Canadian HR Reporter

April 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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26 www.hrreporter.com C P O P R O F I L E Q Why did you decide to join Westland Insurance? A I was ready for a change. I'm a builder, not a maintainer. What I loved about the opportunity with Westland is that they are a very fast-growing company, they will double in size over the next few years. So, there's a big opportunity to be part of that growth and build out the HR team and build out all the programs and be part of the executive team to help influence that. So that was really interesting for me. Q Where are you focusing your efforts at Westland? A Really, my vision for the HR team is to be able to create scalable HR programs that are going to help us grow but that also are going to maintain the special culture that we have. And I think that's the key. So, right now, we're at the foundation level of building programs. We want to have a great onboarding program. We're going through massive technology transformation, we're implementing an HRIS right now. And we want to focus on employment branding, because a lot of people don't know who Westland is. Q Why did you decide to pursue HR as a career? A I felt like it played to my strengths. [It's about having] a really strong, intuitive sense around people. And also just being able to have a voice and influence change. Those are the two things that have been really important for me. Everything at work involves people, so I love connecting all the complexities of situations at work, and then to think through all the impacts to the people or the team, and then help navigate through all of that in the most positive way. Q With all the technology changes, is HR still about people? A Yes, I do think it's there. And I've gone through some big technology implementations. I led a Workday implementation at Colliers and I'm now starting another technology implementation. And that has a big impact on how people work. And the change management through it and thinking about the employee and the manager experience, that's all people. It's not just about implementing a technology system, it's "How is this going to influence the way we work and how do people see it positively?" And "How do we create that best experience?" So it's very people-focused still. Q How has the HR profession changed over your career? A I feel like I am needing to cross over into other expertise areas like marketing or IT and finance. As an HR person, you have to make sure that you're always a well-rounded business leader and understand different areas of the business, but I'm seeing that it's deeper than that. The line between departments like marketing and HR, or IT and HR, are starting to come together. And you even see some of those teams starting to be one team under a leader. To give you an example, I led an employment branding project at Colliers and I needed to collaborate with marketing. But it wasn't just about collaboration. I had to understand target marketing, as it relates to candidates, and the impact of leveraging social media, and developing compelling stories and messages that resonate with people, and understanding analytics on reach and engagement of posts online. All of a sudden, I'm having to grow a skill set that wasn't necessarily seen as HR. Q What would you say are some of the highlights of your career? A Definitely becoming a best employer in Canada at Colliers — that was an initiative that I led. Colliers had a lower engagement score, and we really became committed around that. We focused on the whole redesign of our performance management program. And then we did a big redesign of our benefits plan. We approached it like a full program, not just an engagement survey, so we would do the survey, we would get the results, analyze them, and we would actually go out and do focus groups to get deeper insight into what employees were telling us. And then we would create action items — each year, we would probably have one or three big action items and then some local things that they came up [with] in a department or a market. A BUILDER, NOT A MAINTAINER Having worked at Colliers International for 10 years, Keri Fraser saw a lot of growth, going from a company of 3,000 to 7,000 employees and an HR department of four growing to 90. But in 2019, she decided to join the 1,400-employee Westland Insurance Group in Surrey, B.C. as chief people officer P E O P L E #HRTechSummit

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