It’s Time!

Rich businessman lighting cigar with $100 dollar bill
aastock/Shutterstock

Trudeau feels it’s time for employers to Step Up.

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is challenging the business leaders to a call for action. He stated while on tour in Germany:

“When companies post record profits on the backs of workers consistently refused full-time work – and the job security that comes with it – people get defeated,”  Trudeau said.

 

Prime Minister Trudeau feels that:

“We have to address the root cause of their worries and get real about how the changing economy is impacting peoples’ lives.”

Click here to read Trudeau’s thoughts on this topic.

He is right – here are just some recent headlines:

  • Apple reports a quarterly profit of $18.4 billion, the largest in history
  • Airlines report record profits even as customer complaints soar
  • GM earns $9.43 billion in 2016; UAW workers get record profit sharing
  • Canada’s Food Manufacturing Industry to See Record Profits in 2016
  • US banks just recorded their most profitable quarter ever
  • Amazon just posted a record profit for the third straight quarter
  • Canadian banks made $31.7 billion last year

These above headlines are not “Fake News;”  this is what is going on in business right now in North America. A significant number of organizations are doing well, and many are doing very well and some are doing exceptionally well. But what is happening in the labour market with all this economic and business growth?

In December 2016, Statistics Canada noted that for the second month in a row, all the gains were in part-time positions, and noted the jobless rate fell because fewer people were seeking work. Some 8,700 full-time jobs were lost in November while 19,400 part-time positions were added.

These kind of statistics are not breeding optimism in the Canadian worker. Trudeau states very clearly what he believes should happen:

“For business leaders, it’s about thinking beyond your short-term responsibility to your shareholders,” he said. “It’s time to pay a living wage, to pay your taxes and give your workers the benefits – and peace of mind – that come with stable, full-time contracts.”

For an employee to feel engaged they must feel part of the organization. To increase workplace loyalty one place to start is for employers to provide full-time job opportunities to workers especially when they are seeing record profits.

Discussion Question

  1. You have been asked to by your VP of HR to assist her in developing a business case about the benefits of hiring more full-time employees over contingency workers. Conduct some research to defend your arguments in the business case.

Hiring Troubles in America

Has the table turned on easy recruitment?

Portrait of a proud cafe worker
Burlingham/Shutterstock

It has been almost a decade since we have heard recruiters saying “you are going to have to pay more if you want to hire.” Recently in America, even at the low end of the wage scale, all types of workers are in demand.

HRM Canada does a wonderful job summarizing what American employers are doing to attract workers to the fast food industries which include:

  • Using professional recruiters
  • Extra days off
  • Paying above minimum wage
  • Free meals
  • And referral bonus

These are the types of hiring strategies and recruitment incentives that were used for high paying and hard to recruit jobs including high-tech or specialized medicine positions. Not so anymore; the lowly burger flipper now is in demand and can demand more in wages and employment perks.

What is happening? Well, it is all about the unemployment rate, which is at a rate of 4.7% in the USA; near a nine-year low. This means that the U.S. economy is close to full capacity and if employers want to hire an employee they will have to entice that employee to join them over the competition. It is a demand market for workers.

Some HR professionals have never had to experience what it is like to try and recruit in a demand market. Their HR work experience has been limited to 2008 forward when it has been relatively easy to hire workers, especially at the minimum wage level jobs. HR has to be aware that what happens in the U.S. economy usually happens in the Canadian economy. HR should now start thinking about how we keep the employees we have and what the new recruiting strategies are that will be needed in a full capacity economy. It is better to plan now than wait for the hiring crisis to happen.

Discussion Questions

  1. You work in the HR department for Tim Horton’s in Canada. Research the employment levels currently in Canada. What are they? What is considered full employment in the Canadian context?
  2. You have been asked to develop recruitment and retention strategies for Tim Horton’s. Prepare a 5 min presentation for you VP of HR.

Social Media Savvy

Trying to pretend that employers do not use social media sites to ‘check out’ potential candidates is a bit like trying to push the squeezed out toothpaste back into the tube – It is pretty much impossible at this point in time!

Tube of Toothpaste
Source: Leah-Anne Thompson/Shutterstock

We live in a social media construct that is continuing to develop.  It is definitely time that we become more diligent in shaping how HR Professionals should be using social media effectively for purposes of employment and applicant screening.

Lyndsay Wasser, co-chair of the privacy group at McMillan LLP, provides a well-balanced approach to the benefits and risks of using social media in this context.

Click Here to View the Clip

Ms. Wasser certainly identifies the risks related to using social media searches, if they are not done properly.  If we are snooping around on social media sites, without explicit candidate knowledge or consent, this could be extremely problematic from a privacy and/or possible discrimination perspective.  More practically, if we do not have consent to access information gained through social media, we cannot use it anyway.  So, why bother snooping?

