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Triathlons Made Me a Better Employee

My legs are on fire; they feel so heavy. My mouth is chalk-dry, I’m extremely thirsty. People around me are cheering but the noise is so intense that I can’t distinguish the voices. A bell rings continuously, as if someone is trying to gain my attention. My body leans dangerously forward. I raise my head to catch my balance. The side of my face is so hot; the sweat is burning my skin! To my right, I see children cheering and wanting a high-five. Far ahead, I see a woman holding up a sign, “How did you get those great legs?” Next to her is a man with a sign that reads, “You can do this!” I sport a huge smile, despite the pain. After 1.9 km of swimming, 90 km of cycling and 21 km of running, I cross the finish line of my first half IRONMAN (70.3) triathlon race.

Why? Why not!

I began training for triathlons a few years ago and I quickly found that it’s not just a sport, but a way of life. As a triathlete, I’ve become more aware of who I am and I’ve developed skills and personality traits that have transcended into my career and personal life.

Humility

I began training for triathlons as a novice athlete. I felt exasperated during my first few outings especially during the first swim challenge. As I got over this hurdle, the experience taught me a lot. I learned to be humble, to challenge myself and to work better within a team.

These skills have helped in my work environment too! I’ve became more empathetic towards new employees, I’ve learned to overcome work obstacles and to work effectively with my team.

Goal Oriented

Triathlons teach us to set goals, to go faster, and to go further. There are individuals that have lost their passion, given up, or have stopped setting life goals. They may continue to dream, but they’ve quit working towards their goals or specific timelines. They tell themselves “when I have the time, I’d like to…”, but they never seem to make the time.

The triathlon motivates individuals into setting goals and becoming achievers.  To finish what they start, and persevere until they reach their goal.  Triathletes don’t put off till tomorrow, what they can do today.

Self-honesty and Self Motivation

Triathletes learn quickly to know themselves and face the truth.  For instance, you’ve finished a race and the time on your watch is below your expectations, you realize you have to motivate yourself to try harder the next time. You can’t be someone that ends your spinning training 5-10 minutes early by convincing yourself you will do it next session. It’s about being honest with yourself.  It’s about seizing the moment.  It’s about learning to be self-motivated and not only setting your goals, but seeing them through.

The skills gained will allow you to be forthright and motivated to get the job done.

Energy and Productivity

Employees who are involved in sports have more energy and are less likely to become ill. According to a study by Goodwill, “a sedentary individual who starts practicing a sport at work will increase his or her productivity by 6% – 9%.[1]. Employers see “a 1% – 14% increase in net productivity.”[2] Thus, it pays to be athletic! Need I say more?

IRONMAN quote:

“There are two types of people, those who say I CAN’T and those who say I CAN!”

Which one are you?

Why Participate in Win4Youth

The Adecco’s Win4Youth program allows employees and clients to log their km when they take part in sports events during their free time. The km are then turned into donations supporting disadvantaged youngsters, children and their families around the globe. In eight years, this initiative has raised €2 million for various charity organizations.

Win4Youth provides employees with the opportunity to get healthy and share quality time with their peers and family members. By encouraging one another to exercise, we work together towards a common goal. It is not just about the organizations profitability but about helping the less fortunate and creating a wonderful team experience.

So, are you convinced? I hope so! See you next time at the track, in the pool or on the bike path!

Happy training,

Pierre-Luc

Pierre-Luc Pérusse is the Branch Manager for Adecco’s Quebec City branch. He helps organizations attract the best talent and leads a team of innovative recruiters. With over 5 years of experience in the staffing industry, Pierre-Luc believes a recruiter’s greatest asset is his personality and his ability to build relationships. Heading into his thirties, he likes to juggle challenges: young family, career, IRONMAN – he is always ready for the next one. A graduate of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières’s Human Resources program, Pierre-Luc enjoys sharing his passion for the field on social media.

 

[1] http://www.travail-prevention-sante.fr/mediatheque/8/2/1/000001128.pdf

[2] http://www.travail-prevention-sante.fr/mediatheque/8/2/1/000001128.pdf

 

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THE INSTANT GENERATION CAN PLAN FOR A LASTING FUTURE

This article originally appeared in Lēad Magazine, Issue 20 – Millennials in the Workplace: Leaders of Today.

