TalentEgg Trends

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An Amplification of HR Legal Trends from the Last Decade

In our ever-changing workforce, it’s more important than ever for employers to stay on top of HR trends and what legal implications they may have on their organization, workplace culture and overall brand. We had the chance to speak with Greg McGinnis, Partner at Matthews Dinsdale & Clark LLP, about upcoming trends in employment law. What we discovered was that the trends from the latter half of the last decade are amplifying. Read on to see how. 

Although there have been many societal shifts within the last few years, Greg comments that there really aren’t any new or radical changes in employment law, but rather previous trends are continuing. He does mention, however, that there’s a common theme or phenomenon happening as a result of previous trends, like the #MeToo movement, legalization of Cannabis and diversity in the workforce, which is fostering an increased demand for flexibility and zero tolerance for toxic workplaces. 

Flexibility and Accommodation

“The main trend, if I can call it that, is that people are looking for flexibility in their work. They’re looking for flexibility in terms of hours of work, days of work, time off when they need it. The big trend is that employees want their work to fit in with their lives, and so employers are increasingly having to accommodate that kind of flexibility. That comes in all kinds of different forms. One form would be people who have young children, who want the time for child care or to attend events in their kids’ lives. Then you also have, especially in Canada, a large population of people who come from other places originally and they travel, so they want to have longer periods of time off to visit family or just travel. There’s an increasing trend towards flexibility at work, where it could be accommodated.” 

“The idea that work is Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 and you better just show up – that concept has slowly been eroding for a long time and it’s continuing to erode. There are of course jobs where you need to be [at work] for certain time periods, but even then, people will want extended time off. We see this in every domain, from factory workers to office workers. People are demanding that their personal life and needs are reflected at work.” 

Zero Tolerance for Toxic Workplaces

As a result of the same societal factors that gave rise to the #MeToo movement, Greg has found that the number of complaints being made that require the employer to carry out investigations has significantly increased. “I would say the #MeToo movement is a reflection of the same underlying phenomenon that people aren’t prepared to be treated poorly or suffer in silence. There’s next to no tolerance for toxic workplace behaviour. It is increasingly important for employers to ensure their workplace provides a positive, constructive atmosphere for people to work in and if they don’t do it, they will be facing a requirement to invest in workplace investigations…There’s a whole raft of time-consuming expensive consequences that can result from not dealing with these problems.” 

Diversity 

Diversity is an important value for many organizations. In Greg’s experience, diversity hiring has to be managed effectively by most employers to ensure all job seekers are given an equal opportunity to join a positive workplace, but that’s not always easy to achieve and maintain once your workforce becomes diverse. “Diversity has an impact on workplace culture because when you have new people or experiences, people come to work with different cultural expectations or behaviours that may require an adjustment on the part of the employer.”

Once you recruit a diverse workforce, you need to ensure your policies are, and the workplace is, welcoming, accommodating and, again, flexible. “You have a diverse workforce, you need a diverse workforce, then you need to find ways to reconcile new and different expectations where you need to get the work done. The challenge of diversity is that you don’t really know what’s next, you have to adapt to the people you are employing the best you can, and they need to adapt to you too.” 

Cannabis: Biggest Issue That’s a Non-issue

Now that Cannabis has been legal in Canada for over a year, there have been minimal impacts on employment law, according to Greg. “Cannabis is the big nothing. It may have a long term impact, but the short term impact has been next to zero.”

“It’s not that all of a sudden people are bringing their drugs to work or consuming drugs in a different way. Most employers in anticipation of the legalization of cannabis took another look at their fitness for duty policies, and perhaps even their testing policies and gave some thought on how to approach that. Then legalization occurred and people braced themselves for the onslaught of stoners as if all of a sudden we were all going to turn into Cheech and Chong and it just didn’t happen!”

“Outside of safety-sensitive positions where someone could be seriously injured or killed or your actions could result in someone being seriously injured, or death or property damage, the issue of cannabis has not made any difference. And I think the reason for that is – cannabis is just one intoxicant. There’s a wide array of drugs out there, legal and illegal, and the legalization of cannabis has had a marginal impact on the way cannabis impairment, specifically, has been addressed when it’s been detected.”

