The E.N.D.?

Like the Black Eyed Peas’ last album, I’m calling my post The E.N.D.  The first time I saw their album cover I thought, are the BEP breaking up?  Turns out it’s an acronym for The Energy Never Dies.  So just when you think the group may be kaputz, turns out they just keep rocking and better than ever before.

As does this blog.  It may look like the end but really, it’s just the beginning.  What I’m trying to say is that today is the last post for Fireside HR but it will soon be reincarnated to something even better.  Like any good story, this blog had a beginning, a middle, and now an end (or E.N.D.).  Sad to see it go, really.  When I was seven years old, my family moved from East Van to Burnaby during spring break.  I left behind my favourite friends Yumi and William.  I had a hard time making friends at my new school but I think that it had something to do with the fact that I had a Darth Vader backpack and didn’t own a My Little Pony.  In the end, no regrets though.  On the plus side, my new teacher assessed my skill level in the 3 R’s and discovered that I had difficulty reading and taught me from scratch.  What would have happened to me if I stayed at the old school; how long would it have taken for someone to figure this out?

Here’s my point:  this blog is about to get a fresh set of eyes and revamped to be better than ever.  While Fireside HR will no longer exist, a new blog will appear in its place, also owned by BC HRMA.  I would spill the secrets of the new site but at this point the design is under lock and key, like the Caramilk secret.  Watch this space for the new website URL.

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you

to all our writers.  You are fearless game changers in the HR world.  And cheers to social media for giving us the medium to let our voices be heard.  See you all on the other side.


Helen Luketic is proud to have been a part of the launch of the HR Metrics Service and Fireside HR at the BC Human Resources Management Association.  As you’re reading this, she’s currently busy at her new gig, working for the coolest HR department in Canada (and secretly hoping her new manager is reading this).  Like BEP and this blog, she’s not kaptuz either and likes to think that she’s still rocking.

Helen feels privileged to have worked with the bloggers:  Agata Zasada, Dana Sebal, Geraldine Sangalang, Holly MacDonald, Krysty Wideen, and Suzanne Boyd.  Stay classy, B.C.

How many S.E.T.H’s are there? Not enough…

In the western world, we have been talking about the boomers since, Boom, Bust and Echo came out in the 90’s.  This demographic bulge is pervasive and will have these implications on HR:

  • Fewer Seth’s to fill jobs – the number of bodies in North America entering the labour force as we know is much smaller than the boomers.  The large-scale retirements may not happen, however HR needs to pretend this isn’t the case.  What we’ll need to do is increase participation in the workforce.  Seniors, women of child-bearing age, Aboriginals, etc.  But, we need to consider what they’d be looking for – is it a 9-5 full-time job?  Or, are there alternatives we are not considering?
  • Immigration/migration – if jobs don’t go to people, people will go to jobs – there will be cultural implications here, which HR should be preparing for and building contingencies. 
  • Sandwich generation – there may be those in management/leadership positions (those poor Gen Xers) that are dealing with kids and aging parents simultaneously. 
  • Diversity – age, place, experience, gender, work status, etc may be a dimension for job design.  Segmenting workers by diversity class might help distinguish what they’d prefer out of a job. 

Holly MacDonald is an independent consultant with well over 15 years of experience in the learning & development field.  Holly is a bit of a techno-geek and can often be found playing online.  When she steps away from her computer, she spends time outside: hiking, kayaking, gardening and of course walking the dog.  She lives on Saltspring Island and is a leader in the live/work revolution.

Where in the world is S.E.T.H? Logging in from…

Today S.E.T.H. is going to focus on one of my favorite topics:  technology.  Trends that you can’t ignore…

Ubiquity – the horse is out of the proverbial barn – technology is everywhere and the semantic web is what the thought leaders have labelled the future of technology.  The semantic web is suggesting our stuff will be connected to the internet. 

Our fridges, clothes, etc. will do the work for us.  What does this have to do with work?  Maybe customer service jobs no longer have to wait for the customer to notice they need service, their product will do it for them, contacting your organization’s CRM, searching for information and setting up an appointment automatically.  This article explains how the infrastructure is working towards this and 50 billion devices will be connected to the web by 2020.

Back to today’s technology – every company has the ability to connect, communicate and collaborate for a very low cost, even using consumer tools if they choose.  Telecommuting is not solely for the knowledge workers.  Your organization could likely identify many tasks that could be done remotely if it chose.  We see hints of this already in the HEROES – Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives- concept (basically these service reps monitor social networks for comments about their products and intercede at the point of need, not based on their set shift).  We’ve all participated on some kind of online collaboration: Google Docs, Skype, Twitter, etc.  HR needs to stop trying to ban the use of these tools and figure out how to harness the power of them.  Realize your workplace may transcend borders and time zones, even if you are not an international organization.

