HR Times Volume 2 Issue 2 - Moving up the Company Ladder

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HR TIMES Volume 2 Issue 2 | November 2021 SFU HRSA





Editor’s Notes


Sponsor Recognitions


Introduction to Theme


Introduction to Professionals


Interview with Professionals

10 - 22

SFU HRSA Updates/Survey


Editor in Chief Victor Le, Anthony Wong, Ashley Chia, Viet Ngyuen Production & Design Editors Fiona Fang, Chenny Cao, Cara Cheng

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.

President Harman Chhina

VP of Internal Relations Bonnie Lu

VP of Finance & Operations Gurkirn Somal

VP of Marketing Mary Xie

VP of Events Ivy Lu

VP of Corporate Relations Anthony Wong

Connect with us on our social media: IG: @sfuhrsa FB: Linkedin: Website:

VP of External Relations Victor Le

VP of Events Shahvir Sarkary

VP of Visual Media Fiona Fang



Editor's Notes Welcome! The new year is approaching and SFU HRSA is excited to present to you the second issue of Volume 2 of HR Times. This month’s theme - Career Development - is centred around the idea of how an organization and its employees facilitate growth. Career development is crucial to a workplace because it allows individuals within an organization to understand themselves and the role they play to aid the company's goals. In this issue, we are going to provide you with insights regarding this topic from industry professionals in vastly different companies. 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 thank you for your support in our 8-month journey of content that we share with you! Cheers,

EDITORS Victor Le Vice President of External Relations

Anthony Wong Vice President of Corporate Relations

Ashley Chia External Relations Coordinator

Viet Nguyễn External Relations Coordinator

Sponsor Recognitions PLATINUM TIER






Introduction to the Theme:

Career Development Many people often encounter difficulties moving their careers forward as the world of work is rapidly changing and new jobs are emerging to meet current and future workforce needs. Career Development Professionals can address these concerns by equipping individuals with the advice and guidance related to career exploration to help move their careers forward. The purpose of the magazine is to inform students on the various trends in Human Resource Management.


Introduction to Professionals


Valerie Le, Career Confidence Coach Founder

Valerie is a Career Development Practitioner and skilled program coordinator passionate about coaching young people along their career paths. Since 2018, Valerie has helped hundreds of young job seekers from various walks of life accelerate their career success.

Through providing customized coaching, presentations and workshops that help participants identify, hone, and own their unique skills, strengths and stories, she helps youth, new grads and young professionals in periods of transition to build their confidence so they can thrive in purposeful careers that are aligned with what they love. A graduate of the University of Toronto, where she earned her BA in Women and Gender Studies as well as George Brown College’s Career Development Practitioner program, she is passionate about social justice and helping youth who may be facing barriers expand their horizons through personal and professional development. Beyond career development, Valerie helps young people transform their lives by skillfully facilitating life-changing mindset shifts with warmth and compassion, turning selfdoubt into self-confidence. Fun Fact: Valerie began as a client. After a period of unemployment, feeling lost, burned out and unconfident, an amazing Career Development Practitioner helped her connect the dots with her experiences, passions, and skills – which made a world of a difference. She is now in the field helping others do the same.


Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University Career Advisor


March of Dimes Canada Employer & Client Coordinator

As a Career Advisor in the Undergraduate Career Management Centre, Calvin supports undergraduate students' career development and exploration through workshops, career preparation programs and one-on-one advising. Prior to joining the Career Management Centre, Calvin worked in a professional services firm as a Human Resources Consultant. He also has experience working in a financial institution in advising, management, and client service roles. A SFU Beedie Alumni, Calvin holds a BBA with concentrations in Human Resource Management & International Business and is a CPHR Candidate through CPHR BC & Yukon.


