Why the HRPA Member Satisfaction Survey matters

If you have already completed the 2014 Member Satisfaction Survey, you have our thanks and you can stop reading now. If you haven’t yet completed the survey, or don’t think your opinion matters, please read on.

We are truly committed to enriching your experience as an HRPA member. The annual survey is association best practice and a very useful tool for this purpose. We ask you how you feel today about the Association, about your Chapter, about the profession, about our programs and services. And we use it so we can do a better job as your association. Here’s what we do with that information:

We create cross tabs of your responses by Chapter, by your level of experience and seniority, etc., and we share that information with your local Chapter so they can integrate what you tell us into their programming. Similarly, we use that information when planning our professional development.

Our Public Affairs team uses your input on the issues that matter most to you to prioritize our lobbying efforts on your behalf.

When you tell us what we should do more of, or less of, start or stop doing, we turn those instructions into actions. For instance,

  • Thanks you your feedback, we reduced email traffic by 70% since 2012 and increased email open rates by almost 40%;
  • You told us that you wished HRPA would make it easier for members across the province to access the kinds of professional development experiences we offer through the learning centre in Toronto, so we added HR broadcasts to our line-up of professional development events, and looking ahead we’re exploring the potential for regional conferences;
  • CHRP Candidate members told us they were having a tough time getting their first job in HR, so we introduced the HRPA Edge paid internship program—and because you told us the compensation for these internships was too low, we recently increased it by over 30%;
  • And because a great number of members with less than 6 years’ experience told us they would benefit from more mentoring, we introduced tools that have allowed a 700% expansion of Chapter mentoring opportunities since 2011.

We also use it to annually benchmark Association and Chapter performance. For instance, association staff and volunteers work hard to increase your satisfaction rating. And, again, we use cross tabs to identify which membership groups are less satisfied and work especially hard to do a better job satisfying them.

So participating in the annual member survey really does matter. And this year we have eliminated some questions and modified the questionnaire’s logic so the average completion time, with nearly 800 completed so far, has been reduced to 23 minutes. So *please*, participate in the 2014 survey.

Draw for 20 Free Memberships

To sweeten the pot, after the close of the survey we’ll draw 20 names at random for free 2014-2015 HRPA memberships from survey respondents who enter the draw. The name and email fields are coded such that this information is not captured for analysis, so even when you enter the draw, your survey responses are anonymous. And you don’t have to enter the draw if you don’t want to.

If you are one of the 20 winners and you have already renewed your membership, your fees will be reimbursed. The draw will be held on May 12th. Winners will be contacted by email.

The survey closes Wednesday, May 7th, 2014.  So click on the link in the email that was sent to you on April 9th, or use this link to participate: https://hrpa.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_40BNlH766xlumJT

And thank you for reading.

Chris Larsen,
VP, Marketing, Membership & Professional Development
clarsen@hrpa.ca, (416) 923-2324 x335

HRPA Survey on Unpaid Internships: Right or Wrong?

By Kristina Hidas
VP, HR Research and Development

Unpaid internships are on everyone’s mind – most recently, the Ontario Ministry of Labour shut down unpaid internship programs at two print publications, sparking debate over whether it was the right thing to do.  Do unpaid internships, in this case in a competitive industry in which it’s difficult for young people to get a start, provide a valuable opportunity to get a foot in the door?  Or are they sheer exploitation?  The week before last week’s announcement by the government, we asked our membership those same questions.  The answers from the 850 respondents were split – 62% of HR managers said that any kind of unpaid internship that is not part of a training or educational program should be illegal.  Of those respondents who work at organizations that currently offer unpaid internships, almost 60% said they should be illegal, providing an interesting perspective on the issue from those who are familiar with administering it.  While the open commentary to the survey included several arguments that no one is forced to take unpaid internships, most of the opinions expressed were that accepting an unpaid internship is a privilege that very few can afford.

Survey fast facts:

  • Of those HR managers working in organizations that offer unpaid internships, 58% said they should be illegal
  • 68% of HR managers working in organizations with less than 50 employees said they should be illegal, while 45% working in large organizations (with more than 5,000) employees said the same
  • 20% of respondents are concerned that unpaid internships displace paid workers
  • A third of respondents are concerned that unpaid internships only benefit the organization and not the individual
  • A third of respondents have seen the number of unpaid internships at their organizations increase over the past five years

The Top Three Benefits Of Group Benefit Plans

Group benefit plans are a vital element in attracting and retaining the very best staff and staying competitive in an ever changing market. Irrespective of their industry and market size, business can keep the edge by employing cost-effective group benefit programs and strategies.  Consider these top three reasons to effect a proper group benefits program in your organization.

Talent attraction

Group benefits can help attract skilled employees especially in a shrinking workforce, where the competition for talent is fierce, so businesses need to offer a highly rewarding place to work.  High quality employees look at three things when assessing potential employers: compensation, career opportunities, and benefits.  Beyond a decent wage structure, an attractive benefits package can tilt the scales in your favour.

A diverse benefits package can help businesses stand out and added benefits like a health care spending account, which gives employees flexibility in how they use their credits, can help employers respond to their employees’ diverse needs.

Talent retention

It’s no secret that turnover is costly, both in replacement costs and customer satisfaction.  Plus, in recent years, employee loyalty is on the wane, particularly among younger workers. That’s why an attractive group benefits package can help retain employees and give you an edge when it comes to retaining them.  In a recent survey from Harvard Business Review Analytics Services, 75% of employers interviewed said that attractive employee benefits aided in employee retention.  On any day, most people value the peace of mind that a good benefits package can bring.

