Canadian HR Reporter

November 30, 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 18 of 19

CANADIAN HR REPORTER November 30, 2015 INSIGHT 19 Brian Johnson TOUGHEST HR QUESTION The future of work and human resources Detaching work from employment – subcontractors, Uber and the Ontario budget On Oct. 20, a group of HR professionals gathered to discuss the future of work and the signifi cant implications for HR with David Creelman, co-author of Lead e Work, and co-authors John Boudreau, a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and Ravin Jesu- thasan, global talent practice leader at Tow- ers Watson in Chicago. Future leaders need to "lead the work" versus leading employees, according to Creelman, and HR needs to focus on a broader "hu- man capital community" that may include free agents, contractors and employees. HR needs to be ready to lead this seismic shift. Susan Meis- inger, former president and CEO of the Society for Human Re- source Management (SHRM) in the United States, recently wrote about a SHRM study of C-level ex- ecutives, including HR, in which 40 per cent anticipated a non- traditional employment model (or project-based employment) would be the employment model in the next decade. Organizations have a growing comfort with fl exibility over face- time in the offi ce. Employees can work from home, use hotelling, enjoy results-only work environ- ments or go to a local Starbucks to meet or work. If knowledge workers do not need to be in the offi ce all week, do these resources need to be employees? e event also featured a panel that included Angie Kramer, CEO of online talent platform JobBliss, Glenn Mosher, a long-term con- tract employee in IT, and Jay Wall, founder of Studio Jaywall, who makes good use of both freelanc- ers and employees. ey highlighted the trend of selectively outsourcing a job or project to free agents instead of outsourcing an entire business process or function. e 'gig' economy e "gig economy" is an emerging mindset that extends the idea of enabling work to be done outside the organization. Creelman high- lighted three examples: •Ion Torrent needed a computer program (complex algorithm to address genome sequencing) and used an online talent plat- form (Topcoder) to fi nd a team to solve the problem without cre- ating "jobs." • Procter & Gamble needed peo- ple to make a video and found freelancers through Tongal to perform the work faster and less expensively than traditional channels. • A German telecom used Work- Hub to fi nd and organize an army of online clerical talent to tag 10s of 1000s of customer comments. The premise is that future organizations will have fewer employees. Currently, it is the fi nance or procurement departments, not HR, that write the contracts and pay the bills of freelancers or con- tractors. Managers must fi nd out- side talent and defi ne the work. Consider the current busi- ness model in marketing, where they repeatedly use freelance translators, designers and writ- ers or retain an ad agency, where these resources may in turn be contractors. HR should play a bigger role. HR could defi ne the work and skills required, build a pool of "warm" outside talent and help attract and motivate non-tradi- tional talent. With its expertise in job evalua- tion, job design and organization- al development, HR can help de- fi ne the work that stays in-house and aspects of jobs that can be contracted out. Jobs are often not well-de- signed. ink about your own role or that of your peers: What por- tion of your time is spent on high- level activities? What portion is a specialized function? And how much time is spread among the more general ad- ministration or communication activities? Future jobs do not need to be a mish-mash of activities at dif- ferent skill levels, to keep people busy all week. For example, free- lance specialists could work on lower-level activities or specialist areas that are not part of a team's core skill set. Exacerbating poor job design, managers want to make a fast hiring decision and may choose an acceptable candidate, but per- haps not the optimal resource. is leaves the organization with an employee who is permanently sub-optimal. An employer may also hire someone highly suited to the design and launch of a program, but the role later evolves into an administrator role, managing a program. e original hire may not have the right skill set or motivation for this role, and the organization is left with an employee who no longer fi ts the need. Free agents can be reliable and intent on doing the best possible job. e serial IT contractor on the panel indicated that over 17 years, he has repeat clients and contracts that were renewed. His comments reminded me of a boss early in my career, who used to off er challenging work and say, "If you do a great job, you get to keep it". HR's role is to identify the ex- perts or freelancers, help success- fully contract the work to be done and retain talent for successive as- signments. Human resources can mitigate the risks of free agents departing with institutional memory and possibly intellectual property. HR can develop solid knowl- edge management processes, non-disclosure agreements and contracts with service-level agree- ments in place. Future legislation To embrace the new economy, future legislation may govern work more broadly. For example, Uber drivers in