HRExaminer v3.41 October 12, 2012
Table of Contents
My favorite app is the off button. And my phone is, well, just a phone.
It’s not that I’m a complete luddite. I just have a healthy skepticism about technology as the solution for everything.
I’ve also been through too many new system implementations that failed. The worst was the calendar and document management program that ended up requiring several full time people just to maintain the system, regularly crashed the servers, decreased productivity, and dramatically increased employee consumption of psychotropic drugs.
Then there are the constant updates to the programs I use regularly, where the “improvements” mean that I spend another half-day relearning how to get it to do the stuff it did before. I have abandoned several browsers, calendar “solutions” and dozens of “tools” because of update dysfunction.
The program I hate most is Microsoft Word. It is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with technology. While technically Word can do almost anything you can think of, you can’t actually do it because you will never find the right commands. If you eventually do, it will screw up everything you just did. I want back the 1,726 hours I’ve spent trying to unformat Word’s auto-formatting.
Word makes me want to scream and throw things. Big things. How does such counter-intuitive, needlessly complicated crap become the program everyone uses? Oh yeah, it came free with the computers until enough people were using it to start charging everyone else.
Here are a few other important things I’ve discovered about new technology:
- All privacy settings on Facebook are an illusion.
- Twitter is mostly broadcast with little interaction. #twitterbation.
- Software users are really just lab rats helping developers learn how their products suck. That way, they can create more updates that suck in new and different ways.
- If it’s free, the real program is collecting data on users and how they use it. Then the developers sell the data to companies who want to sell stuff to you.
- Software startups consist of designers, engineers and coders who spend all day figuring out how to do cool tricks that may or may not ever be useful. They are rarely trying to solve a problem that you have in real life. The investors and marketers then create a problem for you to have, so they can sell you software.
- There are two types of entrepreneurs: the ones who love ideas and the ones who love money. Buy from the ones who love money- their stuff is more likely to work.
So, before you buy that shiny new cloud workforce e-harmony on social steroids data analytics empowerment strategy system for mobile, ask the vendor: Does Prozac come with that?
by Stuart E. Rudner
I am an HR Lawyer in Canada, but have worked with many clients that are U.S.-based. Because our two countries are similar in so many ways, many employers assume that the HR laws are also similar. Unfortunately, that is not the case. U.S. employers that adopt the same HR policies and practices in Canada expose themselves to significant liability.
Below I have set out some of the key differences in Canadian employment law. Almost every point could be the subject of a full article, but I am hopeful that it will be helpful in alerting readers.
1. There is no employment at will. Unless there is just cause for dismissal, employees are entitled to notice of dismissal or pay in lieu thereof (sometimes referred to as severance).
2. Just cause can be shown to exist, but it must be based upon egregious conduct. Whether or not summary dismissal is appropriate will be assessed not only on the misconduct in question, but on all relevant circumstances; this includes the length of employment, prior misconduct and disciplinary history, any mitigating circumstances, and anything else that is relevant. The issue can be quite complex.
3. Because of this contextual approach, it is entirely possible that two employees can engage in the same misconduct but have different discipline imposed. For example: two employees are caught leaving ten minutes before their shift ends. One has been employed for 30 years without incident or discipline, and the other is a recent hire that has already been in trouble repeatedly. The long-service employee admits what he did and profusely apologizes, while the new employee tries to cover it up. It would not be surprising for a Court to find that the new employee should be summarily dismissed but that his colleague is entitled to a second chance.
4. Employment standards legislation sets out the minimum amount of notice of dismissal in the absence of just cause.
5. Unless there is a clearly-worded, enforceable contract that says otherwise, all employees are entitled to “reasonable notice” of dismissal without cause.
6. There are no hard and fast rules for calculating reasonable notice; the core factors are the employee’s length of service, age, and position, though factors such as inducement from previous employment, availability of alternate employment, and anything else the Court deems relevant can be considered.
7. The rule of thumb of “one month of notice for every year of service” is a myth and should not be followed.
8. By default, all forms of compensation are to continue during the notice period. This includes base pay, variable pay, commissions, bonuses, car allowances, medical and dental benefits, insurance, and any other form of compensation.
9. Employers are entitled to provide working notice of dismissal, salary and benefit continuance, a lump sum payment, or any combination thereof. Employees are not entitled to a “package”.
10. Using employment contracts for all employees can dramatically reduce an employer’s obligations, eliminate uncertainty over issues such as how much notice to provide in the event of dismissal without cause, and provide an employer with greater rights and flexibility.
Because it is not as easy to terminate an employment relationship in Canada, and because many of our HR laws are more restrictive, it is crucial that employers develop an HR strategy and then implement policies and procedures to achieve it. Otherwise, time, opportunities, and money will be wasted on HR issues that could have been avoided.
Stuart Rudner is a leading HR Lawyer and a partner in the Labour & Employment Law Group of Miller Thomson LLP, a national law firm. He provides clients with strategic advice regarding all aspects of the employment relationship, and represents them before courts, mediators and tribunals. He is author of You’re Fired: Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada, published by Carswell. He can be reached at 416.595.8672 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @CanadianHRLaw and join his Canadian HR Law Group on LinkedIn.
