CEO Message – November

Stronger workforce, stronger economy

Bill GreenhalghEmployers in Ontario have been facing a growing problem for some time now: the disconnect between the skills they need, and the skills job applicants have to offer.

The skills gap has been the subject of much commentary, but identifying the problem is only the first step. Finding workable solutions is what we must do next – and that is what HRPA intended to do in our newest research report, Strengthening Ontario’s Workforce for the Jobs of Tomorrow.

Canada has the highest proportion of adults with a post-secondary education among all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, and the cost of those degrees is roughly double the OECD average, according to 2014 OECD data. Yet more and more of those highly qualified degree holders struggle to find jobs in their field, as I wrote in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.

Although there is no official Statistics Canada data on the subject, an estimated one in three Canadian graduates are currently working in low-skill jobs unrelated to their education, according to a 2015 CBC report. Meanwhile, 59 per cent of HR professionals feel that Ontario students, workers and businesses do not currently have sufficient access to labour market data to help build their future prosperity, according to a 2016 HRPA member survey. Not knowing what jobs are, or will be, available makes it a challenge for young people to decide on the right course of study.

HRPA’s new report, which you can find at this link, offers several key recommendations for strengthening the workforce in Ontario and better aligning education, training and employer and industry needs. The recommendations drew from the expertise of our members, which we collected in member surveys earlier in the year. If there is a theme to those recommendations, it is that of collaboration. There must be a strong environment of collaboration between the government, educational institutions and industry if we are to build a better workforce, and keep Ontario competitive.

A full 59 per cent of our members feel that Ontario students, workers and businesses do not currently have sufficient access to labour market data – yet 65 per cent feel that it is “very important” to have accurate data provided.

We’re calling for better and more centralized labour market data – a recommendation that was endorsed by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel in June – as well as for educational institutions to work more closely with businesses in developing curricula.

We’re also calling for employers – and specifically, HR – to maintain the critical focus on on-the-job training, and asking that government find ways to provide support for the associated costs.

And the skills gaps are significant. HRPA surveyed its members to determine what are the most important attributes are of a highly skilled worker, as well as what skills might be missing. The top three characteristics selected were:

  1. Well-rounded critical thinker, analytical with problem-solving skills. Creative, imaginative and resilient;
  2. Strong communication skills; and,
  3. Able to work in complex and evolving environments.

The education system needs an overhaul, one HRPA member said in the membership survey. And that could not be more accurate. We need more programs which are specifically designed to understand the current skill level of incoming workers, and can then address any gaps so that these people can join in the workforce faster and more efficiently. That’s what are members have told us – so we took their recommendations directly to the decision-makers.

HRPA presented the report at Queen’s Park to a group of Members of Provincial Parliament, Cabinet Ministers and parliamentary staff in late October, the same week Premiere Kathleen Wynne had spoken out on the importance of the topic. Our relationship with the provincial government and role as a trusted advisor continues to grow as we build the body of research and thought leadership we contribute to the ongoing public dialogue.

Our next upcoming research report, entitled HR & Millennials: Insights Into Your New Human Capital, will be released at the end of this month, so stay tuned for some interesting findings.

As a further update, please feel free to read the article that appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of Canadian HR Reporter about HRPA’s work with the ISO on creating a global competency framework for HR.

And if you’d like to participate in any of our initiatives, we’re always happy to hear ideas and feedback from our members – feel free to get in touch!

Kind regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – October

Have designations, will travel

Bill GreenhalghYou may have already heard, but HRPA had some exciting news this past month. We’ve made an important stride toward taking our designations and competency framework to the next level: the global level.

In August, I went to Singapore to present our core competency framework to a technical committee (TC260) of the International Standards Organization (ISO).  I presented the framework with a recommendation that ISO should mandate a multinational working group to develop global standards in HR integrating competency frameworks from various countries into a single global framework.

The committee endorsed HRPA’s proposal unanimously, and created a new working group to develop that harmonized framework, for which I was named Chair.

Currently, there are only a handful of countries that have comprehensive and detailed core competency frameworks in HR; these include Australia, the U.S., the UK and HRPA’s in Canada. HRPA’s competency framework is the newest in the world, allowing us to provide our members with the most up-to-date competency framework globally.

