A Futurist’s Look at IR/HR – Why it’s Time to Start Over

Peter Edwards delivering the 2015 Don Wood Lecture in Industrial RelationsThe 2015 Don Wood Lecture was delivered by Peter Edwards, Vice-President Human Resources and Labour Relations at Canadian Pacific. In the lecture, Peter spoke about the future of work, including the changes that are taking place in organizations as new technology emerges, how these changes affect workers (particularly unionized workers) and how the HR and labour relations processes, like collective bargaining, need to evolve.

Topics include:

  • How technology (notably cellphones/smartphones) have changed the way we live, and will continue to change the way we live (ie: self-driving cars).
  • How automation in certain industries will replace human workers (including in the railroad industry) and the far-reaching impact this will have.
  • The need to change the collective bargaining process and new techniques for negotiating collective agreements, including the author’s personal experience.
  • Change management and the need for organizations to continue to change and evolve to stay alive in the future.

The Don Wood Lecture in Industrial Relations was established by friends of W. Donald Wood to honour his outstanding contribution to Canadian industrial relations. Dr. Wood was Director of the Industrial Relations Centre from 1960 to 1985, and the first Director of the School of Industrial Relations, established in 1983. The lecture brings to Queen’s University distinguished individuals who have made an important contribution to industrial relations in Canada or other countries. Peter is the first Don Wood lecturer to be a graduate of the MIR program that Dr. Wood established. Fall 2015 marked the 30th anniversary of Peter’s graduation from this program.

Aligning HR Strategies to Create Business Success

Aligning HR Strategies to Create Business SuccessI 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” managing things like payroll or vacation requests, and reporting into finance and accounting. I am proud of this evolution which I refer to as the professionalization of the human resources profession.

I have been most fortunate to be part of some great Canadian companies such as CAE Electronics, Bell Northern Research, Northern Telecom and CIBC where I gained both global HR and business expertise.  Recently I became the Director of Corporate Services of DST Consulting Engineers Inc. I support the CEO, the senior leadership team and all our employees through the delivery of aligned HR strategies that support the business in achieving success.

So how does an HR Practitioner start their journey from entrant into the profession to becoming a CHRO or CEO? Well there are no steps to skip. First you need to develop your HR and business acumen. Whether you decide on an individual specialist or generalist career track you must roll up your sleeves and learn your craft and the business. To be successful as an HR practitioner you must both master core HR services and develop a structured holistic business alignment strategy that I refer to as the HR Framework.

The HR Framework

In its simplest form it is made up of five components:

1.  Strategic Business Planning and HR Alignment

Encompassed in this component are board strategies, corporate vision, mission and values.  HR is a pivotal player in facilitating the creation of a business roadmap. Tools such as strategic plans, employee engagement surveys and corporate SWOT analysis will validate decisions and outputs. Without such strategic business planning process skills, HR cannot be a full participant in the process. HR is called upon to make some unique contributions to this process such as organization design, leadership competencies, compensation philosophies and performance management.

2.  Talent Acquisition (Attraction, Recruitment and Onboarding)

This second component is about understanding business requirements such as workforce planning, talent attraction, social media recruiting, employer brand, technical and skill projections, assessment tools, onboarding and regulatory training and deliverables of key competencies.

3.  People Management

This third component includes employee communications, learning plans, business skills and competencies, training and employee development, internal promotion, performance management and improvement coaching, team optimization, management training and employee engagement.

4.  Compensation, Rewards and Recognition

This fourth component refers to pay-for-performance, incentive programs, market data analytics, rewards, benefits, diversity and equity programs and board governance and HR committee compensation strategies.

5.  Employee and Leadership Development

This fifth component includes leadership development program design, mentoring, on the job development and career development assignments, competency development and succession planning.

Making it Work

In order to enable all the above components work together, one must leverage HRMS data and analytics, keep abreast of regulatory employment practices, develop an acute understanding of change management and organizational development, and build strong relations with business partners and all stakeholders internal as well as external.  Dave Ulrich puts it simply… to be effective as a CHRO one must deliver “operational excellence”. One has to deliver the basics flawlessly to gain a seat in the “C” suite. However the reward is huge and your contribution to the business’s success, shaping the firms strategy and your impact on the culture is immense.

