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Hiring During Business Transformation

Posted by on Dec 7, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

For more than the last eight years, I have been helping businesses transform from mediocrity (or worse) to strongly performing enterprises. While there may be marketing strategy changes or situational upheaval, all the transformations have involved subtracting, adding or changing roles on the management team. Of the businesses I have been most involved in, in the last 24 months, this has and continues to be the toughest task for the senior manager. Despite significant size differences ranging from quite small, to medium with strong growth and then to the top end of the SME range, all these businesses are struggling with finding and on-boarding the talented leaders they need. Invariably, they have faced hiring mistakes and “start-overs” as they push to get management structure in a place capable of carrying the weight of performance improvement. So, what can you do? Firstly, as a senior or THE senior manager, know why you are making the change. Also, what you have to get with a new hire and why (so that you can articulate that need to candidates). Know the answer to the oft-used interview candidate question, “if I was to be judged successful after 12 months in this position, what would I have done?” One hiring guru has suggested that it takes 130 decent resumes to get one hire. In my experience, it takes at least four (4) filtering interviews to make a successful selection. The same guru postulates that there are 4 “super elements”: Attitude Accountability Past job-related successes Cultural Fit Really on that list, there are only two “super elements” in my opinion. From experience, tangible past job-related success is the most critical predictor of future success and secondly, attitude (a subjective attribute) which nearly always determines accountability and culture fit. The first is the more easily gauged as you can probe for both success factors and failures in a candidate’s resume experience. Always ask them to define what they personally did versus a team effort (however important). And be dogged in your follow-up questions for fact-based answers. We all embellish a bit on our resumes so, caveat emptor. Attitude mostly determines accountability hence the ability to accurately judge a candidate’s overall attitude is really important and, highly subjective. Different interviewers judge attitude by different standards and weigh comments, body language, and facial expressions differently. Usually, I develop a sense of overarching attitude as the interview moves along. Initial impressions can be supplanted by newer evidence from completely different career segments. I have found panel interviews especially good at developing a comprehensive “attitude” profile. While others are doing the questioning one can observe, undistracted by having to listen to each word and gauge a candidate’s response process more...

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Dear Ontario Provincially Regulated Employer: is your business ready for Bill 148?

Posted by on Dec 4, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

It’s more than an increase in minimum wage! Bill 148, Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 passed third reading on November 22, 2017, and has now received Royal Assent. The Act brings significant changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Ontario Labour Relations Act (LRA). ESA changes may come into effect as early as the day the Bill receives Royal Assent. LRA changes may come into effect January 1st, 2018 or when it receives Royal Assent – whichever is earlier. Below is a sampling of some changes to the ESA and LRA for provincially regulated employers in Ontario. For a complete review of Bill 148 amendments visit www.ontla.on.ca Under ESA All employees entitled to have 10 days Personal Emergency Leave (PEL), 2 of which are required to be paid days; employers are prohibited from requesting a doctor’s note from employees taking a leave under PEL Parental leave to be aligned with changes to the Employment Insurance Act allowing parents to take a combined maximum of 18 months of pregnancy and parental leave Increased paid vacation to 3 weeks after 5 years of service Notwithstanding some exceptions, casual, temporary and seasonal employees will be required to be paid the same rate of pay as full-time employees for performing substantially the same work. Under LRA Establish card-based certification for the following sectors: temporary help agency industry, business services sector, home care, and community services sector; Authorize the OLRB to conduct votes outside the workplace, inclusive of electronic and phone voting; Extend successor rights to the retendering of building services contracts; Where the union is able to demonstrate 20% employee support access to employee lists and certain contact information must be provided; There are many important questions to be asking: Is your business ready for these changes? Have employee-related programs, policy, and procedures been reviewed? How will these changes impact employee relations programs and strategy? How will these changes impact operations? The Osborne Group team of Human and Labour Relations consultants can support your organization with this change while ensuring business readiness in an efficient and cost-effective way. You can reach us on our Contact page or by using the specific Principal information on the team page....

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Reflecting on Bernie Sanders’ Trip to Toronto to Discuss Canadian Healthcare

Posted by on Nov 24, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

I recently had the privilege of hearing Senator Bernie Sanders speak to a very engaged Toronto audience. Senator Sanders was in Toronto to get a first-hand look at what our universal healthcare system looks like. He toured three Toronto hospitals and had numerous conversations with healthcare providers and patients about the benefits of our publicly funded system. He also heard real-life examples that he can use to debunk some of the myths that are circulated in the US by those who oppose single payer, government funded, universal access healthcare. One such myth is the notion that the Canadian health care system does not support innovation despite many examples of groundbreaking work being done right here, just like the recent in-utero surgery done to prevent spina bifida in a newborn. Bernie considers the fight for universal healthcare in the US as a human rights movement, much like those launched decades ago for civil rights for Afro-Americans, the gay rights movement, or the fight for women’s rights. Sadly, none of these is quite over yet… but you get the idea. When asked by a student in the audience what Canadians can do to support the healthcare rights movement, Senator Sanders replied that we need to “get loud and blow our horns about what you have here in Canada… talk about what has been accomplished here”. By doing so we can bust some of those myths heard when talking to American family members, friends or colleagues. Societal change takes a groundswell – just ask some of those high-flying Hollywood celebrities and power brokers who have been taking advantage of more vulnerable people for years. Visit Osborne-group.com for other Principals’ ideas and opinions on a range of topics. The Osborne Group provides interim executive management, consulting and project support across all sectors and over a broad scope of service...

