Canadian HR Reporter

April 17, 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.

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Page 30 of 31

CANADIAN HR REPORTER April 17, 2017 INSIGHT 31 Why it's important to get that awkward compensation question out of the way If recruiters expect full disclosure from candidates, at least they can reciprocate Talking about compensation is an impor- tant aspect in the hiring process as it es- tablishes a relationship based on trust and transparency from the get-go. After all, an employer entrusts a recruiter to select the best candidate for the posi- tion, and the candidate trusts the hiring manager will be transparent about the compensation details for the role. However, the great debate seems to be around timing and who has the right to make the fi rst move when it comes to compensation. On the one hand, recruit- ers claim they have the right to establish the timing as they are the ones extending the off er and placing their companies at risk. On the other hand, candidates feel they have as much right to ask about compensation as soon as possible, as they have a clear- cut idea of their value, their time and should be able to ask the question without being cut from the process. So, how do we get past this impasse? Let's start with this question: Are recruiters aware they are re- sponsible for not only the well- being of their company, their in- ternal stakeholders and their ex- ternal clients, but the candidates as well? e answer is: It depends on the knowledge, competency and professionalism of the recruiter. Human capital gives companies competitive edge, and their com- bined skills support a company's performance, sustainability and strategic goals in its respected industry. A competent recruiter is an ex- cellent communicator and skilled negotiator. He is aware of his company's fi nancial abilities and business goals, its culture and tal- ent gaps. He knows the audience and, more importantly, is able to take charge and manage expectations of the interview process to get the best possible outcome — without compromising the company's reputation. Simply put, a great recruiter is able to generate a win-win out- come while being as transparent and realistic as possible. At the basic level, if you expect candidates to off er full disclosure on their education and experi- ence, and to invest a signifi cant amount of time in demonstrat- ing to you why they are the best fi t, the least you can do is recip- rocate and share as much as you can about the role and compen- sation package they would be en- titled to, should they be successful candidates. Naturally, the process varies and depends on company prac- tices, the role and the resources available. I would argue that while dis- closing compensation details is not restricted to the fi rst, second or third interview, disclosing it as early as possible in the pro- cess demonstrates a respect for all parties' time, alleviates nerves and simply makes good business sense. Having tested several ap- proaches, I found the ones that worked best resulted in a relaxed and articulate candidate who was more prone to answer my ques- tions fully — once we got com- pensation out of the way. In one instance, I shared the salary range along with the role description during the fi rst in- terview, which paved the way for an engaging and insightful exchange, revealed their KSAOs (job-related knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteris- tics) and led to a successful, long- term hire. In another instance, I outlined the interview process — the fi rst interview would be focused on the role, company culture and the person's alignment or fi t; the sec- ond interview would be on com- pensation details; and the third would involve meeting the team, a tour of the company and a full- off er package. is, again, resulted in a seam- less exchange, a satisfi ed candi- date who felt her compensation was "fair" and a successful, long- term hire. It's important to note — every candidate's idea of "fair" diff ers and the last thing any recruiter would want is to get to the off er- letter stage, only to have the can- didate feel low-balled and decline, or you hire at a lower rate and fi nd later you have a disgruntled, demotivated employee in your midst. In contrast, I have heard of negative interview experiences — some where candidates struggled when asked about their salary ex- pectations, then unwittingly set- tled for a lower-than-anticipated compensation, and later exited the company after negotiating a "fair" compensation with another company. Yet, there are other candidates who are coerced into signing off er letters during the fi rst stage of the interview, without having their questions addressed. I remember one bad experience when, upon negotiation of a fi xed salary, the recruiter drafted an of- fer that refl ected a lower amount than discussed, so the candidate subsequently declined — and was subjected to verbal abuse by the recruiter. Recruiters need to understand that with the rise of social media, their reputation and their com- pany's reputation are at risk at all times, and they are responsible