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!

Orienting New Employees – republished from The Voice June 2012 edition

Orienting New Employees – The Voice June 2012

Could the CFO help get HR a seat a the table? — Guest post by Kyle Lagunas

There was a lot of great conversation happening at TLNT Transform in its inaugural year. There was one conversation, however, which stood out to me as being of particular importance. In a breakout session moderated by John Hollon, Nick Araco–co-founder and CEO of The CFO Alliance–discussed a very interesting trend. In the post-recession C-suite, an increasing number of HR chiefs are now reporting directly to the CFO rather than the CEO.

While the rationale for this may be sound–aligning people processes with the company’s financial strategy is never a bad idea–it is meeting resistance from HR. the idea of reporting to the stereotypical “cold-hearted number cruncher” who doesn’t understand HR is objectionable, if not intimidating, to many HR leaders.

What HR Can (And Should) Be Learning from the CFO
But can HR leaders learn from the CFO? Most definitely. I caught up with Araco last week to find out what… and how. Based on our conversation, there are five things HR leaders need to learn before they can step up their game and become key players in business strategy and execution:

1.    Use Your People Data. Araco says, “There should be information flow that occurs on an ongoing basis. HR data should influence decisions on business goals and performance metrics.” But, many HR professionals lack best practices and systems for collecting, tracking and reporting on people data. For the CFO, that’s blasphemous. Though HR reporting to the CFO presents a golden opportunity to grow in this key ability, success will require the CFO to take an interest in what HR is doing with data and how they’re doing it.

2.    Quantification and Qualification. HR needs to learn how to quantify and qualify more strategic investments in people process. Otherwise, we’ll never be able to break away from the traditional cost center, administrative or compliance function of old school HR. The more that HR can learn from the CFO how best to apply financial principles to decision making, the greater opportunity for them to position HR as a strategic function.

3.    Business Perspective. What ramifications will your decisions have on the company’s overall business performance? The CFO wants to know. For example: What return do you anticipate for the money invested in a new hire? HR’s ability to think Big Picture and have some business perspective is invaluable in a post-recession economy.

4.    Reinforce the Human Element. CFO’s are frequently the naysayer. And in the recession, his or her tough decisions often kept the company alive. As we move into a period of recovery, Araco suggests that it’s up to HR to inject a human element into the CFO’s decision-making process. “I think it’s natural that these roles work together.” To that end, Araco says soft skill development is key, and that HR is in a prime position to enhance the CFO’s ability to look beyond spreadsheets when weighing options.

Out With the Old, In With the New
“There’s a new generation of CFOs whose aspirations and goals are better than simply crunching numbers,” says Araco. “They view the greatest value having someone seated next to not under.” By elevating performance in both roles, there’s an opportunity to transform HR and Finance simultaneously. But that opportunity is only available to those leaders who can work together to that end. As Araco warns, “Those who fight this are going to be left in the dust.”

About the Author: Kyle Lagunas is an HR Analyst at Software Advice—an online resource for buyer’s guides and comparisons of applicant tracking systems and other talent management software. Using his blog as a vehicle for driving conversation in his market, he reports on trends and best practices in HR and recruiting technology.

New Employee Orientation

Employment Exhibition
Employment Exhibition (Photo credit: Modern_Language_Center)

Why is Orientation Important?

Research shows that orientation programs can have a positive effect on both organizations and employees.  Effective onboarding has been found to improve employee engagement, performance and retention levels of new hires, increase employee commitment and satisfaction, as well as reduce turnover.  Research has found that attending an orientation program positively impacted organizational socialization in terms of understanding and accepting the organization’s goals, values, and history, as well as contributed to increased relationship building and organizational commitment.

When employees are welcomed by their employer, they feel respected, both personally and professionally, and this treatment translates into greater commitment to the organization, increased trust in management and inspired work performance is the next step to ensure the effort that went into hiring the right candidate is not wasted.

Your Role:

As the hiring manager, you have a dramatic influence on how a new employee feels about his/her new workplace during the initial week.  As research has demonstrated that employees decided if they are happy with their new workplace during the first 3 days of employment, the environment presented to the new hire is paramount to the success of your organization’s recruitment and retention efforts.  Be supportive.  Be welcoming.  Ensure your new employee knows that you are happy to have him/her on your team.

Day One:

On an employee’s first day, make a lasting connection with a new hire by doing the following:

  •  Meet employee at reception
  •  Ensure there is a meaningful work project for new employee
  •  Assign the new employee a peer mentor/coach in the organization to ask question he/she may not be comfortable asking a manager
  •  Introduce the new employee to his/her coworkers and ensure they spend time together
  •  Ensure new employee has a schedule of events for first day
  •  Ensure new employee is informed of upcoming events to add to his/her calendar
  •  Discuss objectives for next two weeks

Social Media Policies – Guest Posting by Kyle Lagunas

Social Media Policies: Promoting vs. Regulating Use

Fact: most employees occasionally use social media tools at work for personal reasons, anyway. Unsurprisingly, business leaders want guidelines in place for regulating employee use of social media outlets–and protecting against misuse–on personal and company accounts alike. Many 2012 corporate to-do lists include creating an official policy for regulating employees’ Tweets, Likes and Shares while at work.

One thing that I’ve noticed, though, is that while regulation-focused policies protect an organization against any potential social media blunders, they cast a shadow over the shoulder of every employee who uses the internet on a daily basis (shudder). Well-intended though they are, this approach to establishing guidelines often prevent the company from seeing any benefits whatsoever from employee use of social media. My suggestion: If your employees are already using social media while at work, why not make the most of it?

