People First HR Services

Compassion takes sting out of “You’re fired”

Colleen Coates

Perhaps you have heard the tale about getting a pink slip in with your paycheque as a way of finding out about your employment termination. This tale dates back to the early 1900s and I’ve yet to see an organization actually do this. However, a quick media search finds many stories where employees have been victims of deplorable actions by their employer. One such case was the U.S. convenience store chain owner who held a contest for employees to guess who would be fired next in order to win a cash prize. Another high-profile termination was that of Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz who was terminated over the telephone. Then there were the RadioShack Corp. employees who found out they were being let go when they received an email explaining that workforce reduction was being carried out and “unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.”

The reality is losing your job can be a horrible and even devastating experience, but the good news is most employers are caring and realize terminations don’t have to be a dreadful experience, according to Eileen Kirton, regional vice-president of KWA Partners, leaders in career management services.

Is your staff engaged or just satisfied?

Colleen Coates

A recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that even though employees may be satisfied with their jobs, it does not automatically translate into having an engaged workforce.

In fact, while 83 per cent of employees said they were generally satisfied with their current positions, only 68 per cent claimed to feel passion and excitement and just 53 per cent felt tuned in at work.

These gaps are a troubling discovery for managers who want to motivate their people and drive organizational performance. While appearances might lead them to believe they have an engaged workplace, there may be serious cracks forming just below the seemingly smooth surface.

Have fun on the job, but get work done

Colleen Coates

Fun is one of the most underrated business tools we own. When you create a fun working environment, it leads to happy, loyal and more productive employees as well as an innovative organization that attracts new opportunities.

It is well documented that laughter releases endorphins, and that leads to a sense of well-being and optimism. Now apply this to the workplace as one California researcher recently did. His study showed that people who enjoy a little fun and humour on the job tend to be more creative, are more effective at decision making and get along better with others. These employees also chalk up fewer absent, late and sick days.

Make a 90-day plan for your new job

Colleen Coates

They say only fools rush in and that certainly applies to someone starting the first day of a new job all gung-ho to please.

It’s important to resist jumping in with both feet and instead, gain firm footing with a 90-day plan designed to set you up for success. Why 90 days? It’s enough time to acclimatize to your new environment, get some direction and understand where you need to focus your attention. At the same time, many companies give employees a performance review after three months have been completed, so it’s wise to plan ahead and make your first 90 days the foundation for what will hopefully be a long and prosperous tenure.

Do your research to find ‘right’ compensation

Colleen Coates

All you have to do is type the word salary into any web browser and you will get a plethora of options to choose from to find out how much you should be paid.

If you are the employee who is searching for this information, you may choose to focus on the highest of those that you find. If you are the employer, your view may be different on what the “right” salary is for that same position. I conducted a test of three different websites offering to give me the salary for an accountant, and I came up with three different salaries, with an overall difference of $30,000.

Managing and leading are not the same things

Colleen Coates

The terms “management” and “leadership” are often used interchangeably in the working world. But while they have both come to represent the person in charge of leading a group of people, the reality is that these two terms are as different in meaning as they are in approach.

According to Steve Pilote, senior consultant, leadership development at People First, the characteristics of leadership include charisma (enthusiasm, optimism and the ability to motivate and inspire), focused vision (being innovative and results-driven), participatory nature (fostering teamwork and collaboration), and emotional intelligence (ability to identify, assess, control and effectively utilize the knowledge of emotions of oneself and others).

You need to prepare for ever-changing world of work

Colleen Coates

While the back-to-school season marks a return to the comfort of a regular routine in most families, for students, it is a time of untried challenges and unfamiliar changes. New schools, new teachers, new classmates, new course loads and new expectations are just the tip of the iceberg — the changes are often overwhelming.

Of course, change does not stop upon graduation and our entrance into the working world; on the contrary. The workplace is a rapidly changing environment, and both employees and employers need to prepare to manage the evolving and sometimes unpredictable, developments that come their way.

Fresh leadership can help to revitalize and refocus an organization

John McFerran

According to the Global Health Council, more than 9.5 million people die every year from infectious diseases. Millions more die from secondary causes related to those diseases.

The International Centre for Infectious Diseases (ICID) in Winnipeg develops solutions that target infectious diseases by improving disease-prevention strategies; enhancing biosafety and biosecurity in labs, hospitals and communities; and commercializing innovative products for public health practice.

“If you take a look at an infectious disease such as HPV (human papillomavirus), that disease has been linked to cervical cancer and other cancers as well,” says John Borody, the non-profit organization’s CEO. “By tackling HPV, the occurrence of cancer can be reduced as well.”

Medical ‘mayor’ HSC COO aids staff in putting patients first

John McFerran

By definition, the campus of the Health Sciences Centre is a city unto itself, with nearly 15,000 people working, visiting or staying there as a patient on any given day. That makes chief operating officer Adam Topp the “mayor” of Manitoba’s largest hospital.

“I work for the 7,000 people who work here,” says Topp, who is also COO of Grace Hospital and oversees regional programs such as diagnostic imaging, child health, clinical engineering, respiratory therapy and transport for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.