Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – May 2018

Queen's University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

May 2018   

 

 
 

In This Issue…

  1. The Talent Gap — Is it Reality or Fiction?
  2. The Golden Years: The Aging Workforce and Human Rights Matters
  3. Flashback Feature: Human Resources as a Source of Competitive Advantage
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The Talent Gap — Is it Reality or Fiction?
Philip C. Wilson and Bill Greenhalgh, 2018

A simple Google search on the words “talent management” reveals almost 17 million hits, and if we look at studies in all countries over the last decade, every time CHRO’s & CEO’s are surveyed, two of the top three challenges they say they face are lack of talent and a shortage of leadership. It isn’t clear whether these two are linked (i.e. is talented leadership scarce; or is it that both leadership and specific talents at all organizational levels are in short supply.)

Whatever the answer, it does appear to be a universal and long-standing issue. One would think that if it is so important and companies have been working on it for decades, they would have found a solution by now.

This raises the question, with all this information and such a multiplicity of studies, why has it not been fixed? Thus we address the question “Is the talent gap reality or fiction?”

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The Golden Years: The Aging Workforce and Human Rights Matters
Deborah Hudson, Lawyer, Turnpenney Milne LLP, 2017

As the Canadian population ages, so does our workforce. Mandatory retirement programs have generally been outlawed (with few exemptions), and many Canadians now choose to work into their 60s and 70s for various reasons including: fulfillment, financial gains, longer life spans, lack of savings and failed pension plans.

Employers can significantly benefit by retaining and hiring older employees who may offer considerable knowledge, experience and insight, along with dedication and work ethic. All of these benefits are accompanied by a unique set of human rights considerations related to our aging workforce, including age discrimination and age related disability. With respect to age discrimination, employees may experience ageism within an ongoing employment relationship, or when trying to secure a new job later in life. Older employees may feel like they are being forced to retire or may be passed up for deserved promotions on the unverified assumptions they will not be working too much longer. Older employees may also be targeted for termination, when they had intended to work for several years more. Persons seeking new jobs later in life may experience age discrimination during the recruitment process.

With respect to age-related disability, older employees may experience medical issues, and employers must accommodate age-related health issues in the exact same way that any other disability is accommodated. Some disabilities are far easier to accommodate than others. A defined physical limitation may be readily accommodated on a permanent basis by using an assistive device, whereas an invisible disability and/or cyclical disability may require a more flexible accommodation approach. For instance, an employee experiencing certain forms of arthritis may feel significant pain and require time off during flare-ups; however, the cyclical and sporadic nature of the required accommodation could present scheduling challenges. Far more challenging is understanding and accommodating a brain disorder (such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia). In such situations the employee may not even be aware of their own health issues, and the employer will be tasked with determining if any medical conditions even exist and if so, if such can be accommodated.

The aging population may also result in increased requests for family status accommodations, when children or relatives request time off to assist in the caregiving needs of their elders.

This article will explore some key human rights considerations and interesting case-law related to our aging workforce.

>> Download Article

Flashback Feature: Human Resources as a Source of Competitive Advantage
Lee Dyer, 1993

(This paper was delivered by Lee Dyer at the 1993 Don Wood Lecture in Industrial Relations.)

For business it’s a tough world that’s getting tougher. The reasons are familiar enough: global competition, deregulation, finicky and tough customers, concerned and demanding stockholders, and a dizzying pace of constant change. Rare indeed is the company which has found a comfortable niche in this chaotic world.

So, the search is on for a competitive advantage, preferably one that might prove sustainable over some period of time. Business strategies are being rethought. Core competencies are being identified or, in many cases, built from scratch. Reorganization is rampant. Staid old bureaucracies are being dismantled in favour of more nimble, flexible organizational forms. New technologies and information systems are being created to harness knowledge and tie disparate organizational entities together. And, attention is turning to the human competencies and capacities it takes to bring these transformed enterprises to life.

Enter human resource strategy. Backed by a little theory, a small amount of research, and a lot of old-fashioned trial and error, many variations of such strategies are being frequently prescribed and sometimes tried in these new business environments. While there have been some real success stories, many unanswered questions remain. The key issues seem clear enough. But, there is considerable work to be done before it will be possible to make solid recommendations about employing human resources as critical success factors in the search for competitive advantage.

>> Download Article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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