Ana Nolasco is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) who moved to Canada in 2018 carrying over 15+ years of a successful HR career in Brazil. She describes herself as a builder who loves to implement HR departments from scratch. Due to her passion for diversity & inclusion, Ana has worked with March of Dimes Canada in delivering the WorkBC employment program where she has the opportunity to support persons with diverse abilities in achieving sustainable and meaningful work. Fun Fact: When Ana was about to graduate, she was anxious about the difficulties of finding work in Human Resources with no experience in the field. Then Ana decided to quit her administrative job and start a summer internship in HR that would pay her half of her salary as an administrative assistant. At the time, it didn't sound like a wise decision, but it turned out as the best move towards her career in HR. They hired Ana after the summer internship, and she worked for this organization for three years. Ana learned so much in this company that she could move to her next work opportunity and implement an HR department from scratch! Sometimes, we have to make hard decisions and take risks to achieve our dreams.


Conestoga College Professor, Career Development Professional Program

CHRISTIE WESTMANN, M.ED. 2WORK Head of Career Development


Rob Straby has followed his passion for the innovation of state-of-the-art career development systems since 1986 to corporations, human services organizations, educational institutions and government services. He believes that effective career development can transform a person's life! Fun Fact: Rob enjoys playing piano! His interest is classical ~ jazz improvisation. The creativity developed through music helps Rob to problem solve in his career!

Christie Westmann is a career strategist and L&D specialist originally from Brazil with over ten years of experience designing, implementing, and coordinating 100+ professional development training programs and courses for individuals and organizations in North America and Latin America, reaching over 10,000 employees. She graduated from SFU with a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Equity Studies in Education and is a lifelong learning enthusiast. Christie currently works as Head of Career Development at 2work, a boutique career development company focused on high-skilled immigrants in Vancouver and is an advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the workplace.

Interview with Professionals Q:


What makes career development so important for both a company and their employees?


What makes Career Development so important for both a company and their employees is that it gives employees the opportunity to grow beyond where they currently are. When employees know that what they do is infinitely valuable beyond their current position and contributes to their livelihoods, their thriving benefits the company as well. When employees are working towards something greater in an environment that supports career development and growth that will add to their long-term career journeys – i.e., developing the skills and gaining valuable experiences, it can increase satisfaction and desirability to work within the company without feeling stifled. It is key to operate knowing that careers are something long-term and a lifelong process and journey. The lack of investment in career development can cause a lack of satisfaction when it feels like there isn’t a longer-term aim being built or worked towards. Therefore, incorporating career development can increase employee work/life satisfaction and could allow companies to retain employees by showing they care and value employees as people who deserve to build satisfying, lifelong careers. When it comes to having a string of jobs vs. a career, the big difference can be the investment a company makes in career development.

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). [Preparing to Use Your Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology].


When companies invest in career development, employees show improved job satisfaction and display affective commitment towards the organization. Professional development programs can enhance employees’ well-being and increase the company’s productivity. It is a win-win. However, sometimes, it is easier to blame team members for every project failure than offer them the best environment, resources, and training to deliver successful work. Do you want to make your company grow? Allow your employees to grow as well. That is what career development does.


Career development is essential for aligning the individual, team and organizational goals.

International Association of Women. (2020). [How To Create Career Development Plan (Template)]. fbclid=IwAR1wDYmXwpvLs0mrTIFYGnSuUyq_FIkQQyYbG66tengUeOfS_2qSxn7GnVQ



Career development plays a crucial role in aligning employee development with organizational goals. Suppose the career plans are clearly communicated within the company. In that case, the employees can start their action plans and consequently advance in their careers. When it happens, everyone wins, the company and the employee. This process also creates employee engagement with the company’s strategies, values and purposes. From the HR perspective, it’s a powerful process that results in a mature and robust culture of continuous development.