Mobile – the devices available now enable people to connect from their phone.  The laptop is now a desktop and the tower computer is a dinosaur.  Mobile phones are more powerful than early desktop computers.  You can video call, record, learn, publish, share all with a smartphone. We may not all get a company-owned smartphone but I know of many people who carry their own.  Sometimes in addition to their company owned phone.  Do you?

Expertise location – this applies both within an organization and beyond.  The ability to locate experts in a particular thing is very valuable.  Technology can help this both internally(like Sharepoint 2010 or Cisco Pulse) and externally (like LinkedIn).  Enabling employees to access the web of expertise within your organization, field or industry is the foundation of collaboration.

Crowdsourcing – with services like InnoCentive (problems are publicly posted with payouts for solvers) – the potential for any organization to go global is huge.  There are hundreds of free collaborative tools out there – it really doesn’t matter which one you use.  It does matter that you consider them as you design work. 

People can work from anywhere/anytime and many organizations are still stuck in the face-time mode, where your worth to the organization is measured by how much you show up.  HR is put in the position where we have to create telecommuting policies and play attendance police.  I don’t know about you, but for me, this just doesn’t value my contribution to an organization.  I think it’s fair to say that technology is pushing us to options that might be outside of our comfort zones, but whether you like tech or not, it is going to change the way we design work.


Holly MacDonald is an independent consultant with well over 15 years of experience in the learning & development field.  Holly is a bit of a techno-geek and can often be found playing online.  When she steps away from her computer, she spends time outside: hiking, kayaking, gardening and of course walking the dog.  She lives on Saltspring Island and is a leader in the live/work revolution.

Weighing in on this generational thing

Cover of "The Global Achievement Gap: Why...

Cover via Amazon

As a member of Generation Y , I have to admit that the conversation about generational differences never really intrigued me that much growing up.  Up until a few years ago, other than my family, teachers, and professors, I had been almost exclusively surrounded by my peers of the generation, so I had yet to really witness the tension between my generation and others.  I learned about it school but like many things, until you really see it, it doesn’t mean much.

In the past year I have been asked to weigh in on how generational differences play out in the workplace and in training and development settings.  You might remember my very first blog post for Fireside HR called “Are labels relevant?” where I shared an example of where this came up.  So, while I appreciated people’s sentiment that I would be an expert in my own generation, I thought I should seek to better understand my own generation from both an insider and an outsider’s perspective.

I thought I would summarize some of the interesting ideas and information I discovered.  You can take it all with a grain of salt, and of course, I’ve sourced it.  At the very least, it makes for interesting discussion.

  • This generation’s brain has literally developed differently as a result of growing up with the internet and other technological advances.  The internet has led to an abundance of information and Gen Yer’s brains have learned to sift through mass amounts of information quickly.  They have also learned to be sceptical and question what they read.
  • Gen Yer’s multitask; this seems to be widely agreed upon.  However, whether or not they are more productive as a result seems to be disputed.
  • This generation has a very different definition of “privacy” than previous generations.  Some people congratulate these people on their transparency and willingness to share.  Others are concerned that people who share too much will regret it later in life.
  • Gen Yer’s expect to move up the career ladder faster than their predecessors.  Understandably, this has seemed to annoy some of those who came before them; many have called the generation entitled (or “the Reality Show Generation”).
  • People in this generation have been coddled by their parents and by educational institutions such that they are not prepared for the work place.  Once again, this is a big area of contention in the literature on the subject.

I obviously have a biased opinion about the work habits and values of my generation, and the interesting ideas that I’ve picked out will reflect that.  So, if you are interested, I’d recommend the sources below (this is the tip of the iceberg).  As a Gen Yer, I’d suggest taking it all in with a healthy degree of scepticism!


Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights.

S.E.T.H. says “show me the money” (or does he?)

Marshall's flax-mill, Holbeck, Leeds, interior...

Image via Wikipedia

In this series of posts (SETH), I’m outlining the forces that we need to consider in the future of work.  This post is about the economic forces, but not from an economist, just so we’re clear!  The fact that I’m writing about economics in a public forum is making me nervous.  If any economists read this, I’d really love some input…. So far, we’ve looked at the social component of the future of work.

Some of the economic trends or indicators that I think will shape the future of work are:

Globalization/Localization – some feel the globalization of work will continue and others see a counter-trend to localization.   It’s possible that both will happen and have different effects.

