Why Aren’t We Sharing What We Learn?

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Source: Lightspring/Shutterstock

In our Human Resource studies related to Training and Development, we read and hear about collaborative learning and systems thinking as key concepts and drivers for the learning organization.  Systems thinking, in particular, brings forward the need for understanding organizational and management issues in context with each other. Research and analysis are all part of systems thinking which allow for organizations to learn and to grow using evidence based methodologies. It seems, however, that there is a continuing divide between the learning that business organizations achieve based on management research and the learning that is produced in post-secondary communities, based on purely academic research.

This divide is explored in an interesting article, by Fiona McQuarrie.

  Click here to read the article

Isn’t it time for research that results in management learning and research that results in academic learning to come together and be shared in order to be truly collaborative?  Ms. McQuarrie’s article speaks very clearly to the need for all of us to start communicating about what we have learned, so that we move out of a silo-based mentality that hoards information and into a collaborative, shared learning community that benefits all members of our respective academic, management, and Human Resources related constituencies.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How will you apply what you have learned through research in your HR studies into practical application as an HR professional?
  2. What benefit does academic research bring to the Human Resources profession?
  3. How should organizations share research based learning inside and outside their respective communities?
  4. Where can you access current Human Resources related research that provides leading edge learning?

HR’s Role in Economic Predictions

Girl with shopping bags looking at internet browser in sky
Source: Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

There is no doubt that the retail sector is a huge industry in Canada.  Many of us have worked in this environment, somewhere along the way, on our individual employment journeys.  There is also no doubt that the retail sector is going through significant challenges and changes that will continue throughout our employment lifetimes.

Click Here to Read the Article

The shift to online shopping has to be one of the most significant changes influencing the retail industry.  As customers, we can now enjoy the ease of online shopping in our pajamas, every day, without ever leaving the comfort of our homes.

From an employment and staffing perspective, it is interesting to note that this article does not speak to the impact on the existing workforce.  Will the need for smaller stores and increased online presence for a retailer like Walmart have an impact on its employees? Will this impact be positive and/or negative?  Absolutely! Just because it is not identified does not mean it does not exist.

This is our challenge, as HR Professionals – we need to be cognizant of these types of industry predictions.  We cannot be blind to patterns in industry that are laid out for us to consider from an employment, staffing, and workforce perspective.  Too often, we leave the industry and economic predictions to others in the organization to process and consider.  Our challenge is not to just monitor the changing economic environment and industry forecasts; but to identify the real issues that will arise because of these changes and chart the right course for the future.  Forecasting is an activity full of risk, but it is a necessary task, as it must identify potential impacts for the employees that we, as Human Resources professionals, serve.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do I shop differently now from the way I shopped three years ago?
  2. What are three positive impacts on employees who work in the changing retail sector?
  3. What are three negative impacts on employees who work in the changing retail sector?
  4. What are key skills or traits that a Human Resources Professional needs for working within a retail environment to ensure accurate workforce forecasting?

If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?

IT and technological changes are not the wave of the future, they are the drivers of our current, present state and will continue to influence how we all work on a day-to-day basis.  This is most evident in the re-shaping of tactical Human Resource functions that can (and should be!) done more efficiently and effectively by automated systems.  Tactical functions include things like payroll processes and attendance tracking which are typically reliant on high volume effort but have very low value result.  It does not mean that these types of functions are not necessary; It does mean that a human person does not necessarily need to do them.

C3PO and R2D2 with caption "Don't technical with me"

Source: Tumblr. The above content constitutes a link to the source website

 

Does this mean we, as HR Professionals, should be concerned about our careers?

Click here to read the article

If the only value an HR department brings to an organization is one that is based on pushing processes then, of course, our positions will disappear.  However, HR should be, and is, much more than just the process pushers or the compliance police.

We need to move out of tactics and into ensuring organizational transformation through strategic leadership and people management.  The value that HR brings to any organization must be measured through strategic outcomes and big picture deliverables.  HR is the wave of the future that must lead organizations by focusing on ethical stewardship and corporate social responsibility.

So let’s not worry about losing those low value tactical functions.  This will gives us, as HR Professionals, more opportunity to build valuable organizational strength through powerful creativity and passion for the Human Resources profession.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Identify the differences in value between tactical and strategic HR functions.
  2. What does Corporate Social Responsibility mean to you?
  3. In your current work environment, identify three processes that should be automated through the use of technology and the resulting impact of those changes.
  4. Identify three specific strategic functions that HR should be doing in order to be perceived as bringing value to the organization.

 

Arbitrators in Action

Termination is a Risky Business.

There was a great deal of social media coverage surrounding the firing of a Hydro One employee who contributed to the sexist heckling of a news reporter, in the spring of 2015.  Many commentaries at the time included speculation as to whether or not the termination of this employee would stand.

Since the employee was represented by a union, the termination was grieved and it went to an arbitration hearing.  In this case, the arbitrator made the decision to re-instate the former employee back into employment with Hydro One.

It is interesting to note the slightly different perspectives that each media venue provides; for example,  watch the following coverage provided by Global News.

Click here to read the article.

The coverage includes the perspective of a union spokesperson providing their insight as to what the arbitrator took into consideration when making the determination for reinstatement.   It seems that the former employee’s genuine remorse and public apologies for his conduct were factors that had some influence on the resolution to this situation.  Having said that, we are not given information as to what the employer presented at this hearing, nor are we given information as to all of the facts that the arbitrator had to consider.

In a case such as this, the arbitrator’s decision is final.

What remains to be seen is how this decision will influence other cases in the future regarding the termination of an employee due to their own ‘off-duty’ conduct.

Discussion questions:

  1. Do you think employers in the future will terminate employees for similar off-duty conduct if there is a risk of reinstatement?
  2. Is the risk worth it in order to ‘send a message’ about acceptable social conduct?
  3. Do you agree with the arbitrator’s decision in this situation? Why? Why not?
  4. From a Human Resources perspective, what types of policies need to be defined clearly in the workplace about employee conduct?
  5. Identify two or three different media perspectives through internet links for this case. What are the differences in the messages from each media outlet?