Though there’s certainly more than one way to skin this cat – there isn’t one universal social media policy that works for all, right? – there are a few things to consider when creating a more forward-thinking policy.

For example, you want to be sure you, your leaders, and your people know what you want to accomplish through social media. Are you using it for recruiting? Marketing? Branding? Promotions? For many organizations, the first step in creating a social media policy is to define the who, what, when and where of social media usage in the company. But according to Maren Hogan, Chief Marketing Brain of RedBranchMedia, “that’s doing it a little backwards.” With a clear purpose informing your policy, people will have an easier time understanding and following your guidelines.

On that note, you’re going to make sure that – regardless of your speficic business goals – you are sure to invite everyone in the organization to participate. Of course, you’ll work with managers to decide which departments must incorporate social media into their daily workflows… But how can you encourage other departments to participate? One note: Set separate guidelines delineating voluntary users and mandatory users, so your people know what’s expected of them.

At some point, you’re going to need damage control. “When social media issues arise,” says Hogan, “who do you go to for help? IT? Marketing? A social media coordinator? The CIO?”  Get proactive, and establish a hierarchy of ownership – that way, your people will know when to talk to whom about what. Assign responsibility to the most sensible parties and provide a course of action for addressing mishaps and escalating issues when necessary.

So maybe you’re not paying people to hang out on Facebook all day. Structure is certainly important, and defining who is authorized to access various platforms makes sense… but “Our brains don’t work with don’ts–they work in a positive way,” says Rob Garcia, VP of Product at UpMo. “Policies that limit and regulate are bound to be unsuccessful. They push people away from social media, rather than using it to achieve company goals.” Bottom line: People are bound to make mistakes, your policies should be driven by what to do, rather than what not do.

You’re bound to run into a few challenges when creating, implementing and supporting an official social media policy. Hands-down, the hardest part is building a company culture that embraces a social mindset, one driven by the sharing of ideas and information. With that in mind, leadership should lead the charge in adopting your social media policy, paving the way for the rest of the organization. Garcia’s straightforward advice to leaders: “Show up and participate. The companies that are the most social media savvy are led by people who are plugged in and using different platforms to have valuable conversations.”


About the Author: Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice – a website that reviews talent management and human resources software. On the surface, it’s his job to contribute to the ongoing conversation on all things HR. Beyond that, he makes sure his audience is keeping up with important trends and hot topics in the industry. Focused on offering a fresh take on points of interest in his market, he’s not your typical HR guy.

How to Downsize the Public Service…or any other organization

Any organization can be downsized.  The trick is to determine what the effects of the reduction will be.   If handled properly, a downsizing saves money.  If mismanaged, a downsizing costs a lot more.  So how is it done?

Step 1: List all of the activities for which your organization is responsible.  This should include both revenue generating and cost line items.  Once you have a complete list of activities, rank them in order of importance.  The most important activities are those that, if you stopped doing them then your organization cannot achieve its mission, now or in the future.  What is the vision of your organization?  What are your strategic objectives?   Some will be inclined to list everything as important and that is why the ranking is critical.  What to cut is determined later.

Step 2: List all of your organization’s positions.  Positions not people.  What positions are most critical to your organization?  Don’t think about what the person in the position accomplishes.  Ask the question ‘what does this role contribute to our organizational success?’.  Remember it is the role not the incumbent in the job you are assessing.  Rank every position from most critical to least critical.  Hint: this does not necessarily align with compensation.  Also rank positions like ‘special assignment’, ‘special assistant’ and ‘receptionist’ low.

Step 3: Reflect back on the 2 lists. Given the tasks that you need to accomplish what positions do you need?  What would a 5% cut look like?  How many positions need to be dropped before a 5% savings is realized?  Determine which outputs need to be dropped to achieve this 5% cost savings.  Draw a line on your list of activities to indicate what would need to be dropped to achieve the desired savings.

Step 4:  Even in unionized environments, consider performance.  With a strategic mind focused on value to the organization, now and in the future, list your employees into 3 groups; must keep, would like to keep, and could survive without.

Step 5:  Go back to your list of positions.  How do these positions relate to your 3 employee lists?  Do you have employees you placed in the ‘survive without’ category that are in your critical roles?  Or are your ‘must keep’ employees in jobs you plan to cut?  What would it take to align people and positions?   Come up with a single list of people and positions that could be downsized.

Step 6:  If you are in a unionized environment, look at your collective agreement.  Yes, wait until this point.  You want to have determined what reductions are best for the business before considering the process.  So, what does the collective agreement say?  Collective agreements rarely if ever restrict the employer’s ability to organize the operation so the reduction of positions is normally not limited.   It likely does cover what happens to those employees impacted by the cutting of positions.  Is their bumping?  What are the severance entitlements?  Do you need to consult with the union before announcing any changes?  Are you able to downsize using discretion or is it by seniority?  Read and re-read the collective agreement to understand the process you are required to follow.

Step 7:   Brainstorm.  You must follow the collective agreement.  You must achieve the dictated savings.  How can the organization be structured to do this?  Explore all options.

Step 8:  You need a communication strategy!  When are you going to implement these changes?  How are you going to communicate these changes?  To whom?  When?  Who is delivering the message? How are you going to support the people who are being downsized?  How will you support the people who stay? How will you engage EAP?

Step 9:  Implement!

Step 10:  Monitor.  Are youachieving your desired outcome?  If not, go back to your plan and make adjustments.