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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bill 138: An Offer You Should Refuse

So a little while ago I did a blog comparing the HRPA to communism and saying that we would all be 'fucked' if Bill 138 passed. (edit: as of March 2013 - Bill 32 is the new name)

Apparently I am not allowed to use one of those words... At least I think that is what the HRPA is referring too... I got the following (somewhat vague) email:

I have since edited it to say 'screwed' as my choice of words first time round may not have been the most professional... My apologies to anyone I may have offended.

As for my choice of the F-word, I still believe that Bill 138 would be horrible for our profession, the companies we work for, and is nothing more than attempt at gaining more (unnecessary) power over us from the HRPA... This I stand by.

I also stand by the fact that the approach of creating Bill 138 was not democratic... Many (paying) members still don't know about it, and are not happy when they become aware.

Not only do I stand by it, but I think it is the only reason my blog got the attention it did.  The HRPA does not want people to oppose Bill 138... They want it to pass under the radar... Too bad.

Remember the email I posted from the THRPA Board?

This is the key take away from the tactics used:

The THRPA Board of Directors was extremely disappointed by the manner in which HRPA decided to conduct the meeting on November 29th. HRPA had already decided BEFORE the meeting what the intended the outcome would be. This mischievous and egregious action cannot be accepted. We expected an open dialogue where we could explore our mutual interests for our members and the HR Profession, instead the HRPA Board of Directors threatened to remove us as your elected board representatives of THRPA if we refused to sign certain agreements immediately that evening. As HR professionals we would never advise our employers or clients to force anyone to sign a letter with these requirements and under duress. Why would HRPA dare to choose such an approach? We felt their actions were not merely disrespectful but potentially illegal.

Why didn't they just say give 'em an offer they can't refuse?

But this isn't the first time a comparison to gangsters that can be made about the HRPA... Remember the Capranos video?

The so-called 'promotional video' for our profession? The one promoting violence along with gender, racial, and ethnic stereotypes?

There was also a statement in the email from the THRPA regarding this video:

This promotion of violence posted officially on the internet and advertised to Chapter Presidents as HRPA official communication was unacceptable. We were disappointed by the response and the subsequent efforts to rectify the situation.

What would the THRPA be so upset about?

Well, here are some screenshots from a discussion about the video from the HRPA Members LinkedIN group:

In all fairness, there was a variety of responses to the video - some liked it some didn't... with any form of self-expression (like a blog for example) this can be misinterpreted. 

Good thing the HRPA's Manager of Membership and Chapter Relations is on top of things!

It looks like everyone learned their lesson, the video was pulled from YouTube, and will no longer be distributed... all is good again!

Meanwhile, on Twitter...

Copies are still available?

I know I'm not supposed to use the F-word anymore... but this sure looks like a big middle finger to the THRPA Chapter president to me.

Do you see a big middle finger? I do!

Want another example? Let me pick one!

As a believer in National Unity, I think all provinces should work together whenever possible.  To me, the CHRP designation is becoming increasingly de-valued as a national designation due to the lack of national unity.

I believe that a national designation should have a national standard... There's logic to that right?

So, I posted a discussion about it on the HRPA Members LinkedIN group:

I got the following email from the HRPA:

Kind of a rude response for a guy that is responsible for Member Relations don't you think? 

But am I involved with Canadian HR Press? Google my name... You will find that I have maintained study blogs that have helped thousands of people (nationally) succeed on the CHRP exams. 

In no way does this mean that I am not allowed a personal opinion... That is my right as a Canadian!

On the actual LinkedIN discussion board Mr. Falvo asked me the same question so I responded:

Basically got told to shut up... Not something like "Hmmm... an awful lot of our paying members/customers seem upset, let's look into this!"

But rather more of a "This is our decision - live with it!"

Making comments on this thread has been disabled... surprise surprise. 

Want another example?

This past month (about a week ago) I started blogging about Bill 138 and like clockwork the harassment  from HRPA started again... The subject line was "Last Time I Ask"... I'm not a customer service expert, but I think something along the lines of "Hello" is generally more appropriate.

Want one last example?

Okay... But I think I spoil you.

Here is an email that came out  a few days ago from the HRPYR (York Region) Board... a Board whose president was threatened similarily to the THRPA president about not opposing  Bill 138...

December 23, 2010

To: ALL HRPYR Members

“As the leaders of your Chapter Board, we believe it is our duty and responsibility to look after the interests of our Chapter members – YOU.” We have three issues to share with you.

First, you may be aware that HRPA has suspended the HRPYR Board pending the outcome of an investigation regarding the recent nomination process. While we are confident that the complaint will be dismissed as unfounded, no-one disagrees that an investigation should take place to clear the air.

BUT, after asking the HRPYR Board to keep the investigation confidential, the Chair of the GNC himself emailed all of you - 1300 members of HRPYR - advising you that the ENTIRE Board was suspended. In our personal opinion that action was contrary to the HRPA's own Code of Conduct, which states:

A Director must not engage in conduct ...... likely to prejudice the business of HRPA or a Chapter.... or likely to harm defame or otherwise bring discredit upon HRPA or a Chapter....

There was no need to suspend the Board; it was gross overkill. It alarmed us and you all and certainly brings discredit to HRPA.

You should know that there are 7 Directors (while only 5 are required) whose terms continued (past November 30th 2010) to November 2011, so even with the newly selected Directors being delayed from taking office there are more than sufficient to keep HRPYR operating. And there have been no issues surrounding the rest of HRPYR's operation. In fact, both the audit conducted by the HRPYR auditors and the HRPA auditors in 2010 concluded that the financial and administrative functions of HRPYR were in good shape.


By now you are likely aware that HRPA has attempted to withdraw the right of THRPA to represent Toronto members, a move that THRPA is fighting on the basis that it is illegal. It is OUR belief that the reason that HRPA took this action had very little to do with those stated by HRPA in its communication to members, and far more to do with eliminating expected opposition to Bill 138.

