Canadian HR Reporter

September 21, 2015

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 34 of 35

CANADIAN HR REPORTER September 21, 2015 INSIGHT 35 Brian Kreissl ToUghest HR QUestion Champagne talent on a beer budget Highlighting the entire employment value proposition can entice top employees Question: How can we hire top talent when we aren't able to pay top dollar? Answer: Highly talented indi- viduals and people with skills that are highly sought after are gener- ally able to command high salaries and generous benefi ts packages. However, many organizations fi nd that, for various reasons, they are unable to provide the type of compensation packages neces- sary to recruit and retain such high fl yers. But that doesn't necessarily mean top talent will always be out of their league and it isn't worth trying to recruit such individuals. Compensation structures in many organizations make it dif- ficult to accommodate highly talented individuals. Organiza- tions may have a total rewards philosophy that lags the market (at least with respect to certain components of the compensa- tion mix), a policy against hiring someone beyond the midpoint of the salary scale or clearly defi ned salary ranges with maximums that make it diffi cult to hire top talent or highly experienced individuals. While organizations should always try to remain externally competitive with respect to total rewards, it can be very diffi cult to accommodate such employ- ees' compensation requirements. Many smaller organizations fi nd it diffi cult to pay top dollar. Added to that, the pay in certain industries is lower even for the same type of work. For example, a lawyer in private practice is likely to earn considerably more than someone in an in-house counsel position. Similarly, consulting or investment banking tends to pay better than publishing or non- profi t organizations. Employers also need to en- sure salary, benefi ts and bonuses are internally equitable vis-a-vis other positions and individuals within the organization. is is particularly important for pay equity compliance purposes and to avoid causing bad feelings and poor morale among employees. After all, people tend to get very upset if they fi nd out another em- ployee — especially a newcomer — is being paid substantially more to do the same type of work. Special situations at's not to say employers can't make exemptions for special situ- ations. For example, pay equity legislation in some jurisdictions allows employers to temporar- ily pay certain types of workers more to address special market situations. It is also possible to have a job reclassified with expanded re- sponsibilities or to create a job to accommodate a high-flying candidate. But assuming it just isn't pos- sible to match an individual's sal- ary requirements, an alternative is to stress the other aspects of the employment value proposition that make up for a lower salary. For example, depending on the industry and the organization in question, a more generous bonus, commission, benefi ts package or pension plan could help off set a salary shortfall. Similarly, more vacation time, a shorter work- week, the ability to earn paid overtime or work from home, or enhanced work-life balance could form part of the employment val- ue proposition. It may also be possible to pro- vide specifi c benefi ts to an indi- vidual in lieu of a higher salary as a way of encouraging her to accept the company's off er. Such perks could include a sign- ing bonus, relocation assistance, an additional week of vacation, an expanded job title, a company car or the ability to work on high- profi le or interesting projects. Employer branding Some organizations, by their very nature, can aff ord to pay employ- ees a little less just because their employer brand is so good. For example, some people might be willing to work for lower pay if given the chance to work for a highly prestigious company such as Google, Apple, IBM or Procter & Gamble. Having such companies on a resumé can boost an individual's career prospects and those orga- nizations are frequently known to provide excellent training and development opportunities to employees. But even if someone has an impeccable resumé, impressive accomplishments and has earned a high salary elsewhere, it doesn't necessarily follow that she won't work at your company for what you're willing to pay. It could be that she is feeling stressed, burned out or is looking to take her foot off the gas pedal just a bit while her family is still young. Money isn't everything and many people would love to work for a company with a greater com- mitment to work-life balance, fl exible hours and a less adver- sarial culture. However, recruiters and HR practitioners need to make a compelling case to candidates explaining why they should work for a lower salary. erefore, em- ployers must clearly articulate the employment value proposition and explain the benefi ts of work- ing there. Brian Kreissl is the Toronto-based product development manager for Carswell's human resources, OH&S, payroll and records retention products and solutions. For more information, visit A humbling experience: Being an executive in transition Job transitioning can be a humbling ex- perience, across all job levels and indus- tries. I would imagine, however, that for executives in transition, it is far more humbling. e very executives who often make the tough — and at times not so tough — decisions about who gets hired, fi red and promoted are now on the other side of the desk. And let me tell you, the other side of the desk is much more diffi cult to navigate than it once was. As an executive