Tax savings

There are other financial advantages to purchasing group benefits in addition to attracting and retaining top performing employees.  Most premiums are tax deductible as a business expense, and health benefits are a non-taxable benefit. What’s more, a lot of working Canadians have access to at least one employee benefit and the number of businesses providing those benefits increases every year.

That’s why it pays to have a benefits package in place to retain a loyal workforce and to attract new employees.

Learn more about the Canadian Group benefits programs and get certified.

Cultural Competency Is Good for Business

Through the years, we have seen a strong business case emerge for diversity in the workplace. But broadening your talent pool to include diverse groups is just one part of creating an inclusive workplace. Equally important are the steps you take to improve individual and organizational levels of cultural competency in order to tap into the immense potential of culturally diverse teams.

Over the past couple of decades immigration patterns have been changing the face of Canada.
We live in one of the most diverse countries of the world. In 2011, one in five people in the Canadian labour force was born outside of Canada. If immigration patterns continue this way, by 2031, this number will likely increase to one in three being born outside of Canada. About one-third of Canadians speak a language other than English at home.*

Many companies acknowledge the importance of diversity, and are working to figure out what it means to them and how it affects their business. For many companies, there are three key drivers for promoting diversity in their organizations. These are:

  • Customers/clients – their customer base is increasingly more diverse, and customers are rewarding companies that understand diversity;
  • Talent – they want to access the best talent from the widest possible pool; and
  • Performance – access to different perspectives and ideas leads to better decision-making.

But while many companies may understand the business case for diversity, and that to be successful, they need to access and hire from a broader pool of candidates, the focus is still on increasing the diversity of their population. It’s equally important to create inclusive work environments, where everyone feels welcome, can be successful and is valued in making a contribution.

As the demographics in Canada continue to change, it’s becoming more important for companies to be culturally competent. For individuals, being culturally competent means interacting effectively and building good working relationships with culturally different people. For a company, being culturally competent means providing products and services effectively to a diverse array of cultural groups.

There are clear benefits for a company to be culturally competent.

For the individual:

  • An inclusive and supportive workplace
  • Stronger teams
  • Fuller participation
  • Ability to provide more effective service
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Retention of employees

For the company:

  • Effective service delivery
  • Increased creativity in problem-solving through new perspectives
  • Minimized risk of legal complaints
  • Strategic alliances within the community
  • Enhanced reputation and trust
  • Distinction of being a diversity leader

Yes, it is a challenge to add yet another thing to your already full plate. But think about the opportunities that await when you become more culturally competent…and what you may be losing if you don’t.

If you would like to find out how your organization can become more culturally competent, contact the Human Resources Professional Association about its “Cultural Competency Training Program”.

* Source: Statistics Canada – Census 2011

About the author:

Daria Kowalyk is a consultant who has been promoting diversity and inclusion in organizations for many years.

HRPA is organizing the “Cultural Competency Training Program” to help HR Professionals and Leaders learn about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. To learn more and register, click here.

Accessibility in the workplace: Why should you care?

By Ellen Waxman

First – it’s the law in Ontario.  Businesses, not-for-profit organization and the public sector are all required to comply with some or all of five standards under Ontario’s  Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Regulations are in force in the areas of customer service, employment, information and communications including websites, public spaces and transportation.  By now, under the law, all employees in your organization should have been trained on accessible customer service; you must have accessible and emergency evacuation plans and reports are past due to the government.  By the end of this year, all businesses with 50 or more employees must have publicly available multi-year accessibility plans from now until 2025.

What are the penalties for non compliance?  Recently, the Government of Ontario sent “Directors’ Orders” to thousands of organizations who have not submitted their accessibility reports.  Directors’ Orders mean financial penalties – from $2,000 – $15,000.  But that’s just the beginning.  The law allows the courts to levy fines of up to $100,000 a day for non-compliance.  That’s a huge price to pay for not being accessible!

And that’s not all – the Government is doing audits.  If you’re audited, you need to show your training logs, your policies and prove that you have met all the requirements.  It’s not just about ticking off the boxes in a report.

Second, accessibility is good for business.  Businesses reflect the customers they serve and accessible businesses mean an increased customer base.  In a few years, people with disabilities will make up 20% of the population.  As well, the population is aging.  As people age, their accessibility needs increase and boomers make up 40% of income share in Ontario.  These are markets that businesses can’t afford to ignore if they want competitive advantage.

And third, Ontario is facing huge labour shortages.  People with disabilities have three times the unemployment rate as the able-bodied population.  But a high percentage are well educated and they make great employees.  A recent study of 2,000 U.S. employers concluded that the top six direct benefits of employees with disabilities showed:

  1. 90% improved retention
  2. 71% increased productivity
  3. 60% eliminated costs for training new employee
  4. 53% improved attendance
  5. 42% increased diversity
  6. 39% savings from worker’s compensation or other insurance

Those are numbers that can’t be ignored.

Ellen Waxman is principal at Ellen Waxman Coaching and Consulting and former Assistant Deputy Minister of the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO).

Want to become certified as a accessibility expert in your organization? Join myself and HRPA for its Accessibility Certificate Program beginning April 8, 2014. Learn More