(This post is about a 4.5 minute read)
Consider for a moment the many not-for-profit organizations you know of who rely on volunteers to help them get their work done. These volunteers are performing essential roles within our communities. According to thephilanthropist.ca, Canadians volunteer so much each year, that collectively, their time has been calculated to be the equivalent of a million full-time jobs. While funding challenges ensure there’s a steady demand for more volunteers each year, we also see a shift in the way that people participate: the definitions and recognition of volunteerism are evolving. However, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the time challenge some people face when they want to volunteer but just can’t fit it into their schedules. That’s where workplaces are uniquely poised to help and in the process, realize considerable gains in the areas of attracting and retaining talent, developing strong and healthy workplace cultures, and cultivating increased productivity and profitability.
Wanting to volunteer, but juggling too much day-to-day
A 2017 Ipsos summary report on volunteering commissioned by Volunteer Canada, showed that a majority of Canadians (65%) feel, “they have a responsibility to those who may need help in the community.” The study found that a significant number of people (57%) say that they don’t have time to fit volunteering into their existing obligations. It may be that people are finding it more difficult to engage with their communities these days, or that within the activities they are involved in – anything from school activities to little league, to community theatre – more often than not, volunteering is mandated in a way that is turning it into more of a chore that doesn’t feel right. Time crunches mean that people are looking for opportunities to fulfill their volunteer aspirations as part of what they achieve through their employers, especially those that have formalized social responsibility and volunteerism programs. In fact, “68 percent of Canadians…said that, given the choice, they would choose a job with a company that has a strong volunteering culture over one that does not.” Further, employees who can volunteer either as part of a team-based activity or who individually, are sponsored by their employers, report feeling a greater sense of loyalty and pride in their workplaces over time.
Employers who support volunteering are highly prized
While Canadians want their employers to organize volunteer activities because it’s a perk of working for a great company, for workplaces this expectation is not just about giving people time off to participate. Companies who have well-defined goals and protocols around volunteering and frame the terms of engagement but also offer flexibility and choice of how their employees can volunteer are increasingly becoming more attractive. It’s a win-win situation. There is often a good mix of events – anything from walks and runs for great causes to healthy competition between rival companies for donations. However, there are also many quiet, more individualized opportunities, such as spending time helping people learn how to read. The bottom line is that for both participating companies and employees, they receive recognition and are well-regarded in their communities which in turn promotes a great sense of accomplishment and belonging.
Walking the talk, how we get involved
Our own office looks for opportunities to get involved in the community regularly. For instance, we participated in a team activity at the Ottawa Food Bank sorting donated food to prepare it for those in need. Our employees were enthusiastic and asked many questions about the Food Bank to get a better understanding of how it fits as community support. The time we shared was overwhelmingly positive, and people wanted to bring their children back to volunteer as well. The team felt they had made a difference and was eager to volunteer again. As an employer, we were thrilled. We provided a chance for employees to learn, putting their skills to work to help an organization who needed their time and labour.
One of Gallagher’s volunteerism goals is to have our employees give back to the community. This activity did so in spades since employees felt good about their contributions and so many of them also indicated that they wanted their families to get involved. It was a case of Gallagher giving back, but our employees paying it forward too.
There are a lot of gains for employers too
Employers are seeing sustained positive benefits of volunteer activities back in the workplace. Employees are feeling refreshed, more connected to their co-workers, happier and more engaged. They’re working harder and being more productive. Results show increased employee engagement. People are coming back more focused and reinvigorated. They are learning new skills, trying things that aren’t naturally part of their roles at work, and thinking differently about their jobs with a fresh perspective. Given all the positive returns, it’s good business to get involved!
If you have questions about how to get started with your volunteering program, feel free contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
What stopped the gold watch?
There was a time when a gold watch was the epic standard for long service recognition. Technological advancements have changed what makes us tick when it comes to long service incentives. In recent years, traditional time pieces like a watch have been replaced by smart phones, tablets, and 3D televisions and printers.
No longer is the North American employer able to boast of growing numbers of new entrants into their “quarter century club” and that’s likely because employees achieving a milestone of 25 year tenure seems virtually unheard of these days. According to a report by Thinkopolis, job hopping has become the new norm with only 30 per cent of employees staying with one organization for over four years. This same report entitled, Time to Work, noted that 51 per cent of people last only 2 years with one employer.