California, as part of a class-action suit, are arguing they are employees and should be treated accordingly. Current- ly, in the United States, a talent platform is considered an online intermediary — it lacks employ- ees but builds connections and relationships. Kramer was part of an econom- ic summit hosted by the Ontario government in October on the sharing economy. Ontario's 2015 budget noted, " ese software- driven applications often involve 1000s of individual operators. As these business models are quickly emerging, the labour landscape is changing. Moreover, aspects of the regulatory and taxation en- vironment may need to adapt to new and previously unconsidered business models." In the United Kingdom, the title of "human capital strategist" is emerging to refl ect the notion of breaking work into components, said Kramer. As human capital strategists, they can help answer key questions: what work must re- main with employees (core skills or IP); how are jobs parsed out into specialist work, high-level work and admin-oriented tasks; how is knowledge retained and documented; and how should free agents be attracted, retained and motivated? e world of employment is be- ing disrupted — is your HR func- tion ready? Tony Kerekes is a partner at NVision Consulting in Toronto. He can be reached at (416) 406-2308, tony@nvi- or for more informa- tion, visit On Oct. 20, a group of HR professionals gathered to discuss the future of work and the signifi cant implications for HR with Lead e , and co-authors John Boudreau, a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and Ravin Jesu- thasan, global talent practice leader at Tow- Tony Kerekes GUEST COMMENTARY Accommodating smokers Is smoking considered an addiction disability that needs to be accommodated? Question: Is smoking considered an addiction disability that needs to be accommodated? Unlike other addic- tions, this one can aff ect others through secondhand smoke, so could it be con- sidered undue hardship if an employer doesn't have an area where it can allow smoking? Answer: The grounds of dis- crimination enumerated in most human rights legislation include "drugs and alcohol." However, addictions to tobacco, tobacco products and nicotine are not specifically mentioned in the legislation. Grounds of discrimination can also be established through ju- risprudence, with a similar eff ect as if they appeared in the statute. Surprisingly, there are few cases that look at whether an addiction to tobacco is a new ground or falls under an existing ground. British Columbia is the only province in which nicotine ad- diction has been found to be a disability constituting a ground for discrimination. In a 2000 de- cision, Cominco Co. and USWA, Local 9705, Re, nicotine addiction was found to be a disability within the meaning of the Human Rights Code, and heavily addicted smok- ers were found to be discriminat- ed against by a no-smoking policy. Therefore, in B.C., employ- ers have a duty to accommodate smokers who are addicted to nicotine. It is difficult to predict the duty to accommodate in other provinces, especially because the legal analysis for discrimination has since changed in a way that might aff ect the outcome were the Cominco case to be decided today. Social policy on smoking has also shifted since 2000. e eff ect of secondhand smoke on non- smokers is certainly a factor to be considered in setting the location of a designated smoking area. The British Columbia Hu- man Rights Tribunal in Borutski v. Crescent Housing Society held that the employer had a duty to accommodate certain tenants for whom exposure to secondhand smoke exacerbated existing medi- cal conditions. A similar duty could apply in respect of employers. e tribu- nal in Borutski ultimately held that the Housing Society discharged its obligations by implementing numerous measures, including moving the outdoor smoking area well beyond the buff er zone. Many requirements in this regard are now written into law in the form of "smoke free" legislation. Various provincial and federal acts passed over the last several years generally ban smoking in all indoor public spaces, including workplaces. e legislative bans on smok- ing are mostly consistent from one jurisdiction to another. Some of the provincial bans create smoke-free zones outside public spaces as well — within a certain radius from doors, windows and air intakes. Employers should be aware of the minute diff erences in the smoke-free laws of the provinces or territories in which they oper- ate. ese requirements are ever- changing and may require peri- odic review of policies to remain compliant. In Nova Scotia, for ex- ample, the Smoke-free Places Act was recently amended to include electronic cigarettes in the defi ni- tion of "smoke." For more information see: •Cominco Co. and USWA, Local 9705, Re, 2000 CarswellBC 4681 (B.C. Arb.). •Borutski v. Crescent Housing Society, 2014 CarswellBC 1545 (B.C. Human Rights Trib.). Brian Johnston is a partner at Stew- art McKelvey in Halifax. He can be reached at (902) 420-3374 or bjohn- Employers should be aware of the differences in the smoke-free laws among the provinces and territories. HR's role is to identify the experts or freelancers, help successfully contract the work to be done and retain talent for successive assignments.

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