Tag Archives: human capital

Labour Day

This coming Monday September 2nd is Labour Day, a national holiday in Canada and the U.S. This day is the workers’ holiday celebrating their labour efforts.

You can thank some union workers who worked in a printing shop in Ontario in the 1800’s for this annual long weekend.

English: Toronto Globe newspaper office (with ...

Toronto Globe newspaper office (with a globe on top) on King Street East, Toronto, Canada, early 1860s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1869 the union petitioned their employers, requesting a weekly reduction in working hours. Their request was refused outright by the owners of the printing shops, and by the founder of the Toronto Globe, which later became the Globe and Mail.

In 1872 the Toronto Printers Union went on strike and fought for a 9 hour work day. Previously the employers expected their workers to clock in a 12 hour work day.

After that year, almost all union demands included the 54-hour week. The Toronto printers were pioneers of the shorter workweek in North America.

Celebrating the workers’ successful striking efforts, Labour Day became an annual celebration. By 1894, it became the official national holiday that we continue to recognize today.

Here’s an ironic twist. For the first time ever, The Globe and Mail newspaper will not be publishing a Labour Day edition of their paper this year, due to lack of advertising revenue. According to a note to subscribers from the publisher and CEO of the Globe & Mail, the revenue is “needed to cover the costs of formatting, printing and delivery of the paper, and the number of vacation stops by subscribers”.

Enjoy your long weekend, and of course, this Labour Day.

A Toxic Workplace

I was talking with a friend of mine recently who brought up the topic of the corporate culture in her current workplace. toxic-300x269

She said that every day she comes home from work, she just wants to “shower off her day”. For the past 2 years she has worked in an environment that does not make her happy. Why does she stay? She is a highly specialized C level employee where good jobs with her specific skill set are hard to find. She likes her job, she likes the actual day to day work that she does. But it is the work environment and culture that repels her.  Unfortunately, the CEO of the company defines the culture, and therefore little can be done to change it. Most of the employees are in their early 20’s, and sadly, they are looking up to this CEO as an example of how people should treat each other in the workplace. Needless to say, my friend is on the search for a new job, but in the meantime, she feels stuck.

Great People Make A Great Company

It is known that great people make a great team and great teams can overcome huge obstacles. Companies that work hard to find the best team members to join them and work equally hard to provide a challenging and rewarding environment to motivate and bring out the best in them are setting themselves up for success. My friend feels that the company culture is being poisoned.

When a leader of a company believes that their business is about the people, it is their duty to foster that success. Building the relationships between those people builds the business. Losing incredible talent due to poor leadership will not make a company an employer of choice.

Office Stretches to Do at Your Desk

Feeling tension in your shoulders? Are you hunched over your keyboard?

Take care of yourself and give your aching body a break with these recommended office stretches to do at your desk from the team at hiredmyway.

click on the image for a larger view

office_stretches infographic

Having a bad day

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I can always count on Mike Desjardins from ViRTUS  to give me a smile. He shares the following video with his staff if someone is having a bad day.

How Clean is your Office?

At this time of year, there seem to be a lot of colds and flu going around.  The most important prevention of catching these viruses is frequent hand-washing. Just think how many times our hands touch different surfaces during the day at the office. Compound that by knowing that  many of our coworkers also touching those same surfaces. Our workspaces are teeming with bacteria and germs.  This infographic from Master Cleaners in London shows us the nitty gritty.

click on the image for a larger view

germs-in-the-office

Perks at Work

Yes, we’ve heard about company perks that big employers like Google and Facebook can offer their employees. But, what can smaller companies do? With limited budgets, it can be challenging, but offering attractive low-cost perks encourages creative ideas that will keep employees engaged and happy.

Some good perks to many employees are flexible schedules, telecommuting, and extra vacation days. Depending on the environment and culture, some employees enjoy the benefits of Take Your Dog to Work Day. There is also job sharing for new parents, or a paid day off per year to volunteer for a favourite charity. These are just some of the benefits that enable employees to work well and live well.

Many years ago, I worked at a company where the Director of our branch office did a lot of corporate travel. He racked up the air miles points, enough to be rewarded a long haul flight, and every year at the staff holiday party he drew a name out of a hat. I remember one year, the winning staff member was our long time receptionist who used the air miles to go on her honeymoon to the Caribbean. Although only one person really benefited from this perk, we all felt great about it.  It did wonders for morale.

A tricky thing about introducing a new perk, is the sustainability of it. When financial times are tough, sometimes it’s those little perks that go away first. It can be awfully hard to take back those pizza Fridays that everybody enjoyed for the past year. Outrage may occur, and companies don’t like being the bad guy.

That being said, it can be fun to change things up a bit. Replace one perk with another one. A great morale booster is a peer-led recognition system, whereas the staff nominates one of their fellow co-workers as a star employee for going above and beyond their regular work.  The company provides the prize – anything from a paid day off or gift cards. With a values-driven culture, the company should be in tune to their employees’ interests, and the awards can be highly personalized.

While going above and beyond the standard benefits can help boost moral and create a loyal workforce, keep in mind that it is not the dollar amount that matters. Taking a philosophical approach to values and culture, and the thought you put into it will create a culture of happiness and fun in the long run.

Called To Coach And Lead The Team

Tina Del Buono of Practical Practice Management shares some worthy leadership advice. Enjoy the read.

Practical Practice Management

Whether it is called coaching, managing, or supervising if it is not done with the   right persons in mind, then maybe the person doing it shouldn’t do it at all.

That may sound pretty harsh, but let’s think it through before making any critical judgments.

The “manager” works under someone, perhaps a supervisor or the business owner.  They have been entrusted to instruct, guide and inspire those that they oversee.  It is what the job description states, and it is what is expected.

Three small words, but three difficult tasks for several reasons;

1. Instruct:  Not all people learn the same or at the same speed.  Communication during training may require different teaching methods to get everyone on the same playing field and understanding what the game plan is.  Some players may catch on quickly and others may take longer.  Instructing then is not a “one size fits all”…

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