Study Hamster. (2019). [Career Development Planning: Secrets of Career Success]. fbclid=IwAR2Y0PwFdCVvMm0xwXJ5cy6jggmgZKvlSUcdX5s_A6MCWFUsubIfIPj9LI

CALVIN: I’m going to start off focusing on the word ‘development’. By definition, development is the act or process of creating something over a period of time, growing or becoming larger or more advanced. We consider development to be the norm in so many areas of our lives so why not for our careers as well? Careers are dynamic, always changing and we often use the word ‘development’ in discussions around careers. Career development then is important because a career is such a core component of our lives. It is part of the foundation of who we are, accompanying us throughout the years as we mature and learn, gaining new experiences and perspectives as we build our careers. Naturally then, we would want an employer who can accompany us in our journey and support this concept of career development that is so central to our core. There are so many arguments as to why career development is also important for a company but at the end of the day, it is one of the best approaches to engage, attract and retain your workforce. Allowing individuals to be the best they can be in their current and future roles.


How does your company/organization approach personal and professional development for your employees?


I am currently employed full time as a Program Coordinator at a registered charity in the Greater Toronto Area dedicated to helping youth and adults from diverse backgrounds turn challenges into opportunities by providing mentorship and training on pertinent career development topics. As our org provides personal and professional development for our audience of participants as well as our small team of employees and directors, we are very supportive of employees’ personal and professional development and encourage it greatly. Through the creative licensure we have to do work creating and coordinating workshops with guest speakers who are experts in their fields of career development and wellness, not only do we help empower our audience but also ourselves. Beyond the events we host, with career development in mind, employees are encouraged and supported by org directors to develop personally and professionally by seeking and investing in training that could improve their knowledge, abilities on the job and well beyond into their careers.



As I work in a boutique career development company, career development is in our DNA and it is part of our benefits package with paid training focused on soft/hard skills and employees’ personal interests. Since we work with our clients' professional development, it would be impossible to offer efficient training to them if we didn't care about our team members’ career development. We are heading to our main goal next year: an optional four-day workweek or six-hour workday (giving team members more time to focus on their well-being and personal development, which will motivate them, even more, to contribute with more quality work). Since we are a small company and have a growing workload, one could say: more quality work in less time? It all comes to knowing what each team member does best (and enjoys doing) which saves a lot of time by delegating tasks according to their skills, offering a permanent onboarding through continuous coaching, forgetting about micromanagement, and, of course, having more productive, quicker, and fewer meetings. It is not easy, it is very challenging indeed, even for a small company, but it is possible.


Conestoga College provides extensive professional development in post-secondary education through a series of micro-credentials. These can be stacked together to form certificates.

[Conestoga College Athletic & Recreation Centre]. (n.d.).


March of Dimes invests in the professional development of its employees. Since day one, we have had access to the March of Dimes Training Institute with hundreds of mandatory and elective courses that we can select and attend as we wish. The leadership team modelled March of Dimes’ culture of continuous development, which encourages the team to implement ideas and development actions. The organization covers the expenses related to applying for professional designations, and the senior leaders offer all the professional support to achieve and maintain them. The organization believes that the development of its employees will directly impact the quality of work we deliver to the people we serve.


Addressing this more from the perspective of a career professional working in career advising, my approach to personal and professional development in others really comes down to empowerment. Interacting with university students, in all different stages of their education and career, development can come in all shapes and forms as they explore their interests, passions and values. The term education and career are also used broadly as it does not only comprise of the specific courses they are taking or internship they have completed but rather all of the experiential components they are going through. It could be a particular spark from a networking conversation or extracurricular involvement that leads to a period of development and self-discovery. Also, one cannot discount lived experiences as students are navigating such an impactful discovery period of their lives. This approach of personal and professional development then comes down to empowering, supporting and sometimes providing guidance to individuals as they navigate this period. Providing a safe environment for exploration, encouraging and building confidence towards undertaking new experiences while also providing a realistic outlook of the professional work environment are all pivotal during this development. Throughout my career I’ve had many developmental opportunities, such as joining committees, attending conferences and collaborating across the organization just to name a few. Most employers are happy to support development!



Based on your past experiences, what specific aspect or part of the career development process has shown to be most valuable for employee growth?


