HR Times Issue 01: The Future of HR

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HR Times The Future of Human Resources

Volume 1 Issue 1 | September 2020 SFU HRSA


Table of Contents 04 10

Interview with Professionals

Student Alumni Feature

EDITOR’s NOTE Welcome! A new school year has started and SFU HRSA is excited to present to you the first issue of HR Times. This month’s theme - The Future of Human Resources - is centred around the idea of change. The global economy is continually being shaped by rapid digital transformation, a shift in workforce demographics, and current health issues, affecting both social and professional life. In this issue, we’re going to provide you with some career insights from industry professionals and tips from your fellow student leaders at Beedie! It is a privilege working with professionals and students to connect our readers to learn more about the HR industry. If you are interested or know someone who is interested in being a part of our magazine, please reach out to us. On behalf of the entire HRSA family, we welcome you to an 8-month journey of content that we are excited to share with you! Cheers,


Student Features Teresa Li


Selena Situ

HRSA’s Updates EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Selena Situ Teresa Li PRODUCTION AND DESIGN EDITOR Nhi Nguyen HRSA Executives Jessica Pham, Helen Su, Selena Situ, Teresa Li, Chenlei Zhang, Simran Sharma, Harman Chhina, Nhi Nguyen


ABOUT US The Human Resources Student Association (HRSA) is a student-run business organization at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. We provide students with networking opportunities and resources to learn about the various functions of Human Resources and its significance in the workplace. Through the initiatives and events offered by the organization, HRSA strives to increase student awareness and engagement. Founded in 2004, HRSA is regarded as a successful and accomplished student organization, recognized as the only Human Resources business organization at SFU. HR Times is a magazine run for students by HRSA. Founded in 2020 as a new initiative, we hope to support and inform students on the various trends in HR.

The future of human resources

The Future of Human Resources is constantly evolving with the advancement of technology in the workspace. It is important for HR personnel to understand the changes and ensure both management and employees are developing alongside one another. As an organization develops its employees, they strengthen their organization and ensure a stronger and more efficient workplace. This is why the Future of HR is important to consider and what we will be asking HR professionals in this issue of HR Times.



Interview with Professionals

Francis J D’Souza

Kyleen Lee

Public Sector - Crown Corporation HRO - Human Resources Business Partner

BBA Engineering Ltd. Human Resources Business Partner

Francis is a confident and reliable Human Resources professional with over 11 years of experience in a complex, fast-paced, multiunion, public and private sector environment with a demonstrated history of working collaboratively in both the public sector and private sectors. He is skilled in Interviewing, Labour Relations, Organizational Development, Recruiting, Training & Development, and Human Resources. Francis is a strong Human Resources professional with a Diploma focused in Occupational Health & Safety, Certificate in Human Resources Management and a Certificate in Business Management all from Simon Fraser University.

Kyleen is an SFU Beedie alumni who graduated in Spring 2019. During her five years at SFU earning her business degree, she specialized in Marketing and Human Resources. She also completed three co-op work terms, one of them being at BBA Engineering, where she is currently working fulltime as a Human Resources Business Partner.


I feel social media, if used correctly, can be a very powerful communication tool that helps to share the company’s vision, goals and provide valuable updates to employees about company activities. Francis J D’Souza

Q: HR is already using automation to process resumes. How else could you see HR moving forward with automation? Would it be possible for HR to be overtaken by AI and software? Kyleen: In certain aspects of HR, there are possibilities that it can be automated. For example, payroll and benefits, and a new and improved applicant tracking system may become automated. However, I believe HR will never be completely overtaken by AI and software. HR revolves around creating and developing relationships with employees and managers. There is a necessity for HR to be fully integrated in the day to day business of a company and to critically adapt to the specifics of each case. With that being said, the need for complex social interaction in HR will prevent machines from completely taking over. Francis: There is already advancement in how HR uses technology for example employees can now update their personal information onto the company websites like addresses and phone numbers, other things like banking information, dependents, benefits information etc. can also be updated by the employee saving time for HR professionals to do other duties. There are even online training databases to provide employees with training resources and tracking of training information which employees have access to view and update their learning and talent profiles to review with their Team Leaders. Through this we can see how HR is integrating AI and where it is taking them. AI and software would make job duties easier for HR