By Dr. Peter R. Andersen, Anderson Economic Research Inc. 

 

Millennials face a bright future, even though they may not see it.The malaise facing young people today cannot be attributed to age alone. The decade you are born in matters a great deal; the political climate, economy, societal values and global trends of the time significantly influence your opportunities, schooling, family life and career. Children born in the 1890s or the 1920s were unlucky; they faced the devastation of WW1 and WW2. In contrast, the 1930s and 1940s were opportune times to be born; the low birth rates during those years created little competition for university and jobs when those babies came of age during the economic boom years of the 1950s and 1960s.

The current Millennial generation is facing its own set of historical forces. Income security and careers with longevity seem hard to find in this replaceable and global job market.  The Canadian youth labour market shows elevated rates of unemployment compared to prior to the Great Recession and in relation to older Canadians[1]. Older Millennials who were able to start their careers before the 2008-2009 recession may be less affected by these trends, but the entire cohort has been negatively impacted by its aftermath. Millennials are also frustrated that the skills and knowledge they spent years acquiring (in addition to student debt) are not being utilized: among 16-35 year olds, there is a pronounced mismatch between those with medium to high literacy rates who have jobs that engage only medium-low literacy skills[2]. And traditional work no longer offers the benefits and incentives that it once did in earlier decades. The average annual income is the lowest of the last three generations[3], while the cost of housing—particularly in North American tech-hub cities (San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver)—is at an all-time high. Job openings in these prohibitively expensive cities repeatedly go unfilled.

Companies are finding it challenging to find young candidates willing to do the work and to retain them long enough to become leaders, while Millennials are out there—desperate for career development and salaries they can use to pay off debts and raise their own budding families on. Millennials living in urban areas—as most do[4]—simply cannot afford to accept entry-level or low paying positions, and they know they are qualified for more.

Fortunately, Millennials have an expertise that will be the key to their long-term career success. They were born into the digital era and at the cusp of a new technology cycle—starting with the information and telecommunications revolution in the early 1980s when IBM introduced its first PC. And much like the Commodore 64, the Macintosh and Dell’s Turbo PC that followed suit, Millennials grew up capitalizing on technological advancements as they approached adulthood by Y2K. The productivity tools (Microsoft), access to information (Google), social networking (Facebook) and mobile computing (smartphones) that came out of the subsequent years fundamentally changed the Millennial relationship with technology like no other peer group in history. Their digital skills give them a clear advantage over the previous analog generations.

The current technology driven economic cycle is still young. Cloud computing was not introduced until 2006 and it took several years for other providers to realize the power of what Amazon Web Services (AWS) had developed. The cloud is now making a huge contribution, enabling and accelerating the start-up of new companies. While the IT application and infrastructure cycle was interrupted by the financial crisis, it is now speeding up. It will be recharged in 2017 by a rebound in the U.S. economy that should last through the rest of this decade.

The well-paying jobs that require technical expertise will be found in this sector, perfectly suited for Millennials’ skillsets and aspirations. The reduced quality of traditional full-time work opportunities is pressuring Millennials to be entrepreneurial and their efforts will fit well with nascent tech companies who require a business culture with an innovative spirit and freedom from conventional thinking and administrative bureaucracy. Millennials are ready to answer the call. They are frustrated by an analog business culture and decision making process that moves slowly; they have grown up used to quick answers and quick results. As long as they can develop their soft skills to be persuasive in the business environment—and are able to influence colleagues and sell their ideas—their efficient digital approach, creativity, passion and communal influence should lead to business success.

Their high student debt will also pay off in time. The 2013 National Graduates Survey demonstrated that median estimated earnings increase with each level of post-secondary educational completed.[5] Most graduates of post-secondary institutions are having success finding employment in both good economic climates and bad, with almost 80% of employed graduates reporting a ‘close’ or ‘somewhat’ close relationship between their education and job 3 years after graduation.[6] Education is still a worthwhile investment for this generation.

Fortunately, the next recession is nowhere in sight. The business cycle is not yet in its late stages. Fears of an extended period of secular stagnation in the U.S. are unfounded. In fact, the underlying economic fundamentals—strong household balance sheets, manageable business sector leverage, highly capitalized and liquid banks, backlogs of consumer and housing demand—all point to the onset of an extended period of solid economic growth in the United States. In time, this will inevitably spill over into Canada. Millennials already have the skills and education for success. The positive economic climate on the horizon will give them the opportunities they need to fully realize their dreams.