BRIC economy (or the global nature of our economy at the least) – this is a force when it comes to automation and redistribution of work – Dan Pink talked about this in A Whole New Mind.  Accountants and lawyers, architects and other professionals, look out, your job is moving to India/Malaysia/China – where it’ll be done cheaper and faster.  Remember economics 100, supply + demand.  This is it. 

Many of us saw Jeff Rubin at the last BC HRMA conference talk about peak-oil and the subsequent ripples – less shipping of goods, onshoring, localized manufacturing, etc.  This might mean the manufacturing jobs that Canada lost may come back, but we’ve lost the “white collar” work to technological automation.  But, will they be the same manufacturing jobs or not? 

Economic cycles – Recessions and depressions happen every 10 years or so.  Don’t pretend that this one was so different.  More protracted than expected, but it shouldn’t shock us.  The subsequent labour cycles of hiring and layoffs are also predictable.  We’ve seen many people in the contingent workforce, self-employment and micro-work increasing, although seems to be more reported in the US.  Canada has been less impacted but when it comes to the future of work, a more flexible workforce could sustain economic shrinkage.

It is also important to consider specific industries.  Some will face stiff competition, others will experience slow and steady growth.  However, the future of work might also see organizations following talent; perhaps this will mean a different type of offshoring.

The point is, HR folks need to be considering the economic climate as it relates to work.   It’s not just about knowing the unemployment rate for your area but considering the global shifts and trends that may or may not impact your industry/organization.  Outlook 2020 produced some very interesting perspectives, including this economic synthesis

Any economists out there willing to add their voices here?  Am I barking up the wrong tree or simply barking mad?  HR folks – how have you used economic trends?


Holly MacDonald is an independent consultant with well over 15 years of experience in the learning & development field.  Holly is a bit of a techno-geek and can often be found playing online.  When she steps away from her computer, she spends time outside: hiking, kayaking, gardening and of course walking the dog.  She lives on Saltspring Island and is a leader in the live/work revolution.

Looking for a good book, Part II: Book Club!

Cover of "Grown Up Digital: How the Net G...

Cover via Amazon

Thank you so much to everyone who replied, either on the comments or to me privately, about great books to read!  I really appreciate the suggestions!

Here are some that were sent to me directly (i.e. they were not in the comments of my last post):

I could go on.  The great thing about everyone’s suggestions was that they were so diverse.  I look forward to my now LONG reading list!

So, besides having a great list of books, I found another way to motivate myself to get through some of these business books – sign up for something that gives me a deadline.  In this case, I signed up to attend the BC HRMA Book Club.

This month, we read Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott.  The book is quite insightful, I would highly recommend it (and so would my fellow book clubbers!).  However, more importantly, getting together with some intelligent and thoughtful people to talk about the book was the really inspiring part.  By discussing our general thoughts about the book, our likes, our dislikes, our lessons learned, etc., I felt like I got so much more out of the book.

The great thing is book clubs are so easy to find and to set up.  While joining the BC HRMA Book Club is an option, your company might already have one or would support it, you could get a group of friends together, you could start an online forum, etc.

It is so easy, it is great motivation, and it really brings books to life. I would highly recommend joining or starting one of your own!


Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights.

Modern phone etiquette

Do you ever stop and think about how you come across on the phone?  We do so much of our communication these days in the office through email and text messages that sometimes the art of conversation is lost.

People will make assumptions within 60 seconds about your education, background, ability and personality, based on your voice.  And not only does what you say count, but how you say it.  That doesn’t give you a lot of time to come across professionally.

It may not seem fair but hey, we all judge people by their phone mannerisms.  Here is a little refresher on how to improve your phone etiquette:

  1. Try to answer your phone within three rings if possible.
  2. Identify yourself when you answer the phone, “Good morning, this is _____speaking”.
  3. Have a smile on your face when you answer the phone. As crazy as it seems, people can hear a smile in your voice.
  4. Speak clearly, slowly. If you are naturally a fast talker, this may be harder to do (it is for me!).
  5. Actively listen to the other person – that is not typing emails, eating lunch or engaging in other distractions – people can tell if you aren’t fully taking part in the conversation.
  6. Always be polite and courteous on the phone.
  7. Speak with confidence.
  8. When away from your desk, forward your phone to voice mail and make sure to check your messages often.
  9. Return calls promptly.
  10. Remember to treat others as you wish to be treated on the phone.

Once you are conscious of how you come across on the phone, you will sound more confident and professional.   In a judgement-based society, confidence and professionalism are a good thing!


Dana Sebal has over 10 years Marketing and Human Resources experience.  Outside of her professional career, Dana’s passions include her family, rowing, running, tennis, skiing, yoga, and Beagles.

