I have personally witnessed HR’s evolution from the back room to the board room, from tactics to strategy, and to assuming ownership of the business and its outcomes. The HR profession has advanced dramatically since the days when I began my career as a recruiter, and we certainly have come a long way from the days of the “Personnel Department”.
Do we really want to professionalize? That is a really good question—but there are layers to that question. For some years, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) asked the following question on its annual member survey: ‘Do you agree that the professionalization of HR is, or should be, an important issue for the profession?’
You likely believe that your organization’s data – operating, financial, human resources – is a key resource and you have policies and processes in place to mitigate any risk. Whether or not your organization operates in just one province, or just within Canada, you should understand that the principles and guidelines of data management are not grounded in geographic jurisdiction.
Get ready to see this job ad a lot in the near future. 2016 seems to be the year when HR Analytics hits the windshield of our corporate bus. There is an increasing demand from organizational leaders for evidence-based decision making. Unfortunately I think it will take a while for our certification programs in HR to fully integrate these needs into the supporting training.
Organizational culture isn’t like a sports car. It cannot instantly change directions and make a hairpin turn. Instead, it’s more like a tanker ship that takes time and planning to put on the right course. If you think about how your organization or team arrived at the culture it currently has, it’s unlikely you can point to a single event, or even a few moments, that explain your current culture. Instead, it is the slow changes that happen, unnoticed at the time, which better explain how most organizational cultures develop.
To be frank, the academic literature on what makes a profession is not very accessible. Here is something of a different take on the topic. For some time, there has been an ongoing debate in the Harvard Business Review as to whether business management is, or should be, a profession. The debate started with an article written by Khurana, Nohria, and Penrice in 2005 entitled Is business management a profession?
There is a new wave of environmental disasters that are just beginning to splash onto our daily news feeds. Workplace cultures are the next targets that will be publicly examined and debated in excruciating detail – just ask the CBC, Amazon, or the Lance Armstrong “company machine.” All the dirty laundry of inappropriate behaviours and unacceptable people practices are flooding out in the wash, and every detail is being hung out on the public line to view.
Mentoring is a management practice that can assist organizations in building a desired corporate culture, while enabling the careers of those who are already motivated to pursue one. It is an efficient and effective method of shortening the learning curve of new executives and providing more knowledgeable employees with broader perspectives. New executives with a mentor have a sounding board, as well as the benefit of their mentor’s experience as they navigate through situations that may be unfamiliar to them.
Twenty years ago we used to call him or her a “workaholic.” This is someone who compulsively works long and hard hours, not being able to leave the work at work, but instead fixates over uncompleted tasks throughout the evening. Today it would be difficult to find a professional that does not fit into this category. Some might blame technology for this world pandemic of workaholism. Our work is simply a click away – waiting for us – tempting us to answer that one last email, or complete that one last task.
We surveyed the Profit 500, an annual listing of the 500 fastest growing companies in Canada, to find out about their HR practices. We asked questions surrounding their strategic capabilities, organizational development activities, change management processes, training opportunities, performance management systems, leadership development programs, and the use of HR technology. Overall, the top HR challenges faced by the Profit 500 include (1) finding key talent, (2) managing and feeding talent pipelines, (3) appropriately leveraging HR metrics to inform decision making, and (4) choosing and incorporating the right HR technology.
Our people are our most important asset, or so we hear, so data about those people – workers, or employees, if you prefer – should be central to our organization’s total data set! To understand where HR data fits, you first have to understand your organization’s overall data management strategy. How is data collected, organized, and managed? And how do you analyze that data to obtain information?
Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre (Queen’s IRC) is pleased to announce the release of An Inquiry into the State of HR in Canada in 2013. This executive summary is based on a survey of over 400 HR practitioners and explores the current and changing state of the HR profession in Canada. It also compares the findings with our 2011 survey.