Source:
[1] https://www.td.com/document/PDF/economics/special/YoungAndRestless.pdf
[2] https://www.td.com/document/PDF/economics/special/YoungAndRestless.pdf
[3] http://www.environicsanalytics.ca/docs/default-source/eauc2015-presentations/dougnorris-afternoonplenary.pdf?sfvrsn=6
[4] http://www.environicsanalytics.ca/docs/default-source/eauc2015-presentations/dougnorris-afternoonplenary.pdf?sfvrsn=6
[5] https://www.td.com/document/PDF/economics/special/YoungAndRestless.pdf
[6] https://www.td.com/document/PDF/economics/special/YoungAndRestless.pdf

Consumer Expectations and Technology: The Driving Changes of Disruption in Workplace Benefits and Pensions

This article originally appeared in 
Lēad Magazine, Issue 19–Industry Disruption: You can’t afford to tune out.

 
Article By Sun Life Financial

Our expectations as a society are changing. With the growing influence of millennials – and the speed of technological innovation – the bar keeps getting higher for meeting our evolving needs faster and more effectively. While technology will undoubtedly continue to transform the modes of healthcare and financial planning, the need for benefits and pensions will remain. People will still have to save for retirement, still want their dental and drug expenses reimbursed, and still require protection in the event of a catastrophic event such as a disability, major illness, or loss of life.

Nonetheless, technologies such as tele-healthcare, wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) – along with the “big data” that they bring – are expected to create powerful changes for traditional insurance models. Our elementary needs may not be changing, but we’ve come to expect much more than just getting needs met – and millennials are among those pushing these demands.

Millennial employees have grown up with the internet; they have expectations of instant access to information and gratification. It is these expectations that are inspiring Sun Life to use innovative technologies to implement preventative healthcare programs and retirement savings for both Gen X and Gen Y workers alike.

From Convenience to Prevention: Changing Expectations in Group Benefits

As a society, we’ve become increasingly impatient with repetitive administrative tasks that eat our time. This was apparent even 10 or 15 years ago. At that time, preparing and mailing benefit claims was an example of what people were trying to avoid.

That is why, in 2001, our organization launched e-claims, where routine health and dental expenses could be claimed for reimbursement online. Ten-years later – with the explosion of mobile technology – we introduced an app that lets plan members submit claims from their smartphones, get instant adjudication of their claims and check on their pension plan balances.

Once revolutionary, those innovations became adopted virtually industry-wide and spread to other verticals such as banking. Years later, simple convenience is not enough for consumers and employees.  Modern consumers are looking for more.

At Sun Life, we believe employees are looking for empowerment. They want benefits that help to prevent illness rather than just treat it. In the group benefits area, this has led to 2 trends:

  • A focus on preventive benefits, known generally as wellness programs. These include elements such as fitness, nutrition, massage, mindfulness and yoga.
  • The capability to integrate an employee’s digital health information with platforms that track, incent and reward action steps toward better health and well-being.

In 2016, we’re seeing a perfect storm of disruption: an explosion in the technologies that enable a customized health and wellness experience coupled with rapidly changing consumer expectations towards prevention and personalization, led in part – in our view – by the increasing millennial presence in the workplace.

Mobile applications and websites are being used to support employer-sponsored wellness programs, from recording health statistics, to tracking fitness goals and monitoring an individual’s weight loss progress. And wearable technologies – such as Apple Watch and Fitbit – are being adopted in greater numbers, allowing the digital transfer of activity metrics instantaneously.

As our expectations for choice and flexibility intensifies, a strong push continues for flexible health spending accounts that allow the employee to either buy the coverage they need or spend on medical and wellness-related expenses at their own discretion. It is changing the way many employers are designing and funding their benefits plans.

Gamification in Retirement Saving: a Way to Combat Instant Gratification

It is no surprise that in this age of iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, people expect everything to be “instant” – especially millennials who have known no other way. They want simplicity and they want choice, and they want whatever they choose to be delivered as close to immediately as possible.