The Future of the HR Profession

So what do I see in the future for the HR profession? The more enlightened CEOs are those that fundamentally understand that people are the only sustainable differentiator. Anyone can buy equipment and tools, copy processes, and drive success in the short term. However you can’t buy people’s energy, commitment, and creativity. That’s where HR comes in, creating engagement, the buy in to something bigger, the mission and meaning rather than the money that embeds long term sustainable business success.

Businesses can only gain competitive advantage through their people strategies. Talent management and leadership are critical to address the scarcity of resources and demographics. Today the pace of change in business is seismic, globalization is a reality and societal issues affect all our communities. There are many other business drivers too numerous to detail here. I truly believe that HR leaders must find ways to develop integrated HR strategies in order to create a sustainable HR /business framework.

I believe it is truly an exciting time for all human resources professionals. HR practitioners who understand all the linkages in terms of attraction, development motivation and retention will succeed.   HR is fast becoming recognized as essential in facilitating organizational and business success. It really is our time as professionals! We need to “grab the bull by the horns” and prove once and for all that we belong in the “C” Suite.

About the Author

Philip C. WilsonPhilip C. Wilson, CHRL, CHRE, gained over thirty years of progressively responsible experience in business and the HR field. He is currently Director Corporate Services (formerly the Chief Human Resources Officer) for DST Consulting Engineers Inc. where he is responsible for the quality and depth of talent that differentiate DST in the marketplace, while supporting their ability to deliver on strategic goals. At Felix Global Corp., he provided board governance consulting advice, coached executives, delivered career transition support and facilitated business strategic planning. He provided global leadership as Vice President H.R. at Corel Corp. As Senior Vice President H.R. at CIBC Phil led a global, multi-functional team of HR professionals (125) responsible for CIBC’s executive leadership and training programs, organizational development, executive resourcing, global recruitment strategies, and business process outsourcing. Philip received the Queen’s University IRC Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Human Resources Industry at the 2015 HR Awards.

References

Ulrich, D. (1997). Human resource champions: The next agenda for adding value and delivering results. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

The Path to Success for Organized Labour

The Path to Success for Organized LabourLabour unions are at a critical time in history. Unions are working to engage the current membership and exploring new innovative communication strategies that are needed to reach the younger generation in a meaningful way. Gone are the days of the bulletin board as the primary sources of union news and updates. People are busy and it’s a challenge to draw the membership out to a meeting. It was not too long ago when local arenas were filled to capacity to hear the local union president address the membership. Email, text message, Twitter and Facebook are popular forms of communication in the fast-paced world of work, and the membership is demanding multiple communication platforms to access. Contrary to popular belief, union members are interested in their union; they simply don’t have the time to participate in the traditional model that is in place, the membership meeting.

Like many organizations, unions are in a time of change and transformation.  As stated by Littlemore (2013), union membership is “pretty close to what it was 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years ago.” (p. 1). Many factors affect the decline of union membership and according to Tattersall (2008), these factors include “international economic competition, anti-union legislation and a shift in local industries from unionized manufacturing to non-union services” (p. 416). Although union membership as a whole has remained constant, the numbers require further investigation. Littlemore (2013) confirms private sector union density has been on a constant decline. With a lens on the private sector unions, a more focused examination is required to understand the decline, what factors may be contributing to the drop in membership, as well as what unions can do to reverse this trend.

Are You Concerned About Global Privacy? You Should Be!

Are You Concerned About Global Privacy? You Should Be!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.  Data management, and the security and privacy of that data, is a global issue.

Goodbye Safe Harbor

In October 2015, the “Schrems” decision by the European Court of Justice ruled that the “Safe Harbor” structure between the US and the European Union (EU) is invalid.1

The US has no federal privacy law (a source of serious concern to many organizations), and Safe Harbor was the means by which US-based firms could previously get blanket approval regarding the movement of personal data, including HR data, between the US and all EU member countries.

This decision is a direct result of the considerable suspicion of the global community regarding the extent of US government surveillance of personal information (via The Patriot Act, and others).  The US‘s National Security Agency (NSA) has taken the position that non-US citizens have no rights regarding an expectation of privacy.

