The Human Resources Study of the Supply Chain Sector published in 2005 identified that the sector was going to experience shortages of people of about 12.3% on an annual basis. The roughly 86,000 new hires that the sector requires will come from a blend of people with different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicity, languages, and perspectives on both the world and the world of work. Our current workforce is rather homogenous, as can be seen in the data presented in Module 3 of our sector study report.
There is a great deal of talk and effort around the need to “find” these people, but not a great deal of energy around the need to revise our systems to keep and grow those individuals as truly engaged participants in our sector. In a business that is built upon communication and process, inputs and outputs, that strives for efficiencies, we need to ensure that we “procure” the right assets, and that we “optimize” those assets accordingly.
As our workforce changes, there will be significant changes to the relationships between people within our organizations and the “cultural” realities of our workplaces. These situations will require those of us responsible for HR activities within our firms, and, in fact, supervisors, line workers and managers, to consider the implications of all that we say and do, before we do it.
On a strategic basis, an organization will need to plan its recruiting, retention and recognition strategies to ensure that each new element of our labour force is effectively engaged. This means that we will have to pro-actively design and implement strategies for each of our key target groups:
- Older adults and mature workers in transition
- Aboriginal peoples
- Newcomers and internationally trained individuals
- Other under-represented groups
The stresses that such a dynamic environment can place on a business can be daunting, yet the results of effective engagement can provide exponential returns on your business. Through the process of “inclusion,” an organization can build a culture that “optimizes” the contributions of all.
Kelly Lendsay, Executive Director of the Aboriginal Human Resources Council (AHRC), articulates the process of inclusion in a unique way that captures the requirements for each of the target groups mentioned above. The work of his Council is focused on the inclusion continuum with the following stages:
- Indifference – Inclusion is not on the radar screen.
- Intimidation – Inclusion as forced compliance.
- Image – Inclusion as public relations.
- Initiation – Inclusion as a business imperative.
- Incubation – Inclusion as a core competency.
- Integration – Inclusion as a catalyst for growth.
- Inclusion – Fully embraced as the cultural norm.
We can learn a great deal from the work of the AHRC that will enable us to be more effective not only with aboriginal peoples, but also with newcomers and others alike. Our workplaces will be not only multi-cultural but multi-generational, as well, and we will need to deal with these changes.
The Council is working with other sector councils to develop a Virtual Human Resources Department that will complement the work of our own Recruitment and Retention Strategy, proposed at our last strategy session with HRSDC. Inclusion will be part of both projects.
If you are interested in assisting us as we complete the research and develop the tools required, please contact us. Ideally we are hoping to attract HR professionals from our sector that have experience in developing active measures in any or all of the target groups. Please forward your contact information directly to email@example.com
For further background on the subject of inclusion, please access the following resources:
The Proof is in the Pudding
By Chris Irwin, MBA
Sr. Consultant, Ignite Excellence
Right up front, I have to confess that I am an analogy guy. Most of my analogies relate back to my days serving tables. I have been known to compare product frustrations to "being at the table trying to serve empty plates," and cross-functional support to "the hostess deciding what 'medium-rare' looks like." They may not always work, but for me there is nothing as fulfilling – nor as convincing – as a good analogy.
So, those of us at the forefront of change initiatives in our organizations are:
- like explorers trying to find the New World, or
- like sushi chefs, or
- are we more like (insert your favourite here)?
Whatever the analogy, those of us at the vanguard of change initiatives often have to communicate our message to different groups of people. As we have discussed here before, people will have different communication needs; they will also see different forms of evidence as more convincing.
Many people will say that strong written communication is key to getting your point across. If you are relying on sheer quantity of "compelling evidence," you may find that your 2.54cm-thick supporting document may stall on your decision maker's desk or may be dismissed before being fully read and understood. Graphs and all, this type of document will only be effective when the person you are working to influence:
- Trusts you (and will give you the benefit of the doubt);
- Easily digests details and specifics;
- Has the time to give you the attention that you need;
- Doesn't find anything in the initial part of the document to trigger an emotional motivator that impedes his or her processing of the rest of your well-prepared document.
Note: Going "four-for-four" on this list is like having a perfect NFL season even when you can't lip-read the oppositions' play calls.
Hope for the Best
In all Ignite Excellence programs we talk about delivering the right information at the right time. The information is "right" when it:
- Serves your purpose (e.g., it demonstrates the strength of the initiative you are furthering), and;
- Gives the other person "what the other person needs to hear" to see it your way.
The time is "right" when the person is open to receive the communication. This means he will try to understand you, as opposed to just trying to show you that he is listening, while he's busy worrying about a more-pressing issue.
Mixing in a healthy dose of TRUST (e.g., "I will give you the benefit of the doubt") changes the recipe drastically, and takes a lot of pressure off the evidence that you provide.
