Blogs list

Lisa Anna Palmer - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Lisa Anna Palmer

Managing Inclusion from the Middle - Sponsored ArticleMany organizations invest a great deal of time and effort in the hopes of creating an inclusive work environment. They have top down initiatives to assess organizational maturity, communicate corporate values and highlight senior management commitment. They have bottom-up initiatives led by employee councils to promote and celebrate the spirit of diversity. These efforts make a great deal of business sense and are important elements of a sound Inclusion Strategy. Then, why is it that HR and senior management within these same organizations are so often left scratching their heads to figure out why they are not achieving the desired results? Support ‘Managers in the Middle.’Middle managers are the ones who have to juggle competing priorities and oversee operations while fighting day-to-day fires. What’s more, times of fiscal restraint are placing added pressure on Ottawa’s managers with regards to employee motivation and engagement.  Overworked middle managers are the people that senior management, HR and employees rely on to implement the lion’s share of inclusion initiatives.  They are the gateway to the organization as they do the majority of hiring, communicating, requesting of accommodations, and managing of performance, etc. At the end of the day, middle managers can have the greatest impact on the success of initiatives designed to effect cultural change. Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of managers at all levels from a range of organizations. The vast majority are on side with creating inclusive work environments and leveraging diversity. By the same token, many are still at a loss for how…

Photo : Lisa Anna Palmer September 09, 2013

Byron Pascoe - Brazeau Seller LLP - Byron Pascoe

Ensure Confidence in Your Contracts - Sponsored ArticleBefore you sign a contract on behalf of your business, read it and ensure you understand it. Not following this rule can lead to missed opportunities to protect your business, among other avoidable negative consequences.To assist with understanding your contract, below are broad comments about a number of contract clauses and considerations. Depending on the nature of your contract, the following, among other factors, may be considered by your legal counsel when reviewing a contract offered to your business or while preparing a contract that you will offer to another party. With an understanding of your business, industry, and the deal being considered, your legal counsel will write and / or negotiate your contract to ensure your priorities are met and your business is protected.Duties: If you want the power to hold the other party accountable to what they agreed to do for your business, ensure their responsibilities are clearly detailed.Terms of Payment: If one party is paying another, what amounts are being paid? When are the payments due? What penalties, if any, will there be for late payments? If your business is paying another, should some money be held back until milestones are successfully reached to reduce the risk that you are overpaying?Costs: Your business might be responsible for none, some, or all of the expenses related to the contract. Regardless of the arrangement, it should clearly be provided in writing to help avoid confusion.Definitions: Key terms used in the contract should be clearly defined. If your business must deliver a product or…

Photo : Byron Pascoe September 09, 2013

Marianne Kayed - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Marianne Kayed

Tips for Effective Cross-Cultural Interviewing - Sponsored articleLooking to hire? How do you avoid missing out on great talent? Let’s look at this scenario… the pressure in the room is palpable - both parties are exchanging information and assessing their ‘fit’ for an employer-employee relationship.  The recruiter– we will call her Barbara , says, “Tell me about yourself.” Across the table, Samir, an expert civil engineer and a newcomer to Canada begins his response with “Sure… well… I am the youngest of six children, married and have two young children.  I was raised in the outskirts of Tehran…” After learning the details of Samir’s ancestry and family life, a discouraged Barbara glances down at the interview guide in front of her.  She has written nothing on her paper.  The interview concludes shortly thereafter, and Samir doesn’t receive a call back.Everyone involved in a job interview strives to get it perfect. As an employer you obviously want to hire the right person for the job. Current demographic trends indicate that immigration is increasingly accounting for net growth in the Canadian labour force. This presents opportunities for employers but at the same requires that employers review their recruitment processes and tools in other that they do not miss out on great talent.  As an employer/recruiter it is important to recognize that: •     Some newcomer job-seekers have never been in a job interview before.  A job interview can be daunting for even the most experienced job seeker, but for many new immigrants, responding to interview questions is a brand new skill that has…

Photo : Marianne Kayed August 12, 2013

Bill Caswell - Caswell & Co.