professionals and frees up their time to handle other more important strategic duties to help enhance company culture and employee development. HR software and AI helps HR professionals with data processing and uses pattern recognition to complete tasks more efficiently and faster. By using software to analyze the data and narrowing down to a select few search criteria you are able to scan tons of data and then only focus on the ones that interest you. This allows HR professionals to learn more about employees and work on creative ways to keep them engaged and to also handle situations or issues that occur. Automation can boost efficiency, productivity and freeing HR to work on other important aspects of their roles. Whiles always being proactive in helping develop a great work culture where all employees are engaged, safe and motivated. Q: As social media is becoming a key player in maintaining an active workplace, what is your opinion on social media at the workplace? Would you say it decreases productivity? Kyleen: There are many pros and cons when it comes to social media at the workplace. Social media can be one of the most powerful communication tools for individuals; helping them foster new ideas, create innovative solutions, and helping them with collaboration. This opportunity also allows colleagues to connect with one another and to build on their relationships. On the other hand, social media can also be very distracting and unproductive. As managers cannot control what their employees do online, individuals may be engaging in the wrong activities

6 or seeing false information. This can lead to issues in retention and behaviour in the workplace. Francis: I feel social media, if used correctly, can be a very powerful communication tool that helps to share the company’s vision, goals and provide valuable updates to employees about company activities. Some of the benefits of social media are it improves workplace communication and increases collaboration. It provides an important resource to employees, encourages creativity and professional development. In some cases, it helps remote offices or workplaces communicate better with each other and share and collaborate on projects. If set up correctly and used properly social media can actually improve productivity and engage employees creating a better work culture. In a study by Microsoft and the University of California Irvine completed in 2016, the researchers found that employees that checked their Facebook during work hours returned to their tasks with better focus and were more efficient as it was like taking a mini-break. Q: What are some key differences in Traditional HR and Modern HR? Do you believe COVID-19 will bring lasting effects as many companies are looking to move online post-COVID? Kyleen: Traditional HR is all about being comfortable and following policies, sitting in the background and delivering only the required work that is requested. As we are now in the era of constant change, modern HR is all about getting involved. As mentioned earlier, HR needs to be more fully integrated in the day to day business of a company. Covid-19 has taught everyone how to quickly adapt to change. As we transition into a “new normal� there will be employees who prefer to work remotely and find themselves being more productive. However, the face to face interaction with colleagues can never be replaced. Francis: Traditional HR is more administrative in nature and focuses on managing labour relations, solving problems and generally keeping workers happy. Traditional HR managers work re-actively when situations or issues occur. Modern HR works proactively to ensure certain situations do not occur and believe more in training and development of

7 Q: Many students are looking to start online companies as they have become more accessible. Are there any key differences in maintaining a healthy company environment between on-line companies and in-person companies? Any general advice?

employees. Modern HR functions include job analysis, job design, employee training and development, performance management, employee engagement, compensation, benefits and labour relations. Larger companies use Modern HR functions while smaller companies still use traditional HR functions. With our current situation with Covid-19 lots of HR departments and office workers have gone more online and have worked more remotely to complete their daily tasks. I can see some companies utilizing work at home strategies as there is now software available like Microsoft teams, Video chats, zoom or conference calls for coworkers to collaborate on projects. Meetings can be replaced by emails or IM or Microsoft teams or similar software. Companies that have regional offices or employees that use to travel as part of their duties can see that reduced with the new processes currently being used. More flexible hours and staggered shifts can also be something offices will use to limit people in the work areas. Automation could be accelerated, new tools, equipment, work locations and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) requirements to keep employees safe. Companies have had to become creative and adapt by using new technology, upgraded safety measures, new processes and equipment to keep workers safe in most cases will stay and become the norm.

Kyleen: Whether your company is online or in person, the most important aspects of a company environment is building trust and having strong communication amongst employees. Building trust and honesty is highly valued in the workplace. Managing employee’s expectations and following commitments help build trust. Connecting for a few minutes a day on a personal level can also foster this aspect. Communicating with your employees means keeping them well informed on decisions and daily news within the business. Communication can sometimes be forgotten as a company grows and managers become busy. It is important to have regular interactions with your team in order to be aware of what’s going on. This would allow employees to address more difficult topics informally. Francis: Both on-line companies and in person companies have different benefits to workers. Online companies give workers more flexibility as you do not have to worry about commuting to work and can use that time to do other personal tasks till you have to start your work. Other benefits include using time more effectively, well rested, more focused, saving gas and is better for the environment. For example if you work from 9 am to 5 pm you can wake up, go to the

