Canadian HR Strategy

Spring/Summer 2016

Human Resources Issues for Senior Management

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CANADIAN HR STRATEGY/25 A Anyone who spent ve minutes on social media this past winter likely caught a glimpse of Toronto Star- bucks employee Sam on the TV show Ellen. Sam has autism and a disorder that causes involuntary movements, so his manager helped him manage his movements with dance — and dance he does, non-stop, behind the coffee counter for most of his shifts, much to the delight of regular customers. Community-supportive hiring gave Sam a job he enjoys and a viral video gave Sam 15 minutes of fame, while furthering Starbucks' reputation as a brand that does good where it can. Clearly, there's a lot of goodwill to be gained by hiring and supporting workers who can use a hand. And if there is a clear and immediate nancial reward, the business case for hiring disadvantaged workers can be too compelling to ignore. That's the principle behind Rate Drop Rebate, administered by Social Capital Partners in partnership with the Ontario government and several nancial institutions. The program launched this past winter in three Ontario cities: London, Ot- tawa and Hamilton. HOW IT WORKS The idea is simple: Participating nancial partners (Alterna Savings, CIBC, First Ontario Credit Union, Libro Credit Union and Meridian) offer incentives to businesses hiring disadvan- taged workers. Companies sign up for the program and share staf ng needs with organizers, who then send over resumés for screened and quali ed candidates. In this case, the candidates are people who would typically face disadvantages when looking for work, including new Ca- nadians, people with disabilities, young people with limited work experience, people who've been unemployed for long stretches of time, older job seekers and Aboriginal Canadians living off reserve. For every employee a business hires and retains for six months, the company receives a cash-back rebate equivalent to a one per cent reduction on the interest of a term loan, up to a maximum of four per cent. "This makes sense for small and medium-sized business- es because they receive a signi cant reduction in their loan interest cost," says Bill Young, Social Capital Partners founder. There's also the no-charge talent on offer. "Businesses in the program are provided with free HR re- cruiting services and good quality candidates for their job open- ings," says Young. And since there's no obligation to hire any of the proposed candidates, cautious employers can rest a little easier. "They can choose to interview the candidates but they aren't under any obligation to hire them if they don't think they are a t," says Young. MORE THAN CASH Theoretically, everyone involved has a lot to gain, according to Eve- lina Silveira, president of Diversity at Work in London, Ont. "The nancial incentive is a great way to encourage employ- ers to engage and support people from diverse backgrounds who face barriers." Building a more diverse work- force has become a focus at many organizations — for good reason. "Diversity helps businesses deliver innovative services, prod- ucts and insights because of the varied backgrounds of employ- "DIVERSITY HELPS BUSI- NESSES DELIV- ER INNOVATIVE SERVICES AND PRODUCTS." feature/Incentives

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