The 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 and how the HR and labour relations processes, like collective bargaining, need to evolve.
Future of Work
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”.
Labour 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.
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.
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. This report elaborates on the most important questions, issues, and themes identified by Summit participants going forward.
The 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.
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.
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.
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?
Do 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 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, are shaping the new employee, the new work, and the new workplace.
The inaugural Workplace in Motion Summit was held last week in Toronto, with over 100 people in attendance. The one-day Summit brought together Human Resources, Organizational Development and Labour Relations professionals from across the country to learn about the future of work, and examine the trends creating the new world of work. Summit Chair Brenda Barker Scott shared the characteristics of the new employee, the new work and the new workplace.
With an impressive line-up of guest speakers and facilitators, the Queen’s IRC 2015 Workplace in Motion Summit brought together over 100 leaders in HR, OD and LR from across the country to engage in conversations about the workplace of the future, and the trends that are driving new models for organizational planning. The Summit, held on April 16 in Toronto, featured a number of themes, including: Talent: How do we engage, retain and motivate a new generation of workers? Transformation: How can organizations transform without trauma?
Do 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? The world of work is shifting. Centralized systems and hierarchies are giving way to more fluid environments. With innovation, not efficiency, as the aim, success comes from harnessing and connecting talent and knowledge through technology.
Your union membership is getting younger. It's no secret that millennials are increasingly becoming a major demographic in the workforce. But the way they work, the tools they use and how they engage with others is completely different from earlier generations. Are you ready for them? Anne Grant, an expert in labour relations and mediation, will be exploring the evolution of the workforce and the impact on union-management relations at the Queen's IRC 2015 Workplace in Motion Summit on April 16 in Toronto.
In the old world order, organizations were structured so that they could leverage their capital; people were just put in roles and given responsibilities. Everyone was supposed to follow their role in the way it was designed. Organizations didn’t have to develop people or leverage talent, they expected employees to just follow orders.
We have reached an important turning point in the world of work – a time when organizational success is no longer defined by economies of scale and efficiency, but by the ability to learn and innovate. Technology is transforming how we work and what we do. Global competition is the new normal. By 2020, millennials will make up half of our workforce. How do we prepare for this shift?