8 gym or do some house chores till you need to report to your home desk to start your day. While in person companies the worker would need to get ready and then commute to work in traffic to report to their work desk and then they have to commute home after work is completed. Communication is an important part of work with some being done via IM, email, or other social media platforms, these can be done in both in-person companies and online companies. The only thing missing would be the face to face communication which would be beneficial to in-person companies as employees socialize and build relationships with co-workers which helps with engagement and development. Working from home helps Team Leaders and coworkers get closer to their coworkers as you can learn more about their personalities through their homes. Whiles in-person workers have their desks and other furniture provided to them in a uniform way with limited choices. Work culture is easier to develop with employees in the in-person company as workers meet and socialize with each other. Online companies it is harder to set up a work culture and most workers work remotely and only communicate with different types of tools like IM and email. Online companies should arrange teams to get together so employees can get to know each other better and socialize.

If you are looking to set up an online company it is very important to be able to have guidelines for employees that work from home. Companies need to think about internet security and privacy concerns with data etc. Things like ergonomics and office furniture for the home office would be important as you do not want people to injure themselves while working from home. It is important to see what is needed out there for smaller companies from HR and then try to guide your online company to assist other companies out there. Research what is needed and what is missing and if possible connect with other HR professionals.

9 It is important to connect to other like-minded individuals and collaborate. It is more difficult to build relationships remotely and easier to build face to face relationships as it builds more trust and confidence that you are in good hands. A good example would be your cell phone. Do you get better service when you visit in person stores for assistance or use their websites and IM services or when you just call them up and deal with their customer service representative? In-person service feels better when you connect with somebody compared to over the phone or online thru the website. Q: Anything you would like to tell our audience? Francis: I have found that ongoing personal development is a great way to keep up with the times and would recommend looking at increasing your network by joining HR associations and look at different development opportunities to help you

learn and grow. When it comes to being a good HR professional it’s important to be able to collaborate with other like-minded individuals and I would recommend joining the CPHR BC. You can go to round tables to collaborate with others or attend different information sessions to help you on your career path. They also offer mentors to help guide you and coach you. Also, make sure to set up a LinkedIn account and connect to your current group of fellow students and grow that network. One of the greatest lessons we have learned recently with the pandemic is that we all need to be prepared for change and the unexpected. Always keep an open mind and seek out learning opportunities to help you learn and grow. There are many free e-learning courses online that you can view and increase your knowledge. Take on new challenges and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Good luck in your studies and all the best in the years to come and hopefully we can connect sometime.


Student Alumni Feature Alejandra Valiente Trimble Inc. Human Resources Administrator Graduated in 2017

Alejandra is from El Salvador and she came to Vancouver in 2013 to study at SFU as an international student. She had a great experience and graduated in 2017, where she started working in a recruiting agency and has now moved to an HR role at Trimble Canada.

11 Q: What influenced your decision to concentrate on HR? Why are you interested in HR? Was HR your first choice? When I first started at SFU, I had my options open and had no idea what my concentrations would be. HR wasn’t at the top of my head at the time, I used to ponder upon Operations and Entrepreneurship, so it wasn’t my first choice at the beginning. As I took more classes, I was realizing how much I enjoyed the HR or HR-related courses. The altruistic side of HR is what I loved the most, it connected to what I value which is helping others and creating the most positive environment wherever I am at. This is when it all clicked and knew that HR was the concentration I wanted to take. So in a few words, I am interested in HR because, in my opinion, it is the area where you can make a difference within a company. It concentrates on helping employees in all aspects, such as supporting them in their work environment, mental wellness and development. The best part is that there is still ongoing research within HR that will keep adding value and purpose to organizations. Q: Were you/are you involved in any extracurriculars that have helped you in your professional development? During my studies at SFU, I was involved in the Beedie Concierge team and ALAS (Association of Latin American Students). The Beedie Concierge was

created to help students, mostly first-year students, to get guidance within Beedie. Managing this and the team taught me strong leadership and coaching skills. On the other hand, ALAS is a club for Latin American students and those who love the Latino culture. As Vice President of ALAS at the time, I learned to have excellent organization, communication and managing skills in order to create events that promoted inclusiveness, diversity and equality. Therefore, being out there and involved in extracurriculars, definitely helped building skills that I have been using ever since. Q: In your perspective, do you think HR students have a good work/life balance? I do believe both HR students and professionals have a good work/life balance. From an HR perspective, we know that having work-life balance reduces stress, burnout and increases motivation and job satisfaction. Therefore, HR is always focused on promoting and making sure this is happening for everyone, and the best way to do this is by us having that work-life balance. Q: What advice would you give to your younger self ? Do you have any advice for prospective HR students? My advice is: don’t stress or overwhelm yourself with what the future will hold. Enjoy everything that is coming your way, take advantage of all the opportunities that you can - make the most of it. You’ll never regret doing what has added value to your life.


