and its relationships with international and local stakeholders. A second office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, will be responsible for managing on-the-ground operations (e.g. factory inspections). STEERING COMMITTEE
The Accord also establishes the Steering Committee as its executive branch. The Steering Committee held its first meeting at the International Labour Conference on 28 June 2013, and is scheduled to meet at least quarterly from now on. ADVISORY BOARD
The Accord finally established the Advisory Board as the primary platform for stakeholder input into the Steering Committee. Meeting at least quarterly, the Board will be chaired by an International Labour Organization representative and is composed of representatives appointed by groups such as the Bangladeshi Government, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, affected brands, retailers, and suppliers, Bangladeshi trade unions and international NGOs.
FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES The Implementation Plan also states that signatories will be responsible not only for funding the administration of the Accord but also any necessary safety improvements identified by the inspection process provisions. In the “safety improvements” category, the Implementation Plan articulates that signatory companies will be responsible for “ensuring that sufficient funds are available to pay for renovations
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and other safety improvements, as directed by the Chief Safety Inspector”. Notably, this financial obligation is not clearly provided for in the Accord itself; it is explained in brief in the Implementation Plan. Also, the Implementation Plan does not provide significant detail as to how signatories are expected to fund these safety improvements, beyond stating that these funds can be generated through “negotiated commercial terms, joint investment, direct payment for improvements, government and other donor support, or any combination of these mechanisms”. It remains far too early to assess the efficacy of the Accord. However, it is possible to make a few preliminary comments regarding the agreement’s place in the broader landscape of global industrial relations. The fact that the Accord is subject to a strong binding arbitration mechanism is notable, and it is likely to be the first IFA or other global agreement between companies and GUFs that includes a binding arbitration mechanism of this nature. As a result, the Accord may play a role in developing, for the first time, a legal foundation for the relationship and interaction between companies and GUFs within the context of global supply chain management.
administered facilities. However, the Implementation Plan also gives signatories wide discretion as to how they should meet their obligations. Clearly, the practical extent of such a financial responsibility will depend primarily on how they choose to manage their relationships with suppliers, governments, and fellow signatories, in light of the Accord’s objectives and requirements. Finally, it is important to highlight that UNI and IndustriALL are trumpeting the Accord as a “historic” development in global labour relations. Looking ahead, it appears likely that they will seek to export features of the Bangladesh Accord to other elements of their international labour strategy. For example, it seems likely that both GUFs will seek to establish far more robust mechanisms to monitor and implement the commitments established by the IFA. More generally, it is virtually certain that they will seek to apply the ‘lessons learned’ from the Bangladesh experience to their broader labour strategy. The Accord may represent a new blueprint for how global companies interact with GUFs and trade unions within the global labour dimension.
About the authors Manishi Pathak is a senior partner in the corporate practice of Kochhar & Co, Ius Laboris’ Indian member firm. Brian Burkett, Douglas Gilbert and Christopher Pigott are senior partners at Ford Harrison, Ius Laboris’ US member firm. Ius Laboris is a leading global alliance of employment, labour and pension law firms. It provides companies employing an international workforce with first-class legal advice and support on all HR issues. For further information, visit iuslaboris.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLOBAL IR IMPLICATIONS The governance structure envisioned in the Implementation Plan appears to be well resourced, well staffed and governed by fairly detailed regulations and operational principles. Furthermore, it contemplates a full-time administrative capacity that exists separately from either GUFs or signatories, and has a mandate to interact directly with governments, international organizations and other relevant parties. These features suggest that, in practice, the Accord may be ‘operationalized’ in a far more robust manner than previous, similar arrangements. It is also clear that the Accord will place financial obligations, both direct and broad, on signatories regarding problems that arise in supplier-
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MANAGEMENT / PSYCHOLOGY
MINDFULNESS – there’s an app for that
Stress costs Canadian business more than $10B a year. A start-up has teamed with IBM to combat stress using a custom smartphone app, meaning stress relief for your workers is just a click away. Joshua Gliddon investigates Stress is probably costing your company, and definitely the economy, a lot of money. According to a 2013 Health Canada study, workplace stress costs the Canadian economy more than $10B per year. An earlier study from Statistics Canada found that workers who felt a high level of stress took 2.4 times more leave than those who did not feel overly stressed. It’s those sorts of figures that play on the minds of corporate HRD and culture managers. Anna Phillips, an organizational and cultural change specialist with IBM, is acutely aware of the impact stress has on employees, and the potential impact it has on the computing giant’s bottom line. “We recognize we’re a fast-paced business,” she tells HRD. “Dealing with stress can be taxing for the employee, but the view of IBM is that well-being is the key to business success.” Part of IBM’s focus on employee well-being is the recent trial of an app-based mindfulness program developed in collaboration with a company called Smiling Minds. According to Smiling Minds co-founder James Tutton, the app grew out of his personal interest in meditation, and what he half-jokingly refers to as a mid-life crisis. “I also wanted to teach my kids about mindfulness and meditation,” says Tutton. “So in collaboration with a psychologist we obtained seed funding and developed the mindfulness app, which is free for schools to use.” 54 | MAY 2014
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THE PHYSICAL CO$T OF STRESS Mental stress can lead to the following conditions: ÎÎAnxiety ÎÎDepression ÎÎBurnout ÎÎFatigue ÎÎSocial and behavioural health – excess alcohol, smoking, etc ÎÎMusculoskeletal disorders ÎÎCardiovascular disease ÎÎMetabolic syndrome
