Canadian HR Reporter

January 23, 2017

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.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 19

CANADIAN HR REPORTER January 23, 2017 2 NEWS 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 ACROSS CANADA Canada economy unexpectedly adds 53,700 jobs, all full-time Jobless rate rises from 6.8 per cent to 6.9 per cent Increase in part-time work creates dark underside to rosy job numbers 153,700 net new part-time jobs in Canada last year Top CEOs will earn more in half- day than average Canadian does in 2017: Report 'Explosion in compensation... a potent symbol of income inequality' AROUND THE WORLD 8 ways the U.S. job market has evolved over Obama's 8 years President's tenure saw highs, lows U.S. job growth slows, but wages rebound strongly Non-farm payrolls increased by 156,000 in December FIFA says court rules in its favour over Qatar working conditions Suit called on soccer body to force country to adopt 'minimum labour standards' Time to talk about mental illness Normalization of discussion needed in workplace to boost mental wellness, productivity FEATURED VIDEO communications director at ADP Canada in Toronto. A workforce that is not produc- ing at desired capacity could put companies at a competitive dis- advantage, costing them unneces- sary dollars, while employees un- able to complete their workload in an appropriate amount of time can become frustrated and check out, she said. "e best thing to do is just start with an honest assessment of how productive your workforce is overall and defining what produc- tivity looks like," said Williams. "In a manufacturing process, for example, productivity is mea- sured by how many units you can put out in a shift, but when you get into knowledge work and profes- sional services, it's a little harder to say, 'How many things do we have to do in a day to be productive? What does that look like?'" When companies sit down and design how they're going to get their work done, they have ideas and assumptions, said Williams. "A lot of times, companies don't go back over the next few months or years, or sometimes even de- cades, have a look and say, 'Is this how we should be doing the work? Is this the most productive way to get there?'" Digital shift not always helpful Productivity problems have inten- sified in step with the digital era, said Dawn O'Connor, director at ink Productive in Calgary. "e more technology we have facing us, the more fragmented our attention is becoming," she said. "Email volumes are high and expectations of response time are often within two hours. And now we have instant messaging, tex- ting, things like Slack. It's really information overwhelm." Often, organizations will try to implement new technologies to streamline productivity, but "it compounds and adds pressure and stress," said O'Connor. Meanwhile, training needs to occur on standard office pro- gramming to ensure office work- ers use their workstations to the best of their ability. Nothing can be taught until people feel like they have some control and are able to focus, she said, noting many office workers struggle with a lack of control that stems from issues such as insuf- ficient vacation days and lack of sleep. "It comes down to 'I'm tired and I don't get enough time off,'" said O'Connor. "What it really boils down to is attention. We all are suffering at some level from attention deficit or attention overwhelm." Cellphone notifications are a leading cause of productivity loss, said Lois Kennedy, a productivity expert and president of 3 Step Re- sults in King City, Ont. Whether those text or social media messages are work-related or not, the beep or buzz alone is enough for an office worker to lose his train of thought, she said. "Multitasking is a huge prob- lem and people are not staying focused," said Kennedy. "ey're so overwhelmed with the amount of work they've had put on their plates. They keep going from one thing to another. They keep getting interrupted. ey get distracted. ey need to have a focused period of time in a day for productivity." e digital age has quietly led to an expectation of immediate response, she said. "It's been slowly mushroom- ing," said Kennedy. "Everything now is supposed to be instanta- neous. People expect it. It wasn't that long ago that we did things by letter and telephone." "It wasn't instantaneous, but business happened and people were productive." Potential solutions Two-way communication be- tween employer and employee is often enough to solve issues of distraction or to streamline pro- cesses, said Williams. "It's not a hard thing to fix — that's the good news," she said. "You can sit down pretty easily and start dealing with distrac- tions — tell people to put the phones away, but also offer flex hours so maybe people can come in a little earlier in the day and get some stuff done, or stay a bit later." "Employers really have an op- portunity to go around and say, 'is is what productivity looks like in this role. is is what a rea- sonable output should be.' Have a common understanding in your organization of what productivity looks like, so everyone's shooting at the same goal." Equipping employees with the appropriate tools and advising them on how to best use their time are key strategies supporting productivity, said Kennedy. "Training is huge," she said. "ey have to be prepared to train their employees. Unfortunately, with cutbacks and trying to be cost-effective, it's one of the first things that goes." Often, with so much on their plates, workers will cut corners to save time, said Kennedy. "ey're not being motivated to do their best work. Training is a motivation. It shows em- ployees that you care about them and want to give them the strate- gies and tools to help them work better." Curbing the productivity deficit needs to start with managers, she said. "Management has to support the employees as far as being or- ganized, and giving them the right strategies and tools in order for them to be as productive as they can be." Priority lists are one solution, said Kennedy. "Not everything is urgent," she said. "It's learning how to pri- oritize to make the most of your time." Focus manifestos Employers should collectively cre- ate "focus manifestos" to guide workdays to more productive so- lutions, said O'Connor. Examples could include tak- ing one hour per day to work in silence or banning email for one day per month. e trend of having employees work remotely or from home is another exciting prospect, with major benefits to productivity, she said. Most offices are pretty distract- ing places to work, said Williams. "You've got all the ambient noise, ringing phones, people who just pop in and chat… ere are lots of studies that suggest when you're interrupted, it can take up to 20 minutes before you can re- ally refocus on the task at hand." Employers should aim to set up office spaces that support employ- ees in an effort to get work done, said O'Connor. Open-office concepts are on the rise, but workers still have a need for personal workspace to produce work. "at sounds really basic, but a lot of offices fundamentally ignore it — to their detriment," she said. LOOKING FOR A SUPPLIER OR VENDOR? Visit Curbing deficit starts with managers PRODUCTIVITY < pg. 1

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian HR Reporter - January 23, 2017