Based on my past experiences, a specific aspect or part of the career development process that has shown to be most valuable for employee growth would be self-knowledge. Self-knowledge means knowing oneself and understanding ourselves well, this includes understanding our personality, interests, skills, and values. Knowing thyself is often where the process and journey of career development begins and where the confidence to go forward in the direction of your dreams can really come forth because when you know yourself and your value, you can gain a lot of confidence. Knowing oneself is therefore critical and extremely valuable for employee growth as it helps develop greater career satisfaction because when you know yourself well, you can do work that aligns well with who you are, which in turn boosts satisfaction immensely. When employees know what their key strengths, personality, and skills are, what it is that they value, and can truly understand themselves, it makes a world of a difference in one’s growth and potential possibilities. Greater work satisfaction and productivity can be had when the work is highly aligned with what the employee is naturally good at. When you know what your strong suits are, you can wear them with flair and double down on your strengths - resulting in higher satisfaction, success, and confidence in your abilities and greater fulfillment.

Psychology Spot. (n.d.). [The 3 levels of self-knowledge that you have to pass through if you want to know yourself]. fbclid=IwAR3KTxgxhZZggR_XR-SDt0yCLoCPQJEf2mb2Vocer5Lx1QlvFqdV6X9L3w8




Breaking down the career development process into several broad parts I would say it consists of selfassessment, discovery, decision-making and implementation. As a quick summary, self-assessment or reflection is knowing what your interests are, what you are passionate about and what motivates you. It is also a reflection of your current skill set and abilities. Discovery or exploration is equipping yourself with the knowledge to make informed choices. What are the options you have and paths you can take? Decision-making then consists of coming to a conclusion or setting a goal. It can be a short-term or longterm goal but is one that would be forward-looking and lead to progress. Wrapping that all up leads to implementation or taking action towards this development. This is an ongoing process and, in most situations not a linear path. That being said, it would be difficult to label one as the ‘most valuable’ as they so naturally lend themselves to each other. For example, decision-making with no implementation does not lead to progress and it would be hard to make decisions without discovering what the options are in the first place. I think it is this fluidity that is a crucial element for career development and employee growth. To facilitate growth, one must understand the importance of each individual step, provide support along the way, and provide opportunities to revisit steps. One should move away from the notion that revisiting a step is regressing or going backwards but rather taking an alternative path.

Revela. (2017). [Who is responsible for your career development?]. fbclid=IwAR2ge_qRKwvE1nv90dXUroKROmwhXVvwR4fabQ9nwdV6YLzbNZGBn5sHONc


All stages of career development are essential and must be well developed to achieve the expected results. In my experience, clear communication of career options and steps to advance will guide the employees towards engagement and self-realization.

ALTASSIAN. (n.d.). [In their own words].



The major problem I see in career development is the common belief that it should be only offered to managers and executives. When it is offered to all employees, it not rarely has to do with superficial and boring courses focused on soft or hard skills that meet the company's urgent needs (no long-term vision in career development, particularly focused on employee internal mobility). In my experience, the most effective career development process starts when a candidate is hired and HR begins working on a personalized career development plan from onboarding to succession planning, taking into consideration each new hire's goals, needs, and interests (it can be with the help of a career strategist), and they all work together towards the plan completion (which can be flexible and restructured many times, considering a career change is the new normal). It is very important to assure small and mid-size companies that employee career development programs are not restricted to large corporations. Of course, they might not have all the same financial resources like those from big companies, but there are multiple ways to offer good and, still, cost-effective professional development to their employees - even better than the ones offered by large organizations if planned thoughtfully. There are hundreds of interesting free or freemium courses and tools out there but the ability to listen to employees' career aspirations and show that your company cares about them is the most important element.

check-me-in-app. (n.d.). [Everyone].


First, it is essential that an employee understands their strengths (personal competencies). Second, they need to understand how to communicate this through the organization. This will help to ensure that they take on projects that are matched to their capabilities.



What advice would you give to those in our audience who are uncertain about how or where to progress further into their career?


