Archives for August 2015

Is Your Workplace in Motion?

A Model for the New World of WorkDo you encourage collaboration between departments?

Are you ready for a changing demographic in your workforce?

Do you know how technology will change your organization in the future?

This past spring, Queen’s IRC hosted a summit to explore our workplaces in motion. We thought of our summit as a discovery space.  We invited people to come together to reflect, share and re-imagine how their workplaces could become more transparent, integrated and inspiring. Through an old world – new world lens, we explored how four inter-related trends (see model), are shaping the new employee, the new work, and the new workplace.

Our lofty aim was to reveal how the workplace principles and frameworks that worked in the past no longer serve us.  While we all appreciate that the era of centralized governing systems and rigid hierarchies is over, many of the legacy principles are so deeply engrained, we simply do not see or question them. Our task was to surface the principles that no longer serve us, and define a new set of workplace fundamentals promoting connectivity, innovation and adaptability.

In service of keeping those conversations going, we offer our old world-new world models as a starting place for you to ponder the future of your workplaces.  As you reflect on each of the three models (the new employee, the new work, the new workplace), gather your colleagues together and answer the questions below.  We’ve employed a technique called reverse brainstorming to surface the organizational practices and systems that may, inadvertently, be rooting your organization in the past.

Director’s Note – Fall 2015

A Workplace in Motion

Paul Juniper, Director, Queen's IRCAre you ready for change? Our inaugural Workplace in Motion Summit, held on April 16th in Toronto, brought together over 100 HR, LR and OD professionals eager to learn about the forces that are changing the way we work, and to brainstorm strategies for organizations to prepare for the transformation of our workplace cultures and practices.

The Summit identified four major trends: globalization, technology, the rise of the knowledge era and the influx of millennials, who are leading an evolution in organizational cultures. Presenters from Shopify, Free the Children and Open Text gave their perspectives on how organizations must manage the shift in order to stay relevant and successful.

At Queen’s IRC, we also must shift with the times. Our evidence-based programs are carefully designed and reviewed to blend foundational principles with innovative ideas and practices that facilitate change and nurture positive alliances across organizational functions.

Our Designing Change program, for example, is designed to help you lead a transformational culture shift that engages multi-generational team members from all levels of your organization. It is a perfect fit with our Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy program – and combined with our Organizational Design and Change Management programs, provides the tools you’ll need to strategically develop trans-disciplinary capabilities for collaborative growth.

On the Labour Relations side, we are pleased to offer our Strategic Grievance Handling program, a thoughtful and practical approach to labour relations that involves identifying workplace-wide issues and problems, and analyzes how individual grievance management can address those issues. In addition, our popular Mastering Fact-Finding and Investigation program is designed to give you the skills to plan investigations, conduct interviews, and properly weigh the evidence.

The world isn’t standing still – and neither should you. Give you and your organization an edge with professional development that will give you the skills you need to thrive in a workplace in motion.

Paul Juniper, MA, CHRL, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Director, Queen’s IRC

Successful Professionalization: What Can We Learn From Forsyth & Danisiewicz (1985)?

 What Can We Learn From Forsyth & Danisiewicz (1985)?In this article, we take one of the more interesting and useful models of professionalization and apply it to the Human Resources field to see what insights can be had.

There are a number of models of professionalization, and of those one of the more interesting and useful models is that of Forsyth & Danisiewicz (1985). What makes this model so interesting and useful is that unlike other models it has a functional approach rather than a descriptive approach—that is, it looks at the process of professionalization (see figure 1). We should introduce a caveat at the start, however. The Forsyth & Danisiewicz (1985) model is, after all, just a model. The model is derived from observation and reasoning but not empirical data. Indeed, in regards to professionalization, despite the search for general principles, each situation needs to be considered as a case study. The point is that models of professionalization like the one proposed by Forsyth & Danisiewicz (1985) should be considered for the insights they may bring about, but they are not ‘laws’ and are not necessarily correct or the only way things can happen.

The What of Change

 Creating a Motivating Vision for Change ProjectsMost experts advocate creating a vision as a necessary step in any change initiative. But managers have a tough time following this advice. Change vision statements are often too long, too confusing or too generic to motivate action in the direction of the change. It’s tough to condense the vision into a couple of sentences or paragraphs that sing, but it is worthwhile to try. For example, Google’s pithy vision statement has long provided a guiding star for employees to follow: “To make the world’s information universally accessible and useful.” Contrast it with the following vision statement from an actual Fortune 500 firm that shall remain nameless: “Our vision is to maximize shareholder value by enhancing financial performance and providing long-term profitable growth.” Very few employees are going to spring out of bed each morning full of enthusiasm to “maximize shareholder value.”

A clear vision is important for change leaders to think through because it forces you to identify exactly what you are aiming for instead of some vague, fuzzy or rosy picture of the future. It is important for your employees, too. During times of change, they want leaders who have a clear vision and communicate a clear message. As John Kotter famously said: “Without a vision, change can dissolve into a list of confusing, incompatible, time-consuming projects that either go in the wrong direction or nowhere at all.”

So I hope we can agree that a vision is important. Now let’s observe a vision in action and follow Cirque du Soleil through its growth into a large, successful, international arts organization.

>> This paper is one chapter from Dr. Carol A. Beatty’s e-book, The Easy, Hard & Tough Work of Managing Change. The complete e-book is now available on our website at no charge: Download

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.