Introducing S.E.T.H., the future of work

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Image by Shatterbug11 via Flickr

My Seth isn’t Mr. Godin (although he’s A Seth) or that other cool guy from TEDTalks.  This is a made-up SETH.  I was looking for a mnemonic device to help you remember some of the big things that might influence how you approach work.  Especially if you are in HR or have some job design responsibilities.  SETH stands for: Social, Economic, Technological, Human/Demographic (SETD wasn’t as catchy).  

Let’s start with social.  

My goal is that these blog posts will make you think or examine your current practices.  Maybe, you’ll find that they don’t impact you, but before you just post a job, consider these trends… 

  • Work-life balance – who hasn’t heard this term?  What does it really mean?  I have no idea, but the reality is that we can’t ignore it, individually or organizationally.  Many “jobs” are cobbled together tasks and most of us have experienced the ever-increasing number of tasks.  Expectations of hours worked or face time is a key component of how work is defined, and unspoken cultural norm.  These are the sacred cows of job design.  Remember Ricardo Semler – he espoused a revolution in management, where self-managed teams did just that.  And more recently the best-selling work of Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Workweek touched a raw nerve, encouraging people to stop treating work like a non-stop escalator of serial monogamy of work relationships, but rather your life as a series of sabbaticals funded through short bursts of work.  Where ever you happen to stand, the reality is that it is a mainstream trend. 
  • Corporate Social Responsibility – people are looking for something to belong to – in his recent work (Drive), Dan Pink tells us that people are motivated by 3 things: autonomy, mastery and a sense of purpose.  But, we’ve also seen this in surveys, keynotes/interviews, articles (and articles) as well.  Perhaps offering some paid sabbatical time to some workers to contribute to a social cause opens an opportunity for an intern or work experience program.  Some organizations do this already.  What if an entire intact team did it?  What if your organization sent a contingent of workers overseas which opened up many temporary jobs for others?
  • The role of education/skills and the impact it has on jobs.  What skills does your organization need?  How do employees acquire them?  How is the funding of public education and the quality/quantity of university grads mean to your organization?  Do you still say your jobs need “degree in X”?  Do you know what the forecast for degree holders in that program are?  Do you work with colleges/universities or other education groups to address skill gaps?  Do you offer your workers to these programs as experts in their field?
  • Housing costs/property taxes/urbanization are social issues.  Do people always go to where the work is or do they go where they want to/can afford to live first?  What impact does this have on where you locate your operations or individual jobs, if at all?   
  • Health care – here in Canada, many people seek out full-time jobs because of the desire to gain access to extended health care plans.  What if there were alternatives – increased commoditization of extended group health care plans?   What does the ageing population’s demand for health care mean to your organization? 
  • Climate change – greening of the economy and subsequent localism.  What does this mean to how you design work? 

Big, heavy issues are at play here, and those of us who have the ability to make a change should think about it.  You aren’t just maximizing the dollars spent by your organization on people, you are participating in the future of society.  You may not agree with all the things I’ve listed or some might just not apply to you, but you owe it to yourself and others to think about it anyway. 


Holly MacDonald is an independent consultant with well over 15 years of experience in the learning & development field.  Holly is a bit of a techno-geek and can often be found playing online.  When she steps away from her computer, she spends time outside: hiking, kayaking, gardening and of course walking the dog.  She lives on Saltspring Island and is a leader in the live/work revolution.

How should HR manage a micromanager?

Lately I’ve been working and volunteering with a number of different organizations.  It has been interesting to see how different companies manage their leaders.  Some organizations use a laid-back approach while others reserve significant portions of their budgets to support employee development throughout the year.

Recently I have been spending time observing an organization where employee morale within a particular team is falling because of the way that supervisors micromanage its staff.  Although the employees are competent with more than five years of experience working in their current roles, some (but not all) supervisors take the approach of double-checking the work of their employees, being strict with observing their attendance and ensuring that company time is used for doing company-related work only.

This topic came to mind when I found out that employee satisfaction surveys confirmed that employees within that particular team were unhappy with the way that particular supervisors led them.  When does it become the role of HR to ensure that supervisors and managers are not affecting the morale of its workers in a negative way?  How could employee morale be boosted without micromanaging the micromanagers?


Geraldine Sangalang is an HR pro working at the Robson Square Courthouse.  She volunteers as a BC HRMA GV CAN Networking Co-Chair, as well as a recruiter for Meaningful Volunteer.  On her private time, Geraldine loves scrapbooking, hiking, kayaking, and dining out with friends.

