|Raising Career Awareness: Some Concrete Steps
By Kevin A. Maynard, Executive Director
In our February Association Update
, we spent some time outlining ways that employers or professionals in our sector could become engaged in working with high school students, in order to increase students' exposure to our sector and the wonderful world of opportunities that could be theirs if they simply widened their career search to some of our 26 occupational clusters. Strategies involving those tactics will not begin to show impact until the middle of the decade, when those high school students complete post-secondary education or enter the true career phases of their lives. For our sector, that will be when the wave of retirements will begin to grow and affect every major organization, both private and public, in this country!
Beyond that longer-term wave, what can we as organizations or individuals be doing, with current post-secondary students, graduates and those currently transitioning directly from secondary schools into the world of work? Here are some concrete practices that you can immediately implement:
Current High School Graduates
– Review your immediate workplace needs and see if you have a need for entry-level employees within your organization. If you do, consider a recruitment strategy that targets students that have excelled in business studies or a technical program, or have been exposed to the world of work through a co-op program or a program like Ontario's High Skills Major
. If you determine that you may experience increased demand for labour over the summer months, look at meeting your employment needs through the Government of Canada's Hire-A-Student program
. (The application period for this summer closed on February 28, but you could keep this program in mind for 2012.) Use the Council's Recruitment and Retention Toolkit
to build a comprehensive recruitment strategy. If your workplace is involved in a co-op program throughout the school year, you may have already developed a candidate pool for summer jobs in your organization.
Current Students of Post-Secondary Institutions
– Many learning system providers (private institutions, colleges and universities) offer co-ops or internships as part of their courses of study. Students enrolled in these programs are searching for opportunities to put some context around their learning. They have a passion for the work that we are engaged in, and can offer unique perspectives based on their age, a foundation of knowledge around our business, and the desire to find a meaningful experience. Compensation for these participants ranges greatly, and may be dependent on the institution. For further details, visit our Education and Training Compendium
, and search for programs that offer co-ops or internships. Contact specific learning system providers to speak directly with their placement specialists.
Graduates of Post-Secondary Institutions
– Canadian institutions are beginning to offer a greater range of programs developed to meet the needs of our sector. Continued enrollment in these programs is dependent on employer demand. If employers do not hire graduates of programs offered, students will not enroll in the programs. If students do not enroll in programs, institutions will not offer them. Our sector has said that it needs candidates that have better-developed skills, knowledge and abilities in supply chain management. Over the last four years, the Council has worked with the sector to develop National Occupational Standards (NOS) that capture those requirements and guide the development of courses and programs. These courses and programs are gathered in our Education and Training Compendium
, and an increasing number are accredited through our National Accreditation Program
. We encourage you to consider priority placement of graduates of accredited programs when you make your hiring decisions. As is the case with the previous target group, contact the local placement office at the institution of your choice to connect with recent graduates, or to offer a local hiring fair.
CSCSC Career Focus Program
– The Council continues to offer its wage-subsidy program for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The program provides an employer with up to $12,750 to help bring a new employee on board. Certain conditions apply; for more details, please call Sheryl Keenan at the office, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
In closing, we all have a commitment. Together we have said that we need to do something to successfully address our needs around succession planning. Cultivating new talent begins with a hiring decision! And, by the way, we all need to walk the talk. This week, Vanessa Nguyen, a high school student enrolled in the Business High Skills Major at Lakeshore Collegiate started a four-month placement at the Council's office. Vanessa will be working with Kim and Lorraine in marketing, communications and outreach activities.
Changes to the LMI Toolkit
- The LMI Portal, which provides links to historical data on supply chain occupations across Canada that can be dissected to address information needs and to LMI websites from around the world.
- The Using the Working in Canada Website page, which provides instructions on using the valuable Working in Canada resource, where you can access career information related to main duties, jobs and skills requirements, wages, outlooks and prospects, training opportunities and more.
- The results of the Council's own monthly HR-trends surveys, which provide a feel for labour-market conditions in the sector.
Career Focus Program: Case Study
The Council's Career Focus Program provides wage subsidies to employers to enable them to hire new employees in supply chain roles. The employees must be 30 years old or younger and have graduated with some type of post-secondary education: a university or college degree, a professional designation or supply chain-related training.
Participation is simple: an employer enrols in the program, selects a candidate, completes an application form and, if approved, submits proof of wages paid in each pay period. Approval of applications takes just one or two days.
Lafarge Canada Inc.
During the economic downturn, Lafarge had to operate with a reduced workforce. Being unable to build its staff was proving to be problematic at times for the company, especially in the Customer Value Centre for its Distribution/Logistics Department.
Lafarge applied to participate in the Career Focus Program. The company had in mind hiring Thomas Story, a University of Calgary graduate with a degree in operations management, to work as a freight analyst. The company and Thomas met the program’s criteria and Thomas was hired. Both Lafarge and Thomas have benefited through participation in the Career Focus Program:
Judith Arato of Lafarge: Participation in the Career Focus Program “allowed us to continue to move forward with a much-needed position and develop our young talent pipeline, which is very important for Lafarge’s future.”
