The Art of Mountain Driving: Navigating the Curves
Sandi Cardillo, Queen's IRC Facilitator
Driving mountain roads can be very tricky. With the exception of those who drive a super-powered something able to negotiate a significant vertical climb, mere mortals learn that reaching the top of the mountain requires learning the skill of turning switchback corners. Go too slowly around the curve, and you run the risk of the vehicle stalling in the climb. Go too fast, and it can be a kissing-the-guardrail moment, or over the edge you go.
I love mountain driving, but I've also learned to be very respectful of switchback curves. Just the right acceleration and your right hand on the wheel keep the vehicle on the road. Rounding a corner without going over the edge brings you to a whole new "aha" moment. There is a vista there that you could not see ten minutes ago. The mountain was in the way. The corner had to be negotiated to take in what was waiting around the curve. Signs point the way and tell you the speed at which to take the corner, but they cannot possibly capture what is waiting around the bend.
Moving from one level in an organization to the next is a lot like negotiating switchback corners. Go too slowly, and you can stall out. Go too quickly, and you can go over the edge. For the HR professional moving from a Specialist to a Business Partner role, learning to negotiate the switchback curve is critical. The road tells you what you need to know as you make the turn. It is a matter of paying attention and learning to be aware of what all your senses are telling you at the same time.
From Confrontation to Collaboration: Making Union-Management Relationships Work
Rod McCorriston, SGEU, Director of Labour Relations
With thirty years of experience working in a unionized environment, I have observed a variety of collaborative relationships between employer and union. Much of my career has been spent helping to evolve the management-union relationship from confrontation to collaboration. I was directly responsible for nurturing and supporting this relationship for six years, from 2000 until 2006. I served as the Central Union Management/Staffing Liaison Officer for the Government of Saskatchewan. The Government of Saskatchewan and General Employees Union (SGEU) jointly funded this position. In this article, I share my insights on the collaborative relationship.
The Collaborative Relationship: Why Bother?
The management-union relationship feels like an arranged or forced marriage without the option of divorce. You're in it together, so you might as well try to get along and perhaps you can find some commonality of interests for the betterment of the workplace. If the collaborative approach is to be effective, there are some things to take into consideration:
The need for a continuous relationship
How to meet the needs and goals of each party
How to minimize the negative effects on each party
How to achieve a solution by consensus, where both parties agree, as this promotes a greater chance of success and acceptance
Human Resources: A Queen's IRC Update
Paul Juniper, Queen's IRC Director
Paul Juniper, Queen's IRC Director
Over the past few years, I've spent a lot of time talking about the future of the HR profession; a future that I think is filled with opportunity and possibility. We've seen tangible progression in the role of the HR function within organizations. Increasingly, the HR function is viewed as a strategic partner, called upon to provide critical advice and concrete guidance. Our role is transforming from transactional to align tactics in support of HR and business strategy, as we strive to best meet the needs of the organizations in which we work. Now that we have earned a seat at the table, we're focusing on complex topics, such as Succession Planning, Talent Management, Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy, and HR Decision Making.
In my recent article, Beyond the CHRP – Raising the Bar on HR: Insights and Reflections, I gave my perspective that the CHRP designation is not sufficient for HR professionals to excel in their roles. I firmly believe that HR professionals need to continue to develop their skills and knowledge to remain competitive and manage their multifaceted roles. With this in mind, Queen's IRC developed its Advanced HR Certificate. We've launched programs for mid-level HR professionals that target some of their challenges, and enable them to develop their own learning plan to move their careers forward.
I am always interested in hearing what issues keep HR professionals awake at night. I had some wonderful conversations with HR professionals in Toronto at January's HRPA Trade Show. Thank you to all of you who stopped by the Queen's IRC booth to visit with us. I enjoy the opportunity to talk about our profession, how far it has come, and where it is, or should be, heading. This was especially true when I was at the 2012 World Federation of People Management Associations' World HR Congress, held in Melbourne, Australia. It's fascinating to hear how HR concerns diverge, and more often than not converge, on a global scale.
Indeed, Queen's IRC continues to investigate the HR profession in our practitioner-focused research. We recently partnered with the Cave Hill School of Business at the University of the West Indies, Barbados, to conduct a survey that explores the state of the HR profession in the Caribbean. Our Research Team is in the process of analyzing the data, and I look forward to sharing the results with you later this year. We will soon be launching our second survey of Canadian HR professionals, a complement to our 2011 Inquiry into the State of HR in Canada. We would like as many participants as possible in this year's national survey. Please contact our Research Team for more information on our practitioner-focused research.
Dynamic Negotiations: Teacher Labour Relations in Canadian Elementary and Secondary Education
McGill-Queen's University Press has released a new book in the Queen's School of Policy Studies Series. Dynamic Negotiations, edited by Sara Slinn and Arthur Sweetman, takes an inter-provincial comparative approach, to identify potential avenues of reform for labour relations in the public elementary and secondary school system. The Queen's School of Policy Studies Series features leading-edge contributors to research and debate on critical policy challenges facing Canada and other countries.