You should know that HRPA demanded that each member of the THRPA Board sign a letter acknowledging that they would not oppose Bill 138. They have also threatened others IF they chose to oppose the Bill. We believe that this is completely inconsistent with the principles of democracy in Canada. Nor is it the actions of an Association that is willing to consult, discuss or collaborate.

3. BILL 138

The proposed Bill 138 has many issues of concern. To list just a few:

* HRPA sent a first draft of a Bill to the Ontario Government WITHOUT any attempt to communicate or to consult with Chapter Executives or the Membership regarding the detail. In our view, if a new Act is so important, surely it was worth the time to consult.

* There is an official Chapter consultation policy and there are regular Chapter Presidents’ conference calls and meetings, but beyond saying that we needed a new Act, Chapter Presidents and Boards received nothing from HRPA.

* HRPA itself claims that Bill 138 is imperfect, but that we should all accept it just so we can ‘play with the big kids’ as a Tier 1 profession. The articulated reasons for HR to be "Tier One" are not compelling. All other Tier One professions have licensing authority. HRPA does not and claims not to want it; now. Accepting an imperfect Act seems to be a compromise that seems ill-advised at best. Especially when most provincial associations seem to do just fine with no Act at all.

* Do HR professionals really manage trusts, estates and wills? Bill 138 covers that (including any personal wills/estates you may handle).

* Do we really want our Association to be able to come into our workplaces and homes to investigate WITHOUT WARRANT? Bill 138 allows that!

Question: If this Bill is a positive step for our profession, as HRPA claims, then why the secrecy and threats? And why not invite open dialogue about it? What a terrible foundation on which to begin!!

We believe that the (secret - names of Committee NOT published to Membership) HRPA GNC exceeded its authority with respect to the suspension of the HRPYR Board, and that the HRPA Board exceeded its authority in attempting to withdraw the mandate of THRPA. Both actions are clearly likely to prejudice the business of HRPA, and of HRPYR and THRPA, a contravention of the Board Code of Conduct.

Are you and we honestly being asked by HRPA to believe that these events are unconnected? HRPA is targeting the Chapters most likely to raise questions about Bill 138. THRPA and HRPYR are consistently the two Chapters that communicate most to their members, and the two Chapters that most frequently and openly ask "why" when confronted with HRPA’s lack of communication and openness. Of note: HRPYR and THRPA are also the two Chapters most likely to ask HRPA to consult with Chapter Boards and members on important issues, to bring innovation to the association and generally the first to support HRPA’s directives.

Our preference is to try to work collaboratively with the provincial body. For example – HRPYR was one of the first to adopt HRPA’s requirement to change our fiscal year, and to attempt to bring our Bylaws in line with the template requested by HRPA. We have also been proactive with respect to Government Affairs.

It is our opinion that the communication from HRPA is a diversion, to take your attention away from the Bill. We urge you to take the time to read through the Bill for yourselves (click here).

Regardless of what happens with Bill 138 these incredibly heavy-handed actions by HRPA will not be forgotten.

As an HR practitioner this has everything to do with Bill 138 and YOUR future.

With apologies for raising serious issues at what should be a joyous time of year,

Ian J. Turnbull & Bridget Carter
President (suspended) & Past President & Director (suspended)
Human Resources Professionals of York Region (HRPYR)

Overall, I'm not claiming to be perfect... far from it.  But to be called out for "using obscenities and particularly defamatory language and tone in a public forum" from the HRPA hardly seems fair given the history of their intimidation tactics, bullying, and lack of respect for the very profession, chapters, and members that support them.

But this isn't about me using obscene language... This is about me opposing Bill 138.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Exciting times in HR

Gotta say, I'm, not sure who to call... a mediator, a lawyer, or Chuck Norris.

Pictured above: The only mediator I'd ever trust.

The past 2 weeks have been exciting times in HR to say the least... Check out the long and information packed email I got from the THRPA today:

Dear THRPA Member,

Over the past few months, your Toronto Chapter Board of Directors has been working diligently in attempting to build a collaborative relationship with the HRPA board in order to ensure that your needs and rights as a member are effectively met. We have responded to all of HRPA’s requests throughout our discussions with them in a diligent and responsible manner.

Regrettably we must inform you that it has become clear that HRPA has no intention of working in a collaborative and professional manner. Your THRPA Board of Directors has been subjected to unfair reprisals as seen in the communications which HRPA has sent out to all THRPA members and now publicly communicated through media channels and to all other Chapters across Ontario.

It has become clear that we possess very different points of view on a number of fundamental issues including the very by-laws approved a by the Toronto Chapter. In addition we cannot support the newly proposed draconian regulatory legislation, namely, Bill 138. It was proposed in secret sessions and kept from members at large. We believe this law is simply not in the interests of our members, our profession or the people of Ontario.

Consequently, your elected Board of Directors has reached a serious impasse with the HRPA Board and management. We cannot continue to dedicate our time to an HR association that does not allow us to fairly and transparently represent your interests. We are reaching out to you, our members directly to bring our own transparency to this urgent situation. The statements made by HRPA regarding our financial matters are misleading. Your chapter has appropriately managed the financial matters of the organization and has not diminished the funds as depicted by the HRPA. Expenditures made by the chapter have all been focused and directed on investments that provide members with valuable programs and services. This includes: Mentorship Program, ACT, e-Learning, Professional Development events, Business Excellence Awards, Senior HR Forums, etc. We have not diminished our funds, we have invested them back to our members. Our financials are audited by an independent firm each year and have been approved by our members each year at the Annual General Meeting. HRPA has had no issue with the Statements in the past that have received the same Auditors opinion.