Further, US law requires US-based organizations to comply with surveillance orders, so the concept of data privacy becomes almost moot.2

US Swarm Regulation

The lack of countrywide legislation in the US has spawned an industry-based approach to the regulation of data privacy.

Companies face multiple state and federal regulators on an industry-to-industry basis, producing an ever growing swarm of regulation that is simultaneously inconsistent, conflicting, and full of gaps.  Major US-based technology companies (Apple, Microsoft, and Google, to name three) have been outspoken about this problem since diverse legislation is both frustrating and costly.3

Hello EU/US Privacy Shield

Schrems fired a shot across the bows of the US intelligence and business communities by opening the door for each European country to apply its own regulations for organizations moving personal data to the US, and possibly forcing organizations to host personal data exclusively within Europe. It also created the foundation for a pan-European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that takes full effect in 2018.

On February 4, 2016, the European Commission and the United States announced a new framework agreement for transatlantic data flows: the EU-US Privacy Shield.  It is intended to protect the fundamental right of privacy of European citizens while at the same time providing legal certainty for the thousands of US-based businesses that serve them.

As always, the devil will be in the details and the evolution of the full draft complete with regulations will be of considerable interest through the remainder of 2016.

Oh Canada

The good news is that (so far) Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) has been considered adequate to protect personal privacy, and an agreement similar to Safe Harbor has been unnecessary.

But the Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the lesser known of Canada’s two spy agencies which focuses on electronic surveillance, may give rise to concern as well.

The Canadian Anti-terrorism Act gave the CSE expanded use of electronic surveillance, authorizing it to intercept foreign communications that begin or end domestically, as long as one party is outside Canada. CSE shares information with intelligence agencies in the so-called “Five Eyes” group of countries — namely the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.  The European Union’s success in challenging the NSA could easily mean that attention shifts to the CSE.

Canadian Model Leads the Way

The EU/US Privacy Shield announcement includes an Ombudsman-style redress mechanism similar to Canadian Federal and Provincial Privacy Commissioners.

This may be one of the more interesting aspects of the agreement as it seems to mean that the US could FINALLY, actually create some form of “Privacy Czar” (a.k.a. office of data protection or privacy.)

Global Data Management Rules

History has shown us that concepts and laws in one jurisdiction rapidly spread. Recall the 2002 advent of the US’s Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act regarding securities and financial controls.  That law almost immediately spawned corresponding Canadian legislation.

Data management legislation will likely closely follow SOX in significantly increasing the legal responsibilities of executive management with regard to the privacy and security of personal data. Organization policies and procedures will follow directly. This strikes a major blow against organizations that try to consolidate data into an effective and efficient single database (look out Big Data!!) and creates enormous uncertainty surrounding global data management.

If your organization’s operations transcend national borders the challenge will be to construct a data privacy and security strategy, as well as processes that maximize data utility and minimize risk of loss or misuse.

The growth of technology and the impact on data management has spread like an epidemic across the world and the concept of national boundaries has become largely meaningless.  Expecting that a national border will change the nature or flow of data is as realistic and probable as expecting it to stop the spread of the flu. In that regard, the EU-US Privacy Shield is a positive step in the global data management challenge since it helps provide some structure to the swarm reality of the US’s current approach.

Data sharing can’t be taken for granted any more. Companies and their cloud providers are more responsible than ever for data sovereignty, and this responsibility is only going to increase when the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is adopted, leaving organizations with a two-year time limit to comply. The penalties for wrongdoing are well publicized and severe for companies that fail to adapt to the new data privacy landscape.4

Canada-US Data Management Challenges

Data management challenges are not just true with respect to privacy and security.  Canadian users of services such as Netflix or Apple’s iTunes will have experienced the frustration of Canadian licensing laws limiting access to content.  These laws are as much based on nationality as on geography. For example, a Canadian in the US cannot buy US content if the devices being used for access are linked to Canadian IP addresses or cell-phone carriers.  Meanwhile the data flows illegally across the border through a variety of innovative technical end-arounds.