By the time you read this, the embargo will have passed and Linkedin will have announced its new product releases. Besides a new version of the Recruiter product with 50 ish improvements, the company is launching four new services
- Talent Brand Index
By mining their statistics, the LinkedIn team proposes that they can tell you the relative desirability of an employer. It’s a good idea that’s only missing the whole critique part. The company said that their Talent Brand Index would be slice-able to regional jobs by profession. If so, that means employers will really be able to understand the quality and quantity of the competition. In what appears to be a competitive nod to Glassdoor, LinkedIn’s metrics are based on indicators rather than commentary.
- Top 100 Employers Lists
LinkedIn will be publishing a series of top 100 lists (our readers will understand this familiar concept). The lists start with the ’100 most sought after companies” and will move into other areas over time. There’s nothing like a good horse race and companies will be lining up to buy their LinkedIn service set so they get considered. (It’s hard to be sought after on LInkedIn if you aren’t there)
- Sponsored Jobs
LinkedIn is moving to a model that allows companies to sponsor their job postings on specific pages. There’s a bidding process. One side of the team said that employers would be able to buy a lockout so that competitors could not buy ads on the company’s page. Another side wasn’t so sure. It’s a good revenue move (even if it’s a bit coercive). Like the Top 100 lists and the Brand Index, companies that want to be successful in this particular setting will need to pony up. It’s good for revenue.
- Follower Search
For the first time, LinkedIn is allowing (as a part of a Recruiter license) the searching of the profiles of people who have followed your company page. That way, you can hunt for people who have expressed an interest.
I’m at the LinkedIn TalentConnect conference. It’s the largest recruiting conference in the world. It has a very different feel than the competing events.
First, 2400 recruiters is a lot of recruiters. Breakout sessions are the same size as the keynote sessions in other venues.
Because it’s a users’ conference, the drinking of Koolaid is a competitive sport. The really nice thing about conferences on the public market is that they keep the self-serving corporate fluff to a minimum. I sat in on one session where a customer was interviewing a key leader.
Customer: “Now I’m going to ask you a hardball question. I’m in awe of your complete awesomeness. How do you manage to be awesome while working for an awesome company that makes some really awesome products”
Executive “Well, thanks. That’s awesome. I’m not really so awesome, but the products are definitely awesome. So’s my awesome team”
Still, you sort of expect these things to be that saccharine. The real question is are recruiters getting what they need and is LinkedIn doing something interesting.
The answer is yes… a big yes. Even though some of the new products are arm twisters, the truth is that they identify the competition that really exists and create a platform for it. It’s a level of courage that none of the original job boards were able to muster.
That may define Job Board 2.o: the ability to put employees first and employers a distant second. LinkedIn is really clear about three things:
- They will never breach a users’ privacy for an employer.
- Ad space is ad space.
- The stats are what they are.
The new features make it clear that LinkedIn is settling into the recruiting marketplace in a permanent way.
Disclosure. In order to have me at the conference, LinkedIn gave me a ticket to the event. They also comped one night of my hotel bill because I’m a speaker (on Social Media Policy on Friday).
Employers can own the ad space on their company pages. Position on other pages are completely governed by bid. Your competitor can always displace you.
- In the Nick of Real Time “Pandora’s box has been opened. It can’t be closed. Brands are racing to capture as many fans as possible in as many social media channels as possible. It’s not enough for brands to capture and connect with these consumers, without the expectation of one good turn deserving another. It turns out that consumers want one thing: their issues resolved. And, they want it done fast. Faster than fast. The challenge is this: the majority of brands act fast… as fast as they can. Sadly, it’s not even close to being fast enough for consumers.”
- Everyone Loves Passive Candidates, But We Hire Mostly Actives John Zappe illuminates new insights from Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler (the CareerXroads’ team). It turns out that all of the posturing about passive candidates being better doesn’t have much follow through. Apparently we talk a good game about hunting for help but would rather have them come to us. It will be interesting to understand LinkedIn’s reaction to this.
- These might be the next HR Roles you need to fill Now entrenched in Google’s strategy department, Steve Boese’s view of the world of HR and Technology just keeps getting bigger. This article shows the range of jobs that will be entering the HR operation over the next several years. Change is really with us.
- Where do you live? Understanding how people identify with their geography is a key part of understanding a regional culture. This short piece will help you understand the importance of seeing the world from a city (not state or national) perspective.
- Quantified Self: Louisville Meetup Recap We are learning how to embed data, measurement, analysis and visualization into every aspect of our lives and organizations. The Quantified Self movement is exploring the outer edges of the idea. But, it’s getting enough momentum to be able throw a huge meetup in a town like Louisville. The article will give you some samples of what’s happening at the front.
- Khan Academy Founder to Host Hangout About Education Disruption This is worth putting on your calendar: October 17th. Go here at 1PM.
- The Skills Gap: Talent Shortages and What They Mean John Sumser takes you through the various ways people are thinking about the “quality” problem.
- 10 Ways to Effectively Market Your HR Business Using Social Media A conversation with Sumser and Mark Willaman
- Enterprise Games – Merging of Video Games and Business Operations Webinar from OReilly. If you are interested in Gamification this is a can’t miss webinar on November 17.