Having a global competency framework will help enhance the human resources profession worldwide; create a common basis for education, training and talent selection; and facilitate the mutual recognition of designations between countries, meaning that it will become easier for you to gain valuable international experience with your CHRP, CHRL or CHRE in hand.

However, just as an employer’s recognition of your HR designation reflects the validation of your capability, the ISO’s recognition of HRPA’s competency framework proposal as an initial foundation reflects the validation of all we have worked to achieve these past few years in regards to offering our members the most rigorous and respected designations possible.

The next steps in the process will be for each national standards association to issue a call within their countries for subject matter experts to provide input. The timeline on establishing the framework to completion is estimated at three years.

If you’d like to be involved in this, or any of the other ongoing ISO standards HR projects, the first step is to be accredited by Standards Canada and you can apply via this link.

As always, we welcome the input, expertise and involvement of our members – and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to help shape the future of HR.

Allowing you the freedom and flexibility to leverage the value of your designations wherever your career takes you is a critical endeavor for us. That’s why HRPA built our designations on a foundation of recognition, rigour and respect – a foundation that transcends boundaries.

Kind regards,

Bill Greenhalgh


CEO Message – September

Delivering digital

Bill GreenhalghIt’s no secret that the business world is undergoing a dramatic digital shift, and the pace of technological change will only continue to intensify. The world has become wireless, instantaneous and borderless; convenience, connection and community are the watchwords of the day.

Convenience, connection, community. Those are three words that not only describe the needs and values of a high-tech business world; they also apply to our mission here at HRPA as we strive to provide our members with the best possible value for their membership. We’ve seen how these technological changes have impacted our members, and we are committed to working on the front lines of the digital shift to provide the best possible value.

In June, we launched our newly redesigned website, The new site features a clean, responsive design, optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile use, and it’s easier to navigate and more user-friendly. With member experience in mind, we dug into the traffic data to ensure that the most-referenced content is no more than two clicks away.

June also saw the redesign of HRPA’s online platform Hire Authority. As Canada’s top HR job board, Hire Authority provides an easy, user-friendly channel for our members to connect with employers.

But those are not the only digitally-oriented changes in the pipeline. Beginning in 2017, HRPA’s examinations will be paperless, offering members the convenience and flexibility to write exams online. Members will no longer have to go to a specific location – and perhaps drive a couple of hours to do so – in order to write exams.

The ultimate goal – which feeds into a core part of our strategy – is to make exams so flexible that members can write the exams anytime, anywhere, and have it proctored right then and there.

Another exciting change in the works is the development of our new digital-only version of HR Professional magazine. Next year, HR Professional will evolve into a digital publication that our readers can access across devices. Coupled with the new digital platform will come a deeper and more robust slate of the top-tier content, insight and thought leadership that our members have come to expect.

Providing our members with full-featured digital platforms isn’t just about convenience – though that is, of course, an important consideration. Going digital is also about aligning ourselves with the best practices of socially responsible organizations that strive to make the best decisions for the communities and environments they are a part of. While we already made use of recycled paper to publish HR Professional, we’re now taking that green initiative one step further by moving to a fully paperless platform.

Some of the other innovative digital offerings HRPA has in place for members include the CPD Skills Assessment tool – you can pay a visit at The tool is a convenient, timely way to benchmark your current skills, discover potential areas for development, and take your HR career to the next level. There’s also our online volunteer portal, with which you can quickly and easily find volunteer opportunities. You can visit our iVolunteer portal at The portal makes it easy for members to connect with career-boosting volunteer opportunities at the click of a button.

It’s important for us as a professional association to keep pace with the leading practices of top-tier organizations, and providing a full-featured digital experience is an essential part of that. But first and foremost, our digital evolution is about enhancing our valued relationship with each and every one of our members. We want to deliver convenience, create connection and build community – and every step we take in that regard is taken with our members in mind.

Best regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – August

CPD Self-Assessment Tool shows value of CHRP/CHRL designations

Bill GreenhalghThree years after launching the CHRP, CHRL and CHRE designations, HRPA now has clear evidence of the quantifiable value of holding these certifications over non-designation HR practitioners.