If we are going to be using social media for employment screening, let’s use honesty, professional judgement, and be transparent about it.  As Ms. Wasser points out, there are definite benefits to be gained through employer driven social media searches, such as assessing potential candidates for insight into their good judgement, professionalism, and whether or not there is any misrepresentation on the part of the candidate that might be revealed through their social media profiles.

It seems only fair that this type of assessment should apply to conscientious employers as well.

Discussion Questions:

  1. As an HR professional, how will you inform potential candidates that their social media profiles may be used for purposes of assessment during the applicant screening process?
  2. What types of social media sites do you think are inappropriate for an employer to access?
  3. Do you think there is a benefit for including social media scans for purposes of employment screening for all candidates? Why or why not?
  4. What types of social media sites do you use to assess potential employers in your own career or job search?

Benefits of Blind Auditions

Does objectivity really take the sting out of rejection?

Source: ofoto/Shutterstock
Source: ofoto/Shutterstock

Bias.  We all have it.  It appears either as implicit or explicit; conscious or unconscious.  It is always with us as part of our own perception of the world.

It is, also, one of the biggest obstacles that keeps getting in the way of effective hiring processes.  How we impose our personal biases on others may have an incredibly powerful impact on candidates throughout the job selection process.

The following podcast from CBC’s “The Spark” , discusses a few different methodologies to reduce the impact of bias during the applicant screening and interview assessment stages.

Click Here to Listen to the Podcast.

GapJumpers is a technology based resource that allows for ‘performance auditions’ which may open the door to a different approach for candidate screening.  It is, in essence a ‘blind’ audition.  The statistics cited in the first interview seem to speak for themselves when the use of blind auditions improved the diversity of demographics in a particular selection process.  In the second interview, Ian Cook explores the issue of bias in recruitment processes from multiple aspects including the actual sourcing of candidates from diverse constituencies.

All of these tips and techniques seem to be critical in order to reduce the risk of bias in selection processes.  Why?

It is interesting to note that this clip begins with a very powerful emotional memory, described by the host, about getting the good news confirming her new job.  On the other side, she refers to the emotional reaction that each one of us may have all felt when we were rejected for a particular position.

We are so diligent in the field of Human Resources about neutralizing and objectifying processes in order to minimize our implicit biases and unconscious perceptions.  We want to make the processes fair and accessible.  As we make processes more bias-free, neutral, and objective are we striving to reduce the emotional, subjective, feeling elements linked to making the ‘right’ hiring decisions?

This may be what we want to achieve from a process perspective.  However, in the end, does any objective process really take the emotional sting out of rejection?

We cannot forget that rejection, no matter how it is delivered, it always hurts.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you perform in a ‘blind’ job audition if you were not able to present yourself in person?
  2. According to Ian Cook (second interview), there are fewer examples of ‘reverse discrimination’ in Canada than in the United States. From your experience, what evidence supports this statement?
  3. What is reputational effect? Why is this important in any recruitment process?
  4. Promoting a diversity referral process seems to be similar to networking. What are the specific benefits that a diversity referral process would provide?
  5. As an HR professional, how will you respond to individuals want to make ‘networking’ connections with you?
  6. Do you remember your first job offer? What was your reaction?
  7. Do you remember being rejected for a job? What was your reaction?

The Scrapper or the Silver Spoon?

As Human Resources professionals, we are taught (and we teach others) to make sure that everything we do is in compliance with rules and regulations.  This is especially true in the areas of Recruitment and Selection.  We work hard at making sure that there are no appearances of bias in potential candidate considerations.  We apply the consistency lens throughout our human resources processes with vigorous tenacity so that we can proceed with confidence in making the best hiring decisions.

Sometimes, however, these approaches cloud the lens and we miss seeing who the best candidate really is.

Regina Hartley, a director of human resources with UPS Information Systems, provides a refreshing approach to seeking, looking at and finding the best candidate in her recent TED talk.

Click here to watch the TED talk

Ms. Hartley definitely provides inspiration to the rest of us – both as Human Resources Professionals and as potential candidates looking for future success in our own careers.

We all have elements of the ‘scrapper’ somewhere in our employment histories.  By looking for and celebrating the success of the scrapper, we open the doors to a host of dynamic and talented individuals who might be missed along the way.

Cheers to the scrappers!

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you had to make a decision to interview the ‘scrapper’ or the ‘silver spoon’ candidate, which one would you pick? Why?
  2. Identify one element from this video clip that you disagree with and explain why.
  3. Which candidate profile do you think others see you as? Are you perceived as a scrapper or silver spoon?
  4. Ms. Hartley refers to ‘Post Traumatic Growth’. What is this and how does it have a positive impact on an individual’s career success?