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Technological disruption is here to stay, it’s time to start paying attention

Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different? – C.S. Lewis   Change is everywhere, but we often don’t notice it until it hits us with full force.  At an event a few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be able to attend a presentation on the fintech industry in the GTA. The discussion eventually focused on 3 main areas of change that are happening now, right in front of us: Internet of Things Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Blockchain technology Most people have heard of these, but they sound too ‘techy’ to be real. But here are two examples that suggest these are not as far off as we may think: The explosion of Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa software in the last 12 months. The burgeoning internet of things technology, likely coming to a home near you this holiday season. Uber has just announced they will buy 24,000 self-driving vehicles from Volvo to put on the road over the next 4 years. Self-driving cars are ‘driven’ by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Blockchain technology I will save for another blog…but it will be a significant disruptor of many industries. In a TED talk on innovation, David Lee states that the rate of change from a farming economy to an industrial economy was 100 years, from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy was 60 years, and it is predicted that this most recent economic base change will take 10-15 years at most. I think that with much of the above technology well on its way, that estimate is very accurate. Staying current on the deluge of technological change can be mind-boggling, but once you have a sense of the impact it can have, it becomes a necessity. There is a lot of content out there to help you keep on top of things from traditional books to online content, pod-casts, seminars and speaker series. I encourage you to check it out. Visit Osborne-group.com for other Principals’ ideas and opinions on a range of topics. The Osborne Group provides interim executive management, consulting and project support across all sectors and over a broad scope of service...

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Are you doing the right things to create a culture of engagement with your employee group?

Posted by on Nov 14, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Family Enterprise Xchange Forum last week. The biggest benefit of being a speaker at these events is that – while I was there to share my story – I also got to listen to the experiences of others. The forum was aimed at addressing how to maintain a strong foundation in your family-run business. We heard from a couple of 3rd generation business owners: Paul Higgins of Mother Parkers Tea and James Schlegel Jr. of Schlegel Villages to name a couple. Both talked about their successes and what they felt were the reasons they were able to beat the odds and have a successful family enterprise ready for 4th generation leaders. My takeaways from those discussions are the following: Importance of the employee It was clear from listening to these two that they deeply understand the importance of their employees in the success of their corporations. They see their role as leaders to ensure that the organization is working to support frontline workers and provide them with the resources they need to deliver on their customer’s expectations. Culture that embodies the corporate values Both organizations continue to stress the corporate values that have lasted through the 1st and 2nd generations. They have regular discussions with employees about the corporate values and how they can make those values part of the way each employee handles their responsibilities and interacts with customers. Professional development that drives succession Neither leader gave you the impression that they were satisfied with the status quo. They expressed a healthy interest in seeking more knowledge about their business by witnessing firsthand how their staff handles day to day issues. Armed with this research, they can plan staff development and place future leaders in the right roles so that they are ready to meet the succession needs of the organization. As an HR professional, these all make sense and align with the positioning I take with my clients. Engaged employees deliver superior customer service resulting in increased cash flow through repeat business or referrals. I was fortunate to experience the wisdom of these business leaders. Now, I’d like to ask you: Are you doing the right things to create a culture of engagement with your employee group? Mike Dick Human Resources Visit Osborne-group.com for other Principals’ ideas and opinions on a range of topics. The Osborne Group provides interim executive management, consulting and project support across all sectors and over a broad scope of service...

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RFPs – Do they really make sense today?

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

As part of my consulting gig, I’m frequently obligated to participate and to comment on RFP contract value and winnability. As both a consultant and a former multinational supply chain manager, I have a conflicting view of publicly posted RFPs. A strong, well-written RFP that has a detailed set of client requirements and metrics is very valuable to organizations and their procurement staff. Well thought-out competitive responses can form win/win contract agreements. Quality RFPs, however, seem few and far between these last several years. I would estimate 75% of published RFPs in the public sector are poorly organized, specify little in specific scope and contain rushed time requirements reflecting very poor client planning. The provincial government’s recent attempts to use RFPs as instruments to protect agencies and create award transparency, although well intended, have generally failed. Upon reflection, there were always poorly crafted RFPs, so why is this so much more prevalent now? There are a couple of important reasons. Many organizations do not invest in the procurement capacity or supply management function staff and generally, fail to understand its strategic value. Many do not offer the procurement function a supportive or willing internal client to help author and distill the strategic requirements in a concise and clear way. Many of these clients simply write RFP’s around a particular service provider by outlining specific elements that are unique to only one or a few proponents. In these cases it’s very clear that clients simply want their goods and services provided immediately or even worse, to engineer a contract award that meets a sole source wish. So much for organization protection and effective procurement processes! This is a tremendous waste of time for everyone involved in the procurement process. So what do poorly written RFPs look like? One recent hastily constructed RFP included a vague 1-page client requirement embedded in 19 pages of proponent commercial terms and requirements. Other attributes include poor scope relevancy to the type of proposal being posted. What to do about this? As a proponent, I should simply walk in the other direction and ignore the RFP invitation. Garbage in = garbage out. As a former Supply Chain Manager, however, I might invest a little time to do research to see if it’s salvageable. In recent months, I have been walking away from poorly written RFPs to reduce my cost exposure. As a self-critic perhaps my tactics could change though…With the right client, I might be tempted to respond with a letter citing our decision to not reply with a proposal but perhaps even go further with the reason and that this RFP fails to outline clear scope and commercial requirements. Maybe the organization executive (usually...

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