Plan sponsors often find themselves at a disadvantage with pensions, as they can only offer the promise of savings or retirement income to be enjoyed decades later. It’s a tough fit in an instant gratification world. But plan sponsors and providers are using technology to break through.

At Sun Life, we implemented the principles of gamification into our retirement saving program and we’ve seen it work first hand: it’s helping to popularize the benefits of saving and motivating employees to take action. Gamification uses the same elements that make games innately fun and engaging, and applies them to tools and processes that typically aren’t considered a game. In 2013, Sun Life launched a gamified online program – money UP – to increase the financial literacy of employees who have a Sun Life workplace retirement plan through their employer. Money UP challenges plan members to learn more about their retirement plan by completing a series of missions and games. It’s a fun, innovative program that can increase financial knowledge and help plan members complete important retirement and investment planning steps along the way.

Gamification can be effective among all generations, but millennials may gravitate towards it even more than others do. Gamified environments give them goals to accomplish, let them track progress towards those goals and provide a community to compete, collaborate and share with. While these elements are essential to any motivation program, they are particularly critical to millennials, who are accustomed to fast feedback and online learning.

In our world, it has been a game-changer. Millennials have not only been the most active users of money UP at 39% of players in the game, they are also most likely to take action: 39% opened a new product or increased their savings contributions in real life because of it. [1] The successes of gamification are expected to be applied to a wide range of industries and solutions looking to increase human motivation and compliance – from customer engagement, training and education, to sustainability, human resources, and health and wellness.

The Next Wave

The explosion in technology – especially mobile technology – is perhaps at its most disruptive in mature industries that haven’t traditionally relied on technology to build their businesses. Industries like print, taxis, and bricks and mortar video stores have all experienced massive change and decline.

But all industries – group benefits and retirement included – are vulnerable to disruptive change. We’re seeing it firsthand. The world is moving forward on the technology front with or without us. And expectations for simplicity, choice and personalization have long passed the tipping point. So we at Sun Life are all in – and will continue to work with the aim of meeting the changing needs and expectations of this new and growing generation of employees.


Sun Life Financial: 
The featured article is a collaboration piece between Sun Life’s Group Benefits and Group Retirement Services. Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization with deep roots in Canada dating back over 150 years. They provide a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers, with the goal on helping Canadians achieve lifetime financial security.

[1] Results are from December 2013 through March 2016

Win4Youth 2017 | The Year of Opportunities & Challenges

As the weather gets warmer outside, Win4Youth nestles deeper into the hearts of all colleagues at Adecco. For the eighth year in a row, colleagues all over the globe will be taking part in sporting events and individual athletic pursuits — united behind a great cause of giving disadvantaged youth around the world a brighter future.

And to celebrate Canada150, we’re encouraging each and every colleague to complete 150km this year. It’s ambitious, but with the dedication of Adecco’s colleagues, clients and associates — we know we can reach it!

To champion the cause, each country elects a deserving ambassador to organize athletic events, encourage teammates and eventually participate in in the Gavà Triathlon in Spain this September. We are thrilled to announce Canada’s 2017 Win4Youth Athletic Ambassador: Genevieve Ferlatte, Branch Manager – Montreal!

Genevieve will spend months training for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and will document her progress and journey here on Lēad Blog. We are confident that she will apply the same tenacity, dedication and winning attitude to her Win4Youth ambassadorship as she does to her branch.

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Employment Report – March 2017

Employment Rates

Employment was little changed in March (+19,000 or +0.1%), while the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 6.7% as more people searched for work.

In the first quarter of 2017, employment gains totalled 83,000 or 0.5%. This growth is comparable to the last quarter of 2016 (+91,000 or +0.5%) and notably higher than the first quarter of 2016 (+36,000 or +0.2%).

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment increased by 276,000 (+1.5%), mostly in full-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked rose 0.7%.

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Employment Report – February 2017

Employment Rates

Employment among women aged 25 to 54 increased for the third consecutive month, up 18,000 in February. Their unemployment rate remained at 5.3% as more women in this age group participated in the labour market. More core-aged women worked full time in the month (+84,000) and this was partly offset by fewer of them working part time (-65,000). The recent employment gains for core-aged women boosted their year-over-year employment growth to 98,000 (+1.7%).

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