So what do these stats mean for employers?
Job hopping costs money. When retention rates drop, the cost to the bottom line is felt in tangible and significant customer-facing ways. A lack of connection to one’s job, manager and company manifests as an unsettled culture of disengaged workers who become easily swayed by the potential of greener employer pastures.
Based on a plummeting tenure trend, it won't be uncommon for employees to have held between 15 and 20 jobs during the course of their entire work history. We know there was a time when potential employers frowned upon applicants with resumes revealing job-hopping tendencies, but with it becoming so commonplace, employers have needed to embrace this paradigm shift. They recognize that tenure won't ever look like it did back in the 70s when employees retired from one employer after 35 - 40 years of service.
With retention challenges there is some level of irony as many employers face the dilemma of dealing with two juxtaposed agendas in the workplace. Employers simultaneously hope that some of their long standing employees don't linger longer than they are seen as able to add significant value while at the same time they wish their younger talent would stay put long enough to make a tangible contribution to the organization.
Here are 3 retention tips to consider:
1) Create a clear development and/or advancement path. Younger generations in the workplace look for transparent ways to advance. If employees believe they need to "pay their dues" or "bide their time" like the generations before them, you've probably just given them enough motivation to leave. Show them instead that they are worth the investment and that even if there isn't a short advancement ladder, there is a influential lattice that offers them career development opportunities through stretch assignments, job shadowing and mentorship.
2) Check in and check-up on your benefits program. An annual assessment of your benefits and pension plan is a helpful way to stay connected with the generations in your workforce. Plan design can be tailored to meet specific goals. The right type of program supports an employer's retention strategy and should align with organization's key objectives. For example, many younger workers remain weighed down by worries about paying off student debt. The introduction of financial literacy education or financial coaching might create enough sticking power to douse the inducement to look elsewhere.
3) It isn't all about the money -- be flexible. A report by Future Workplace noted that flexible hours and telework policies are more important to younger workers than salary.
We know that not every employer has the ability to offer flexible work from home arrangements, but savvy employers recognize that it pays off to trust their employees to adjust their schedules when the situation calls for it.
Give your employees reasons to stick around.
Quelling the tide of job hopping tendencies isn’t without its challenges, but keeping employees focused, productive and engaged is worth all the time and attention an employer can give it. Communicating company values and acting on feedback creates a stronger connection when employees feel they have the chance to contribute and that their ideas have been heard. To explore this topic in greater detail along with additional ways to ensure your benefits program supports your retention efforts, we invite you to contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
The HR Push.
In the last 40 years, business has pushed HR to evolve. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, HR followed business trends for finding effective ways to support and engage workers. HR has gone from the days of being known as "the personnel department" where the focus was on automating transactions and developing employee record keeping systems to the early 2000s where they measured success by way of integrated talent management, performance management and employee engagement metrics.
The HR Pull.
In recent years, HR departments began exploring cloud-based systems. They sensed the growing pressure from the business to keep pace. Now, HR is called upon to implement new technologies and ways to engage a workforce that is digitally savvy and ready to move with more speed and agility than any previous workforce cohort. HR must deliver faster, better and differently.
What is HR facing?
HR teams are asked to now lead the way. They are called upon to help transform businesses dealing with a digital transformation that continues to sweep the globe. This transformation ushered in the age of the "customer experience".
What does this mean for HR? It means that what was available to their industry predecessors in the 70s, 80s and 90s is not an option for today's HR practitioner. With the rapid pace of technological advancement, change needs to happen in weeks, not months or years.
This customer-centric approach also translates into an employee-centric approach where HR teams find themselves making changes based on:
1) How employees work.
How can HR support a highly productive work environment in the digital age?
2) Where and how work gets done.
Blended workforces mean that full-time staff find themselves collaborating with independent contractors and part-time employees. Work assignments can bid on projects. Their collaborative experiences are transparent and accessible. Work can be done remotely. No longer is 9 to 5 the norm for standard work hours.
3) What tools they need to stay in step with the business.
HR teams are starting to introduce digital design expertise into the mix. They are beginning to develop mobile first solutions and apps. The goal? To create experiences for recruits and employees that they are comfortable using and expect from their employer.