For those uncertain of what pathway to follow, first understand you’re not the only one. It is common to be undecided, especially when we are young. There are career advisors within universities and free services offered by the BC government, such as WorkBC. Look for professional support to guide you throughout the career exploration stage and take intelligent actions towards your career.


Take the time to understand your career strengths and needs. Learn how to present yourself to others. Then set up meetings with colleagues and mentors to share how you see yourself and what your interests are. Get their feedback on how to move your career forward. Be sure to thank everyone for their help!


Don’t skip right into setting goals or taking action. Go through the steps and spend time in self-reflection as well as discovery. Take the time and space to allow yourself to make informed decisions and be okay with starting the process all over again. This is the time to be going through this exploration and it really is never too late to change directions or pursue a different interest. At the end of the day, this is your career and your career is going to be much different from others. Your own definition of success as it relates to your career is also going to be much different from others. Look to others to gain inspiration or ideas for growth but never for comparison. One piece of advice I received early in my career is to be open to experiences and that is something I have held onto up to this day. It has allowed me to gain new experiences and perspectives. Building my skill set but more importantly, understanding myself, the impact I want to make as well as my values. This is not to say you should say yes to every single opportunity or experience but rather maintain an open mind when being presented with them. Do not place self-imposed barriers or blinders on simply because of a target organization or role you had set as a goal when you first started your journey.


The advice I would give is to keep going, trust the process, and take action based on that sense of faith. Being in a place of uncertainty about where to go next in your career, can feel like a very challenging place to be in. It may feel like you are in a lurch and can never get out. However, what we often think is in the way of the path is part of it. Although at the time it may be hard to believe as you go through the motions of uncertainty that there is something greater for you on the other side, it is in preserving onwards, following your inner guidance system, and trusting the process knowing that you’ll come out greater that helps us make lifechanging progress. One of my favourite quotes is by author Zora Neale Hurston, “There are years that ask questions and there are years that answer”. Perhaps you are currently in one of those years where you are asking questions about your career. If so, know that there are years that will answer and with that – as you go along living life and trusting, perhaps without realizing it, you will live your way into it and realize this is what you had hoped for those uncertain years ago. Believing and having faith and trust is half the battle. The other is taking inspired action. Trust the feeling that you are meant for more because you are. It will not lead you astray.

CHRISTIE: I would share five tips: #1: Do not feel guilty if you do not know what you want to do. Many of us were raised thinking we should go to university, graduate and work the rest of our lives in one occupation only, following a linear career path. That is not the case anymore. #2: Invest time into exploring your options through informational interviews, inviting a professional in a field you are interested in for a quick chat. You will not only be able to learn more about the occupation or company but, who knows, get a referral from that person someday in the future, which can help you advance your career. #3: Be involved and be seen! Be involved with associations in your area of interest, organizations where you can volunteer in a role related to what you look for, attend conferences and events in your field (even happy hours at your company) - and network, network, network. Gain valuable experience and contacts. #4: Always search for upskilling. You don't necessarily have to attend a MBA (albeit a nice idea), but you can enrol in short courses (Coursera and EdX platforms offer great courses, created by the best universities in North America and the world), get to know the latest trends in your field (through HR publications like this one, journals, participating of groups or following HR leaders on LinkedIn). #5: Take it easy and don't compare yourself to others. Everyone has a different path and time in life, and being the last to leave the starting line in a marathon doesn't mean you will not get first place.



What is one thing that you hope to see more companies do to promote career development?


One thing I hope to see more companies do to promote career development is to make it an integrated, important, and natural part of the environment at work. To invest in career and professional development training opportunities for employees on a regular basis to help them grow and thrive. Also, career development training for staff at the managerial level and HR would be ideal as well so that those at the top can speak the same language and understand employees better as well. They can operate with career development in mind and promote it to their team.

Eamesbot. (n.d.). Career advancement, job promotion or career development or management or executive opportunity in company concept Pro Vector [Illustration]. Vecteezy.


