Canadian HR Reporter

January 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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Page 22 of 23

CANADIAN HR REPORTER JANUARY 2020 INSIGHT 23 HR standards: What's the point? A key challenge is that human capital metrics are still in their infancy Is there any value in developing standards for human resources management? Strong opinions have been ex- pressed on both sides of the discussion. The concepts of developing "leading- practice" reference documents must surely have some merit, but true value can only be obtained if the ideas within these documents help develop better, high-performance HR functions. "Studies show that a high-per- forming human resources (HR) department, with effective people management and recruitment, is linked to greater economic per- formance of the organization and plays a key role in instilling company values throughout the workforce," according to the Inter- national Standards Organization (ISO) in a 2016 release. "ISO's new range of international standards for human resources aims to help HR departments improve their performance and, ultimately, im- prove the performance of the or- ganization in which they work." Enlightened management real- izes that, to be successful, almost all other performance improve- ment initiatives must be built on a strong foundation of human capital engagement. Lean man- agement techniques, six sigma, dashboards and scorecards, quali- ty management, process improve- ment and control, benchmarking, Hoshin Kanri/Hoshin Planning, structured problem-solving — all of these cost organizations billions of dollars to implement, yet they often fail due to a poor culture founded on lack of effective HR approaches and poor leadership. "Many team and organization change and improvement efforts are lost or badly bewildered. De- cades of studies have shown that 50 to 70 per cent are failing," says Jim Clemmer, president of the Clem- mer Group in Kitchener, Ont. While most larger organiza- tions tend to have professional HR managers, small to medium- sized enterprises tend to rely on the owners or an administrative manager — even another func- tional head, such as the accoun- tant, for HR strategy and plan- ning. Where do these people go for guidance? Certainly, consul- tants can be hired, but this can become expensive. e availability of a portfolio of standards can provide an ex- cellent source of information for both HR professionals and those without a strong HR background. Such standards have been under development by ISO since 2011 when TC (Technical Committee) 260 was formed. Since that date, ISO has released the following standards: • ISO 30414:2018 Guidelines for internal and external human capital reporting • ISO 30409:2016 Workforce planning • ISO 30408:2016 Guidelines on human governance • ISO 30405:2016 Guidelines on recruitment (currently under revision) • I S O 30401:2018 Knowl- edge management systems – requirements • ISO 30400:2016 Vocabulary (currently under revision) • ISO 10667 (Parts 1 and 2) 2011: Assessment service delivery: Procedures and methods to as- sess people in work and orga- nizational settings (currently under revision). In addition, several technical specifications have either been issued or are under development that expand specific topics un- der the human capital reporting area. ISO 30414 and the various supporting specifications are an exciting development given the growth in supplemental corporate reporting and accountability out- lined in the guidelines issued by the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC). Human capital metrics In September 2019, the IIRC dis- closed that a growing number of public corporations is now using this framework that specifically calls for metrics on human capital performance. In addition to this growth, the Securities Exchange Commission in the United States has recently carried out a call for suggestions about how human capital reporting might be added as required information from U.S. public companies. A key challenge is that hu- man capital metrics are in their infancy, especially as they relate to organizational performance. Metrics such as hours of train- ing and development, turnover and retention levels, employee satisfaction and other traditional measures are currently used, but HR professionals need to be ac- tively engaged in how to develop much more meaningful numbers that tell the real story about how high-performance organizations focus on building human-centric approaches to strategy. Focusing on the link between issues such as customer satisfaction, innovation, creativity, commitment and con- tinual improvement help to drive and sustain competitive advantage. Canada reinstated as member ere are currently 31 countries actively involved in developing these ISO standards and another 24 countries "observing" develop- ment activity. is is almost half of all the ISO member countries. e U.S. is currently leading the work of TC 260 HR Management, and countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Ja- pan, Israel, France and others are actively involved. In 2019, Canada was re-instat- ed as a participating member. Based on this, Canadians can now contribute to, comment on and vote on the development of these standards. Why should we both- er? As a country of immigrants, we represent people with differ- ent backgrounds and opinions; we are believed to be a friendly, peace-loving and secure place to live; and