In response to the recent declarations from HRPA we have sent the following:

December 21st, 2010

To: HRPA Board of Directors

We are shocked and dismayed by your email of December 20. Your continued high-handed disregard of the members of our association speaks volumes as to your motivations. As a reminder, the Board of TPPA has been democratically elected by members of the HRPA. These are your members who have shown a desire to be part of a more localized organization, THRPA, in addition to HRPA. Our Board owes fiduciary duties to these members. Frankly, we are surprised that you do not seem to recognize your members’ direct and explicit desires.

You have scurrilously accused us of not acting in the best interests of our membership. We have addressed any and all of your concerns quite directly. The bylaws will be put to the THRPA members as we are required to do by our charter. Your suggestion that we do not have to do so is contrary to law.

Your statements about member engagement and financial matters are also misleading and written to manipulate our members as well as damage the professional reputations of the THRPA Board of Directors. With respect to your comment on the auditors’ statement, you have misled our members. As you know a “qualified review” is standard language that is used in any not-for-profit organization’s audit report. Furthermore, it is the exact same opinion that we have received every year in our audited statements since the inception of our corporation. We note that you that you have had no issue with the Statements in the past.

We refuse to accept your edict. We believe it to be illegal and outside your jurisdiction. We are presenting these matters to our members at a meeting called for this purpose on February 3rd, 2011. Until that time, it is the intention of our Board to serve its members in accordance with the mandate we have been given by them.

In addition, your privacy concerns are equally transparent and wrong. Our members are also members of TPPA Inc. which as you are well aware is a separately incorporated entity. We have every right, and indeed are obliged to communicate with them concerning matters that affect them. Again if you believe otherwise, we should canvass them. A step we would be eager to take.


Carmine Domanico


On Behalf of the Toronto Human Resources Professionals Association Board of Directors

Some Background to The Dispute

The following is a brief background of the events that have transpired and lead up to this open letter to you. We have dealt with a number of difficult matters including, but not limited to the release of the Caprano’s video satire promoting violence in the workplace on You Tube last June, the Bylaw dispute, and finally the controversial Bill 138, Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2010. The full text of Bill 138, which received first reading on November 23rd, can be read at the following link: We have also provided all THRPA members with a background document on Bill 138 which can be found at This background is provided in the hope that you can “speak up” on your own behalf directly to HRPA and to us.

The Capranos Video: An embarrassment to our Profession

We have also reflected on the actions that HRPA took with respect to the “Capranos” video and the subsequent actions taken by HRPA to address the numerous concerns that THRPA and the majority of most of the chapters and many of our members had about the video. We promptly informed HRPA that we found the video to be offensive, disgraceful and unprofessional on many fronts, including: gender and ethnic stereotyping, the unflattering depiction of the HR profession and our members and that it totally disregards the recent efforts to keep workplaces safe and harassment free (Bill 168). This promotion of violence posted officially on the internet and advertised to Chapter Presidents as HRPA official communication was unacceptable. We were disappointed by the response and the subsequent efforts to rectify the situation.

Our Bylaws: You will lose your voice

On November 29th your THRPA Board of Directors met with the HRPA Board of Directors to discuss a number of issues including our Chapter bylaws. We believed we had reached an agreement with HRPA on November 30th and received written confirmation to this end. This included the acceptance of the HRPA crafted new chapter bylaws, which have since been posted on the THRPA website. These bylaws are subject to your approval at the Special Meeting scheduled for February 3, 2011. Subsequent to receiving confirmation on this agreement we received additional conditions from HRPA that have been imposed upon us and to which no other Chapter in Ontario is required to submit. These conditions violate our freedom of speech and are in contravention of the legal THRPA by-laws approved by our Chapter members and the legal foundation of Toronto Chapter (as established in 2004 as a rightful heir of PAT established in 1935). We are an incorporated entity registered as TPPA Inc. and as such you are also members of TPPA Inc. and have participated in Annual General Meetings of the corporation since 2004. We cannot accept these new conditions and professional reprisals, as we believe they limit the rights of the Toronto Chapter and its members to freedom of speech, employment without borders and expressing individual points of view. Nor can these conditions be reasonably met. HRPA has unilaterally imposed By-laws on THRPA which curtail the rights of the chapter and Toronto members. They are plain and simple not in the best interest of our members.

The THRPA Board of Directors was extremely disappointed by the manner in which HRPA decided to conduct the meeting on November 29th. HRPA had already decided BEFORE the meeting what the intended the outcome would be. This mischievous and egregious action cannot be accepted. We expected an open dialogue where we could explore our mutual interests for our members and the HR Profession, instead the HRPA Board of Directors threatened to remove us as your elected board representatives of THRPA if we refused to sign certain agreements immediately that evening. As HR professionals we would never advise our employers or clients to force anyone to sign a letter with these requirements and under duress. Why would HRPA dare to choose such an approach? We felt their actions were not merely disrespectful but potentially illegal. THRPA approved the new bylaws imposed by the HRPA and have submitted them to you, our members, for approval on February 3rd. However HRPA decided that we did not need member approval to pass the bylaws and hence decided to take action to remove us from our elected positions as your Board of Directors. We are simply following due process and diligence with respect to our governance responsibilities to our members. Their actions are not in the best interests of our members

New Draconian Legislation Bill 138: Power Grab Solution for a Problem that does not exist

With respect to Bill 138, we have not been involved in any consultation process with HRPA regarding the specific terms that are included in this alarming Bill. Members of the HRPA were not consulted prior to the First Reading of Bill 138 although there were representations to government officials by the HRPA board that they had done so. We do have concerns with many of the provisions in Bill 138 and we have not been afforded an opportunity to openly voice these concerns. December 3rd, ten days after the First reading at Queen’s Park, HRPA held a Webinar with Chapter Presidents and Chapter Government Liaison Directors. There was no opportunity to influence change of the current Bill. This is unacceptable and it is an offensive depiction of HR professionals who have not been provided with an opportunity to dialogue, consult and understand the serious limitations and implications of this Bill on their profession. Their actions are hurting our profession, yet we are denied an opportunity to speak.