The reality is that if people are stressed they are not going to be doing their best work James Tutton, Smiling Minds
The idea to roll it out on a fee basis to corporates came later, he says. “The intellectual property has been developed and can be redeployed for corporates on a custom basis. The reality is that if people are stressed they are not going to be doing their best work,” he adds. It was through the school program that IBM’s HR team heard about the app, and they subsequently approached Smiling Minds to develop a custom app to trial with a select group of its Australian staffers. Phillips says the company has run cognitive leadership programs for the last three years. These programs introduced the concept of mindfulness, and then some participants mentioned it was similar to a program their kids were doing at school. “We engaged in an open conversation with Smiling Minds, and developed the app for a trial,” says Phillips. The custom app has corporate branding, and is suitable for both Android and Apple’s iOS devices. The impact of stress on business and the economy is only just becoming apparent. According to the Medibank Private study, employees who are happy and healthy are three times more productive than unhealthy employees, while unhealthy employees take nine times more sick leave than healthy employees. The Safe Work study also found that mental stress claims are the most expensive form of workers’ compensation claims, and those claims often result in the employee being absent from the workplace for the longest period of any injury or disability. Clearly, minimizing mental stress is key to reducing health-related absenteeism, and reducing the costs associated with ill health. Phillips says the mindfulness program, which encompassed 200 staff, as well as a control group, had clear benefits when it came to reducing stress. “The results we could see were an increase in
mindfulness and in overall well-being, as well as a significant reduction in perceived stress,” she says. The company has not assessed the effectiveness of the program in dollar terms, however. Those results mesh with what IBM project executive Gary Trytel, a participant in the program, experienced. “We’re all busy, and it’s helped me become more relaxed, yet more focused at the same time,” he says. The app has different exercises aimed at creating awareness of mindfulness, Trytel adds, and all are of different lengths. This means, he says, you can do an exercise when you have time to slot it in, whether that is during the working day or when you get home from work. “It just depends on how much time you have,” he says. Having seen clear benefits from the mindfulness program, IBM is now considering making it available to all Australian staff, and there’s considerable interest from overseas divisions as well, says Phillips. “Our colleagues in India are showing a lot of interest,” she says. “So we’ve started the conversation with them to roll it out.”
THE FINANCIAL CO$T OF STRESS ÎÎHealthy employees are three times as productive as unhealthy staff ÎÎUnhealthy employees take nine times as much sick leave as healthy staff ÎÎPresenteeism costs $25B annually ÎÎSix working days are lost every year per employee due to presenteeism ÎÎStress-related presenteeism and absenteeism costs the economy $12B per year ÎÎStress-related presenteeism and absenteeism directly costs employers $4.5B per year
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THE LIGHTER SIDE
ASLEEP IN THE INTERVIEW AND OTHER HR HORROR STORIES Interviewing candidates is routine business for most HR pros, but there are always candidates happy to shake up the status quo – and not always in a good way. A new survey from CareerBuilder shows hiring managers make quick decisions about who to keep and who to show the door. Dealbreakers include arrogance, disinterest and being uninformed, but some candidates take their incompetency to a whole new level. Here are the most memorable interview blunders: • Candidate asked interviewer out on a date; • Candidate ate a hard-boiled egg; • Candidate brought in a high school project because their mother thought the interviewer might want to look at it; • Candidate explained that they would prefer to work at another company but had not heard back from them yet, so they were applying there in the meantime; • Candidate fell asleep; • Candidate forgot who his current employer was; • Candidate untied his shoes, removed his socks, and rubbed his bare feet on the interviewer’s desk; • Candidate said they wouldn’t be able to work in the summer if it was sunny as they would be sailing; and • Candidate got up and paced around the office while interviewer remained seated.
WEIRDEST INTERVIEW QUESTIONS The online jobs platform OneShift surveyed job seekers to find out the strangest questions they’d been asked in job interviews and these ones may surprise even industry veterans like you
The 10 most bizarre interview questions (and requests) from employers:
WHAT JOBS WILL YOU BE ADVERTISING IN 2030? Just 15 years ago there were no social media experts, cloud specialists or Zumba instructors, but what new job titles will we see 15 years from now? According to the Canadian Inspired Minds initiative these jobs will be common come 2030: Nostalgist: A mix between a therapist, an interior designer and a historical researcher, a nostalgist will help wealthy seniors create a living space inspired by their favourite decade. Tele-surgeon: As technology improves so do telework opportunities – surgeons will operate on patients using robotic tools instead of human hands in order to facilitate surgeries in remote areas. Robot counsellor: In 2030, home robots will have taken on some caregiver roles, so a robot counselor will ensure a family picks the right bot for them. Garbage designer: “Upcycling” – the practice of turning waste into better quality products – will be popular in 2030, and garbage designers will be central to upcycling’s success.
1. Bring an item with you to the interview that best suits your personality. 2. Imagine a pen that could do anything. How would you sell it to me? 3. If you started dating another employee, would you inform the manager about your relationship 4. Name the seven dwarves from Disney’s Snow White. 5. How would you move three chairs from one end of the room to the other? 6. Here’s a pen between us. How would you get the pen over to me? 7. Would you wear a sombrero at the airport so company guests can identify you during pick-up? 8. Are there wolves in Australia? 9. You have several hundred kilos of cardboard boxes. With a group of ten people under your command, how would you delegate the tasks to move the boxes from point A to B which are one kilometer apart? 10. If you inherited an island: • What would you do with the island? • Who would live with you on the island? • What would be the top 3 rules of the island?
Simplicity Expert: Part designer, part math whiz, and part sociologist, these 2030 business consultants are interested in looking at how business can simplify and streamline their operations by coming up with new and creative methods of working.
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