HRdownloads Blog

Paying the Price: Justifying HR Costs When Resources Are Tight

Posted by HRdownloads on Aug 12, 2020 2:15:00 PM

For many organizations, budgets are tight. Some have lost major revenue sources, others had to rapidly spend money on new health and safety measures, and some might have made major capital investments to develop new products and services or modify existing offerings. All of these changes to budgets mean most organizations are looking for ways to cut costs, and if your HR function still has an internal reputation as a ‘cost centre’, it can swiftly find itself a target for reductions in staff, programs, services, and tools. But while HR can look like an easy place to save money, many organizations are discovering they need HR now more than ever.

During a crisis, long-term thinking becomes tougher. The present demands our attention, and short-term solutions begin to make sense, while their long-term consequences go undiscussed and unconsidered. It’s a mistake, though, to focus on the immediate crisis at the expense of future stability. As endless as this pandemic has felt, it will be over eventually, and when it is, organizations that gave thought to their post-pandemic strategies will be better positioned to recover quickly.

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Topics: Digital HR Solutions

Rules Aren't Meant to Be Broken: When Customers (or Other People) Ignore Safety Measures

Posted by HRdownloads on Aug 6, 2020 2:47:00 PM

Reopening is firmly here, but so is the pandemic still, meaning businesses must take precautions to prevent exposing employees and the public to infection. Many stores are limiting occupancy, reducing hours, requiring masks, among other measures—usually taking multiple simultaneous precautions.

If employees fail to follow your new health and safety guidelines, your course is pretty clear: unless they have a reasonable objection like requiring an accommodation, employees must follow safety protocols or face appropriate progressive discipline. What’s less clear is an employer’s option when the reluctant party isn’t an employee. What happens when a customer refuses to wear a mask, for example? Or a supplier, vendor, or visitor?

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Topics: Health and Safety, Canadian Businesses

No Org Is an Island: External Factors Affecting Your Reopening Plans

Posted by HRdownloads on Jul 29, 2020 2:26:00 PM

You’re ready to reopen: you’ve talked to your employees about their concerns, and you’ve addressed all of them. The people who need accommodations will get them, there will be safety measures in place, PPE is available, everyone’s done their training. What’s left? Quite a lot, maybe. Even though your organization is about to reopen, other employers might not be so prepared, or might have restrictions still that make reopening a trickier issue. You might think other businesses are none of your business, but no organization exists independently, and this doesn’t just apply to obvious supplier and vendor relationships or other business-to-business transactions.

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Topics: Health and Safety, Canadian Businesses

How Are Other Businesses Doing? COVID-19: Immediate Responses and Impact

Posted by HRdownloads on Jul 22, 2020 2:49:00 PM

In April 2020, HRdownloads conducted a survey to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting HR and business leaders in the areas of business operations, workforce management, and customer relations.

With an amazing 1,228 survey responses, this information provides the closest look yet at how small and medium businesses (SMB) have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic across Canada.

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Topics: HR Challenges

Futureproofing the Fine Print: Termination Clauses in Ontario

Posted by HRdownloads on Jul 16, 2020 3:30:00 PM

Common-law awards for termination tend to be substantially greater than the notice or statutory severance payments required under legislation, so employers have long tried to write termination clauses into contracts that explicitly limit employees to their legislative entitlements alone. Over years of complex litigation, Ontario courts frequently have struck down these termination clauses as unenforceable, often for very subtle choices of wording, to the point that it can seem almost impossible to write a contract that will actually hold up in court. Two recent decisions from Ontario courts make this task harder still.

The two decisions, Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. and Rutledge v. Canaan Construction Inc., once again narrow the scope of acceptable termination clauses in Ontario employment contracts. Courts generally hold that employers have more power in the workplace, particularly in setting terms of employment contracts, and therefore bear the greater responsibility to craft terms that are legally compliant and do not deprive employees of their legal rights and entitlements. What makes these decisions important is how broadly they read those rights.

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Topics: HR Challenges

When Kokomo Is Not Somewhere You Can Go: Addressing Vacations During a Pandemic

Posted by HRdownloads on Jul 15, 2020 2:16:00 PM

When summer weather teases Canadians, we typically experience a flood of employees eager to book their vacations, get outside, and enjoy all the brief season has to offer. This summer will be anything but typical, as physical distancing guidelines remain in effect and businesses slowly begin to reopen.

Over the last few months, many employees have likely been holding off on taking vacation, waiting until restrictions ease. Although this might not seem like a major issue, you could experience significant staffing problems or face expensive vacation payouts if you do not plan now to address vacation balances.

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Topics: Health and Safety

Masks Are So This Season: Addressing PPE Refusals

Posted by HRdownloads on Jul 7, 2020 3:22:00 PM

As an employer or HR professional, you know your responsibility is to create a safe and healthy workplace for your employees and reduce the risks that hazards pose. You can implement various methods to achieve this, including eliminating a hazard, implementing administrative controls or barriers, but the last resort is the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

PPE is a last line of defence to minimize employee exposure when a hazard cannot be eliminated. This equipment can be extensive and may include respirators, aprons, gloves, or eye and foot protection, depending on the hazard. The problem with PPE is that it is only effective if it is used and used properly. Employees who are unwilling to wear required PPE can be difficult to manage.

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Topics: Health and Safety

Workplace Wellness by Design: Applying the Hierarchy of Controls to Mental Health

Posted by HRdownloads on Jul 2, 2020 2:34:00 PM

While there have been increasing concerns over mental health for many years, the pandemic has applied unique stressors that have exacerbated existing mental heath issues and created entirely new ones. According to a recent survey by SunLife, 50% of Canadian’s report that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. And many government bodies (e.g. StatsCan), health organizations (e.g. World Health Organization), and independent research houses (e.g. H-4.org) are predicting an unprecedented mental health disaster – one that is likely to have long-lasting implications. Yet, what do we hear the most about? How to put on a mask. How to wash our hands. How to physically distance. But what about how to proactively manage mental health issues? As business leaders, we can and we must better manage mental health concerns. How? Well if you are an HR leader, a solution has been staring us in the face for a long time…

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Topics: Small Business, Canadian Businesses

You've Got the Green Light to Re-Open, but is it Ethical?

Posted by HRdownloads on Jun 29, 2020 3:30:00 PM

The economic hardships of the prolonged COVID-19 shutdown mean that many organizations feel enormous pressure to resume operations as soon as possible, but besides the obvious health and safety issues involved with re-opening, employers must consider the range of ethical issues that are likely to arise.

Ethics in business matter more than ever because of how easily and quickly employer misconduct can come to light. Without naming names, we can all think of examples of organizations that have engaged in unethical behaviour and been called out online or in public. When this happens, some customers will cut ties, and employees might quit. Even those customers and employees who remain will have their trust shaken.

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Topics: Small Business, Canadian Businesses

Who Gets to Work from Home?

Posted by HRdownloads on Jun 19, 2020 1:11:00 PM

Almost five million Canadians started working from home since March 2020, but not all jobs can be done remotely, and the question of which jobs can—and who has those jobs—is important to answer as we think about how to keep employees safe and begin resuming operations.

Just as the pandemic’s effects were unevenly distributed, endangering some Canadians more than others, there is a very real chance that the recovery efforts will have uneven effects that worsen existing problems.

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Topics: HR Challenges, Canadian Businesses

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