Are Flexible Work Arrangments the Right Choice for Your Organization?

Many organizations today recognize that it takes more than a paycheque to retain their top talent. As talent in specific industries becomes more scarce, this challenge of attraction and retention will only increase. They also consider that any changes they do implement need to be aligned with the operational objectives of the business. So are there options that employers can consider that align with these concepts? Certainly. It’s just a matter of customization.

Employers need to ensure that the solutions they adopt make sound fiscal and operational sense for their business. So what about Flexible Work Arrangements? Statistics show that there is an increasing demand for today’s working population to balance work and life commitments. We only need to look at demographics to see why this is the case.  Since 1975 the labor force participation of women with children under the age of 18 has increased from 47% to 78%.  We have also seen a dramatic increase in the demand for elder care, with over 68% of the baby boomer workforce admitting to missing work or leaving early due to caregiver obligations. These are some examples of how the demand on an employees time makes Flexible Work Arrangements a very attractive incentive to attract and retain these employees.

The benefits extend past ensuring employees are more satisfied in their work environment. For employers, implementing Flexible Work Arrangement solutions can also serve as a means to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, and lead to a more engaged and present workforce.

Join us on June 13th for a breakfast presentation on how these Flexible Work Arrangements can benefit both employers and employees and suggestions on how to get the process started.

Register Here

We hope to see you there!


Working in the Capital Airs Live this Monday at 8pm on Rogers TV- Channel 22

See the episode guide for details!

Human Resource Blueprints Ltd. Announces Rogers Television Debut!

Rogers TV
Rogers TV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



We are excited to announce the launch of Working in the Capital with Sue Haywood, debuting on Monday, May 28th at 8pm and running every Monday throughout June, on Rogers TV, channel 22.  The program will cover various employment topics from a perspective that will be informative for both the employer and employee audience.

Each episode will include two guest experts, sharing their insights on pertinent employment topics as well as an opportunity for viewers to call in with their questions and comments for discussion. Working and looking for work in the National Capital Region comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities which will be discussed throughout the program. Some topics being covered will include ‘Downsizing- Sizing up Your Options’, ‘Win-Win Interviewing’, and ‘Attracting and Retaining Top Talent’.

The employment landscape is changing and understanding both the current conditions and what to expect in the near future is valuable for any individual along the employee and employer spectrum. As of March 2012, the National Capital unemployment rate sits at 5.9 percent ( What will this number look like with public sector downsizing underway and a skills shortage beginning to show its effects? Tune in from May 28th – June 25th, every Monday evening at 8pm, to learn more. The program will also air throughout the week for those unable to catch the live show.

We are thrilled for the launch of this program and are looking forward to hearing from our viewers throughout the program.This is your chance to reach out to local experts with your questions on employment topics that are important to you!

Orienting New Employees – republished from The Voice June 2012 edition

Orienting New Employees – The Voice June 2012

Accommodating the “Sandwich Generation”

Many employees today face a tremendous amount of pressure for their time and energy both at home and at their place of work. One term used to describe this pressure is the “sandwich generation”. These employees are balancing the need to provide care to their aging parents and their children while still performing at work. What does this mean for an employers need to accommodate? Like many other situations where changes and understanding are needed, the key is communication. Providing alternative schedule solutions for employees struggling with home and work demands goes a long way. Often employees simply want the opportunity to  make choices so that they can still perform well at their job and meet the demands of their home life. Understandably, not all employers have the ability to provide a flexible schedule to employees. Some operations require a fixed schedule of service. So what can be done in these cases? There are always options. Consider that some experts estimate the cost of recruiting, replacing and training a new hire employee is anywhere between 93-200% of an employees annual salary. This makes it prudent for employers to work on retaining their employees as they transition through the stages of commitments in their lives. Showing an understanding and compassion for employees will often lead to increased loyalty and engagement in their work. Accommodating employees is not only a compassionate choice or even a strategic organizational decision to ensure employee retention, to a certain extend, it is also the law. By not providing solutions to your employees, employers run the risk of discrimination claims based on family status. While the duty to accommodate falls on the employer, it is also the employees responsibility to seek out solutions and be flexible themselves on what the employer can provide. The solution need not be perfect, simply reasonable based on the situation and unique operational landscape of the business. While the solutions suggested may be appropriate for many, it is also valuable to consider seeking legal advice. An expert on human rights accommodation can provide further insight for employers.

Here are some suggestions for providing solutions to accommodate employees:

1) Consider allowing the employee to work remotely for a portion of their work week

2) Where possible, provide an alternate schedule. Perhaps an early or late start to their day.

3) Allow the employee to temporarily shift to a part time schedule

4) Provide job sharing. This can be particularly beneficial when multiple employees are requesting flexibility.

5) Provide a resource. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide information for employees such as finding child and elderly care support.

6) Above all communicate, communicate, communicate! Avoid making assumptions on what changes are needed for the employee. By speaking with the employee about their concerns, often a solution can be developed that meets the employees needs while still respecting the operational goals of the business.


12 Steps to Bias-Free Selection

“You remind me of a myself 20 years ago, you’re hired!’

“I’ve got a good feeling about this guy. Let’s bring him on board”

“I don’t like his ‘limp fish’ handshake; let’s go with another candidate”

Sound familiar? If it does, then your company is likely utilizing selection processes that leverage gut feelings and other biases. You may be in for a shock in the months and years ahead. The employment landscape is changing and with that comes a shift to the employees having the power to select among multiple employers for the position they are driving towards. This means now is the time to revisit your selection practices to ensure they allow you to effectively identify top talent, versus letting it walk out your door.

12 Steps to Bias-Free Selection

1. Determine desirable qualifications for role.
2. Solidify required qualifications for role and equivalencies. Once set these should not be changed during the process.
3. Develop a plan to assess skills, knowledge and abilities, and any additional requirements (security?)
4. Determine what behavioural traits (competencies) are required for the role/organization.
5. Develop behavioural based interview questions and scoring grid to assess these traits (competencies).
6. Solidify an overall scoring grid. Once set this should not be changed during the process.
7. Train and educate on selection process to be used and need for consistency.
8. Devise and execute a strategy to post job to a wide source of applicants (internal, employee referrals, employment agencies, job boards, LinkedIn, Twitter)
9. Review resumes against required qualifications for role. Set aside all resumes who do not meet the minimum criteria.
10. Screen remaining candidates for skills, knowledge, abilities and requirements as outlined in plan.
11. Conduct behavioural based interviews. (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
12. Select best candidate using overall scoring grid (requirements, knowledge, skills, abilities, competencies/soft skills).
13. Optional: Have an uninvolved person review scores and evaluation notes and select best candidate. Is it the same individual?

Labour and Union Relations

It takes two; two to make and two to break. We’ve heard this applied time and time again to our personal lives although it could not be truer for the Management and Union relationship.

The ability for labour relations to be successful heavily depends on both parties having a strong relationship to rely on when things get dicey.

With a strong foundation, both parties can express their interest in an environment that allows for disagreement while still maintaining a mutual respect. Now if we could only apply that to our personal lives…..hmm.