I would hope to see more companies consider inclusion and accessibility when promoting or creating their career development strategy. Every individual has different interests, needs and capacity to participate in career development. Engage your talent in career development conversations and returning to these conversations regularly as a career is dynamic. Understand that career development is ongoing and is not an one-and-done concept. Provide an environment where this is an open dialogue, where you take the input of the employees into consideration when promoting or creating career development plans.




I would love to see more leaders who genuinely care about their employees' development and dedicate time to guide and advise the novices in the field.


Provide employees access to qualified career development professionals. In my experience in the corporate sector, there is excellent ROI when an organization does this.



I would love to see companies encouraging employee growth and cross-training for internal mobility (more job rotations, “intrapreneurship” initiatives, job shadowing). However, this is not enough since switching teams or moving up might no longer be what motivates someone at work. That is why it is necessary to consider, case by case, what instigates each team member, how challenged employees feel at the workplace, and what is meaningful work to them. Constant communication is the answer. If organizations want to thrive in a post-pandemic world, they need to develop a great relationship with their employees, understanding their professional aspirations, which generally align with their personal

goals and living experiences. I would love to see companies just listening to their employees and acknowledging them as partners, changing their perspectives from job-focused to people-centred career planning. It would avoid high turnovers, decrease project delay, and increase overall work quality. I would also love to see companies valuing their employees' formal and informal learning acquired abroad - not only experiences gained in the so-called developed countries - and comprehending the richness of a multicultural team.




Is there anything more you would like to share with our readers?


The best investment you can make is in your personal growth and development, to hone, own and share your natural gifts and talents. Your time and energy are your most valuable resources, carefully and strategically consider where you’d like to invest it and choose to invest in what will give you the highest return on investment of your efforts. When you grow and embrace your strengths, your joy increases as well as your capacity to make a difference in the lives of others. You don’t need to be perfect, be 100% ready or see the whole path ahead to make a difference or start making moves that will have a high return on investment. Begin now by taking imperfect, inspired action. While you work to improve areas of development, gravitate towards what comes naturally and easily to you because those are your true strengths. We often overlook what comes naturally because it comes so easily to us, that we may not even notice it. We’ve also been conditioned to believe that success must be difficult/challenging/hard-earned. While hard work is undeniably involved, why not try approaching your career development with ease and grace as well? Hone what comes easily to you because that’s your genuine zone of genius and where your true gifts lay. Gifts are meant for giving. The world is round, pay it forward, share your gifts and make a difference in the lives of others who will then make a difference in others. Never underestimate the power of the ripple effect, your gifts are a gift to the world, so share them! 😊


Enjoy the journey, celebrate the small wins and lean on your network for support!


Face career development as a journey, not as a destination. You can have breaks to reassess your plan during your journey, and you can always change directions if you want. If it is too heavy for you, look for professional support.


Active career development will create an engaged workforce and facilitate employee retention.


One of the lessons the pandemic has taught HR professionals and the entire company is that we need to put the ‘human’ back into human resources. Employees' experiences vary widely and that is why tailoring employees' career development is so necessary, from fostering meaningful learning experiences to helping them be more adaptive in the new normal of remote/hybrid work. When creating a professional development plan, HR professionals should not forget they are employees as well, and that they have the right to focus on their professional and personal development as any other employee. The main challenge, nonetheless, is to make career development a less isolating experience than it already used to be when remote work was not even an option and understand each employee's personal and professional development needs, developing with them a holistic and pragmatic career plan.



SFU HRSA Updates Bi-monthly magazine issues and bi-monthly podcast episodes are coming your way! Look out for the second episode of Season 2 of our podcast series, HR Secrets, coming out in December! Also with a new year of HR Times and HR Secrets, we would love to hear from our readers on what you want to see from us. If you do have the time please head to this link to a survey so we can better cater our initiatives to you: Follow our social media to learn and stay updated about our opportunities and initiatives!

THANK YOU Thanks for Reading! Think People. Think Possibilities.


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