Looking Forward

Individual consent seems to be increasing in importance although that process is the most administratively burdensome, in part because it can be revocable, and because adequate tools to manage that process are in very short supply.

That places pressure on a variety of management activities – such as business analytics – which will clearly be effected by the trend to recognize individuals’ notice rights, including third-party protection (naming names), retention periods, the right to be forgotten, purpose and transfers.

Trying to analyze and act on collective data will be very complex.  For example, profiling based on sensitive data can only be done with explicit consent.

International agreements to deal with these realities are expected.

 

About the Author

Ian TurnbullIan Turnbull is a Director of The Canadian Privacy Institute, formerly a subsidiary of Laird & Greer Management Group Corp. A former Chair of the Canadian Council of Human Resource Associations (CCHRA) and of the International Association of Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM) his latest book (Carswell 2014) is HR Manager’s Guide to Managing Information Systems.  Ian has a BA and MBA from Western University (The University of Western Ontario) and obtained his professional human resource designation, the CHRP, in 1992.

 

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1 The author gratefully acknowledges the early reporting and ideas of Jon Neiditz of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton of Atlanta GA, US, and Kevin Duggan, President & CEO of Camouflage Software.

2 Roberts, D. & Ackerman, S. (2013, June 7). Anger swells after NSA phone records court order revelations. Retrieved February 7, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/obama-administration-nsa-verizon-records.

3 Neiditz, J. (2015, November 14). No Harm, Big Foul: Why Yesterday’s LabMD Decision is Stunning and Important. Retrieved February 12, 2016, from http://datalaw.net/no-harm-big-foul-why-yesterdays-labmd-decision-is-stunning-and-important/.

4 Help Net Security. (2014, March 17). EU sets huge fines for firms who violate users’ privacy Retrieved, February 22, 2016, from https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2014/03/17/eu-sets-huge-fines-for-firms-who-violate-users-privacy/.

Queen’s University IRC 2015 Workplace in Motion Summit Proceedings

The world of work is changing, and the most successful organizations and practitioners are those that understand how these changes impact the way they do business. To help them do so, and to foster further dialogue, Queen’s IRC hosted the Workplace in Motion Summit in Toronto on April 16th, 2015. Over 100 human resource, labour relations, and organizational development professionals from across Canada attended the Summit. Chaired by IRC facilitator Brenda Barker Scott, the Summit provided a forum to stimulate new ideas and new perspectives on the dynamic new world of work.

The Summit focused on a variety of questions of interest to today’s human resource, labour relations, and organizational development professionals. More specifically, it helped participants:

  • Identify issues and best practices related to current trends and practices in human resource manage­ment, labour relations, and organizational development.
  • Explore how rapidly emerging technologies are shaping and re-shaping modern workplaces and the way we work.
  • Investigate the impact of changing demographics on contemporary organizations.

This was all done with the intent of identifying how they can better lead change and promote excellence within and beyond their organizations and professional networks.

Over the course of the Summit, several themes emerged that were particularly critical to today’s human resource, labour relations, and organizational development professionals. These included the need to:

  • Manage change and transformation in order to advance organizational and professional interests with as little disruption as possible.
  • Create the physical space, infrastructure, technologies, and systems necessary to support a collaborative, open, and innovative workplace and work culture.
  • Engage, retain, and motivate the new generation of employees and to bridge inter-generational gaps in the workplace.
  • Think outside the box in order to appropriately encourage risk-taking and innovation.

This report elaborates on the most important questions, issues, and themes identified by Summit participants going forward.

Download Summit Proceedings

The Future of Labour

The Future of LabourThe labour movement in Canada has a long and proud history of success and positive community involvement. Throughout the years however, union membership levels across North America have been on a steady decline.  Many would argue the decline in the ranks of unions is attributed to stronger labour laws protecting workers, less interest by the young workers entering the workforce and a more transient workforce demanding flexibility and merit over seniority. These arguments, although attractive on the surface, are easily discredited with a minimal amount of research and thought.  Some would argue that legislation is in place to protect workers’ rights. However, the legislation traditionally provides basic minimums in employment.  Like any piece of legislation, the rights an employee enjoys and relies on can be taken away with the stroke of a pen. ‎Corporate lobbying has taken a toll on legislation designed to protect workers, leaving gaps and holes making the legislation toothless when enforcement is required. Unions are still needed to protect workers, and they are an important part of the future of labour. There are still many workers who work in less than ideal conditions. But like any other organization, unions need to change and adapt to the changing world.