Gig Economy

There were concerns about the ‘gig’ economy and the impact on the career prospects for millennial and Gen Z workers, but in regards to employment law, it’s really only made employers consider instituting more flexible work environments. 

“My perspective on the gig economy is that it’s provided opportunities for people to work in small amounts on their schedule that competes with the regular employment pool. So people who want more flexibility can get it by becoming a gig worker. I think the gig economy has expanded opportunities for people. [Employers] have to recognize that their employees can go and do consulting or gig work as an alternative to regular employment. So it forces more flexibility onto employers as well.” 

 

With the evolution and expansion of trends from the last few years, Greg notes that in the legal sphere, changes in the law are harder to predict. “The world of work is driven more by cultural change than by legal change. We’re not seeing a lot of radical legal changes now or anticipated in the future. The society is changing, so we have to respond to that.” It’s important that employers are staying on the cutting edge of emerging and continuing societal and workplace trends, especially when considering incoming talent will come into the workforce with new and sometimes challenging expectations for employers to meet. 


For more TalentEgg Legal Briefs, be sure to subscribe to our monthly employer and career educator newsletter. 

Why BMO Financial is Investing in Students and Early Talent Through Authentic Student Experiences That Leave a Lasting Impression 

Professional skills and soft skills are vital for new talent to have when entering the workforce. But what does that truly look like for students who are making their first school-to-work transition? Are they set up for success before getting their first full-time job, or do they still have more learning to do?

As Lisa Kramer, Director of Enterprise Campus Recruitment & Early Talent Programs at BMO Financial says, “In the years that I’ve been in the campus recruiting space I would say there is still a gap between what students are learning in their academic programs and the skills and capabilities necessary to work in a corporate environment. That’s why I think it’s important for us as employers to provide those types of experiences and learning opportunities to students when they’re coming in”. This is one of the reasons why BMO launched their new BMO Student Experience this past year. It focuses on investing in the future workforce, recognizing and providing opportunities for development to increase hiring conversions and foster a culture of authenticity, growth and development.

We had the chance to speak with Lisa to learn more about the BMO Student Experience and how BMO is positioning themselves as an employer of choice on campus and beyond.

A Return on Student Investment

Lisa started with BMO a year ago to transform the recruitment strategy for students and early talent and highlight what it’s actually like to work for BMO. “We’re trying to drive higher conversion rates – “recruit once, hire twice” type of mentality, so when we get students in the door, we show them how awesome it is to work here in hopes that they return for subsequent work terms or join us upon graduation”, Lisa says. Historically, BMO has had good programs and hired many students, but their team identified the need to offer more than just work experience and training. This is where the idea of the BMO Student Experience was developed. 

From TalentEgg’s most recent survey, 71% of post-secondary students and grads said that the most important thing they’re looking for in a career is gaining job experience, building their future career paths and development. So it’s important for organizations to showcase how they can offer these requirements to students as well as provide real, authentic examples. This is something that BMO has done very well through their presence not only on campus but online as well. 

“One of the big things for us was utilizing social media and making sure we could connect with students in a more authentic and engaging way. Moving away from the reliance of the “corporate speak” on the web page and start to tell stories about what it’s really like to work here”, Lisa comments. The BMO campus team has focused on telling real stories about students who work at BMO, as well as letting students and their recruitment team takeover the BMO Campus Recruitment Instagram account and host Instagram Live sessions where students across North America have access to their team. 

New Campus Influencer Program

One of the key components of the new strategy was introducing BMO’s Campus Influencer Program. While many organizations have an ambassador program, the BMO team wanted to do something different, something that would resonate with students and how they’re currently engaging with content, branding and goods. Enter: Influencers — the biggest wave of marketing to take over the laptop and cellphone screens of Gen Z and Millenials. “We’re seeing a lot of students and early talent that are heavily influenced by individuals on YouTube and Instagram, so it’s really a play on that. We took students who worked for us over the course of last summer and who were returning to campus to help us amplify our message”, Lisa says. BMO’s Student Influencers are communicating through their own personal social media accounts and using their own networks to spread the word about BMO. 

