There is an odd dichotomy in the employment landscape right now. The Canadian unemployment rate hovers around 6.8 to 7 percent over the course and yet there are many employers who struggle to find the right candidate and have jobs sitting vacant for months at a time.
Recruiters and Human Resources professionals alike spend upwards of 15 hours per week just looking for the ideal candidate for their client. Perhaps there are jobs that Canadians won't take or maybe there is a significant skills shortage to match the demands of available work. Another possibility could be that there is too much competition in the marketplace or that some employers struggle with reduced budgets to support their recruiting needs. Whatever the mix of reasons, recruiting challenges exist and aren't likely to dissipate any time soon -- especially when one factors in North American Baby Boomer statistics where 10,000 workers retire every day.
Recruiting challenges are real and they are costly. The average hiring time is 10-12 weeks from job opening to accepted offer and the reality is that most organizations underestimate the cost of recruitment by 90-95%. In addition, once a suitable candidate has been interviewed and considered optimal for the role, over 50% of job offers are rejected.*
Smart recruiting involves strategically navigating the hiring landscape. My top tips for addressing current recruiting challenges are:
1) Rule the Job Description domain: spend sufficient time really ensuring that a detailed job description has been prepared with day-to-day duties clearly identified so that the candidate has a good picture of the nature of the work and you haven't created unrealistic expectations or hiring requirements.
2) Communicate your vision and market the organization: Candidates, especially Millennials (those born between 1980-2000) want to feel that they are connected to something greater and have a strong sense of community. They often seek this over job security.
Spending time communicating the vision and mission of the company as well as how the candidate's department fits into the overall scheme of things will help better position you when it comes to competition for talent.
3) Outline opportunity and total rewards: Make the effort to describe the opportunity for growth and advancement that exists within the organization for a talented team player and provide details about the total compensation arrangement, not just salary information.
4) Involve the direct supervisor as well as other employees in recruiting efforts: Loyalty and higher engagement are known to come from situations where referrals offer up the strongest candidates because workers understand they will have to work day in, day out with the person they've recommended. Also, managers generally know the details of the role better than a recruiter and whether a candidate is a good fit based on their own experience and knowledge of education and experience required in a specific field.
Employers who apply these steps as part of the hiring process do themselves a recruiting favour and also put applicants in a better position to feel excited about the prospect of being a strong organizational fit. There is a lot to consider when working to overcome existing recruitment challenges. As part of Gallagher Benefit Services, we have the experience of a global organization to address your needs. We invite you to contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
*source: Reed in Partnership
When employees are hired and enter an employment contract, they often have some understanding of the information their employer can gather about them. Some workplaces require employees to sign an e-mail/Internet policy. Some companies also explicitly state what information is gathered with specific mention of the method and format. In other cases, it is not as explicit and employees may believe they have more privacy rights in the workplace then actually exist.
Understanding personal information is clearly outlined in privacy acts including The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which applies to employee information in federal works, undertakings and businesses. In addition, many provinces apply their own specific privacy legislation.
What is interesting is the varied understanding that both employees and employers have regarding the boundaries related to personal information collected in the workplace. Many employees may be surprised at how much data is randomly collected and analyzed from their computers and phones. Recently, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that it is not illegal for an employer to read its employees private messages sent through webmail accounts or online chats during work hours.
Many employees might not be aware of their rights and fail to understand that when they are at work and are using company-owned equipment such as computers and phones, the employer’s need to know may step into the realm of what may seem to be infringing on an employee’s privacy.
Employers collect information to ensure, among other things, that employees are productive at work, that workplace harassment is prevented and that there isn’t unlawful conduct or information theft. They have a responsibility to ensure that their workplace computer systems are used for intended purposes and not improper use. Employers may manage their surveillance in-house or hire a third-party software company with programs that collect and monitor company computer activity. This may include recording and analyzing keystrokes and performing keywords searches. The analysis generally includes e-mail, instant messaging and online searches.
Some employers allow for personal use of workplace computers while others strictly forbid it. When personal use is allowed, employees can have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The tricky situation is that the software monitoring systems can’t differentiate between personal and business use especially when screenshots are randomly taken every two or three minutes.
Under privacy laws, personal information in Canada relates to information about an identifiable individual and includes an employee’s SIN, employee number, date of birth, home/personal telephone number and address, salary, performance appraisals, discipline records and medical information. Personal information that isn’t covered under the Federal Privacy Act includes an employee’s work product, materials or other information generated in the course of employment, the employee’s name, position, business address and telephone number. Consent much be given either in writing or verbally. Information such as health and medical information generally requires that express consent is given as it is considered highly sensitive data.
In an ideal situation, employers are best served by being clear with employees about the information they access and that they secure employees’ consent. Employers exhibit good business practices when they let their employees know what information will be collected and also have them sign any policies on internet, e-mail and telephone use (including instant messaging). Written privacy policies identifying employee use of workplace computers should set out the guidelines for employee use and that all company-owned equipment may be subject to monitoring.
Issues related to employee and employer privacy rights may seem to vary based on the specific situation and the company’s policy allowing personal computer use or not. Workplace best practices promote a culture that honours privacy and is transparent in terms of what information can and may be monitored. For more information about privacy acts, PIPEDA and personal information collection, please contact us. We have the resources to support you. We’re always here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Aside from celebrating Valentine’s Day, February is a time when people either embrace winter sports or look to venture to warmer climates to escape snow and cold temperatures.
It is also Heart Health Month and one that finds the Heart and Stroke Foundation busy promoting its mission to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. Did you know that heart disease and strokes cost the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion each year in physician fees, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity?
Employers who focus on heart health — whether through their wellness program or otherwise — can make a huge contribution toward awareness that creates a heart smart work environment. Up to 80 percent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable by adopting healthy behaviours.
Sometimes I believe we think we’re making healthy choices without realizing our own negative contributing factors. Weekend health warriors who enjoy an oatmeal breakfast or a fruit smoothie may be tricked into believing they are heart healthy. What happens consistently during the work week can make the biggest difference.
Employees who sit most of the day and find themselves hunched over a computer and who are dealing with high levels of daily stress are not doing themselves a favour when it comes to heart disease and stroke prevention.
Helping employees pay attention to the benefits of a healthy weight and an awareness regarding managing their blood pressure can delay the onset of heart disease or stroke by as much as 14 years. Top heart smart tips include being active on a regular basis, maintaining a healthy diet and reducing levels of ongoing stress.
While some think it is difficult to be active at work without changing into fitness clothes, there are plenty of opportunities that don’t require a change of clothes such as taking stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible, parking a car at a distance that maximizes exercise on the way to and from the office or walking around the workplace during a short 15 minute break. Starting a casual walking group or a more formal and larger scale one can make a positive impact on both workplace health and employee engagement.
Tackling a healthy diet involves planning ahead and avoiding quick, convenient, processed sources of food. Encourage employees to introduce five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and if a workplace cafeteria exists, ensure that the menu supports a heart healthy meal plan.
Stress reduction can be encouraged by promoting time management best practices, regular daily breaks and the introduction of mindfulness exercises and ways to effectively communicate work expectations, project roadblocks and deliverables.
While there isn’t a one size fits all approach to creating a heart-healthy workplace, focusing on a few that you know your organization will value is key. There are number of free resources available including a cardiovascular risk assessment through the Heart and Stroke Foundation. We are focused on helping companies find ways to encourage employees to put their health first. We invite you to contact us to find out what other heart-healthy resources are available. We’re here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.