We have dedicated ourselves to helping our fellow Human Resources professionals develop forums for growth, establishing connections to Business leaders, promote Professional Development and building strong professional networks across Toronto. We will continue to dedicate ourselves to this cause and explore all options to achieve this goal.

How You Can Help

We need to act now to protect our profession. Here is what you can do:

Write to the HRPA Board of Directors and let them be aware of your opinion regarding Bill 138 and the manner in which they have dealt with your elected Board of Directors.

Write to your MPP about your opinion on Bill 138.

Write to us at “” with your opinion the above matters. We represent you!

We ask you for your continued support and feedback.


THRPA Board of Directors

I don't know about you, but I think the THRPA has brass balls like no other!

Personally I applaud the THRPA... They truly value themselves, the HR Profession, and have morals... what's not to love?

The present leadership has made me truly question the value of being a member of the HRPA, let alone my CHRP designation which is progressively becoming a national joke.

Anything we can do to stop the 'school yard' bully (and gestapo-like) tactics of the current HRPA leadership needs to be done.

As far as I am concerned, if we don't stop the cancerous growth on the HR Profession that is the current HRPA, the reputation of the entire profession in Ontario (perhaps Canada) is at risk.

I applaud the boldness of  THRPA's decision to put up a good fight for what is the right choice and they have my full support!

Wiki's and the New Employment Relationship

I was watching a video from Jack Welch today and his take on WikiLeaks, and how it impacts those of us in Society and in Business.

He makes some great points.

For the average citizen, Julian Assange exposed a number of secrets that exposed the government in ways they would have never wanted to be seen... Many applauded him as standing up against 'big brother' and facing him head on.

The government... Well he pissed 'em off plain and simple... Not only did he read their diary, but he shared it with the world!

But what about those of us in business?

As Jack Welch says, "Trade secrets are trade secrets - there is no way you want them outside the company."

Like the recipe for Coca-Cola, there are some secrets that provide the competitive advantage companies need to stay in business and giving them away is grounds for punishment!

So how do we overcome this?

Well internally, everything the company does should have buy-in and people should know the reasons why things are happening the way they are... Albeit this is not always easy.

Also, it should be defined what is internal knowledge (not for sharing) and confidentiality agreements need to be signed.

Externally, listen to stakeholder and consumer opinions.  Think of how the actions you are taking will be perceived.  The perception of a company can change over night... Look no further than BP.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Members Are to be Seen, Not Heard

Are you a member of the HRPA? Has your cheque cleared?

Great - now please keep your head down and be quiet for the remainder of the ride.

Sounds harsh right? But what would one be lead to think that when the Toronto Chapter opens up discussion about the controversial bill 138 and gets shut down?

You haven't heard?

About a week ago, the THRPA Board of Directors sent out an email to all members that read:

Dear THRPA Member,

Recently Bill 138 “Registered Human Resources Professional Act, 2010” received First Reading in the Ontario Legislative House on November 23, 2010.

We encourage all THRPA Members to read this Bill as it concerns an Act respecting the Human Resources Professionals Association.

Bill 138 can be accessed by clicking HERE.

THRPA Board of Directors

In my previous blog, I questioned the lack of communication from the HRPA surrounding this bill as it seemed extremely sneaky.

As shown above, the THRPA created awareness of the bill to their members and looked for some dialogue, then a week later (today) this email is sent out by the HRPA:

As you may know, the Board of the Toronto Personnel Professional Association Inc. ("TPPA") has operated the Toronto Chapter of HRPA since 2004. The right of a third party to operate a Chapter of HRPA is dependent on its compliance with HRPA By Laws for Chapters and maintaining standards of good governance and compliance with the Code of Conduct for Chapter Directors. Since 2008, the Board of HRPA has grown increasingly concerned with TPPA's management of the affairs of the Toronto Chapter, including:

The rapid erosion of member equity. Since 2008, member equity has dropped from close to $400,000 to less than $20,000, receiving a qualified review from the auditor of the most recent financial statements;

A steady decline in member engagement. The Toronto Chapter now has the lowest level of member engagement out of all of the larger chapters and is in the bottom 10 percent of all chapters;

Lengthy delays and resistance to the adoption of the new Chapter By-Laws. The Toronto Chapter was the last of all Chapters to do so.

On November 29th and 30th, 2010 the Board of HRPA met with the Board of TPPA to express these concerns. On December 1st, the TPPA Board signed an agreement accepting the new Chapter By Laws and committing to address the HRPA Board's other concerns about the management of the Toronto Chapter.

In the weeks since the agreement was signed, the TPPA Board has failed to comply with its commitments to the HRPA Board. Further, TPPA's Board has continued to violate the Code of Conduct for Directors of Chapters of HRPA.

As a result, effective immediately, the TPPA Board is no longer permitted to operate the Toronto Chapter of HRPA. HRPA has an obligation and responsibility to govern the HR profession, to represent our members' interests and protect the reputation and integrity of the profession. The unwillingness of the TPPA board to adhere to good governance left HRPA with no other alternative.

Within the next seven days, HRPA will appoint an interim Board of Directors for the Chapter and, as soon as possible, establish a process to elect a new Board to run the Toronto Chapter.

If you have questions, please email


Antoinette Blunt, MPA, CHRP, SHRP

HRPA Board Chair

So are we living in a Police State?  The HRPA acts under the guise of 'furthering the profession' and 'membership development' but more often than not seems to only want to increase their control.
If this bill passes as is, I will personally not continue my membership with the HRPA.  I do not want to belong to a member-based organization THAT THINKS THEY should have more power than the police, that doesn't care about membership concerns, and has a complete lack of transparency.

Further, what organization would hire me knowing that the organization I am a member of could do an investigation at anytime, without a warrant, take what they want, and make my employer foot the bill?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

HRPA: More messed up than I thought

What do you get when you cross human resources with communism?