in transition, I speak from personal experience. When we fi rst fi nd ourselves job- less, we are not deterred — it is just another challenge to overcome. e fi re in our belly is still burn- ing, we are still on the rollercoast- er — not realizing our ride has come to a full stop. We approach our reduced situation with confi - dence, conviction and at times we may also come across as arrogant and standoffi sh. "How could that recruiter have passed me up? I am going to chal- lenge them. And what about my network? Surely they will answer my call — after all, we were once part of the same club." Whether by design or by cir- cumstances beyond our control, we never admit defeat and rarely run out of good explanations about our current predicament. I call this a defence mechanism projected in the initial stages. But after being subjected to countless interviews and rejections that fur- ther diminish our self-worth; mul- tiple opinions about our resumés, past experience and approach; more advice than we can actually process; and our list of contacts compresses at the speed of light — it fi nally hits us: Our identity is lost, we are in a big pond with many species of fi sh, some re- ferred to as millennials — more technically savvy, with a lot more stamina and much more desirable to those who now sit in the same chairs we once occupied. We realize we have been left behind and we need to fi nd a new school of fi sh to lead, and our journey back into the workforce can be long, disappointing and frustrating. This phase fuels a wave of emotions never experienced be- fore, and let's not talk about our loved ones caught in the crossfi re. Once the disappointment and rage passes and our ego is back in check, then it's our confi dence that suff ers next. The very foundation that shaped who we are, what we ac- complished for ourselves, our families and the many organiza- tions and lives we touched, our dreams and hopes — all come into question. e fi nal stage is acceptance: Accepting that this is our new reality and we need to draw on all we have learned in our past experience and really apply that knowledge to the process. And so the real journey begins. We begin to speak a different language laced with a whole new attitude. We start by slowly surrounding ourselves with people who truly understand what this process is all about— but not without some resistance because old habits are hard to break. A career coach, personal co- lours, assessments, keeping busy to demonstrate we aren't brain dead during the transition, dress- ing a certain way, networking, get- ting on to social media — and here we go again. Now I am dealing with crea- tures from outer space — who knew? And why am I not prepared for these creatures? Personally speaking, I resisted accepting this reality at every turn. And after months of sand- ing and staining my deck, at- tempting to paint the ceiling in my home (really diffi cult to do), pulling the microwave out of the wall, attempting perfect baking, planting every species of fl ower known to man in my backyard, breaking nearly every pot light in my home in an attempt to dem- onstrate I can do anything, cut- ting my grass and almost demol- ishing my home (my son would probably add a bit more colour to all this) — all the while continu- ing on the path of destruction re- lated to my job search — I fi nally accepted the fact I needed help, support, guidance and a whole lot of compassion. But, lucky for me, I was intro- duced to a support network for transitioning executives. Joining this organization has had a signifi cant impact on me, from the moment I made my case as to why I should be allowed to become a member to every inter- action I have had since. Interrelating with like-minded people who share similar experi- ences and face similar circum- stances can be a game changer. I can lean on this supportive group for support, contacts, con- structive criticism and, above all, I can lean on them if I am about to fall off my game. My reach in this organization extends far beyond this group — there are more than 300 alumni happily and productively back in the workforce contributing in all areas of our economy. Since joining in June, I have hired a career coach. She backs her claims with assessments, training, getting in my head and giving me a huge dose of reality about what I can and can't do and what I can and can't say — and ar- eas that could use improvement. I have learned there is just as much need for experienced, sea- soned executives as there is for younger, more agile ones. And striking a balance would serve well our corporate world, our economy and the next generation. For the fi rst time in months, I am confi dent I am exactly where I am supposed to be and this journey, with all of its challenges and hardship, is one I want to treasure, continue to learn from and enjoy. After all, the lessons learned during this process can only be taught through fi rsthand experience. Lori Abittan is a leader with business expertise in marketing, sales, commu- nications and more. She is a member of the Phoenix Executive Network (PEN), an invitation-only transition support network for C-level executives in Toronto. For more information, visit She can be reached at lori.abittan@ Job transitioning can be a humbling ex- perience, across all job levels and indus- tries. I would imagine, however, that for executives in transition, it is far more humbling. e very executives Lori Abittan GUest CoMMentarY I have learned that there is just as much of a need for experienced, seasoned executives as there is for younger, more agile ones.

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