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.

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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.

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.

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.

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

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.