Based on what I have read in the proposed Bill 138 I would say you would have the HRPA.

In the proposed bill 138, you will find points like:

52. (1) In conducting an investigation under this Act, an investigator may, (a) at any reasonable time, enter and inspect the business premises of the individual or firm under investigation, other than any part of the premises used as a dwelling, without the consent of the owner or occupier and without a warrant;

Let it be noted, that the police require a warrant to search your premises - so why would the HRPA think they are above that?

It may impact you personally in section:

45. A member of the Association is incapacitated for the purposes of sections 46 to 48 if, by reason of physical or mental illness, condition or disorder, other infirmity or addiction to or excessive use of alcohol or drugs, he or she is incapable of meeting his or her obligations under this Act. Investigation

(2) The parties to an application under subsection

(1) are the Association and the member. Medical or psychological examination

(3) If the capacity committee determines that it is necessary to obtain the opinion of a physician or psychologist in order to determine whether a member is incapacitated, the committee may, on its own or on motion, order the member to undergo a medical or psychological examination. Examining physician, psychologist

(4) The examining physician or psychologist shall be specified by the capacity committee after giving the parties an opportunity to make recommendations. Failure to comply

(5) If the member fails to comply with an order under subsection (3), the capacity committee may make an order suspending his or her membership until he or she complies.

So now they think they have the right to invade our personal lives.  I don't know about you, but if this bill does pass (as it stands) I think we are all screwed.

If you say 'who cares?' you are not saying this to the HRPA, but to the Ontario government.

The HRPA has done some pretty stupid things in the past, but this is down right invasive.

I would encourage all members of the HRPA to challenge bill 138.  Without our membership - the HRPA is nothing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's Been Awhile!

Hello all,

It has been quite awhile since my last post, so I thought I should give you some updates.  Over the past few months, I have changed jobs (contract ended), started playing (indoor) soccer again, and am in the midst of joining a local HR Professional Association.

I've been busy.

I can honestly say though that I think I am getting better at achieving a work-life balance than ever before.

What is new and exciting with you?


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Hunt Is On!

So here we go again, like a drifter I was born to walk alone...

Sorry - saw a chance for an 80's reference and took it!

It is now August and that means I am at about the 3 month mark before my current contract is up... so the (job) hunt is on!

While I would like my next job to be a full-time, non-contract, role - I understand that the economy is still in recovery and I should be grateful to be working at all right now.

But that being said, I tend to see the end of a contract as a huge opportunity - a time to look elsewhere, to explore options and think big.

Do I want to work in another part of Canada? Another part of the world?

Are you on a contract? What is your next move?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Time off

I haven't done a blog in a little while so thought I would catch up now.

Basically, I have been enjoying the summer.  In the -30 weather my blogs were a little more consistent, at +30 I take advantage and get out alot more!

This is my work-life balance in action and it seems to work for me!

It's summer! It is time to go bike riding, do road trips, go to cottages/campgrounds, etc.

How do you achieve your work-life balance?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

5 Year Plan?

Have you ever been asked, in an interview or otherwise, where you see yourself in 3-5 years?

It's easy to say something like, "In a role where I can utilize the skills for the betterment of the organization and myself."


Anyway, what is your real plan?

For those of you that took some Organizational Behaviour courses, you will remember the idea of a 'Gap Analysis'.

Essentially, you look at what you would like to have (or where you would like to be) and determine the appropriate steps to get there.

Why Should I?

There's a few reasons:

    1. So you're not stuck giving that generic BS of an answer mentioned at the start of the article.
    2. To create goals to which you can align yourself
    3. To give you motivation and reason behind the day-to-day choices you make

There are likely different goals of where you would like to be in a variety of areas in your life.  I have outlined a few categories and questions that may help you with this:

What level do you want to reach in your career? Why aren't you there now? What can you do to get there?


Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to achieve other goals?

Do you want to be a parent? If so, how many kids? How would you ensure you'd be a good parent?

Do you have a desired salary How much do you want to earn by what stage?

Any athletic ambitions? Do you want good health in your later years? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?

How do you want to enjoy yourself?  What will need to happen to ensure you have a balanced life?

Volunteering/Public Service:
Do you want to make the world/your community a better place? If so, how?

Do you have a plan for the next 3-5 years?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

double-double = fired-fired?

So as you may have heard, or not, a girl and her twin sister were recently fired from a Tim Horton's.

Want to know the reason? Apparently one was fired for having 'a bad attitude' and the other was then fired (according to the article) because her manager figured she would " too bitter” .

That's the reason? Why didn't the manager just say - 'your sister is fired, and since you're probably gonna bitch about it - you are too!'

I mean, this way the HR tribunal would at least have an easy case.  Of course, I believe there are always 3 sides to every story: yours, theirs, and the truth.

So I'm going to assume there is a little more context to this dismissal (based purely on hope); however, thinking back to my days in the fast food industry, I think it was probably just a case of poor management.

In a recent blog, I even asked if HR should have a role in the fast food industry because I know it is important to keep overhead down and that sort of thing.

Not to say there needs to be an HR rep at every store, but when someone is given the title (and authority) of manager, perhaps a little training needs to be had.

Perhaps you think that there is no such thing as bad press, and caffeine addictions being what they are, Tim Horton's won't likely lose sales as a result of this story.

But the question remains - does HR have a role in the fast food industry?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Work-life Balance: ahahahaha!

From the classroom to the C-suite, the term 'work-life' balance has become an increasingly popular concept over the past 5-6 years.

But what is it? does it actually happen?

In a world where a 9-5 existence doesn't really happen I would say that for the most part - no.

Personally, I would say that the the idea of having a work-life balance is a choice.  Like anything else in life, you have to set priorities and determine what you want out of each week.