Current Trends

Currently, fast food workers across the United States are engaging in a sort of wildcat strikes to demand a living wage of $15 per hour. These workers are subjected to minimal compensation rates, little to no benefits or pensions and unstructured and unreliable scheduling, all while reading about record corporate profits and CEO’s making anywhere from $7 million to $22 million a year. In the past, these workers normally would have organized and formed a union within their workplace in an effort to have a voice in their working conditions. However, they chose not to take that path. Not because they didn’t want to form a union, but because forming a union has become too cumbersome and formalized through legislation and litigation in the U.S. These workers decided not to take the traditional path of unionization to demand better working conditions, and instead they chose the grass roots path to withhold labour in return for better wages.

This sort of guerrilla tactic is impossible for the corporation to control, or even predict and anticipate. There is no organization behind the movement to sue or pressure, there are no court injunctions to be issued and no organizations funding or coordinating the action. In short, the anti-union legislation has done what it was drafted to do: frustrate union organizing activity to a standstill. However, this type of grass roots, guerrilla mobilization is one of the unintended consequences of anti-union legislation. As these movements become more active and start to become more structured, unions will assist and guide these newly formed “unions”, however, it will be up to the workers if they accept the assistance and support of organized labour.

How U.S. Anti-Union Legislation Affects Canada

Locally, there has been a movement to dismantle the Rand Formula in some jurisdictions in Canada. By removing the Rand Formula, members would no longer be required to pay union dues while still enjoying the benefits of union representation and the benefits of the collective agreement.  With the spread of “right-to–work” legislation being passed in a majority of states in the U.S., including the labour stronghold of Michigan, many pundits claim that to remain competitive similar laws should be adopted in Ontario. Typically, right-to-work states boast that low unionization rates encourage and entice corporations to relocate their facilities to that jurisdiction. Lafer and Allegretto (2011) stated, “right to work laws have not succeeded in boosting employment growth in the states that have adopted them.” (p. 2). This is simply a ploy to gain public support in an underhanded move to financially cripple unions and prevent them from providing representation to the membership.

Precarious Work and Legislative Challenges

Another issue plaguing todays’ workers is the increased use of agency workers or temps. Temporary workers, better known as agency workers, are becoming the trend and the norm in Canadian workplaces. Precarious jobs and low wages are not only a plague to the current workforce, but also to generations of young workers to come. The Globe and Mail reported that, “the number of temporary workers in Canada hit a record two million last year, according to Statistics Canada. This amounts to 13.6% of the workforce compared with 11.3% in 1997.” (Grant, 2011, para. 1).

When a workplace makes the decision to use agency workers to fill permanent vacancies, two outcomes can be expected. First, the agency workers usually have a lower rate of pay and normally have no benefit coverage. Currently, there are no laws in place that prevent an employer from treating an agency worker differently than a regular employee. The Employment Standards Act offers little protection to these workers.

Second, unions struggle with organizing workplaces that are virtually employee-less but have a workforce comprised of workers from multiple temp agencies. These workers do not oppose union certification, on the contrary however, the complex system of agencies in the workplace makes certification nearly impossible. If a worker complains publically, termination is likely the result. At least one employer is facing legal action for firing an agency worker for expressing his unfortunate employment circumstances. Angel Reyes filed a lawsuit for wrongful dismissal after he was terminated for speaking out. Through a workers action center, Angel hopes to bring a voice to agency workers in Ontario (Workers Action Centre, 2015) and stated, “I hope that through this lawsuit United Staffing Services and Canada Fibres will finally be punished for the way they treat workers.”(para. 2).  Ironically, in an interview with the Toronto Star (Mojtehedzadeh, 2015) Angel stated, “the biggest issue is the lack of respect and dignity in (temporary) work. Nobody is seeing them for who they are and the work that they’re doing. They are completely invisible.”(para. 5). This type of precarious employment combined with an unstable relationship with the employer puts a chill on union organizing before it even begins.