Where women must be sexy and the men, not so much

Sometimes in some industries, wearing a uniform (think McDonald’s) or something uniform-like (think nurse) is a job requirement.  You could even call the dress code a bona fide occupational requirement as the outfit performs some duty like identify who are the employees and what function they perform, protect the health and safety of the employee, or display the corporate brand or image. 

Now let’s consider establishments such as Hooters in which employees are required to wear a uniform as part of the corporate image.  Yes, their uniforms have the famous logo but that’s not the point.  The point is that the uniforms are designed to put the female servers on display.  The restaurant’s brand is very clear right down to its Hooters name about what their business model is and who their target customers are. 

With that preamble out of the way, let’s get to the case filed against the western Canada-based sports bar, Shark Club.  One of its female employee’s filed a sex discrimination complaint “saying she was forced to wear miniskirts and busty, cleavage-revealing tops”.  

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has chosen to look into the matter not on the basis that the employee was forced to wear a sexy uniform; whether or not this dress code is a BFOR is not at issue.  When it comes to human rights, the issue here is that only the female employees were required to dress in sexy outfits, not the men. 

The Shark Club’s defense in the media so far has been that they’ve always been “transparent” about hiring of employees and the job requirements.  The director of ops is basically quoted as saying “but everyone else is doing it!” when referencing other local restaurant and bars that enforce the same employee policies. 

Now I don’t know for sure but I imagine that, like Hooters, the Shark Club is targeting a predominately male, heterosexual, sports-loving clientele.  Given the business model, there may be little reason to hire male servers and requiring them to wear outfits as provocative as the female servers.  Hooters has seen its fair share of lawsuits, including one in 1997 that resulted in “the chain [agreeing] to create a few other support jobs, like bartenders and hosts, that must be filled without regard to sex”.  In fact, Hooters employees are now required to sign the following declaration:

  1. My job duties require I wear the designated Hooters Girl uniform.
  2. My job duties require that I interact with and entertain the customers.
  3. The Hooters concept is based on female sex appeal and the work environment is one in which joking and entertaining conversations are commonplace.
  4. I do not find my job duties, uniform requirements, or work environment to be offensive, intimidating, hostile, or unwelcome.

Hooters has seen a few policy changes in the last few years but the concept remains as-is.  But, these lawsuits happened in the U.S. – how will this suit play out in Canada?


Helen Luketic is the manager of HR metrics & research at BC Human Resources Management Association.  Besides editing this blog, researching and running the HR Metrics Service, she wonders how is it that on “Undercover Boss”, the employees can’t guess that the visiting employee with the camera following them around is actually their CEO.

But I don’t have time!

Well, I have to fess up.  You may not have seen a blog post from me in a few weeks and it is because I haven’t written one.  I apologize for casting aside what I do believe to be a very important dialogue but the experience has inspired this blog post, so something good came from it!

Consider the title of the post, what’s the first thing that you think of?  For me, the first thing that comes to mind is, “well I’ve heard that before”.  I’ve heard it from friends, colleagues, teachers, and of course, myself.  Time is a scarce resource!  (For the record, I am not just realizing this now).  This is a phrase that is very common in our society.

So, what can we do about it so that I don’t disappoint you next week by again missing a blog post?  I can’t say I have the perfect answer, but I can say that repeating “but I don’t have time” won’t be helpful.  The phrase itself takes all responsibility off of myself and gives the power to elements of my external environment that I have no control over.  Instead of blaming the lack of time (which is a very disempowering statement), I should take ownership over my decision.  For example, last night, I chose to watch Glee instead of writing my blog post for Fireside HR.  Was it the right decision?  Maybe not (I do really like Glee…).  But it was my decision and I have the power to make the same or a different decision the next time.

Now that the answer lies in my own power to make decisions about how I spend my time, the question is, how I decide where to spend my time?

One example of a useful tool is the Time Management Matrix presented by Stephen Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  In this tool, Covey maps out on a grid two components of the ways we choose to spend our time:  Urgency and Importance.  He asserts that we often spend a lot of time in the urgent but not important quadrant, neglecting things that are important and not urgent.  He argues that we should focus on these tasks as well in order to truly be effective at managing our time.

What I really like about this tool and find useful is that it reminds me that just because something is right in front of my face, doesn’t mean that it is the most important thing in my life right now nor is it necessarily where I should spend all my time.  The other reminder it gives me is that I need to be clear with myself about what is important.  I’m not saying it’s easy but identifying your priorities gives you the freedom to make decisions about how you spend your time, rather than leaving you a victim to ‘not enough time’.

So yes, the next time I’ll tape Glee and write my blog!


Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights.