The evidence comes from preliminary results of HRPA’s new CPD Self-Assessment tool—our new benchmarking tool that lets HR professionals measure their current HR competence against their peers. And while it’s still early days for the tool (only 5% of HRPA members have completed the benchmark analysis), the initial results are clear: Based on 1,222 member responses and 82 non-member responses, HRPA members outscore non-members by 10% on average, especially in areas like Strategy, Labour & Employee Relations, and HR Metrics in terms of their confidence in their current skills levels.


Based on 235 completed benchmarks, we can see the stratification we would expect based on designation and experience, with CHRPs outscoring non-designated practitioners by 25% on average and in every core competency; and CHRLs outscoring CHRPs by 5% on average and in 7 of the nine domains.


Obviously the sample sizes are too small to really accurately measure benchmark scores between designated HRPA-member HR professionals and non-members, but it is part of our strategic plan to aggressively market the CHRP, CHRL and CHRE designations and the quantifiable HR value they provide both to organizational results and protection of the public interest.

With that in mind, we strongly encourage the 90% of HRPA members who have not yet utilized the CPD Self-Assessment tools to do so. Not only are they hugely beneficial to your career development, but when you add your data you are helping us promote the profession—and HRPA designations—as a whole.

Do your part for HRPA and the profession: Complete your CPD Self-Assessment today and help us show the value of your CHRP, CHRL and CHRE designations >>

2016 HR Trends Survey

To help HRPA members and HR professionals understand how their HR practices stack up against others across the HRPA membership, the Association’s research team recently released its annual HR Trends Survey, examining benchmarks around vacations, time off, recruitment, training & development, turnover and more.

The data is also industry specific, with benchmarks cross-referenced by sector, including public, private, manufacturing, retail, financial, government, health, agriculture, extraction, engineering and energy.

New this year is detailed HR compensation data across different HR roles (HR coordinator, HR generalist, HR manager and HR director.)

The survey is available free to HRPA members and to get your copy please request it from HRPA Reference Librarian Jeff Smith:

The survey is available for purchase for non-HRPA members for $200. Please contact Jeff Smith to purchase.

Best regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – July

SBill Greenhalgheeking nominations for the 2016 HRPA Volunteer Excellence Awards

Do you know an HRPA volunteer who deserves to be recognized?

Nominate them for HRPA’s 2016 Volunteer Awards—our annual awards program that shines a light on volunteer excellence, honours recipients, and recognizes contributions to the profession, successful workplaces, the Association and its chapters and the elevation of the practice of Human Resources management.

HRPA is looking for nominations for members who have demonstrated excellence through their dedication to volunteering during the past year: academics who have gone above and beyond to make exceptional contributions to the HR profession; volunteers who constantly propel the Association forward; and individuals who help to promote the HR profession in their communities.

HRPA members are involved in a variety of volunteer opportunities, including charting the direction for the Association and the profession, by regulating the profession through the work of our Statutory and Standing Committees and supporting the HR community through local chapters and committees as well as steering professional development and conference design and support.

HRPA’s mission is to set the standards of learning, competence and conduct for members to enhance the standing of the human resources profession while protecting the public.  We could not do that without committed and engaged volunteers. HRPA relies on volunteers to achieve its strategic objectives.

Let’s honour the 1000+ HRPA volunteers that make this happen.

Learn more and submit your nomination for the 2016 HRPA Volunteer Excellence Awards today.

HRPA volunteers are also invited to nominate themselves. Deadline to apply or nominate is October 31, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

Seeking volunteers for Global harmonized HR competency framework

And speaking of volunteers doing great work on behalf of the profession, HRPA is currently seeking volunteers to sit on a new Standards Canada committee (of which I’ve been appointed chair) which will work to help create a global agreement on a harmonized HR competency framework—similar to HRPA’s new competency framework.

HRPA recently received approval from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to set up a working group for a global harmonized framework. Such a global framework is key to professionalizing the HR profession around the world, including exchangeable, valued and credible designations based on a global body of standardized HR knowledge that this group will seek to create.

If you’re interested in volunteering on this committee or would like to view HRPA’s full list of volunteer opportunities please click here.

Best regards,

Bill Greenhalgh