4) How will the make-up of an HR team change?
HR needs to have digital experience. According to the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, HR business partners working closing with the business and who are digitally empowered to leverage digital tools will be in high demand. HR will need fewer generalists. HR will look to re-skill for roles that meet the digital and employee-centric focus.
Technology produced the new digital age and this age demands innovative solutions to attract and retain workers. We're beginning to see examples of companies meeting the digital HR call to action. Companies like LinkedIn, CISCO, MasterCard, BMO Financial Group are introducing digital HR solutions to meet client demands. These changes include HR Hackathons, Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
What are HR Hackathons?
Stemming from the computer world, developers use Hackathons to speed up the development process. They happen in a matter of hours, not days or weeks. Some HR teams are starting to latch onto the Hackathon concept. HR departments and, in some cases, employees from other areas of the business come together and think of ways to improve the HR experience.
What is a Chatbot and AI?
Chatbots are an artificial conversational entity. Still not sure what that means? It is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users over the Internet. They are used to answer questions about payroll, onboarding, vacation, and other HR questions. They make communications happen faster and they save time and money.
AI can be used to support the HR function through a chatbot that helps employees with career planning or helps new hires quickly learn about the history of their new employer and about employee culture, values and more.
With digital natives beginning to dominate the workforce, the demand for technology skills and a new HR mindset shows no sign of slowing down. HR leaders will be called upon to look for digital solutions that encompass the entire employee experience, including their benefits and pension programs.
Service providers continue to offer more digital solutions and online, real-time experiences for plan members. Keeping up to speed on these and other industry trends is important to us. We're focused on helping you meet the needs of the rapidly changing workplace. We invite you to contact us to learn more. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
The face of a global workforce looks a lot different than many North American employers might have envisioned a decade ago. A host of influencers contribute to how the world's workforce looks today. Economic, social, technological and political forces shape the profile that characterizes human capital as we now know it.
If we peek inside companies today, we will see an older and more diverse population of workers who operate in an agile environment and who leverage technology in order to collaborate and stay connected.
Demographics shape the workforce and ageing will continue to have a profound impact between now and the year 2060. Declining birth rates affect the emerging talent pipeline and while there might be differences in the severity of decline, it exists in all parts of the globe. The loss of the baby boomer talent pool means that companies feel more pressure to fill their growing skills gap all while trying to juggle the transfer of knowledge from retiring workers.
Eliminating boundaries fuels mobility
The search for talent finds recruiters turning their attention to skilled workers in developing countries. Success with diverse recruits builds greater confidence and a belief that the country of worker origin doesn't need to limit accessibility to talent. In a recent *Randstad Sourceright Talent Trends Report, talent scarcity is said to have negatively affected 72 percent of the businesses of survey respondents. (*400 HR, talent and business leaders were surveyed)
Where boundaries to jobs once existed because of geographical restrictions, technology has opened a world market for jobs. Where workers reside matters far less than it ever did before. This trend will only continue to grow. Technology makes the face of the workforce a global one where workers are more easily able to move from company to company without having to leave their country of origin.
Freelance is the new black.
Increasingly, workers are opting for greater flexibility where independent contractors make up the fastest growing portion of the global workforce. Even what was previously considered the normal work week of 40 hours is changing. Due to a host of reasons including differing lifestyle needs, workers are open and more comfortable with non traditional work arrangements such as fixed-term contracts, casual and part-time. In addition, more workers are connecting with companies through recruitment agencies.
Benefits on a global scale.
The changes in the rise of a global workforce places different considerations on the definition of group benefit programs. Just as the face of the workplace evolves, employers will need to look at how well their benefit program fits the changing interests of their worker population.
Approximately 8 percent of the Canadian population lives and works in foreign countries. Whether a Canadian citizen working as an expatriate or a foreign citizen or inpatriate working in Canada, attention must be given to health care services and providers able to support the requirements of international plan members. While companies are learning more about the changing face of the global workforce, there is a lot involved in establishing and maintaining a dynamic benefit plan that meets the demand of workers in regions around the world.