Dealing with end of summer burnout

I love fall!  I am not sure what it is about the season that I find so wonderful considering in Vancouver it rains most of the time!  But as summer nears its end, I start to feel exhilaration and a sense of renewal.  This is when I sit down and plan out my year, make goals for myself and start to feel revitalized.

Maybe it has to do with conditioning from childhood.  A new year at school, connecting with old friends and making new ones. The vibe on the street is energetic and makes you feel like you can take on the world.

But with the renewal of fall also comes the post summer burnout.  I read a great article on Entrepreneur.com called Helping Employees Beat the Summer Blues that talks about ways to energize your team for the latter part of the year.

Here is a summary of the points to deal with mid-year burnout and revitalize your team:

  1. Ask employees how they feel about summer coming to an end.
  2. Ask employees what their goals are for the year.
  3. What motivates your employees?  Find out how to make them more productive.
  4. Help create a sense of accomplishment in your employees work.
  5. Praise people for a job well done… I don’t think we do this enough.
  6. Increase your employee recognition efforts.  If you don`t have an employee recognition program, start one.
  7. Talk about career paths to get people focused on their career goals again.
  8. Increase levels of responsibility if possible.
  9. Create some synergy in the workplace and do a team based project to get people working together.
  10.  Start a mentor program.  If you already have one, good for you!

Not all of these points may be relevant for you and your company, but I hope at least one helps your team work efficiently and productively through to the holiday season.


Dana Sebal has over 10 years Marketing and Human Resources experience.  Outside of her professional career, Dana’s passions include her family, rowing, running, tennis, skiing, yoga, and Beagles.

Inspiration & business. Oxymoron?

I have recently acquired the knowledge of something important.  I will share this shortly, but look back to your favourite boss, manager, trainer, and team captain and ask yourself “why were they great?”.  I am sure we can list many attributes that make or made them great. I believe that Richard’s 500 interviews is due for a concise list.

In my opinion, INSPIRATION is something that has made our great leaders epic. Inspiration can come in different sizes and shapes –  Gandhi versus Martin Luther King, for example.

 

One day I will be a manager and be a part of change, big game-changing change, even though right now I feel that I am not inspirational (that I know of).  I went to a beloved pick me up website www.ted.com  and looked for some videos tagged inspiration to inspire me.  This one by Richard St. John on 8 secrets of success just blows my mind every time.

Once you watch the video and see the 8 secrets of success, you think “yes, yes, you’re right, Richard.”  But I know there are people in the world that have been following the 8 secrets of success, but aren’t.

 

I won’t get into name calling but just think politicians, actors, athletes, executives that buried their businesses and someone will come to mind.  But the ones that are successful I think have that extra quality of INSPIRATION.

Inspirations moves people, your focus (one of the secrets) won’t move others, your passion may, but inspiration is what gets your troops moving and makes things happen.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African proverb. It also takes more than one person to make an idea, company, initiative, organization, school or association successful. Inspiration forms the bond and ability to make change happen.

Today, ask yourself, who do you inspire?


Agata Zasada is an HR generalist in a fast-paced company no one in Vancouver ever has heard of, lululemon athletica.  She has three years of experience in HR supplemented by a BBA in HR. Outside of her love for her career, Agata has been learning to run as well as practicing yoga (mainly Savasana), and is known for her witty humour.

What’s the Future of Work? It’s all about S.E.T.H.

Human Resources

Image by zachstern via Flickr

 

Recently I wrote about Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) and how it presented one option of job design (or non-design).  There seems to be buzz about ROWE: Netflix kinda does it, BestBuy does it, even the Girl Scouts do it.   And Dan Pink promotes it.  I like Pink.  

I would really love to expand the simplistic equation {work = job} to {work = a variety of options to fit a variety of needs}, or something a little catchier (suggestions welcome!).  But don’t want to just blindly support ROWE.  I know that those in my “social media circle” have talked about the networked economy/enterprise 2.0 and the impact on work: herehere, here, here and here.  

I think there are 4 major drivers for this work overhaul and will take a series of posts to describe them in a little more detail. 

  • There are forces that are happening on a societal level.
  • There are the obvious economic drivers to consider.
  • Like it or not, technology will not disappear in the future, so we need to track those trends.
  • And last, but not least are the demographic or human resources aspects.

Hence the name “SETH”. 

I hope that you’ll weigh in and tell me where I’m wrong or misguided.  Futurecasting (forecasting + imagination) is not an exact science as well all know, and I hope these posts are useful or at least thought-provoking. 


Holly MacDonald is an independent consultant with well over 15 years of experience in the learning & development field.  Holly is a bit of a techno-geek and can often be found playing online.  When she steps away from her computer, she spends time outside: hiking, kayaking, gardening and of course walking the dog.  She lives on Saltspring Island and is a leader in the live/work revolution.