Thomas Story: “After I graduated, it wasn’t as easy to get a job in my sector as I had hoped. When I finally got an interview with a company I was very interested in, I knew there would be fierce competition for the position. Luckily, I found out that I was eligible for the Career Focus Program, and I am sure that it helped strengthen me in the eyes of the employer. This allowed me to get a position that I found interesting in a company that I respect, and gave me an opportunity to start my career in a place where I can actually use my education.”
Coming Workplace Changes Identified in Recent Study
At the recent NATCON conference (National Consultation on Career Development and Workforce Learning), Dr. Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Organizational Effectiveness and Learning at The Conference Board of Canada, presented on "The Workplace of the Future: 10 Ways Your Workplace Will Change in 2020." Dr. Bloom's presentation
can be seen on the NATCON website. A summary of key points is provided here.
Ten Ways the Workplace Will Change
- Boomers won’t leave. Successive generations will be sharing space and ideas. Organizations will need to identify programs to manage age diversity in the workplace.
- The visible minority will be white. This opens enormous opportunities for new products and services, and improved access to global markets. The challenge will be in integrating people of all races into every part of working life – especially at the top.
- We’ll be linked to work at all hours, whether we want to be or not. We need to create boundaries between work and leisure time.
- We’ll make more of what we consume, where we consume it. Consumers will produce more of their own products. "Prosumers" (a hybrid of "producers" and "consumers") want to customize and control their consumption experiences.
- The office will be where we say it is. Work will be more and more delinked from place. Technologies will allow us to work productively at a distance.
- Social media will be the community halls of the future. They will provide the arena for workers to collaborate on projects.
- Real companies will have virtual locations. By 2020, virtual locations may outnumber bricks-and-mortar ones. Much more recruiting and training will be done on virtual sites.
- Management will be pushed down and out. Top-down, centralized leadership will be replaced by flexible work formations and management systems that promote highly decentralized decision-making.
- Contingent workers will become unconditionally important. More part-time, seasonal and contract workers will help companies adjust to quick changes in the type and amount of work that needs to be done. Employees will be less loyal and it will be harder to enforce a single corporate culture.
- Teamwork will be a learned skill, not just a nice attitude. More outsiders, faster technology, wider networks and more complex programs are all arguments for more teamwork, to be done in increasingly diverse workplaces. The ability to work on a team and, especially, to lead it will be one of the most important skills in any workplace.
Leadership Skills for 2020
- Team building and alliance making
- Risk taking, entrepreneurship
- Using technology effectively
- Managing diversity
- Nurturing diverse talent – and promoting to the top
- Running global, multinational operations
An action plan to prepare for these coming workplace changes should be based on an understanding of the trends, clarification of their implications, and identification of needs and opportunities. It should ensure that the company is building and recruiting for leadership skills... Will you be ready?
A Tale of Two Stories
SHE’LL SAY (Sr. VP, spoken to her “coach”):
We had a number of discussions within the senior team about whether or not to bring supporting functions into a shared-services framework. It was a really good exercise and we were able to clarify some important strategic issues.
For example, although we have been trying to do more work in Canada (with a recent focus on competing more effectively on public-sector contracts), the bulk of our business comes from U.S. customers. One of our directors is very quick to wax on about “selling the value” and that “objections on price are a cover for something else.” That is all well and good, but when your largest customer's dollar is in a pretty steady slide, it might be worth looking at price. This latter point was pushed by our CFO, who is not used to having to explain himself, but to his credit, he took us through the thinking, and even apologized for making it so basic.
The key measure for this project is profitability, and if it is implemented correctly, we will see a significant increase in profits, even with steady or even slightly lower rates to our U.S. customers.
In the meantime, this gives us some budget room to build up some resources and make some very strategic hires that will help us compete for upcoming public tenders here and out west. The joke on our last bid was that we were in danger of being the dog that actually caught the car… Needless to say, we didn’t catch it, but we’ll be in a better position to in about eight months.
HE’LL SAY (Department Manager, overheard at the water cooler):
First of all, if you are going to make a bad decision, why not get on with it. The hype around this “new direction” was unbelievable. Do you really have to have three “offsite strategy sessions” to figure out how to bury accountability for me and for my team? It would have been faster to say:
“Folks, a lot of people have been whining about how unfair it is to celebrate success openly, so we are going to put you all on the same team… and by the way, we are going to get into bed with some governments because they have the same view that we do.”
I have been running this division for eight years, and for the last seven, we have put up the best numbers in the worst market. It took me a few years to get the team that I wanted, but right now we are a well-oiled machine, and we all love competition. For Pete’s sake, we are most competitive with ourselves. I am supposed to be happy reporting into a “shared services” lead that supports all markets. I can tell you right now who the weak links are, but this model is guaranteed to give the weak links better air cover.