we are seen as believing in equality, diversity and respect for individuals. Aren't these values and qualities that should put us in a place where we can make a posi- tive contribution to the develop- ment of leading HR practices? Your help is needed e good news is that, since Can- ada returned to active or partici- pating status, three of the profes- sional HR bodies across Canada are represented on our committee. rough this, we should have ac- cess to opinions from a broad base of participants. We are gradually adding to the committee, but we continue to seek out individuals who have the time and passion to contribute to the standards devel- opment process. Most of the work is carried out through working groups tasked with one or more projects, which currently include: • WG 1 Terminology (looks after vocabulary) • WG 2 Metrics – who have sev- eral projects, principally devel- oping technical specifications to support human capital re- porting in clusters such as qual- ity and impact of hiring, cost of hire, occupational health and safety, organizational culture, workforce skills and capabilities, cost, compliance and ethics and turnover and retention • WG 4 Workforce management — who have recently had a new mandate, and which is now led by one of our Canadian members • WG 5 Recruitment • WG 6 Knowledge management • WG 8 Diversity and inclu- sionWG 9 Employee engage- mentWG 11 Learning and development. If anyone is interested in this work, we can always do with more participants. Applications should be made on the SCC (Standards Council of Canada) website to join TC 260. is will then be forward- ed to the chairperson for review and, hopefully, acceptance. Nick A. Shepherd is CEO of Edu Vision and chairman of the Canadian TC 260 Mirror Committee on Human Resource Management. Banning certain topics of discussion Under threat of discipline, can an employer stop employees from discussing certain topics at work that have caused arguments between employees? Answer: Freedom of expression is a funda- mental freedom protected by section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter). e protection of freedom of expression is premised upon fundamental principles and values that promote the search for and attainment of truth, participation in social and political decision-making and the opportunity for individual self-fulfillment through expression. However, while free speech is a protected right, individuals often mistakenly assert that freedom as an absolute right. Employees do not have a consti- tutional right to freedom of expres- sion at work in most circumstanc- es. e first issue always is whether the employee is protected by the charter, and such a determination requires a finding that a particular employer is subject to the charter (meaning is the employer a gov- ernment or quasi-government employer versus private sector). The charter's right to free speech is confined to government action, and most public sector employers have free reign (subject to its obligation to not discrimi- nate on a protected ground such as political affiliation) to control expression in the workplace. In most circumstances, regard- less of whether the charter ap- plies, employers are generally free to restrict employee speech to a certain degree, at least while they are at work. e context in which employers most often place lim- its on expression is an employer's legal and statutory obligation to provide a safe work environment free from discrimination, harass- ment, violence and bullying. As such, limits to expression by employees may take many differ- ent forms. ey can include disci- plinary action taken against certain employees, corporate policies and rules or even common law rules such as the duty of loyalty owed by an employee to an employer. Employers commonly imple- ment policies that provide for a respectful workplace and par- ticularize appropriate workplace conduct. Such policies implicitly have the effect of restricting certain topics of discussion or expression such as discriminatory or hurtful remarks, threatening statements and even political discourse if it escalates into argument influencing the broader workplace and culture. For example, hate speech or topics of discussion that could create a poisoned work environ- ment for employees are generally prohibited. One of the leading Ca- nadian cases in this area (Canada Post Corp. v C.U.P.W., 26 L.A.C. (3d) 58 (Can. Arb.) notes that em- ployees are not entitled, while at work, to express themselves either in verbal or written form in a man- ner that is calculated to disrupt production or bring the employer into disrepute with its customers. Overall, freedom of expression cannot be equated to freedom from workplace consequences. Certain comments or discussion can create a negative or hostile work environment that can inter- fere with an employee's job per- formance or work environment. As much as freedom of speech are important values to advocate, employers must also ensure that all speech is carried out respect- fully and free of discrimination. Tim Mitchell practises management- side labour and employment law at McLennan Ross in Calgary. He can be reached at (403) 303-1791 or Nick Shepherd Guest Commentary We need individuals who have the time and passion to contribute to the standards development. Tim Mitchell Toughest HR Question Topics of discussion shouldn't create a poisoned work environment.

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