Raven Bruan Raven Bruan is approaching his fifth year at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. His concentrations are Management Information Systems and Human Resources. He is passionate about building community and has extensive experience in student organizations, having been president of the business faculty student society last year. He had the opportunity to intern at a Salesforce consulting firm in Burnaby, BC.

Olivia Chan Olivia is a fourth-year Human Resources and Marketing student at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. She is also pursuing a Labour Studies Certificate in Workplace Rights. She has been involved in organizations including HRSA, SMA, and BASS and is currently the President of SMA. Last year she completed her first Coop as an HR/Recruiting Assistant at Inland Group. During her free time, she loves to bake, cafe hop to try new foods, and get bubble tea with friends!

Travia Mok Travia is a fourth-year student at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. She is currently on her second co-op term at a pharmaceutical company as an HR Co-op Student. If she is not spending time with her dog, you would find her reading - especially books revolving around thriller, adventure, and personal growth and wellness!

Studen Q: What has influenced your decision to concentrate in HR? Was HR your first choice? Raven: Weirdly enough my decision was influenced by my favourite extracurricular in highschool. I was in a concert band and played in the bass section - and I really felt like my role in the band was to support the team and keep the tempo going so that others could do their best and play at the right times, which I really enjoyed! Then, in my first year of university, I went to a few student-led conferences to get a feel of what I really enjoyed. I ended up going to HRSA’s HR NOW Conference, where I volunteered and had the chance to learn about the concentration. The way that the speakers and sessions described Human Resources and how it fits in an organization aligned with my interest in supporting others that I realized earlier. HR was my first choice but I’m really happy to complement it with a concentration in MIS. I’m finding it increasingly exciting to hear about all of the new technologies that enable people to do their best work - whether that’s tools that let you

nt Features collaborate from across the world or applications that track employee sentiment. Olivia: Going into first year, I knew I was a people-oriented person, meaning I enjoyed working with others and helping others grow. With my mindset of wanting a career where I could support others, I was leaning towards concentrating in HR. I also volunteered as a Brand Ambassador for HRSA’s Spring Soiree, where I got to network with HR professionals who gave me more insights and knowledge about the HR industry. After talking to some professionals and discovering that there are so many more aspects of HR than just working with people, I think that solidified my interest in pursuing HR as a concentration. Travia: When I entered Beedie, I didn’t even know there was an industry called Human Resources out there. I was pretty set on pursuing a concentration in marketing because I thought “since I’m a creative and artistic person, this makes the most sense”. After taking BUS 381 (intro to HR), I found it interesting how HR can influence an organization and its people. Most of all, I loved the aspect that in HR, you

can build relationships, help others, and connect people together. Q: Were you involved in any extracurriculars that have helped you in your professional development? Raven: I have been part of three organizations throughout my time at SFU Beedie. In first year I joined HRSA as a Marketing Coordinator for Spring Soiree, then I went on to work with BASS for three years as a coordinator, VP of HR, and then President. Now, I’m currently wrapping up my term as a pro-bono consultant with Axis Consulting. These experiences yielded some important things: ability to interact with multiple stakeholders, developed connections with professionals and peers, and the opportunity to showcase a continuous desire to improve and learn. As someone who assisted with recruitment in my last internship, it was very attractive to see a resume where someone participated in extracurriculars on top of their work and school work, as to us it really demonstrated work ethic and