I’LL SAY (to you in this newsletter):
A common literary device is the split perspective. More than half a century ago, the movie Rashomon
told the story of a rape and murder (or was it?) from different perspectives, all of which appear to be truthful.
In the above (very general) example, and constantly in very specific situations, the same thing happens. Such truths as “we will focus on public-sector contracts” and “we are making changes to reduce expenses and help profitability” will be explained and recounted in different ways.
As alluded to earlier, no one perspective can know all the implications, so picking the actions is an important exercise that involves understanding strategic issues and opportunities. It is also safest to place these actions within a simple strategic storyline: “Our run-rate business is diminishing; we have to look for new sources of revenue.” At every opportunity, make obvious the connection between strategic story and the actions. Without a context, just like “HE SAYS,” people will fill in their own… and it may be very detrimental to your overall goals.
Chris Irwin is the Managing Partner for the Canadian practice of Creative Connection Consultants (creativeconnection.ca), who work with companies to release superior performance by understanding the organizational narrative. He is on faculty at the Schulich School of Business, and in Humber’s Supply Chain program. He also teaches in PMAC’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program. He can be reached through website www.creativeconnection.ca.
make professional development accessible:
March 9 - LinkedIn: Tapping into the Power of Social Media
March 29 – Freight Markets Survey Results with David Newman
– October 26 to 28 in Montreal. Conference details are beginning to be available on the CITT website.
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada
SCL is now accepting nominations and submissions for three awards to be presented at the Supply Chain Canada conference and trade show on May 10 and 11 in Toronto. The awards are:
2011 SCL President’s Award
Given to an individual, group or company who has demonstrated exemplary vision, outstanding leadership and strategic thinking within the supply chain and logistics industry.
2011 SCL Green Supply Chain Award
Salutes supply chain management who have set and exceeded high standards for environmental sustainability through: identifying goals to reduce the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from freight facility operations; developing an action plan detailing how each of these goals will be achieved; and reporting progress towards achieving these goals.
2011 SCI Group Inc. National Student Paper Award
Presented annually to the student who submits the best original paper on logistics/supply chain management. For group-written papers, each author will be acknowledged. The national winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500, as well as a complimentary pass to the Supply Chain Canada conference and trade show, with travel and accommodations. Regional winners will also be awarded prizes.
Interns Available May to July in Toronto Area
Centennial College students in project management, international business, marketing and HR programs are now looking for internships that would run from May to July. Here are the general rules of engagement:
- Interns are unpaid, but compensation may be paid for travel and lunch expenses.
- Students are available to work four days a week, Monday to Thursday, from 9 to 5 or an equivalent number of hours. Friday is an in-class day at the college.
- WSIB and all insurance expenses are covered by the college.
- Host companies can dismiss students at any time for any reason.
- Start dates range from April 26 to May 30.
- Hosts assign a grade to students, which accounts for 80 percent of their final grade in the course (BUSN450).
If you are interested in learning more or registering to have an intern in your workplace, contact William Vukson, Co-ordinator of Internships & Training at Centennial, as soon as possible in order to secure a student that fits your needs and work environment.
Send a brief position description to William, at email@example.com
, to enable him to match your requirements to the qualifications of candidates. William can be reached at 416-699-3530.
Fighting Ageism: Best Employers for 50-Plus Canadians
In February, the Workplace Institute announced the winners of its Best Employers Award for 50-Plus Canadians™ for 2011. They are:
- Bethany Care Society. One of Western Canada’s largest not-for-profit providers of health, housing and support for seniors and persons with disabilities, Bethany Care Society is a second-time winner of this award. Bethany has continued to focus on the needs of current and potential 50-plus workers, now more than a third of its workforce.
- Catholic Children’s Aid Society (CCAS) of Toronto. CCAS has now won this award five times for its comprehensive approach to wellness and work-life balance for 50-plus workers, as well as an excellent recognition program.
- Walmart Canada. Another repeat winner of a Best Employer Award for 50-plus Canadians. The company’s Progressive Retirement Services initiative offers flexible work options to meet both employee personal needs and the company’s business needs. Walmart has also created exceptional hiring and recognition programs and a workplace culture that supports a diverse workforce.
"It’s no surprise these organizations have once again received this distinction,” says award founder Barbara Jaworski, President of the Workplace Institute. “They actively seek the opinions of their workforce and then create and/or adapt their strategies, policies and programs to better meet the needs of workers of all ages, but especially those of their mature employees. Their efforts help remove barriers and create open, diverse and inclusive culture.”
Independent judges assessed applicants in the areas of career development, retention, recruitment, workplace culture/practices, benefits, management practices, health support, retirement/retiree practices, pension and/or recognition. The judges for this year’s awards were Jean-Guy Souličre, Chair of the National Seniors Council and Kevin Maynard, Executive Director of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council.