Canadian HR Reporter

May 19, 2014

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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CANADIAN HR REPORTER CANADIAN HR REPORTER May 19, 2014 May 19, 2014 2 NEWS NEWS ACROSS CANADA Suspect in Vancouver Island shooting charged with murder, attempted murder Former Western Forest Products employee arrested after 2 killed in workplace shooting Short-term indicators, U.S. jobs jump point to stronger Canadian economic growth Second-quarter thaw expected Harper frowns on proposed Ontario pension plan Says provincial pension plan won't attract voters in June election Most Canadians reluctant to relocate for good job, suggests survey Pay raise top incentive to persuade people to relocate Foreign workers in Canada fear backlash, loss of dreams Some using provisions that allow for longer stays AROUND THE WORLD May Day rallies worldwide demand reform, higher wages Rallies turn violent in Cambodia, Turkey India looks for politicians who can defuse jobs 'time bomb' Country's economy needs 12 million new jobs per year to absorb growing workforce eBay settles lawsuit over recruitment, hiring practices Company to pay US$3.75 million settlement Republicans block bill to increase U.S. minimum wage Bill would boost wage to US$10.10 per hour, index it to infl ation Identifying toxic teams in the workplace Liane Davey, vice-president of team solutions at Knightsbridge, is an expert in group dynamics and toxic teams. She sat down with Canadian HR Reporter TV to explain why some toxic teams aren't that easy to spot Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. WEB O N T H E FEATURED VIDEO and running an organization as though it were their own personal fi efdom," said ombudsman Fiona Crean. Incidents of wrongdoing in- cluded: executives promoted with little process or screening; promotions and raises given with no competition or process; chang- es to employment contracts that alter fundamental terms of em- ployment, with no approvals or adequate notice; senior executives in confl ict of interest when hiring; and inconsistent salary grades. "I was shocked. I don't con- sider myself naive but this one was a shocker. It was particularly a shocker because the corpora- tion actually has a very good HR policy framework. Some of the policies are out-of-date, but what they have on the books is very good. ey simply aren't following them," said Crean. "In the 30-plus years I've been doing this, I've nev- er seen anything so egregious… I am sure these things go on but not to this extent." A social housing provider, TCH is owned by the City of Toronto. Former CEO Gene Jones was hired in 2012 with a mandate to make changes and move the cor- poration forward. A total of 96 new staff were hired over the next year- and-a-half, including a CFO, COO, chief development offi cer and vice- president of HR, according to the report. ere were also 76 promo- tions and reclassifi cations and 88 departures — 45 terminations, 32 resignations and 11 retirements — among 350 management/exempt positions. The process created chaos, according to Crean, and TCH did not follow HR policies, practices and protocols. It's a story about "the abject failure of leadership from the top," said Crean in her report Unrule(y) Behaviour, where the CEO be- lieved his actions were his prerog- ative and he had no responsibility for knowing the rules because it was up to the vice-president of HR to ensure they were followed. HR's role When questioned by the om- budsman's offi ce, the former vice- president of HR, Anand Maharaj, said he was not satisfi ed with the outdated HR policy framework he inherited and it was not practical to enforce outdated policies that did not refl ect current practices. Even if rules are out of date, they are what the workforce un- derstands, said Crean. "What happened in the cre- ation of this chaos and paralysis in the workplace is people didn't know what the rules were any- more — there's a great deal of fear," she said. "You can make massive change overnight if you want but you've got to stick by the rules or change the rules and give notice — but ignoring them is just not acceptable." HR professio nals have a duty to advise, educate and act, said Ja- net Salopek, president and senior consultant at HR consulting fi rm Salopek & Associates in Calgary. " ere was a lack of education, there was a lack of senior advice coming through to the CEO from their HR practitioners and there was not a sense of diligence from HR practitioners that they have a legal obligation to act — and they do," she said. "It's our responsibil- ity that if we can't get through to the senior management team, we have a duty to act and go to the board then. Because just ignoring the fact that statutory law is being broken, once we see that, we need to act — we can't ignore it or we can lose our certifi cation." You would expect the head of HR would raise fl ags very quickly, said Philip Wilson, Ottawa-based chair of the board of the Toronto- based Human Resources Profes- sionals Association (HRPA). "Maybe the individual didn't have a strong background in the human resources fi eld and maybe that was something that, from a strategic perspective, allowed the CEO to have full reign," he said. "One of the key roles of the HR person is to partner with the executive team, to partner with the CEO, and get the organization to make the right decisions. "And sometimes those aren't popular decisions… but you need to protect the orga- nization and make sure that you're making the right decisions on be- half of the organization. So the role of the chief human resources offi cer or VP of HR is to convince the senior executives that ' ere's very good reasons why we're do- ing it this way' and get them to support that decision." It's OK to talk about changing the rules but the vice-president of HR is expected to gain full support and approval from the HR com- mittee or full board, said Wilson. "You're talking about how you're treating employees and whether or not you're within your legal rights to treat employees in a certain way, so by changing those policies and practices with the intent… to enhance the process, accelerate hiring, all of that good stuff , you still can't go roughshod over policy — policy is policy and you need to follow it." It's not that they're nice to have — they're required by law, said Jennifer Harrison, a PhD student in HR management at York Uni- versity in Toronto. "When people decide to break these rules for effi ciency reasons, over time… it becomes a culture of rule-breaking and it's not that the rules and policies and practic- es aren't working, it's that people and culture have decided that they don't necessarily need to adhere to those rules." And when you have a CEO who is brought in to "shake things up," employees want to help, she said. "But where this becomes prob- lematic is when the mandate 'cleaning house…' becomes used analogous to breaking rules and making changes at all costs. And who is responsible for communi- cating and perpetrating that mes- sage or vision? Typically the head of the organization or the CEO." Board's role While the board made many at- tempts to get answers, it accepted the rationalizations given by the CEO and other executives, with- out ensuring proper procedures were followed, said the ombuds- man report. "The board is ultimately re- sponsible for the actions of the CEO and it is the board's respon- sibility to make sure the CEO, fi rst of all, has strong policies and procedure in place, has strong process in place, and that it's be- ing followed," said Salopek. " ey were not diligent enough in prob- ing and asking the right ques- tions…. ey let it go." Basically, the board is the legal employer of the organization so it has a responsibility to ensure compliance with the policies, procedures and legislation as they relate to employment, said Wilson. " ey can delegate responsi- bilities in terms of operations and tactical things but when it comes back to the board in terms of pro- cesses not being followed, it just makes me shake my head in terms of the leeway that was given to the CEO to basically break up the team, build the team — (regard- less) of the process. It seems that he had a lot of autonomy." Next steps In response to the report, TCH said it agreed with many of the findings. Going forward, the board will be more rigorous, said the corporation, while a compre- hensive review of HR policies and procedures has been initiated to identify and address gaps and ap- ply best practices. TCH is also developing a draft recruitment guide for HR staff and hiring managers, and the compensation program for man- agement and exempt positions is being reviewed, along with the job evaluation system. A talent management framework is also being developed to strengthen performance management, suc- cession planning and pay for performance, while a leadership training program will focus on core competencies and manage- ment systems skills. Online bonus: Read the ombudsman's full report. Simply go to www.hrreport-, click on "Advanced Search" and enter article #21005. 'Chaos, paralysis' 'Chaos, paralysis' OMBUDSMAN < pg. 1 "You can make massive change but you've got to stick by the rules." REUTERS/Aaron Hinks/Nanaimo Daily News Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers respond to the scene of a morning shooting at the Western Forest Products mill in Nanaimo, B.C., on April 30.

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