Fortes fortuna adiuvat

Just in case you’re one in the few people who hasn’t seen yet, here’s how a young woman to quit her job in 33 pictures in a story titled, “Girl quits job on dry erase board”.  In another time, I’m sure I would have felt very differently about how this woman named Jenny left her job.  But in a world where personality and personal connections (which HR professionals call “organizational fit”) fares equally with experience for job hunters, I think it’s hilarious!

I certainly don’t admire the fact that Jenny chose not to give her employer adequate notice that she was leaving but I do respect the fact that she had the courage to leave a position where she neither felt respected nor valued.  I also applaud the fact that she expressed her reasons for leaving.  Many times, angry workers stomp off and never express what it was that upset them – that’s a disservice to the organization (since appropriate changes cannot be made) as well as a disservice to the individual who quit (since they leave without a sense of closure).

It may seem inappropriate for a broker to publically behave in such a way – since she wants to work in a position of high responsibility and risk – but her actions may have been exactly what she needed to do in order to be noticed by the future employer of her choice.  Who knows what Jenny’s career goals are?  Even if she still wants to be a broker, she may still find work with other brokers who share her sense of humour. 

The Latin proverb, “Fortes fortuna adiuvat,” means “Fortune favors the bold.”  As the layoffs of 600 employees are announced at Service Canada, it seems that this is the time where fortune will only favor the bold.


Geraldine Sangalang is an HR pro working at the Robson Square Courthouse.  She volunteers as a BC HRMA GV CAN Networking Co-Chair, as well as a recruiter for Meaningful Volunteer.  On her private time, Geraldine loves scrapbooking, hiking, kayaking, and dining out with friends.

Remember when it was called a weblog?

A few weeks back I received an out of the blue email from a fellow HR professional, Stephanie Andrews of Alberta, asking if she could be one of our featured bloggers.  How flattering!  Thanks to our team of bloggers, this blog’s readership has grown in the last few months and now we’re starting to cross borders.  I feel like a proud mama… the HR world is coming of age and feeling more and more comfortable participating in the Web 2.0 world.

Although the internet is borderless, I unfortunately must do the sometimes uncomfortable HR policing thing and enforce the rules:  Stephanie didn’t belong to the BC HR association and therefore was not qualified to participate.  But being the rock star that she is, Stephanie submitted a draft post for my creative feedback and subsequently posted on Renegade HR.  Now she’s looking at starting up a blog with her HR association.  Can’t wait to see it and all of our writers should be thrilled that they are inspiring their profession.

So, here’s an open recruiting call to B.C. HR professionals if you want to join in on Fireside HR.  Do the self-sufficient thing and check out the details here.


 Helen Luketic is the manager of HR metrics & research at BC Human Resources Management Association.  Besides editing this blog, researching and running the HR Metrics Service, she ponders when the next season of The Bachelorette will begin.

Looking for a Good Book

How many times have you picked up the most recent business guru’s book and only made it past the first few chapters before it started collecting dust? No need to be embarrassed, I’m guessing that it happens to most of us. I’ve got my share sitting on my nightstand.

If you are like me, you start the book with high hopes and aspirations. Often the first chapter builds interest and excitement about how you can apply this innovative thinking in your work.

Then, nothing happens. You read a couple more chapters, the initial idea seems to go nowhere, you lose interest and put the book down forever. You’ve probably forgotten what got you excited in the first place.

In his blog on bnet, Dave Logan argues that it’s not our fault that we lose interest. Logan lists three reasons why “business books are bad for you”: 1) they lack real insight; 2) they often send the wrong message; and 3) they are “empty in the middle”.

I’m sure a lot of you read his list nodding along, shooting daggers over at your bookcase. However, there must be some of you (I hope?) who thought, “yes, but…”. What books have you read that are truly inspiring? Any books that you read through quickly and actually found yourself (dare I say it) enjoying?

For my part, at the recommendation of a colleague, I read The Goal by Goldratt, a book about process improvement. I wasn’t particularly interested in reading a book about process improvement,but the narrative style and skin-in-the-game character made it easy to continue to pick up, and his insights were interesting and useful without being overly complicated. Most importantly, and I think the point that Logan makes in his blog, is that the story is insightful beyond its most obvious message.

The thing is, I really enjoy reading. Before making reading a chore (see this how to video), I’m looking for some recommendations. So, what books have you read recently that were really great, that inspired you, or were, at the very least, enjoyable?


Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights

How do ideas mate?