for understanding the implications and applicability of local legisla- tion when it comes to best prac- tices around hiring. Today's candidates are re- sourceful, media-savvy, aware of their rights and, at a bare mini- mum, extremely proficient at gathering information and tak- ing whatever suitable, and often damaging, recourse to expose a company's malpractices. Until we respect the profes- sion of our choosing, set realistic and transparent standards and abide by them, we will continue to do a disservice to our fi eld of expertise. Until we proactively seek out the relevant legislation and guidelines, and garner our companies' and stakeholders' "buy-in," we will con- tinue to put our reputations at risk. Until we hold ourselves ac- countable and practise the true meaning of "human" in human resources, these kinds of situa- tions will persist. Belinda Schuler-Chin is a Certi- fi ed Human Resources Professional (CHRP) in Toronto and a candidate for a master's in human resources management (MHRM) at York Uni- versity in Toronto. She can be reached at w w daschulerchin or on Twitter @bella_c. A look at notices of resignation Can an employer demand a certain amount of notice from a departing employee? Question: Can an employer demand a certain amount of notice of resigna- tion? If an employee in an important position doesn't provide notice of res- ignation, does the employer have any recourse? Answer: Yes, in addition to any statutory obligations on an em- ployee, an employer can insist on reasonable notice of resignation from an employee. Many employment standards legislation specify the amount of notice an employee must provide — typically it is no more than two weeks' notice if the person has been employed for two years or more. Absent a specifi c contractual provision, that which consti- tutes reasonable notice will be subject to the same type of re- view that a court undertakes in assessing whether an employer has provided reasonable notice to an employee in a non-just- cause situation. e amount of reasonable notice the employee must provide depends upon a number of factors, including the signifi cance of the position oc- cupied by the employee and the ease (or diffi culty) the employer will encounter in replacing the employee. For example, in the 2016 Cons- bec Inc. v. Walker, the British Co- lumbia employer remained suc- cessful in obtaining damages as a result of the employee not provid- ing reasonable notice to Consbec when he quit his job. However the damages awarded at the trial were signifi cantly re- duced by the province's Court of Appeal. An employer is best served by seeking to have the amount of employee notice refl ected in the employment agreement. For ex- ample in the 2014 BlackBerry v. Marineau-Mes, BlackBerry was successful in enforcing a provision in the employment agreement that the employee was obliged to provide six months' notice. e reasonableness of that con- tractual provision was assessed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in relation to the level of position the employee, Sebastien Marineau-Mes, held and the na- ture of the industry. As the requirement of an em- ployee to provide reasonable no- tice — as opposed to statutory notice — absent specifi c contrac- tual language is seemingly not well-known, it is helpful for the employment contract to defi ne what the parties contemplate as being reasonable notice. Of course, the amount of notice will depend on the particular cir- cumstances of the employment relationship (the employee's du- ties, length of service, and how long it would take the employer to deal with the employee's depar- ture), and a court may ultimately have to be satisfi ed it is reasonable in the circumstances. e failure of an employee to provide reasonable notice, or the notice specifi ed in the contract as the case may be, provides the employer with recourse to sue for damages arising out of the breach — such as increased recruitment costs and lost business. The employment contract can also define the employer's remedies. However, the requirement of the employee to provide notice under statute does not diminish the employee's contractual obliga- tion to provide reasonable notice. For more information see: • Consbec Inc. v. Walker, 2016 Car- swellBC 642 (B.C. C.A.). • BlackBerry Ltd. v. Marineau- Mes, 2014 CarswellOnt 3522 (Ont. S.C.J.). Brian Johnston is a partner at Stew- art McKelvey in Halifax. He can be reached at (902) 420-3374 or bjohn- It's helpful if the employment contract defi nes what the parties contemplate. Brian Johnston TOUGHEST HR QUESTION Talking about compensation is an impor- tant aspect in the hiring process as it es- tablishes a relationship based on trust and transparency from the get-go. After all, an employer entrusts a recruiter to select the best candidate for the posi- tion, and the candidate trusts the hiring manager will be transparent about the Belinda Schuler-Chin GUEST COMMENTARY Until we respect the profession of our choosing, set realistic and transparent standards, and abide by them, we will do a disservice to our fi eld of expertise.

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