The benefits? BMO amplifies their employer brand through students who can authentically share their experiences with the company, point interested candidates to the right connection and provide feedback and invaluable information back to the BMO recruitment team about what students are interested in and how they want to connect with BMO as an employer. 

“It’s been fantastic to have that intel because obviously in a perfect world we’d love to be on campus every day, every campus, every program connecting with students but that’s not possible. So the influencer program has been a really great extension of our campus recruiting team.”

What Students can Expect

To continue investing in student development, a part of BMO’s strategy includes a Student Leadership Summit that will be held for returning students this year. Students will have the opportunity to spend three days at the BMO Institute for Learning with their peers to network, build leadership skills, hear from BMO leadership and more. “By investing in them and their skills, it’s our hope that this is just the start of a very successful career with BMO that will continue in the years to come”. 

Throughout their time with BMO, students are given the opportunity to gain professional skills through networking within the business and connecting with other students outside of work through the BMO Social Squad. They also learn practical nuanced skills such as using Excel or PowerPoint. In addition to what the campus team has created, all students have access to BMO U which is an online learning tool where students can complete thousands of courses for free during their work term. “We hope that by providing that experience they will, in turn, have a great work term and will want to come back and work for us again. This obviously helps drive conversion and it’s really our investment in our future workforce. We need to invest now to help identify the talent that we need in the long term.”

Final Advice for Students and Fellow Employers

Lisa provided some final pieces of advice to both students and fellow employers. For students, it’s so important to make connections. Of course, students should do their research and come out to see BMO when they’re on campus, but they should come prepared and reach out to recruiters. “We had a BMO Hangout at one school where the recruiter met with 10 students and hired 8 of them!”, Lisa highlights. As an example, Lisa suggests instead of saying “Hey, here’s my resume, do you have a job for me?”, students should come with personal and focused outcomes, like “Hey Lisa, I saw BMO on campus at this particular event, I heard [name] speak about XYZ and that’s an area I’m really interested in and was wondering if you could tell me more”. “Making that personal connection is key if you want to stand out”, she says. 

For fellow employers, Lisa comments on the importance of playing a key role in the development of future leaders. 

“Some schools and programs are certainly invested in the development of soft skills and we do certainly see in our campus recruiting efforts that students are better prepared. However, I think it’s important, if we’re truly looking for a diverse workforce, that we’re helping. We [as employers] play a part in this development and shouldn’t just rely on our school partners to prep students. It’s our role to help drive that forward. I do think it needs to be a partnership between employers and educators in terms of getting our early talent and future workforce ready for the roles of the future.”

“Once students have that first job, in order to truly build [their] career, it’s the soft skills and professional development that we really need to help students with. Things like how to write a proper email, how do you present to different levels within the organization, what level of detail do you provide in those communications? Those are all nuances that are important for students who are coming into organizations to learn, and it’s our role as an employer to help that with that.” 

Students entering the workforce value the opportunities to continue learning and developing skills that will help them in their career journey. 88% believe they need additional training to launch their career, according to our most recent Survey. Lisa and the BMO campus team are focused on doing just that. To learn more about BMO’s Reimagined Student Experience, see their student-focused article on TalentEgg here.


Lisa’s a disrupter…currently transforming the Enterprise Campus Recruitment and Early Talent Program at BMO!  Lisa began her career in student recruitment right after university, developing her talents at three universities (Laurier, Waterloo, and Ryerson), before taking her expertise to the corporate world, where she has taken student recruitment practices to a higher level. ATI Technologies, CGI, Siemens, Accenture, and RBC have all benefitted from Lisa’s expertise. Lisa was the inaugural winner of Talent Egg’s Campus Recruiter of the Year Award in 2013.  Lisa is known as an accomplished and flexible leader who leverages strong interpersonal skills and teamwork to achieve business objectives. By defining and implementing a shared vision, she’s driving results and excellence across her team. When she’s not at the office, she can most likely be found in an arena with mobile phone in hand, watching her two daughters and balancing life as a busy working hockey mom!