I'm not saying you have to give yourself a boot-camp-esque like schedule outlining each breath you plan on taking and when, but a little structure never hurts.

The otherside of this is if your job is causing you to work well over 40 hours each week and you're not happy - why are you doing it?  and if you are happy... well really... if you're happy working 50+ hour work weeks for the majority of the year I think you might be lying or you're Hugh Hefner.

Do you feel you have a work-life balance? Does your organization support it in any way?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Worst Job Ever!

Thinking back on all the jobs you have ever had, which was the worst?

Most people, including myself, would say that it was in a place with uniforms and deep fryers...

But looking back, I worked in a kitchen for 5 years, if it was so terrible - why did I stay?

If you had asked me at the time, I probably would've said:

1. I'm in school
2. It's steady work
3. It's hard to find anything better part-time

So I kept working.  But what does this say about HR's role in the fast food industry? Sure turnover is high, pay is low, and there really isn't much room for advancement.

However, a new mall gets built, food court goes in, and people are available!

While I understand that there will always be students who have bills to pay, and people that don't have the skills/motivation/desire to leave a job where the only benefits are flexible shifts and free pop, what keeps people applying?

Most people when they leave the food service industry never want to go back. 

So does HR have a role in this territory? Would it be possible to make the jobs better?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Groupthink - the final frontier?

Where do you go when you have a question? Probably Google right?

What if it's a complex question - well maybe Wikipedia?

What if it's a question you want a hilarious answer to? How about Urban Dictionary?

Well here is what Urban Dictionary's most popular entry was for HR:

The department within a business responsible for the progression of the company through people management. Usually hated by employees at lower levels due to managers passing on their dirty work i.e disciplinaries, firing and redundancies.

Manager to employee:
Don't worry Jack, I'm the best manager in the world and I'll make sure you won't lose your job.

Manager to Human Resources Rep:
This Jack guy is a liabilaty. I need to get rid of him, will you dismiss him for me.

Jack to his friends:
My manager was great. He did everything he could to save my job but HR fired me. Fucking pricks!

Agree? Disagree?

What all of these resources have in common is the concept of 'groupthink'.

Increasingly, students are asked to work in teams on projects and assignments - this of course continues into the workplace.

Does no one want to be a decision-maker anymore? Are we becoming democratic?

Do you think this movement towards more teamwork and less individual decision-making is good or bad?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Violence in the Workplace: Is this your problem?

Yesterday in Oshawa, Ontario a 16 year old boy was fatally stabbed in front of his classmates.

What does this have to do with HR? Maybe nothing.  Maybe everything.

I have discussed the new legislation in Ontario surrounding bill 168 before, but I think this incident necessitates a second glance into what HR's role in the workplace is.

Depending on who you talk to, most people would say that if there is a dispute in the workplace - HR should be involved.

But to what extent?

Should it depend on the size of the organization? Should front-line managers be involved?

When we go to work, particularly us 9 to 5ers, we don't expect to be involved in life threatening situations.

So what is HR to do? Do we do some progressive discipline? Is it our job to try and revolve societies shortcomings?

What do you think?

Whose job is it to stop violence in the workplace? Do you think it is a problem in the average workplace?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Social Media Policy or Guidelines?

Does your company have an internet, or social media policy/guideline/code of conduct?

If it doesn't have one of these, grab some typewriter ribbon and get cracking!

Personally, I think online social networks are modern coffee & newspaper breaks; people used to take time and relax from work for a few minutes by grabbing a paper, some coffee, maybe even have a smoke - all in the convenience of their office!

Now, the reality is that alot of people spend time surfing the net or seeing what's happening on Twitter & Facebook ; through the companies computer or personal devices.

Good or bad, a policy should be written around this.  I was recently made aware of a site that can create this for you, for free, called PolicyTool.

It was developed by a group of Lawyers in Canada, so should be legally sound and save you time.

Check it out and let me know your thoughts!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shameless Self-promotion

So I was lucky enough to have an article in the Financial Post...

So in a pure and simple self-promotion here it is for your reading pleasure:

You've already heard plenty about social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Many of you probably use them routinely - but as an employer, are you maximizing on their returns?

Social networks are all too often regarded as "trendy" or "for the kids," but in fact, businesses who utilize these tools even at a basic level can separate themselves from their competition.

Consider the following statistics for Facebook:

  • An average of 250,000 new registrations per day since Jan. 2007
  • More than half of Facebook users are college graduates
  • The fastest growing demographic is those aged 35 years and older
  • Canada has the most users outside of the United States, with more than 7 million active users
Despite these figures, the number of businesses and HR professionals taking advantage of an active online social presence are limited.

So What?

As Canadian digital marketing firm Twist Image's president (and HRPA 2010 annual conference speaker) Mitch Joel says on the cover of his recent book Six Pixels of Separation, "Everyone is connected. Connect your business to everyone."

Perhaps Joel puts it best when he says, "Your brand is not what you say it is, it's what Google says it is."

Basically, a company website isn't sufficient anymore - you need to create a richer online presence.

Simply creating a company profile on Facebook or LinkedIn can expose your organization to candidates you may not be reaching through your current means. Better yet, these methods are probably more affordable than traditional means.

How Can I Get Involved?

The first steps you take are up to you and may depend on the nature of your business, your role in the organization and the strategic direction you want to take.

One example is Ernst & Young. Ernst & Young have created a Facebook profile where they post jobs, interact with prospective employees, and draw attention to upcoming company-hosted events. Presently, Ernst & Young's Facebook page has over 38,000 "fans." This has been accomplished with little-to-no financial investment.

Other companies have gone as far as to advertise/post jobs on Facebook. Advertising on Facebook is based on a cost-per-click basis and a daily budget limit can be set, meaning it will cost you as much or as little as you care to spend.

Also gaining ground is the company TweetMyJobs ( Companies from FedEx to Sony have used TweetMyJobs "to reach targeted job seekers and the millions of Twitter users across the world." provides a 30-day posting for just under $20.