At Arthur J. Gallagher, we help protect companies from regulatory and compliance risks while meeting the needs of an international workforce. We invite you to contact us to discuss your HR strategy to ensure it is structured to attract and retain top talent. We stay up to date on evolving benefits topics around the world and we are here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
While it remains illegal without a prescription, marijuana has been legal in Canada for medical purposes since 2001.
Back in 2014, I wrote about the risks of medical marijuana use in the workplace. At that time, I addressed the duty to accommodate as it is required by both provincial and federal human rights legislation.
Duty to Accommodate.
While the duty to accommodate is not limitless, a prescription for medical marijuana doesn't:
- entitle an employee to be impaired at work;
- entitle him to compromise his/her safety or the safety of others;
- entitle him to smoke in the workplace;
- or to allow excuses for absenteeism.
The duty to accommodate employees prescribed medical marijuana should mirror how any other disabled employee who has been prescribed medication is to be treated.
Just as with another disabled employee who requires accommodation, the employer must consider measures that may involve moving the employee out of a safety-sensitive position, providing more frequent breaks, altering the employee's duties and possibly providing more frequent breaks or a private space to administer his/her medication.
Revisit workplace policies.
Medical marijuana can be used to treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, depression and more. As a result, more physicians will likely prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. What may not be well understood is that there are several strains of marijuana that have limited or no psychoactive effect. Regardless, employers will be tasked with the implications of marijuana use in the workplace. Now may be a good time to revisit workplace policies while paying particular attention to drug and alcohol use and the consequences associated with impairment at work as well as fitness for duty. In so doing, it will be helpful to involve health and safety committees, unions and other key stakeholders in the policy review process.
Revising policies might not necessitate a complete overhaul, but rather a closer look at whether the current wording might contravene the duty to accommodate when held up against the lens of a worker who has been prescribed medical marijuana. This may require a revision to a smoke-free worksite policy. It may also require allowing an employee more frequent breaks, having a safe and secure place for the employee to lock away his medical marijuana and designating locations where the employee can take his medication out of public view.
If there is any doubt or concern about existing policy wording or suggested changes, it is advisable to seek legal guidance and clarification. Once the policy has been approved, employees need to have the policy communicated to them and front-line supervisors need to be trained on medical and non-medical use of marijuana in the workplace.
Depending on the industry, different implications might influence the interpretation of such policies. For example, there might be more stringent outcomes for a manufacturing company where heavy machinery is operated than for a tech startup or professional consulting firm. The test is to determine if the medication alters the employee's judgement or makes the workplace at risk of being unsafe.
Substance abuse is costly.
Back in 2006 when the latest data was available, the Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse reported a $40 billion price tag to the Canadian economy due to substance abuse. With greater frequency, companies from every industry are looking to establish policies that help them keep productivity goals in their line of sight while ensuring a safe work environment.
Seek medical documentation.
Employers are able to seek medical documentation to ensure their employees are able to safely carry out their duties. If it is determined that there is a meaningful impairment, whether due to medically prescribed marijuana or any other prescribed medication, the employer has the opportunity to carefully assess the situation.
Employers aren't obligated to allow employees to carry out their jobs while impaired. They may ask employees to complete workplace accommodation forms and secure information about the condition that requires medically prescribed marijuana as well as the dosage and if the employee needs to take the medication while at work. Employers may want to look at *testing for impairment and testing methods that show an arms length approach via an independent medical examination (IME). *At present, Canadian Human Rights law doesn't allow pre-employment or random drug or alcohol testing for impairment.
Addressing pre-existing notions.
The challenge with an employer's readiness to accommodate might perhaps be related to the stigma or pre-existing notions associated with marijuana and 'getting high' at work. As time progresses, employers will face the implementations of their actions and those of their employees regarding the issue of medical marijuana usage in the workplace. It may create more litigious situations based on the interpretation of discrimination and the duty to accommodate.
Insurers and service providers are now being asked to cover medically prescribed marijuana just as they would other physician prescribed medication for their patients. Some insurers, but not all, have chosen to cover marijuana prescriptions.
As the interpretation of what is covered continues and while uncertainties exist regarding medical marijuana in the workplace, we are here to offer our insights regarding these and other HR and benefits-related issues. We invite you to contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
With November known as Financial Literacy Month (FLM), it is a meaningful time to write on the topic of retirement preparedness particularly for many Canadians facing decisions about whether to continue working or make the transition into retirement.
