CEO Message – April 2015

HRPA’s new focus on HR inspiration

After several years building the foundation to support the HR professBill Greenhalghion, HRPA’s new direction will focus on the “inspirational”—strategies and plans to ensure everyone knows and understands both the true value that HR Professionals add to organizations and the ways in which being a member of HRPA works to protect the public.

That was the general consensus of last month’s HRPA board retreat that discussed the Association’s strategic direction for the next few years.

HRPA’s past two Strategic Plans set the stage for where we are today.

The first was foundational—getting the basics rights in terms of engaged employees, strong financials, committed volunteers, and integrating the chapters and Association into a single family with a common goal.

The next Strategic Plan was both aspirational and transformational and involved getting the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2013 in place to cement HRPA’s role as regulator of the HR profession in Ontario; creating a new HR competency framework based on an updated body of HR knowledge that reflects today’s HR needs; and designations that validate not only the necessary knowledge but, as in other top tier professions including law or engineering, the ability to apply it.

With both these former Strategic Plans underpinning a fundamental shift in HRPA’s role, our new strategic direction has to be inspirational: Ensuring everyone–HR professionals, government, business and the public—understands that HR is a genuine profession with unique skills and capabilities that bring value to organizations through people strategies.

While we are still working on a formal strategy document, you can be sure that it will be around the whole area of HR “professionalization”.

One of the key characteristics of a top line profession is the reliance on a common body of knowledge that is largely applicable worldwide and the major professions have worked tirelessly over decades to develop this. In HR, a younger profession than most, our world has evolved in the last few years, what is expected from us has changed dramatically and while we have made a good start in defining what being an HR professional really means, the coming years will be critical in shaping it.

Today, we have a body of knowledge for the profession, and we have built that as part of our new competency framework. From this foundation we will reinforce the understanding that our profession involves specific and unique skills that add value to organizations and that they  require the expertise and training of certified professionals.


Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – March 2015

Join HRPA for a special interactive lunch with former General Electric HR head Bill Conaty

Bill Greenhalgh

How well do you know the high potentials in your leadership pipeline? Do you know who’s ready to step in and take over a division or function if the need arose? Do you know who could backfill that incumbent’s job? Are you doing enough to prepare your high potentials to fill these future roles?

According to Bill Conaty’s recent book, The Talent Masters, a chief executive’s primary role is to attract, assess and develop future talent for organizational success—and if that’s the CEO’s main role, then clearly the VP HR should be providing the judgment and expertise to assist in the process.

Case in point: In one anecdote that illustrates just how well Conaty and his boss (former GE CEO) Jack Welch knew GE’s talent base, they were faced with the sudden departure of Larry Johnson, who had been heading up the company’s appliance business. Within a day, they knew who would be his replacement, as well as who would fill three other jobs down the line—precisely because of their knowledge of GE’s top talent.

HR Executive Authors Series Luncheons: Talent Masters with Bill Conaty

Conaty, former SVP HR at General Electric, will be sharing these anecdotes and insights, discussing his book and career at General Electric influencing and working alongside Welch at an upcoming HRPA HR Executive Authors Series Luncheons—May 8 at One Restaurant in Toronto’s Hazelton Hotel.

Click here for more information and to register for this event.

This is an exclusive opportunity to break bread with someone who has truly helped shape modern HR practice–particularly around leadership and talent management.

Pre-approved Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities

On another note, I was recently in Thunder Bay visiting the Northwestern Ontario chapter, and I had a few members who wanted some clarification around HRPA’s Pre-approved CPD program.

There is a wide variety of activities that can be credited towards the CPD requirement for maintaining a designation granted by HRPA, and attending conferences, seminars and workshops is a popular option.  This type of CPD activity may be pre-approved by HRPA.  While a program doesn’t have to be pre-approved to be eligible for CPD, it certainly helps members identify which programs that can confidently include in their CPD log.   Pre-approved programs (e.g., seminars, workshops conferences) display this HRPA CPD seal:

hrpaPre-approved programs and activities are provided with an HRPA ID number. Upon completion of the activity, participants are provided with this number.  HRPA members may use the number to identify the activity in their CPD log. Providers do not submit participant lists to HRPA, so it is each member’s responsibility to track their own professional development activities.

More information about the CPD requirement

More information about offering pre-approved CPD programs.


Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – January 2015

2015 Annual Conference Preview

Bill GreenhalghWith less than two weeks to go before HRPA’s 2015 Annual Conference & Trade Show (January 21-23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre), Association staff are putting the final touches on what promises to be another blockbuster event.

This year’s conference—The Business of HR—examines how modern HR practice combines business acumen with deep HR knowledge and capability to create and execute human capital strategies that get results. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you register ASAP. Friday, January 16 is the last day to register online, however delegates can still register after this date onsite at the conference.

Register Now

Besides a full suite (130+) of HR seminars to keep you up to date on the latest thinking across all HR disciplines (from employment law, leadership and global HR to talent management, organizational effectiveness and total rewards), Canada’s largest trade show and a great networking event, we’ve got seven keynotes that really encapsulate the Business of HR, including intellectual capital expert Dr. Nick Bontis, Unselling author Scott Stratten, corporate culture and creativity maven Dr. Ginger Grant, Click Moment author Frans Johansson, futurist Mike Walsh, Freakonomics author Stephen J. Dubner and author, comedian and storyteller Steve Gilliland.