Essentially, exploring different social networks and how they can be applied to enhance your business is the first step. See what your competitors are doing (or not doing). Try creating a Facebook page for your company, perhaps a Twitter account, or advertise a job on LinkedIn – how you use these tools is only limited by your creativity!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tough Interview Questions: Knock 'em Dead!

There are questions that get asked by some interviewers that make me cringe - You know the questions that after the interview you're thinking, "Why the hell would he/she ask that?" and you're left paranoid until they call you again.

It's not fun being on the receiving end as the applicant, but you can prepare yourself.

Previously, I had posted some questions on what to ask when the interview is over and it is good to have these in your back pocket, but if you're feeling lost during their questions - you may not have the guts to ask any questions at the end.

That is why you have to prepare!

Mental fear of the unknown is often what produces the physical symptoms of nervousness... ya, we can see you sweating... did you just studder? Not exactly the picture of confidence today, are you?

Okay I'm done.

In addition to preparing yourself physically, you need to prepare yourself mentally. The best way to prepare mentally is to know what may be coming.

Fear of the unknown can only exist when there is an unknown.

Take the time to understand some of these interviewing questions that are designed to knock the average applicant into the dirt.

What is your long-range objective?

Make their job easy for them. Make them want to hire you!

The key is to focus on your achievable objectives and what you are doing to reach those objectives.

For example: Within 4-5 years, I would like to become the very best accountant your company has.  I am presently working towards my designation, to take the steps I need to becoming the expert that others rely upon.

I believe my skills will continuously develop through continuing education so I will be fully prepared to take on any greater responsibilities which might be presented in the long term.

Are you a team player?

Almost everyone says yes to this question, and you're crazy not too; You'll probably be working with a team and they want to make sure you'll fit.  But it is not just a yes/no question. You need to provide behavioural examples to back up your answer.

For example: Yes, I'm very much a team player. In fact, I've had opportunities in my work, school and sports to develop my skills as a team player. For example, on a recent project . . .

Emphasize teamwork behavioural examples and focus on your openness to diversity of backgrounds. Talk about the strength of the team above the individual. And note that this question may be used as a lead in to questions around how you handle conflict within a team, so be prepared.

Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?

Don't lie and say no.  If you say no, most interviewers will keep drilling deeper to find an example of a conflict - don't go down this road.

The key is your behavioural reaction to the conflict and what you did to resolve it.

For example: Yes, like anyone else I have had conflicts in the past. Never major ones, but there have been disagreements that needed to be resolved.

I've found that when conflict occurs, it helps to fully understand the other persons perspective, so I take time to listen to their point of view, then I seek to work out a collaborative solution. For example . . .

Focus your answer on the behavioural process for resolving the conflict and working collaboratively.

Now for the ass-kicker of all interview questions...

What is your greatest weakness?

I hate this question the most!  Most career counsellors/teachers tell you to select a strength and present it as a weakness.  This is why interviewers get answers like, "I work too much. I am a workaholic that works hard everyday."

Bullshit you do! Seriously, can you smell the BS wafting off that answer? I can!

First of all, using a strength and presenting it as a weakness is deceiving. Second, it misses the point of the question.  And third, you must think the interviewer is an idiot...and they can tell it now.  Be more authentic in tackling this one!

You should select a real weakness that you have been actively working to overcome.

For example: I have had trouble in the past with time-management. However, I'm now taking steps to correct this. I just started making 'to-do' lists at work as well as using a Blackberry...

See how much more authentic that is?

Those are takes on the 4 that I find the toughest - any tough ones that you have had?


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Future Belongs to us!

Kinda sounds like something a pimply kid would say at a high school graduation, eh?

But think about it - How many of you when you were kids wanted to be on TV? Be a singer? Write a book?

As 1999 as it may sound, the internet has allowed all of us the access to do this, to some degree, very cheaply or even free.

Major media industries are changing/crumbling, so this really might be the turning point where all of us do get a have the ability to get a bigger piece of the pie.

Any of you familiar with the show Dragon's Den from the CBC?

The show allows entrepeneurs the chance to present their business ideas to a group of Canadian business moguls, for a portion of their company.  This almost completely cuts out any 'middleman' and puts the financers face-to-face with the entrepeneurs, who are putting their own money on the table.

And what about the music industry? Well I think most would agree that Napster was the beginning of the end of that dinosaur.

Now, SliceThePie (a British site) allows everyday people - like you and me, the chance to finance artists as well as to be paid to rate music.

So my question is this - are we better for having broken down some of these walls? Do you care? What industries do you think will be transformed next?


Friday, March 19, 2010

Workplace Violence: What you gotta know!

Hello to all my Ontario friends!

Just a question - how much of a problem has violence, or bullying, been in your workplace(s) during your career?

The reason I ask is that as of June 15, 2010 Bill 168 is going to introduce some amendments to the OHSA you need to be aware of.

Personally, everywhere I have worked has had some degree of 'teasing' and I would be the first to say that I think it is good to be able to have fun with your co-workers, but never to the point that someone would feel 'victimized' by another's actions.

Based on the amendments, harassment is defined as:

Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

Workplace harassment may include bullying, teasing, intimidating or offensive jokes or innuendos, displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials, or offensive or intimidating phone calls.

What do I need to do?

Employers must:

  • Prepare policies with respect to workplace violence and workplace harassment,
  • Develop and maintain programs to implement their policies, and;
  • Provide information and instruction to workers on the contents of these policies and programs.
Workplace violence programs must include measures and procedures for:

  • Summoning immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs or is likely to occur, and;
  • Controlling risks identified in the assessment of risks.

This new bill aside, has there been any history of violence in your workplaces?