For some, they might be standing on solid footing with their plans well established and investments well managed. For others, it is a time of increased stress and anxiety as their inability to make financial choices earlier in life has finally caught up with them. They didn't win the lottery, and there was no wealthy estranged relative who bequeathed them a tidy inheritance. They now find themselves in need of a Plan C.
With 10,000 North American Baby Boomers continuing to retire each day, surveys on the topic for retirement readiness become more prevalent. Consistency in the survey results is not surprising. The majority of people worry about whether they've done enough to plan effectively for that big day. While these worries are personal, there are many reasons why employers should care.
1) Worries about having enough saved for retirement inhibits productivity for those actively still at work. Anxiety about finances impacts energy, focus and confidence in the workplace.
2) If an employee can't retire based on his current savings, he may stay in the workplace longer than others producing greater results as highly effective contributors. Staying only because one can't afford to leave creates disengagement and the potential for an unhealthy succession bottleneck that may cause a ripple effect for younger workers who don't believe they have a clear path for advancement.
3) The cost of benefits increase with an aging workforce as the potential for chronic disease and other health issues puts more strain on costs associated with employer sponsored benefit programs.
While there are many studies targeting retirement preparedness, I'm highlighting two -- the 2014 Conference Board of Canada Study and the Ontario Securities Commission, Retirement Readiness, Canadians 50+.
In 2014, The Conference Board of Canada study polled over 2000 people. The results revealed that more than 40% of respondents had no clear understanding of exactly how much they needed to save for retirement.
Other highlights of this survey reveal:
a) 60% of respondents feel they haven't saved what they need for their retirement years;
b) More than 1/3rd of Canadians don't know when they will be in a financial position to retire;
c) More than 40% of employers think their workers are overly optimistic about when they will be in a position to retire;
d) 60% of existing retirees think they have enough retirement savings to meet their needs, but believe they might have financial difficulties over time.
The second survey was commissioned by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). Polling over 1,471 Canadians aged 50 or older, it found that 22% of these surveyed Canadians hadn't started to save for retirement and 31% of those who had started saving, felt they were behind in their retirement plan. Similar to the Conference Board of Canada Study, 38% of the OSC survey respondents reported they had no idea how much money to save for retirement.
When asked how they are saving for retirement, 36% of respondents shared that they rely on an employer-provided pension plan and 25% said that they will rely on the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan as well as Old Age Security as their primary post-retirement income stream. Of the pre-retirement survey respondents, 40% believe they will be in worse financial shape in retirement and that their standard of living would be compromised.
This human capital issue remains an individual one, yet with employees spending so much of their waking hours in the workplace, employers have the ability to influence the information and resources made readily available to their teams.
Helping workers feel more confident and well informed about retirement planning is in everyone's best interest. There are increasingly more free tools available to support retirement preparedness and we invite you to contact us to explore what might best apply to your workplace. As always, we're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Of the generational cohorts, Millennials - those born between 1980 to 2000 --will make up 50% of the world's workforce by 2020. Where Baby Boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- drove so much of the decision-making, leaderships and consumer purchasing factors until now, it is clear there is another key influencer taking over this role, the Millennials or Generation Y.
Company HR departments, recruiting firms, ad agencies and just about any business looking to drive market share and hire rising star talent are bringing their attention to answering the questions: "What do Millennials want?" and "What will attract Millennials?"
It is with these questions in mind that I share the high-level summary of a recent project conducted by Bentley University called PreparedU. The infographic featured as the image in this blog reveals what Bentley's PreparedU project found out about Millennials.
1) There are some misconceptions about how they work and think. It has been generalized that they tend to hide behind technology with a preference for communicating via text or phone. The result? 51% of Millennials prefer to communicate face-to-face and in person. Email at 19% and text at 14% came in a distant second and third.
2) Another generalization that may be falsely anchored was that Millennials are not loyal to employers and would likely have a dozen or more jobs throughout their career. The Bentley survey showed that Millennials are more loyal than was assumed with 16% of respondents indicating that they saw themselves staying with one employer for their entire career and 80% of surveyed Millennials believing they would work for 4 or fewer companies throughout their career.