Coaching – New Paradigm for Effective Leadership

Leadership is critical in today’s evolving business environment. Leadership affects the culture, people, and the organization’s overall ability to succeed. But the age-old question remains the same – what makes a good leader? We spoke with Susan Pahl, Founder & CEO Shift Coaching Inc., to get her perspective on leadership and the role coaching plays in leading a successful team.

Name: Susan Pahl

Occupation: Founder & CEO Shift Coaching Inc.

Susan Pahl is the CEO and Founder of Shift Coaching, a leadership development and corporate coaching company. Shift Coaching develops leaders, teams and organizations to adapt change and grow. 

“To me, leadership is not a position, a title or a set of traits. It is the ability to get others to want to work together and even struggle to achieve a shared goal. The ultimate form of leadership is to enable each member of the group to bring their best self and best efforts to bear on the goal at hand,” says Susan.

Analyzing the Trends

Susan engaged in extensive research to understand the new trends in leadership development and get ahead of the curve.  She was particularly struck by the data that showed the impact of coaching on productivity, culture and employee engagement in business across a variety of industries.

“According to a study by Bersin & Associates, now a part of Deloitte, leaders that coach are 130% more likely to realize stronger business results. In addition, organizations with a culture of coaching achieve 21% higher business results. These are astounding numbers. When your leaders use coaching as an integral tool of management, the business grows.”

Research by Zenger Folkman found that “more than 60% of employees who report to managers who are not good coaches are thinking about quitting.” This is based on more than 500,000 360-degree assessments on 50,000 leaders. Coaching is a fundamental tool to not only bring out the best in people, but retain them too.”

Susan also identified what many modern leaders struggle with. She describes how “command and control leaders rely on their own skills and abilities to solve problems and be the experts. This new world requires multiple people and multiple brains to be able to navigate this fast-paced increasingly complex world we live in.” Instead of taking an authoritative approach, Susan suggests that leaders need to know how to create “a collaborative work environment where people can think for themselves, solve problems and be innovative.”

Finding the Niche

The reality today is this: “There is no playbook or training program to address the complexity that people are facing today,” Susan comments. Constant adaptation to change, competition for attracting and retaining top talent as well as employee development are just some of the ongoing tasks that managers need to think about.

“The role of HR is changing. How do we prepare people to work, lead and learn effectively in the complex constantly changing world? To start we need to support HR professionals and career educators to become coaches and equip them with the skills to support others.”

Identifying the gap between employees’ expectations and managers’ ability to meet them, Susan came up with the idea for Shift Coaching. “I wanted to provide a program that covered all the essential elements of coaching in the context of the business environment with practice, reflection and feedback that would fit in with a business person’s busy schedule,” says Susan. She adds that “every leader needs A coach and that every leader needs TO coach.” So really, Susan teaches others to learn by doing. Those who participate in the program not only learn how to coach others, but they also get coached themselves.

Coaching Leaders

So how does The Shift Corporate Coach Program work? It is built for business leaders and it stands apart from other coaching programs because it incorporates the business context, is efficient and is integrated into the leaders’ workday. Unlike other programs that only provide a generic overview of coaching or require a significant time investment, Shift Coaching equips participants with practice, reflection and feedback that fits within a business person’s busy schedule.

Participants learn core coaching concepts through an experiential hands-on process. As a result of completing the program, according to Susan, leaders can:

  • Generate improved productivity
  • Reduce conflict across the organization
  • Increase the response to managing and implementing change
  • Use industry-leading leadership tools to grow staff and develop people 
  • Create a renewed vision and strength in their approach to developing the corporate culture
  • Create a greater focus on the art of relationship-building throughout the organization; with direct reports, peers, stakeholders and clients 
  • Explore the benefits of using coaching conversations in everyday applications as well as in formal protocols

Shift Corporate Coach Program recently opened up for new grads in an effort to shape the leaders of tomorrow early on.

“Becoming a coach early in a new grad’s career will prepare them to have healthy approaches to the people issues and have the ability to coach others, preparing them for positions of leadership. We have heard so many of our [more mature] participants say that they wished they had these skills 20-30 years ago and how their careers may have been very different. So we said: “Why wait?” – let’s bring this to new grads and help them get coaching skills early on.”