A Team of Two - Sponsored ArticleConfusion exists in many enterprises about who is responsible for whom, who is to do what, who has authority over this or that, who is to blame, and which deliverables are needed to ensure a successful job.A simple concept called “A Team of Two” quickly reduces confusion down to a much better order.  Here is how it works.Every business situation is viewed as a team of two: worker and supervisor.1.    When a problem arises, the team of two must ask: “What does this team of two have to do to move things, problems or a situation forward?”  It is about ‘us’, not ‘you’ – a team of two.  There is no room for blame – but rather positive action to move things forward.2.    Since it is a team comprised of supervisor and worker, it is the job of the worker to please the supervisor – i.e. provide what the supervisor expects.3.    Therefore, it is the job of the supervisor to inform the worker, clearly as to what is expected.4.    Just as important, it is the job of the worker to figure out what the supervisor expects, to enquire, adjust, and adapt.  It is that simple.  Why the worker?  Because it is the worker that stands to suffer most if the job does not work out.  This is not ‘fair’ or ‘right’ but it is a simple fact of the hierarchical situation.  (Not unlike the contraception issue between men and women)5.    The supervisor should rate each employee weekly, if the supervisor is pleased or not,…

Photo : Bill Caswell January 13, 2014

Maria Belen - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Maria Belen

Reflections on Multiculturalism Day from an engaged employee - From an early age, I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and serve the public good.  In his life, he served as a politician at the municipal level, advocating for the land rights of the poor people in the Philippines.  The decisions that I made in high school and into university were all based on working towards this goal.  As a young professional in my twenties, I am proud to say that I have joined the ranks of the Canadian federal public service, an organization which I deem to be prestigious in every sense as I see and am immersed in the hard work, drive and passion that many of my peers bring into their day to day.The public service is a behemoth organization that touches so intricately the life of each Canadian. It strives in its hiring practices to recruit not only the best and most qualified candidates, but to also ensure that its workforce reflects the diversity that can be found across the nation.In my department, diversity is a valued aspect of work-life culture.  My organization boasts of robust communities and networks that support the growth and development of employees.  For example we have three separate networks for Managers, Young Professionals (Youth) and Student-Employees, as well as community networks for Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with Disabilities, Visible Minorities and members of the LGBTQ community.  Championed by top-ranking executives, these networks of belonging are places where employees can develop professionally, meet in social settings, engage senior management on a wide arrange of issues, foster…

Photo : Maria Belen June 10, 2013

William Hinz - Brazeau Seller LLP - William Hinz

Freedom Has Its Limits - Sponsored ArticleTestamentary freedom, namely the right to leave your property to anyone you choose upon your death, is a highly-valued and cherished concept in English common law.  The concept of testamentary freedom is based on a philosophy of the primacy of individual rights which has dominated legal and political thinking in common law countries.   It is interesting to note that, in contrast, in civil law jurisdictions such as France and many other European countries, there is no testamentary freedom.   One’s estate must pass on death in fixed proportions to various family members similar to what happens in Ontario if a person dies without a will.    In Ontario, the Family Law Act and the dependant relief provisions set out in Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act provide that a married spouse and other dependents of the deceased have a right to a certain share of the deceased’s estate otherwise the will can be contested. But what about an adult child or a common law spouse who is already financially independent?  Do such individuals have a right to receive a share of the deceased’s estate?    The court had to wrestle with this issue in the recent case of Morassut v. Jaczynski Estate (2013 ONSC 2856).  Danny and Bonnie lived together as common law spouses for 12 years.  Bonnie controlled one of the most valuable car dealerships in Ontario.  Danny, who had previously worked in Bonnie’s car dealership, described himself as Bonnie’s “house-husband”.  He managed the family household and acted as the project manager in the…

Photo : William Hinz December 16, 2013

Sean Fitzpatrick - TalentMap

Employee Engagement Benchmark Norms - Sponsored Article Knowing your engagement score helps you see what unique aspects drive engagement at your organization. Most organizations operate in two competitive environments – one for customers and one for talent – and knowing how your organization stacks up against your closest competitors is crucial. You need a survey partner with extensive benchmark data to serve as additional guideposts to help identify your best areas for improvement.During the past dozen+ years, TalentMap has developed one of North America’s largest and most robust databases on employee engagement. Our extensive norms compare your feedback from new hires, your current workforce, and exiting employees directly to your closest competitors’. Our data set is drawn from hundreds of client projects and millions of completed surveys. In addition to the work we do in Canada and the U.S.A., we also host and run some national best-employer awards programs. Here are some examples of TalentMap’s benchmark data:- Industry-specific benchmark: TalentMap works with small, medium, and large employers across Canada and the United States. Our industry-specific benchmark is drawn from a wide range of North American’s progressive organizations, including financial (banking and insurance), energy, health care, technology, engineering, logistics, consumer and retail, not-for-profit organizations, and many more. TalentMap can configure a benchmark specific to your sector, enabling you to compare your results directly to your closest competitors’.- Public sector benchmark: TalentMap works with all levels of government – federal, provincial/state, and municipal/city – where we have built an extensive public sector benchmark.- Top-employer awards: TalentMap hosts and runs some of Canada’s…