3) What may have been validated through the Bentley survey is the assumption that many Millennials have a poor work ethnic. Millennials agreed with 55% of respondents saying that they are unprepared for their first job and 66% of them said that the workplace should limit their use of social media to help address their ability to get work done and limit these online distractions.
4) How does the normal workday look for Millennials? According to the survey, the traditional concept of working 9 to 5 is over with 77% of respondents sharing they would be more productive if they were allowed flexible work hours.
So how does preparing for the influx of Millennials impact talent and shape benefit plans in the future?
1) Employers are looking to focus on introducing wellness programs that show their commitment to the mind, body and spirit of their employees. There is more of a focus on fitness reimbursement programs that aren't just for gym memberships, but for other cardio-related activities such as rowing clubs, Frisbee and baseball leagues. What is offered in vending machines and cafeterias is also being given closer examination. Living a healthy lifestyle includes the food choices made readily available to employees.
2) Companies are looking to introduce voluntary benefits with pet insurance and there is more interest in coverage for identity theft and other on-line related employee concerns. Employers are also incorporating coverage for naturopathic medicine and mental health counselling,
Providing benefits that the Millennials actually value and find of interest is a key question. As this generation continues to chance the face of the modern workplace, more pressure will be placed on finding answers that suit their preferences. Being prepared for Millennials means developing strategies to address these questions now before being forced to do so later.
To discuss workforce planning and considerations for your benefits and/or pension plan, please contact us. We stay on top of the trends with a practical awareness that comes from over two decades' industry experience. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
To learn more about this survey and to hear from Millennials on these topics, please watch the YouTube video from the PreparedU site called, "The Millennial Mind Goes to Work."
A management objective that never seems to get old is the need to drive greater levels of efficiency and productivity. From an employer's perspective, leaders recognize that there is a lot competing for an employee's attention that is both work and non-work related during a business day. From attending meetings, wading through a flood of emails, distractions from worrying about finances, a troubling health or relationship situation -- there is a plethora of distractions at play.
One distraction that remains a consistent time drainer involves the ineffective use of email. Increasingly, employers are looking to find ways to provide support for employees to make the most of their workday. Although there are various means of communication that have surfaced in recent years from texting, instant messaging to collaboration apps, it is email that still holds center stage as a key form of exchanging information.
Email tends to be passive and non-confrontational and therefore is a popular way to communicate any time of day. In addition, it is tempting for employees to constantly check their email inbox and avoid tackling their most important tasks. In Brian Tracy's book, Eat That Frog, he talks about the importance of addressing your biggest ugliest frog (your most pressing and important task) as your first order of business in each workday and building a healthy addiction toward completing what you start before allowing yourself to be distracted by less important email time wasters.
An employee can get the sense that sufficient work is being done when (s)he constantly responds to email messages during the day. Unfortunately, this is a sure-fire method to avoid addressing goals and projects that really count.
To help combat the follies of email, here are some tips to help foster greater levels of productivity:
1) Try to keep your email inbox at zero each day. A great method for doing this is the "D" method as per Michael Hyatt who describes being an email ninja as:
• Do – If it’s actionable, do the task right now.
• Delegate – Forward it to the correct person.
• Defer – Decide to do it later.
• Delete – If you don’t need it for later, drop it like a bad habit.
• File – Add it to your archives for later reference
2) Book time in your schedule when you DON'T check email. Make an appointment with yourself to focus on your projects and pressing work. Put your smartphone out of reach and out of sight. Many productivity experts only check email twice a day.
3) When using email consider how you engage with it. Do you make the subject clear and the points in your correspondence actionable? Do you proofread your message before sending? Do you make it polite and actionable so that the recipient has a clear sense for what you're sharing and why? Do you include only those people who need to be part of the email or do you cast a wider net?
4) Try to keep to only one subject as the topic of your email and if possible and appropriate -- pick up the phone or walk over the person and have a conversation instead or in addition to sending the email. Remember that email messages don't communicate tone and can be easily misinterpreted.
Each of us only has 168 hours in a week to pack in every aspect of the experiences and things we do in our workday and personal life. Help employees make the most of their workday so their confidence grows and productivity soars. For more tips and resources, please contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
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.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.