Constantly Evolving

It’s evident: the change is here. The massive challenge of adapting and evolving together with the industry is something that every business manager (current or aspiring) needs to embrace.

“Robert Keagan calls it “Constructive Destabilization” in his book “An Everyone Culture”. He says that, if you can perform your role to a high level, you are actually no longer in the right job. As soon as something is working perfectly, it is time to blow it up and move up to the next level. He suggests running into useful trouble and using this trouble to learn and grow. This is the opposite of “business as usual”. Pain + Reflection = Progress.”

Susan comments that HR professionals will only be able to grow by introducing desirable and purposeful challenges in their work lives. Learning and development programs are a safe way of practicing to combat these difficulties.

“Ongoing development must be woven into the daily fabric of working life and people’s limitations will be seen as their growing edge. Organizations need to aggressively seek opportunities for their leaders to practice, experiment and learn in this new changing environment. They also need to change how they evaluate and develop leaders,” says Susan. Her passion for better leaders of tomorrow is evident in everything she does.

If you’re ready for the next step in your leadership development, explore what Shift Coaching has to offer. Do you know a soon to be or a recent grad that might benefit from the Shift Corporate Coach Program™️?

TalentEgg is proud to partner with Shift Coaching to offer young professionals an exceptional leadership development opportunity give-away valued at $5,000! Find out more here!  

How Are You Helping to Build the Workplace Critical Skills Pipeline?

When describing what differentiates top talent amongst students and new graduate candidates, we often find ourselves referencing their ‘soft’ or workplace critical skills.  Things like creativity, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership.

As employers, we seemingly all want these skills to be a part of the candidate profile for our new graduate programs, summer internships, or open positions on campus.  And, if the expectation is that students come prepared with these skills when they arrive in the workplace, I wonder how can we as career educators and campus recruiters help students to identify, acquire, and nurture them before they land their first job?

For me, the approach is two-fold:

I think it starts with helping students to become fluent in the art of articulation, reflection, and offering up evidence.

Let’s work an example – communication skills. We know that having a student simply state they are a good communicator is not enough.  Rather, it’s how they demonstrate they are a good communicator through examples or description that sets them apart.

Fellow campus recruiters, I am offering up a challenge to you here.  Let’s commit to trying to better articulate our needs. Continuing with the ‘good communication skills’ example, what if we said something like this in our postings:

‘Persuasive business writing, active listening, comfort delivering critical or difficult messages, and strong presentation skills are essential for successful communication in our organization’.

The more specific or articulate we are, the more a student has got to work with and reflect on.  They can start to assess whether they have demonstrated these skills and attributes in their studies or work to date, come up with evidence to support it, and if a gap exists, have a clearer goal to work towards.  If  Year 1 students knew what you were truly looking for in terms of workplace critical skills when they embarked on their program, think about where they might be by the time they graduate.  Perhaps ‘top talent’ would be more plentiful?

While these notions are by no means new, it stands to reason that by providing students with ample opportunity to reflect on and to talk about their skills in meaningful ways (whether it is a part of their experiential learning, course work, co-op, or even workshops) the more comfortable and confident they will become in talking about their workplace critical skills as potential candidates.

The second piece is all about providing additional opportunities to develop and nurture workplace critical skills while in school.  Case competitions, challenges, portfolios or workplace critical skills passports, skills badging, and experiential learning are all great ways to achieve this.  Think about how you can get more involved in these types of initiatives.  While yes, the time investment does need to be there to make it most effective, you will be doing wonders for your credibility, brand, and building up of the pipeline of the skills you’re ultimately wanting students to have in their toolkit.

Challenge yourself.  In your next round of engaging students – how will you help them to get really good at articulating, reflecting, and evidencing their workplace critical skills?  What opportunities will you provide to develop and nurture them?  Happy skill building!

 


Trevor Buttrum is an award-winning career education and campus recruitment leader with 15+ years of experience in the space.  He is currently the manager of a national program focused on building the talent pipeline for the next generation of the property and casualty insurance workforce.

 

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