Holiday Parties

It’s that time of the year again. When Holidays Parties are all around us. It can be hard as the HR professional to balance your compulsion to protect people with the desire to make sure everyone has a good time. It’s a hard spot to be in. You have to be the fun police for some people while other people will appreciate you trying to keep them safe. Remember that you’re there to do a job. Just as the finance professional in there to make sure the party follows the budget. Make sure that you take some time to sit back, relax and enjoy the party.

Customer Service dictated by Lifetime Value

What kind of customer service should you be providing to your customers?

There are a few different ways to answer that question. But one way is to work with your customer’s lifetime value. While it can be tempting to provide over the top customer service, it might not make financial sense. Adding in the customer service costs to cost of goods can ensure that you provide support you can afford.

Customer Service is important. I’m not advocating that we forget that, but rather we provide the best customer service we affordably can.

References Shmeferences

When will the madness end? Why are we continuing to ask for and contact three references? When was the last time you called a reference who gave you a negative review?

First, the references provided to you are people who both endorse and like the candidate. Otherwise, the candidate would not have provided their name and number to you.

Second, in Canada we are essentially not permitted to provide negative references for fear of repercussion.

On occasion a reference may provide you with some insight in to management tips for the candidate.  But most of the conversation is going to be glowing commentary.

For a true reference, check your network and see if you are connect to the person. Getting some hiring advice that way is much more fruitful and useful.

Benefit Plan Changes

I was reminded, during a conversation today, about benefit renewal in Canada. We’re often led to believe that benefit programs can only be changed or renewed at ‘renewal’ time. This is not the case. You’re able to make changes to your company benefit plan at any time with minimal notice. Likewise with switching providers, this can be done at anytime during the year.

Let’s not get started on American plans. They are much more complicated to administer and to make changes.

Social media and business tools

It’s been a busy week for Human Resources policies in the news. We recently learned about allegations of inappropriate texts using a company mobile phone. It’s a reminder to make sure you have a strong business tool and acceptable use policy.

The step beyond writing a good policy, is making sure you’re teaching your employees about the policy. A policy is no good, and hard to defend, if you aren’t teaching it. Call it training and development, call it workshops, call it whatever you like, but make sure you’re formally introducing the appropriate use policy to your employees.

Policies don’t have to be complicated or scary. Simple and clear is better!


Today’s post is a bit about a personal pet peeve. I am not infallible. I make mistakes. So, I am not pointing fingers, just sharing a spelling pet peeve.

Apart and a part. I just read a job posting inviting the reader be apart of the team. Sigh.

Now, find my mistakes! Fire away. I love feedback.

EAPs aren’t just for divorces and terminations

The morning after an election. A few days after a sex scandal. And, the morning of a funeral that shouldn’t have had to happen.

It’s been a long seven days for Canada. And, Ontario, in particular. There are thousands of Ontarians going to work each day. How many employers are providing a venue for employees to seek support? Even those with Employee Assistance Programs may not think to remind employees of the support available. We tend to think of this only when there is a personal problem or a work related crisis.

Dig out those EAP numbers and web address! Post them for your employees.

Putting your foot in your mouth

We’ve all done it. Said the wrong thing. Maybe even at the wrong time.

But what we do next is what makes the best people the best. They lean in to the moment. They are confident in themselves. They quickly correct. Like a person who can disguise a trip on the sidewalk. The best people admit their misstep. They might even make a joke. They apologize. And they move on. Most important, they are are kind to themselves. They don’t let that interaction taint all interactions going forward.

So next time, and there will be a next time, be confident, be kind and move forward.

Are we barking mad to have pets at work?

Pets entered the workplace many years ago. For a while, it was a fashionable and trendy element of the work environment. Much like soda and snacks. But why do employers still have pet friendly workplaces? Work life balance is a leading reason. People are able to work longer with their pets by their side. Pets also do wonders for stress levels. They help people relax and that can improve performance. Health can improve with pets in the workplace. We often find people in front of their computers for their full day with the exception of bathroom breaks and lunch, which is inevitably spent sitting. Walking a dog once or twice a day, while not ideal, is a vast improvement to sitting all day.

Will the pets are work trend become more or less popular in the coming years?

The Creative Job Posting

From time to time, us HR people get together and talk shop. My most recent discussion was about job postings and creativity. The question that was raised went something like this, should a job posting be creative? Or should we all follow a similar structure? The arguments for similarity were ease of use, clarity of role and transparency. And the argument for creativity boiled down to representing the organization from the first interaction. While I appreciated the merits of each side, I think the idea of introducing the culture of an organization as quickly as possible is paramount. I love the concept that a candidate knows something about you before you phone them or invite them to your office. Let’s get creative with our job postings!

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