Do you think this new bill is necessary, or something else HR is gonna have to train on?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beer, Google, and some Fishing Hooks

The other day I was driving home and the Steamwhistle Ad came on, and the slogan 'Do one thing, really, really, well' made me think for a second.

Think of all the business and finance courses you have done - the key message has always been that diversification is the best strategy, unless you can miraculously create a blue ocean, and maybe it is - but have you ever thought of companies that can actually get away with 'doing one thing, really, really, well.'

Well here are 3:

1. Google
2. Steamwhistle
3. Forbes 20 most important tools

Google still operates on ten guiding principles that seem incredibly simple, but are mostly built around having the best search engine around.

Steamwhistle, only ever wanted to have the best Pilsner in the world - In my opinion they do!

The Forbes 20 most important tools, has items ranging from a fish hook to a rifle, and while not brand specific - all these things 'do one thing, really, really, well!'

Can you think of any other companies that have built their image on a single product/service?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

HR & Marketing: One and the Same?

For this one, I'm looking for some feedback.  In my employment I have held HR and Marketing roles and find that they are increasingly similar - or at least have some parallel guiding principles.

What the hell are you talking about, you ask?

Well look at it like this, HR is typically responsible for 3 main things:

    1. Attracting people (talented applicants) to the organization
    2. Making sure they are happy and stay (through compensation & rewards)
    3. Ensuring there are replacements when they leave (succession planning)

Marketers are responsible for 3 main things as well:

    1. Making people aware of a product/service (creating demand)
    2. Ensuring people continue to purchase ("look, Barbie has a new hat!")
    3. Following demographic trends to keep people 'loyal to the company/product' (Buy a Mustang when
        you're young, a Windstar when you're old)

Kinda the same isn't it?


Your Business Card is Crap!

I found this on YouTube the other day, it's pretty amusing - in an 'American Psycho' kind of way.

Porter's Five Forces: Revisited

I found that over the past month or so, I keep referring to my Competitive Strategy book by Michael Porter.

While so much has changed in the business world, there are lessons and models that continue to prove themselves true.

For those of you that are not completely familiar, here is a link
for an illustrated overview of Porter's Five Forces

The reason, I think, I find myself reading Competitive Strategy again is because of the economic climate we are in.

To me, there seemed to be less focus on competitive advantages during the 'good times', but now more than ever there is this sense of having to prove yourself in the workplace, which I think is great, but certainly says alot about human nature.

Have you found this?


Monday, March 15, 2010

Job Interview: What to ask When it's Over

Alot of people come to the end of the interview and are asked, "Do you have any questions for us?"

Most say 'no'. This is a mistake. To increase your chances of being called back for a second interview, ask questions!

It not only shows your interest in the company/position, but can help you determine if the roll is right for you.

Some questions from a recent CareerBuilder article are:

What do you see ahead for your company in the next five years?

How do you see the future for this industry?

What do you consider to be your firm's most important assets?

What can you tell me about your new product or plans for growth?

How do you rate your competition? The position's history Asking about why the position is vacant can provide insight into the company and the potential for advancement. According to Annie Stevens and Greg Gostanian, managing partners at executive and career development firm ClearRock, good questions include:

What happened to the last person who held this job?

What were the major strengths and weaknesses of the last person who held this job?

What types of skills do you NOT already have onboard that you're looking to fill with a new hire? The department Asking about your department's workers and role in the company can help you understand more about the company's culture and hierarchy. Stanford suggests asking:

What is the overall structure of the company and how does your department fit the structure?

What are the career paths in this department?

What have been the department's successes in the last couple of years?

How do you view your group/division/department? The job's responsibilities To avoid any confusion later on, it pays to gain a solid understanding of the position. FGP International's Eddie Payne recommends inquiring:

What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this job?

What are the skills and attributes you value most for someone being hired for this position?

Where have successful employees previously in this position progressed to within the company?

Could you describe a typical day or week in this position? The typical client or customer I would be dealing with? The expectations To determine how and when you will evaluated, Payne recommend advises asking:

What are the most immediate challenges of the position that need to be addressed in the first three months?

What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?

How will I be evaluated at XYZ company, and how often? The next steps At the end of the interview, don't forget to ask:

What are the next steps in the interview process?

Hope that helps!


Love it or Hate it?

Have something to say about HR?

Feel free to vent it here.

CHRP/SPHR Certification

Do you have an HR designation?

I have found that alot of people, especially those under 30, want to have a designation behind their name to seperate themselves from the competition in the job market.

I personally have my CHRP for this reason, as well as the fact that I think if you are going to be considered a 'professional' in your field, you should subscribe to a certain standard.

That being said, what is the reason you want/have/don't have a designation?


Personal Branding

As information flows more freely, the easier it is for you to access information on companies, products, services, vacation destinations, and everything in between; but what about you?

Yes - People can find out pretty much whatever they want about you, especially if you are on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIN, or have a blog of some kind.

So What?

So why not use this to your advantage? Start by Googling your name - what do you find?

Whatever you have found, a potential employer could have found as well. So from here, you have to think "when my name gets Googled, what do I want people to find?"

When consdiering this, think about the type of job you would like to have in 1-2years (maybe sooner). Start getting your name out there in the right places.

If you want to be seen as knowledgable in business topics, start commenting on posts/articles from the Economist on Twitter.

If you want to be seen as a fashion expert - maybe start your own blog on latest trends.

The point is, create depth to your 'brand' by pursuing different avenues that will allow others to see you as a subject matter expert.

A great book I recently read on this was Six pixels of seperation by Mitch Joel.

Joel goes into great detail discussing how people can build their online profile and ultimately enhance their exposure through various online mediums.

Have you taken steps to increasing your personal brand? What have you done? What would you suggest to others?



Welcome to In Your Face HR!

This blog is for those of you who are in, want to be in, or just have something to say regarding HR practices in the workplace.

This is where you are free to speak your mind, interact, and gain insight to the world of anything and everything HR!

Let's get started!