Special Events

We also have a couple of bonus events this year, including:

  • Caregiver-Friendly Workplaces Expert Panel Discussions And Workshop–a pre-conference (January 20, 2015, 2 – 5 pm) workshop exploring issues faced by older workers balancing work and caregiving and their employers, as well as promising practices around building caregiver-friendly workplaces.
  • Crossing the Line in the Workplace—an expert panel discussing what HR needs to know to protect against workplace sexual harassment, including why sexual harassment still exists, what workplaces are higher risk, why victims are reluctant to complain and how employers should respond to complaints while limiting legal liability.

newlogodNew HRPA logos

HRPA will also be unveiling new logos for both the Association and its designations at the Annual Conference.

With the passage of the Registered Human Resources Professionals Association Act, 2013, transforming HR into a Tier 1 profession, as well as the introduction of a new certification framework and designations, the HRPA board felt it made sense to mark these milestones with updated branding. We look forward to your comments on HRPA’s new look.

Certificates & Lapel Pins

In the next few months CHRP, CHRL and CHRE designation holders will receive updated certificates and replacement lapel pins bearing the new designation insignia. CHRLs will receive the CHRL pin, but will be able to order the CHRP pin at extra cost if that was their designation prior to October 29, 2014. Ordering instructions and pricing will be announced at a later date.


Bill Greenhalgh


HRPA 2014 Year in Review

Bill GreenhalghAs 2014 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on what HRPA has accomplished on behalf of its 21,000 members.

The biggest accomplishments—the passage of The Registered Human Resources Professionals Act (in late 2013) and the introduction of our new HR certification model and three new designationsneatly wrap up the final objectives of our most recent strategic plan: most notably to establish HRPA as Tier 1 regulator of the HR profession.

These two accomplishments act in concert to bring about this fundamental shift in HRPA’s role.

Firstly, the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act gives formal, legislative recognition of HR as a Tier 1 profession and for HRPA to regulate the profession in the public interest.

Secondly, with this recognition comes the need to solidify the professionalization of the HR profession, and our new certification framework and designation model lays the foundation for this to happen.

The new model is a competency based framework that not only tests an updated body of HR knowledge reflecting the needs of today’s HR professionals and organizations but the ability to apply that knowledge—similar to other top tier professions including law or engineering.

And similar to other top tier professions, the new model also incorporates supervised work experience programs for entry level (CHRP) HR practitioners to manage the transition from academic knowledge to professional competencies. Finally, all candidates must write a case-based performance exam, where everything learned in school, in the professional program, and in supervised experience, comes together.

HRPA members played a key role in creating this new framework over 2014. We received overwhelming response from members to participate in focus groups that helped us completely update the existing HR Body of Knowledge (which hadn’t been effectively updated since 1996). The new framework has been thoroughly modernized for HR practice in a business environment that has changed considerably over the past 20 years, and includes 213 HR functional competencies and 15 enabling competencies (things like business acumen and negotiation) across three levels of HR practice.

The framework is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a gamechanger for the HR profession. Indeed, some day we may see other HR regulators around the world adopting this framework—and with mutual international recognition means even greater acceptance of HR as a profession.

We are very pleased that we have the full backing of the HRPA membership in our professionalization project. In this year’s Member Satisfaction Survey, we asked you several questions around HRPA’s role and performance as a professional regulator. You came back with strong support, with positive response rates ranging from 74 to 82 per cent.

Expanding HRPA influence

A key mandate of HRPA’s new act is protecting the public—including the health of Ontario workers.

Over the past couple of years, HRPA has been working with partners like the Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace to help organizations build and promote psychologically safe workplaces.

This year we created a web resources and professional development to educate HR professionals and employers around effectively manage mental health issues in the workplace.

And we continued working with Government towards the goal of building an accessible Ontario by 2025. In support of Ontario’s AODA workplace initiatives, this year we rolled out a comprehensive Accessibility Certificate program for HR professionals in four cities across Ontario, and produced a free webinar series around Accessibility standards for customer service, employment and information and communications.

HRPA Thought Leadership

Over 2014, HRPA continued its HR research activities, including membership surveys and joint projects with partner organizations.

In April, HRPA published a member survey on unpaid internships that found almost two-thirds (62%) of Human Resources professionals believe unpaid internships not tied to education or training should be illegal.

In May, HRPA released Apprenticeship Reform: Ontario’s future depends on it—a paper calling on Ontario’s new College of Trades must make changes to its apprenticeships regime, including modernizing the certified tradespeople-to-student ratio required to train apprentices, and ensuring fair and transparent classification of compulsory trades.

In June, HRPA polled the membership on employee engagement as an HR metric, and found eighty per cent of respondents strongly supported the metric, with more than a third saying it’s a concept that’s increased in importance over the years.

And in October, HRPA partnered with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association on research that found workplace compassionate care leave policies increase engagement and retention for employees caring for terminally ill loved ones.

All in all, it’s been a very productive year that sets us up well for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

On behalf of HRPA, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Holiday and the very best in 2015.


Bill Greenhalgh

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:

And thank you for reading.

Chris Larsen,
VP, Marketing, Membership & Professional Development, (416) 923-2324 x335