In my teaching and consulting practice, HR professionals often recount stories like this. Someone, somewhere, makes a disparaging remark about human resources as a “dead end”, “non-value add” or “being the department that just gets in the way. Here’s the news. This is no longer truth. This is wonderful time to be an HR professional. It’s time to grow into a true business partner. It’s time to be seen as someone who “gets it.”
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).
Employee compensation typically consumes 40 to 70 percent of operating costs for Canadian employers. For most firms, compensation is their single largest operating expenditure. Last year, according to Statistics Canada, employers in Canada spent nearly a trillion dollars on wages, salaries, and benefits – imagine a stack of $100 bills more than 1,100 kilometers high!
I recently had the opportunity to work with a group of HR professionals in Trinidad, through Queen’s IRC’s partnership with the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business within the University of the West Indies. As part of our discussion about building trust in the workplace, we discussed behaviours that lowered trust and those that raised trust. It did not take long for the participants to generate lists of behaviours through table discussion.
Clark MacFarlane has over twenty years of experience in the health care sector, and is currently the executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Cochrane-Timiskaming Branch, in northern Ontario. CMHA branches provide direct service to people who are experiencing mental illness, and to their families. They are in the process of implementing a new service delivery model, which shifts from traditional treatment methods to a recovery approach.
In December 2014, Queen’s IRC introduced a new two-day Coaching Skills program. With long-time Queen’s IRC facilitator Françoise Morissette at the helm, the program promises to deliver essential coaching skills, tools and models to help participants master the coaching process and improve performance at the individual and organizational level. “Coaching is popular because it’s very portable and can be used formally or informally,” said Françoise, the lead facilitator for the program.
Innovation is a key driver in organizational sustainability, and yes, openness and transparency are a recipe for innovation. But, according to Tapscott and Williams, “when it comes to innovation, competitive advantage and organizational success, ‘openness’ is rarely the first word one would use to describe companies and other societal organizations like government agencies or medical institutions. For many, words like ‘insular,’ ‘bureaucratic,’ ‘hierarchical,’ ‘secretive’ and ‘closed’ come to mind instead.”
As the use of traditional methods of recruiting decline, human resource managers must develop new approaches and tools to recruit top talent. Hiring managers are often faced with wage pressures (particularly within private companies) and a lack of qualified workers. To effectively compete in the talent marketplace, organizations are leveraging a rich blend of methods in order to identify and recruit the best human capital that they can.
Have you ever wondered why the field of coaching is growing so fast? Although it has been around for ages, it is currently enjoying a worldwide surge in popularity, on both the professional and personal fronts. So how do we explain this sudden 'craze'? The value of coaching has never been in doubt as, over the centuries, it has more than proven itself.
How do you change the culture in a workplace where workers don’t trust the leaders, where employees are not engaged, and where people just don’t care about doing their jobs? A few months ago, I was speaking to a group of senior leaders and the topic of changing culture and increasing employee engagement came up. The conversation started innocuously, with a comment like, “There’s too many potholes in the road and you can’t get people, whose job it is to fill potholes, to care.”
This report summarizes and analyzes the results of a survey of HR practitioners from the Caribbean conducted in 2012. More specifically, the results of the survey provide insight into several key aspects of Caribbean HR practitioners’ working lives. These include the demographic characteristics of practitioners, their roles and responsibilities, the nature of the organizations for which they work, their education and career development, the knowledge and skills required to thrive in the Caribbean, and of course, their perspectives on important issues, innovations and challenges in the HR profession today.
It’s Saturday morning in cottage country. You’re hugging a cup of coffee on the porch. The mist is just clearing from the lake. The view from the deck is stunning. The geese are feeding at the shoreline. A hawk circles above the pines in the distance. Waves lap the deck, reminding you that you promised your cousin a kayaking lesson later this morning. He’s coming with your Aunt Sally on the train as part of the adventure. Aunt Sally recently discovered plein art painting. “Bring the SUV to the station,” she said. “I have the easel.”