Political Action

Labour unions are facing a challenging time. Doorey (2013) stated, “polls of workers in Canada and the U.S. demonstrate clearly that many, many more workers would like to be unionized than actually are.” (para. 9). However, despite the fact that workers are increasingly interested in forming a union in their workplace, this is becoming more difficult to achieve. As illustrated with the U.S. fast food employees, workers are resorting to more non-traditional approaches such as self-organizing and withholding labour. Workers are accessing worker action centers for assistance with employment related issues, a job that until recently unions held. Unions have adapted to change over the years and today’s problems will be met with creative solutions. One thing is clear now more than ever – unions must be involved in politics to ensure legislation is current and effective. It has become clear that labour unions are one of the last structured pillars supporting fairness and equality in the workplace. The task at hand is to ensure fences are not erected around the pillars that prevent workers from accessing union representation.

Grass Roots: A Renewed Vision

Internally, unions are returning to their roots.  Community Action Networks (CAN) are a renewed vision of solidarity and community activism. They are responsible for raising the profile of labour unions within our communities. ‎The CANs attend community events to profile the union and the work it does through collective bargaining and organizing. They are also responsible for establishing a network that labour and community activists can access. By bridging this gap, labour and community groups can consolidate their efforts to become more effective and efficient in their approach to influence change. This is important because change motivates and encourages participation and CANs are effective at building strong and sustainable relationships that produce results.

The labour movement’s success and rapid growth, that occurred in the 1930’s when labour unions were mobilizing in record numbers, offered hope, vision and a better way through collective bargaining and collective action.

Today, labour unions need to look at mobilizing their current membership, re-engaging with their existing members, and building the sense of community that working people are looking for. The past holds the key to the future success of the labour movement. It is up to the current leadership and the future leadership of the labour movement to go back to the future, build on past successes and create opportunity for innovative ideas to grow and evolve. Social media and ‘hacktavisim’ should not be a substitute for direct face-to-face contact with the members. As seen in the recent provincial and federal elections, labour unions are mobilizing their membership to exercise their collective voice in support of worker friendly legislation and forming lines at the ballot box to force change that better represents workers interests. Workers are realizing that voting for candidates that push an agenda that does not meet the needs of the working class, is in essence voting against their own interests. Member mobilization is the first step to reengaging the membership and reinvigorating the membership.

 

About the Author

Derik McArthurDerik McArthur began his career with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) after graduation from Confederation College with dual diplomas in Human Resources and Human Resources Management.  In 2005, he was elected as president, RWDSU Canada, and as RWDSU International Vice-President/Canadian director. The following year, he was elected to international Vice-President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) – a union that represents 1.4 million members in North America. In 2012, Derik lead RWDSU Canada, the Northern Joint Council and the 11 RWDSU locals in a merger with UFCW local 175 & 633 creating UFCW’s largest local union in North America, boasting a membership of over 74,000 members. Derik is now a director with UFCW local 175 & 633 based in Mississauga, Ontario.  Derik holds a BA in Justice Studies and an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Royal Roads University. In his spare time Derik is an active member of the Canadian Forces Army reserve.

References

Aubrey, A. (2014). Fast-Food CEOs Earn Supersize Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes. Retrieved November 18, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/04/22/305859588/fast-food-ceos-earn-supersized-salaries-workers-earn-small-potatoes.

Doorey, D. (2013). Law of work. Don’t confuse union density with the demand for unionization. Retrieved November 18, 2015, from http://lawofwork.ca/?p=2910#sthash.4Dc2sOXE.dpuf.

Grant, T. (2013). Canada’s shift to a nation of temporary workers. Retrieved November 18, 2015, from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/jobs/canadas-shift-to-a-nation-of-temporary-workers/article11721139/.

Lafer, G. & Allegretto, S. (2011). Does ‘right to work’ create jobs. Answers from Oklahoma. Retrieved November 18, 2015, from http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cwed/wp/right_to_work.pdf.