Photo : Sean Fitzpatrick May 12, 2014

Kevin J. Bailey - Design 1st

Ottawa- A Smart place to develop wearable companies - Sponsored Article Wearable devices have quickly evolved from a quirky buzz word into a trendy and growing product category.  This was made clear last week at the University of Waterloo where industry Canada unveiled new electronic labeling regulations for wearable technology. In the announcement, industry Minister James Moore said the new electronic labeling or “e-labeling regulations will help consumers and manufacturers benefit from access to new markets”.  For companies and designers of hardware enabled software products this means the burden of placing visible regulatory labels devices has been lifted as products get small and discrete to fit your personality and your body. Previously, Canadian regulations required information such as model identification numbers and certification numbers of radio equipment to be printed directly on the device or attached to a sticker. The implications of which were twofold – devices manufactured in Canada had to include the labels and devices made in other countries couldn’t enter Canada without the labels. Canada is only the 6th country to adopt e-labeling, joining the US, Australia, Japan, UAE and Costa Rica. This regulatory update is helping position Canada as a Global leader in digital technology adoption for the third time in just over a year. The previous two announcements came in March 2013 when the Ontario Securities Commission announced plans to open the door to equity crowdfunding and last September when Kickstarter crowdsourcing launched in Canada. So what makes Canada, and more specifically Ottawa, so well positioned to take on the wearable device industry and become a global leader?   Well…

Photo : Kevin J. Bailey October 20, 2014

Kevin J. Bailey - Design 1st

The ‘Glee’ Club for Geeks – it’s the Maker Movement – can it change the way we Learn? - Sponsored Article The Maker movement has recently exploded on the world and I think I understand why.  Maker is a term to describe anyone who just loves to build things and create interesting gadgets of all kinds.  The Maker Culture is a technology based extension of DIY backyard hobbyists (think Red Green) – where mechatronics, electronics, robotics, software thinking is paired with artistic integration of metal, wood and other materials, arts and crafts.  And some good news, both genders are taking interest.  Makers emphasize learning through doing in an informal interactive community environment called hacker spaces where knowledge can be shared while making these interactive works of art.  Schools, Libraries and Universities are scrambling to create maker spaces and give quick ‘how-to’ workshops – in Ottawa a few of them are: Ottawa Public Library’s Image Space, Art-Engine’s Mod Lab, True Innovators Community Makerspaces The demand for maker spaces and workshops is ballooning as the wave of interest grows. High Schools and Universities are providing workshops and robotic starter kits to speed the learning process.  Parents are directing their children to these spaces as both boys and girls find great enjoyment in participating and learning at their pace.  I have to confess, I am a geek and love engineering, I get a great kick out of building things that do something interesting and useful.  In the 80’s I bought a book and put it on my shelf that showed me how to build a robot.  It was about 1000 pages long and I needed to find…

Photo : Kevin J. Bailey June 17, 2014

George Vuicic - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - George Vuicic

Internships in Ontario: A checklist for employers - Sponsored Article Internships are playing a growing role in the skills development and integration of our city’s labour market entrants.  These experiences offer advantages to job-seekers as well as host- organizations, presenting an excellent opportunity for highly skilled newcomers to gain familiarity with the Canadian workplace culture, and strengthening host-organization mentoring culture and training programs, while bolstering the talent pipeline.   In human resources lingo, internships tend to be loosely classified as ‘formal,’ ‘informal,’ ‘paid,’ and ‘unpaid’.  Organizations can sometimes be perplexed when it comes to understanding their responsibilities when entering into an internship relationship, especially with regards to compensation.    I was recently approached by Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) to clarify some of the regulations which govern organizations as they plan an internship for newcomers to Canada, as well as what factors can contribute to a successful experience for both parties.   Here are some of the basics, and some resources to consult for more information. Most employment relationships in Ontario are regulated by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).  Under this legislation, an internship is considered a paid employment relationship and entitles the intern to minimum wage payments unless all six of the following conditions are met: 1) The training is similar to that which is given in a vocational school. This requirement indicates that in order for an intern not to be considered an employee, they must be learning employable skills or a caliber comparable to vocational schools – extending beyond errands and small tasks. 2) The training is for the benefit…

Photo : George Vuicic March 25, 2013