13 internal motivation that you really can’t teach. Olivia: Besides joining HRSA, I also joined SMA as an HR Coordinator to further explore my interests in HR. I think this position really helped me gain hands-on experience in the recruiting, on-boarding, and member experience side of HR. To strengthen my HR experience and skills, I became the 2019 - 2020 VP of HR for SMA where I got to lead and run recruitment cycles, onboard coordinators and plan socials/team-bonding events to maintain a positive, supportive and family-like organizational culture. These extracurriculars supported my professional development and growth by allowing me to develop the organizational and interpersonal skills needed for HR. Travia: I definitely got myself involved in clubs since my first year– I started off in SMA as a logistics coordinator, then BASS for events, then back to SMA again to explore marketing, and finally HRSA as VP of Marketing. I was also on the leadership team in a campus Christian club called Power to Change, where I developed communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. All these extracurriculars that I was involved in definitely helped me step out of my comfort zone and made me realize how much I enjoyed building relationships with others. It also helped that I could talk about these experiences when networking and interviewing for jobs. Q: Do you think HR students have a good work-life balance? Raven: It depends! I worked at a

14 fast-paced technology consulting firm that was growing rapidly. We didn’t have a huge HR team and I was wearing multiple hats at the same time, so there were times when I did have to stay later to complete tasks. However, aside from some pressing projects, our team did enjoy work-life balance and management always encouraged us to go home on time, which I really appreciated. I haven’t had the opportunity to work in a larger company or different industry yet, so I can’t say what it’s like for students interning there. I can say for sure that HR students will most certainly have a better work/life balance than some of my Finance friends, though! Olivia: I think HR students do have a good work/life balance as many of the HR classes are not too time consuming, which gives you the time to engage in HR related extracurriculars to build your HR experience and grow professionally. From my experience of doing one HR co-op work term, I also believe that the work/ life balance of a working HR professional would be good as working overtime is uncommon depending on the company. Travia: I would say it depends. HR itself is very broad. You can be a student in HR, but also be interested in

pursuing HR in a specific industry like marketing, tech, or accounting too. The nature of the industry may have different demands and priorities that the HR professional (or student) would need to know. Most HR students I know are generally sociable and involved in extracurriculars and/or work where they can build connections with others. From my experience doing HR co-ops, people in this industry have pretty good work/life balance because they know the value of being human and having a life outside of their professional life. Q: What advice would you give to your younger self ? Do you have any advice for prospective HR students? Raven: Here’s some practical advice that I really wish someone had told me when I was younger. 1. Comparison is the thief of joy. Especially in the competitive business school landscape, you might find yourself becoming jealous of others or wondering how they got so lucky. It’s important to remember that even if you’re in the same year, people are on different paths of their journey. The right thing will happen for you when the time comes (but that doesn’t mean you can slack off)!


2. Try different clubs. I stuck to one organization for a good chunk of my university years, and while I loved it, one part of me always wondered what it would be like if I tried something new. Looking back, I think it would’ve been an awesome experience learning new things and making new friends had I branched out from BASS. One thing to note though - it’s easy to take on too many responsibilities so be wary of that or you might burn out. Olivia: Advice I would give my younger self is to not sweat the small stuff! I would stress over the smallest things and I wish I knew that everything will work out in the end and that everything will fall into place. For prospective HR students who are trying to gain experience in HR either through an internship, Co-op or club, my advice to you would be to work hard and never give up on your goal. My 1st co-op did not come easy! I had 10 unsuccessful interviews before I landed my co-op. So please don’t give up! Travia: Step out of your comfort zone; don’t be afraid to try, fail, and learn. I didn’t know how much I enjoyed and valued connecting with others until I tried taking on certain projects and talking to certain people. For anyone considering to go into HR, definitely be intentional about networking and building relationships, but also learn to be strategic about how you do so. After all, there is a reason why it is called Human Resources and the relational aspect of this job cannot be replaced by technology.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell our audience? Olivia: My final advice is to be open-minded and explore all areas of HR. HR is more than just recruitment. HR careers can also exist in compensation & benefits, payroll, training & development, performance management, labour relations, HRIS, people & culture, and health & safety. You might discover an area of HR you like more and choose to specialize in it, or you might enjoy all areas, and choose to be an HR Generalist! Whatever the case, I think HR management skills are important for everyone to have as it fosters better collaboration and communication, keeping your organization connected and engaged! Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin if you would like to chat more about HR! oliviakc Travia: HR is an industry in demand as employers now realize the value of having professionals communicate important messages within the organization, find and cultivate talent, and advise the organization about legal and social issues. How do world issues impact the business and its employees? How should the employer communicate to their employees about the decisions they make? COVID-19 is a great example of how HR plays this vital role in an organization. I don’t think you will ever be bored in HR, because it is an industry that is constantly changing and evolving!


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