Mojtehedzadeh, S. (2015, May 10). Ontario employers cashing in on temporary workers.  The Toronto Star. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://m.thestar.com/#/article/news/gta/2015/05/10/ontario-employers-cashing-in-on-temporary-workers.html.

Workers Action Centre. (2015, September 18). Former temp agency worker files lawsuit after being fired for speaking out. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://www.workersactioncentre.org/updates/former-temp-agency-worker-files-lawsuit-after-being-fired-for-speaking-out/.

Peter Edwards Delivers 2015 W. D. Wood Lecture

Peter Edwards, Vice-President Human Resources and Labour Relations at Canadian Pacific, delivered the 2015 W. D. Wood Lecture on November 6, 2015 at Queen’s University. Peter spoke about the future of work, the future of the labour movement and how technology will impact jobs.

Peter urged the audience to think about how things like controlling trains remotely, driverless cars, and completely automated factories are going to profoundly change the world.

“We either change with or ahead of them, or we’re out of the business. The world’s going to change,” Peter said. “We are living in transformative times. We’ve had changes like this in the past, but there’s just so many technologies coming together. There’s 70 billion of them in your pocket that you didn’t even know about, 2 billion in the phone’s core processor alone. The changes that we’re seeing will never go backwards.”

Peter brought the discussion back to today, and to our system of collective bargaining. He discussed his own successes in collective bargaining and his refreshing approach to union-management relations. To be successful you have to build a relationship, not just go into the collective bargaining process expecting it to be adversarial.

>> Download the transcript of Peter’s lecture here.

>> View Photos from the lecture on Facebook

Managing Under the Microscope: The Next Tsunami of Environmental Disasters in the Workplace

 The Next Tsunami of Environmental Disasters in the WorkplaceThere 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. However, that’s just the trickle before the tsunami wave that will expose these environmental toxins that currently live in some form or another in vast numbers of organizations.

The human toll is difficult to tabulate, as the toxic waste manifests itself in polluted work environments and it lives and breeds where inefficient business practices, ineffective managers and bad employee attitudes are allowed to roam and run free. Where these toxins live and breed is a force to be reckoned with and containing or eliminating the poison is tricky business. However, not addressing this in a proactive manner has now become very risky business. Like the killer-force of the tsunami, it can destroy carefully crafted and nurtured company brands and can stop business dead in its wake.

Under the Microscope – Macro Management

Perhaps it’s the anti-bullying campaign that is bringing these issues to light, or we are finally connecting the dots to the skyrocketing claims of workplace stress. Unfortunately these toxins don’t just end in the workplace, they continue to multiply and seep into our homes, families, and communities. The result is a reactionary health care cost of monumental proportions that none of us can afford to pay.

HR Secrets of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies

HR Secrets of Canada’s Fastest Growing CompaniesWe 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 (see Appendix) 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 Findings

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.

1. Finding (and Keeping) Key Talent

It may seem paradoxical that finding and keeping key talent is an issue, given the unemployment rates of recent years. However, increased hiring is leading to increased competition, leaving many organizations on the Profit 500 to discover new methods of attracting and retaining the talent they need. According to the survey, a little over 60% of the Profit 500 are looking for innovative ways to increase their ability to fill performance gaps, including the ability to analyze and select for the skills they require. This has led the Profit 500 to consider where and when employees work and how to engage them most effectively.

Business Intelligence, Big Data, and HR

Business Intelligence, Big Data and HROur 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?

“Business Intelligence”, the idea of transforming raw data into useful and actionable information, has become an oft-discussed concept. It allows management to gain historical insight and to produce predictive analytics for competitive advantage. And Business Intelligence arises directly from “Big Data”, the process of bringing together raw data from multiple data sources into a single analytical tool. That tool can be used by management to produce Business Intelligence.

The next time that you use Google, or some other search engine, do a search for some unusual item; something that you haven’t searched for before. Then spend some time on sites that you visit often.

You will notice that ads related to the unusual item will pop up beside your search results for the more common items. That is Big Data at work in a marketing context. Google has picked up your first search and is now displaying pages that its algorithm predicts will be of interest to you based on that search.  And Google (and other providers) charge advertisers for this. It is the core of their economic model.

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