Buddy systems are simply two people doing the same thing.  We have had buddy systems in kindergarten when you had to go somewhere were the teacher couldn’t go with you; you had them in high school when running outside school grounds for the Terry Fox Run.  Did you realize there are buddy systems all over the place?  Police, ambulance, doctors, work out groups, run clubs, and even powered golf carts.  They work because more people (buddies) means more ideas and as ideas get shared, they improve.  Then why is the thought of having a buddy system at work is so scary for many people?  Is it the fear of being perceived as inferior, or is it a form of creating job security?

I am fortunate to be a part of multiple teams on multiple projects, all of which are high performing.  If it wasn’t for buddy systems, sharing knowledge and releasing ownership of work, real innovation wouldn’t be a possibility.  This is the era when HR stops being the police and participates in “idea sex” (see the video!).

In my own personal opinion, buddy systems have worked in the past and continue to work.  There is no shame in not having all the best ideas.  Allow yourself and the people you work with be part of amazing possibilities.


Agata Zasada is an HR generalist in a fast-paced company no one in Vancouver ever has heard of, lululemon athletica.  She has three years of experience in HR supplemented by a BBA in HR. Outside of her love for her career, Agata has been learning to run as well as practicing yoga (mainly Savasana), and is known for her witty humour.

Employment is a master-servant relationship

I am self-employed.  My boss is really easy to work with and yet I have no work-life balance.  It’s all in the same bucket.  But, I like it that way.  No messy vacation requests.  No performance reviews.  No income security.  No banked overtime or nine day fortnight applications.  Not everyone would love it.  But, what if you worked in an environment where things were really flexible?

ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) is becoming a new buzzword in the world of work.  At the heart of it is a focus on performance rather than presence.  A cynic would say to allow the employer to take advantage of the employee and work them like dogs.  Hmm, seems to me when I talk to my “indentured” friends, this may already be happening (emails at all hours, vacations which are interrupted, etc).  A glass half-full type of person would say that it is because the employer trusts the employee to get their job done and treats them like a grown-up.

I think that we need to consider how to move the employment relationship from the master-servant realm to one that is more suited to the 21st century.  Heck, I’d even be ok with shifting to the 20th century!  Trends tell us, we’ll have fewer bodies to fill roles, continued demand for work-life balance (whatever that is), shifting economy (commoditized jobs moving to India/China), etc., etc.  But, we don’t seem to be doing anything about it.

HR has their head in the sand.  We let the lawyers dictate what we should and shouldn’t do.  The risk is managing us, not the other way around.  If we are going to help our organizations compete, we need to remove our heads from the sand and come up with some new alternatives.  Otherwise, we’ll all be fighting for the same shrinking talent pool and losing talented employees to the highest bidder, and continuing to pay escalating costs to manage the employment relationship.  Maybe ROWE isn’t it, but not everyone wants to work full-time.  Or be a servant.


Holly MacDonald is an independent consultant with well over 15 years of experience in the learning & development field.  Holly is a bit of a techno-geek and can often be found playing online.  When she steps away from her computer, she spends time outside: hiking, kayaking, gardening and of course walking the dog.  She lives on Saltspring Island and is a leader in the live/work revolution.

Exit interviews – from both sides of the desk

I have always been a big beliver in exit interviews.  But come to think of it, I have only had an exit  interview in approximately 50% of the companies I have worked with!  Many employers do not conduct exit interviews because they have not done so in the past and therefore are missing out on the opportunity that exit interviews provide for the company.  Although the employer is allowing exposure to possible criticism, this is a unique opportunity to learn the following from departing employees:

Why is the employee is leaving?

What his or her experience was while working at the company?

Is anything that the company is doing well or needs to improve upon?

Is there an opportunity for the organization to enable the transfer of knowledge from the departing employee to current staff in a more efficient manner?

Departing employees are more likely to give constructive and objective feedback than employees still in their jobs.  That said, for the departing interviewee, the exit interview is an opportunity to provide some constructive criticism, leave on a positive note and with a feeling of mutual respect.  Now, I know you are sitting there thinking, “You’re dreaming!” if I think that an employee that is leaving for negative reasons isn’t going to go out with a blaze of glory!

We have all had that one job or boss (whom we should never talk about in an interview) that has created all sorts of nasty scenarios of revenge and dreams of leaving with a case of beer in our hands down the emergency exit like Steven Slater of Jet Blue.  But, spite, vengeful thoughts and feelings should be left at the door. Never burn a bridge that you may later want to cross again.

For both parties, the exit interview is the chance to shake hands and depart as friends.


Dana Sebal has over 10 years Marketing and Human Resources experience.  Outside of her professional career, Dana’s passions include her family, rowing, running, tennis, skiing, yoga, and Beagles.