But Expect the Worst
When you can't count on getting the benefit of the doubt – or you lack credibility, such that your saying something actually raises doubt about it – your evidence is critical. You want to be able to say: "It's not just me saying it; listen to/look at this."
Evidence takes a number of different forms based on the type of information that the other person naturally gravitates toward.
- Are you talking to someone who lives for the details? Load up on the data, run the numbers and grab some statistical support.
- Are you talking to someone who needs results right away? Put together a quick case study that clearly illustrates why what you are doing has worked in the past, or how a competing idea has failed in the past.
- Are you talking to someone who puts a lot of faith in others' opinions? Drop some names of people who are supporting you.
- Are you talking to someone who needs to see it to believe it? Figure out a way to involve them in a demo, a walk-through or a modeling exercise.
In Summary (Analogy Alert)
Sometimes, getting our ideas across to people is like being asked to get something out of someone else's locker at the gym: you have to know which locker AND you need the combination.
When someone tells you where the locker is (i.e., what they are interested in), listen carefully and remember every last detail. If they like and trust you, they may not mind helping you find the locker if you forget or stray.
Once you are at the right locker, you still need the right combination. The right type of information (i.e., evidence) will loosen that lock and increase your chances that the lock will open (i.e., the person will buy into your ideas).
Call for Stories:
Please submit any relevant stories of communicating change in the workplace: good, bad and ongoing challenges. If these are included in a future article, you will be entered in a draw for one of Ignite Excellence's OPEN PROGRAMS on effective and influential communication skills. Submit stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Irwin is a Senior Consultant with Ignite Excellence Inc., a training and development consultancy specializing in persuasive communications. Maximizing the effectiveness of internal communication (including in a supply chain) is one of Ignite Excellence’s areas of expertise for communications-skill development. Chris can be reached at email@example.com.
How to Motivate the Four Generations Currently at Work in Canada
Graybridge Malkam and Talentmap have partnered to produce “Motivating Across Generations,” a report on the state of motivating all four generations in the Canadian workplace. You can pick up a copy of the full report at booth #914 or #629 at the HRPAO 2008 Trade Show in Toronto, from January 30th to February 1st.
If you can't make it to the show, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
to receive an electronic copy, available in early February.
Key Findings of the Study
- Generation Y is being told by most managers that they “can be creative in helping the company succeed”
- Executives, managers and Gen Y employees agree that partnering older and newer employees is taking place across Canada
- Management is communicating the value of experience to Boomers and Veterans
- Boomers are not being offered enough rewards in the form of status symbols
- Organizations are not providing enough work-style flexibility to Boomers
- Gen X is not being provided with the informal workplace culture they desire
- Management is providing Gen X tangible rewards, but would prefer a more sincere thank you for work well done
- Gen X craves flex time, more interactions with senior leaders and better financial rewards
- All generations are communicating a desire for workplace flexibility
Graybridge Malkam: www.graybridgemalkam.com; Talentmap: www.talentmap.com
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada
SCL invites students from all Canadian educational institutions to submit a paper for the Progistix National Student Paper award. This award carries a $2,500 prize and a one-year membership in SCL. Papers from undergraduate and graduate students will be accepted; the papers will be weighted to the level of program being undertaken.
The award is to be presented at the SCL Annual Conference, which will be held in May 2008 in Toronto. The student award winner will receive a full complimentary pass to the Annual Conference, hotel accommodation if they are from beyond the GTA, and airfare if they live outside of Ontario.
Details can be found on SCL's website
Can You Help?
Quebec/Ontario Economic Development
On November 26, Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that they will cooperate to eliminate trade barriers and improve labour mobility between their two provinces. The Premiers signed a joint declaration to begin negotiating an expanded accord to strengthen the economies of Quebec and Ontario.
In Quebec, the mandate for this agreement has been given to the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Raymond Bachand. His Ministry is looking for input: comments on the problems and barriers that businesses encounter in their Ontario/Quebec dealings.
City of Toronto Labour-Force Survey
The City of Toronto’s Employers Access to Support & Employees (EASE) Project is conducting a survey, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, of employers in the City of Toronto and surrounding boroughs. The project goal is to compile meaningful data about current and future labour-force needs in Toronto, based on responses from across employment sectors.
Information gathered will help the City to develop human resources tools to strengthen employers' capacities to hire and retain youth. The HR tool kit will be available free of charge to employers across the city.
To complete the survey, click here
If you have any questions about this survey or its goals, please contact the EASE Project, at EASE@toronto.ca
Vancouver – February 20
Montreal – April 8
Toronto – April 9
Letters of Credit:
Vancouver – February 20
Montreal – April 8
Toronto – April 9
Risks Forwarders Face:
Vancouver – February 21
Montreal – April 15
Toronto – April 16
Vancouver – February 21
Montreal – April 15
Toronto – April 16
The Material Handling Industry of America, NA 2008 Exhibition
, April 21 to 24, Cleveland, Ohio
CITT, Reposition 2008, November 5 to 7, Winnipeg, Man.