Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Employers’ Category

The Growing Skills Gap in Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) is set to enhance innovation while providing financial benefits and efficiency improvements across the engineering landscape. Yet, despite this vast potential, the skills gap in AM — and STEM more broadly — poses a threat to the competitiveness of Canadian organizations worldwide.

Additive manufacturing (AM) broadly describes the technologies that build 3D objects by adding layer upon layer of material. This includes 3D printing, rapid prototyping, direct digital manufacturing and layered manufacturing. A growing trend in engineering fields, AM is a cheaper, waste-minimizing form of manufacturing that gives designers improved control over components manufacturing.

As AM takes hold in manufacturing processes, it will become increasingly important for Canadians to learn and adopt these practices in order to stay relevant and competitive on a global stage.

Competing in a global arena

The Canadian government has already taken steps to promote AM within the Canadian marketplace. In the past few months, the federal government has invested millions of dollars into additive manufacturing facilities, creating more jobs for Canadians and protecting our global competitiveness.

The May 2018 announcement of a $14 million investment from the federal government plus an additional $7 million grant from the government of Ontario to advanced manufacturing company Burloak Technologies puts that company on the path for global AM leadership. Similarly, the announcement of up to $21.1 million for TEKNA Plasma Systems Inc. from the federal and Quebec governments will allow TEKNA to increase their manufacturing capabilities to remain competitive globally. The projects are set to create 295 and 170 jobs for Canadians, respectively, while promoting AM within the industry.

Overcoming the skills gap

For organizations to stay competitive within their field they must review their workforce structure to take advantage of new technologies and to ensure they’re not left behind. Unfortunately, as the additive manufacturing field grows, there is strong competition for a limited talent pool. Few candidates, paired with constantly evolving AM technologies, materials, and practice, mean employers face growing gaps within their workforce.

To stay competitive globally, and help bridge the skills gap, employers should focus on promotion — evangelizing the benefits of AM will help draw attention to both the innovation itself and the skills required by this new technology. Other ways to help find and develop the talent necessary to take full advantage of AM include:

Training/re-training – Promoting from within can be a great way to help boost colleague moral while bettering your workplace culture. Consider offering online training programs or providing existing employees with financial assistance to develop their knowledge of additive manufacturing technologies.

Education initiatives – Organizations may consider visiting local elementary and secondary schools to promote the STEM fields to today’s youth, and at the same time encouraging the next generation of workers to explore careers in additive manufacturing that they may otherwise disregard.

Apprenticeships – There are many benefits available to employers by partnering with post-secondary institutions to offer apprenticeships for students or graduates within STEM fields. Not only do apprenticeships yield a positive return on investment by creating employable, trained candidates, they also help your organization build a relationship with educational institutions and students in these fields, effectively pipelining new talent for future employment.

The lack of suitable candidates in this field highlights the increasing importance of education, training and skills as AM technology continues to transform many industries. Interested in a STEM position to join the revolution? Talk to your local Roevin office today!

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Hire your perfect team, or get more staffing advice from our experts.

Coping Strategies for Your Department’s Busiest Times

How your business manages workplace stress can have a big impact on your productivity, employee engagement and even retention. During your busy season, when the demands on your department can peak, having a set of stress relief strategies ready to go will help you tackle your busy season with confidence. In this article, Doug Hamlyn, VP, Finance, of Adecco Canada and Roevin, describes some of the best ways to help your employees manage workplace stress.  

When I hear the word “stress,” I think of steel beams and concrete columns and the tests they undergo to make them crack. Though this definition comes from my early career as a civil engineer, in a very similar way, I view work stress as the mental or emotional strain that we are subjected to from difficult or demanding work situations.

I have spent most of my career working in finance departments where stress in its many forms typically happens during quarter-end, year-end or budget season. The usual suspect is the classic ‘having too much work and too little time,’ but can also come from those unexpected events that we hadn’t factored into our timelines. Now, with these unexpected audits or projects on top of an already-full workload, we have plans and priorities that don’t align and family and work conflicts where compromise may not be an option. And if you add to that a manager who isn’t solution-focused, you can get a perfect storm of workplace stress.

As managers, it’s our job to find a way to deliver the results our business requires with minimal stress along the way.  Here are some ideas to help alleviate the pressure of peak season stress:

1. Plan ahead

Stress often comes from not having a plan, so give your employees a clear idea of how they’ll get through the busy season. Use the deadlines and workload you already know to develop your plan. Ensure that you also include buffer zones for last-minute or unexpected demands. You should also factor in your employees’ external commitments to get as realistic and attainable a plan as possible. With proper planning and scheduling, you can give your employees that extra bit of confidence that their time and workload is recognized and accounted for.

2. Vacation blackout period

At the hiring stage, make sure to communicate that there are times of the year when employees cannot take vacation. By setting these expectations ahead of time, you help ensure that all resources are available for your busy period.

3. Remain flexible

Determine which deadlines are firm and which are flexible. You may even have some leeway with external audit dates if you ask and have a valid rationale for delay. In addition, make sure you’re flexible with how you allow people to finish their work in lieu of ‘burning the midnight oil.’ For example, allow your employees to finish their work at home, start earlier, etc.

4. Sharing resources

Use external temporary resources to manage routine tasks and free up senior staff to tackle budgets or year-end functions. Make sure all your resources are cross-trained so that they can share assignments for increased staffing flexibility.

Thinking about expanding your temporary workforce? Explore your options with Adecco.

5. Say no

No is a powerful word. While you usually can’t say no to your boss or to your company’s fixed deadlines, think about the discretionary requests that you can say no to, such as attending a meeting when someone can update you later or taking on a new task that would be a better fit for a different department. For non-critical requests that you’d like to take on but don’t have the time for right now, consider saying “not now” and setting a date for the future.

6. Celebrate

Recognizing your team’s accomplishments can go a long way towards diffusing stress. Even if it’s just taking your staff for a coffee when a deadline is met or ordering in lunch if you can’t get away, small celebrations help demonstrate your appreciation for your staff’s hard work. Plus, these much-needed breaks give your staff some breathing room to help them see the bigger picture (and the eventual return to normalcy).

7. Stay healthy

Encouraging your staff to take steps to prioritize their health will benefit everyone, which is especially true if your busy season coincides with flu season. Encourage your employees to maintain healthy sleep schedules and their physical fitness to ensure that they are ready to tackle their tasks head-on when they’re at work, and to improve their at-home lives at the same time.

As we continue to do more with less, managing through busy periods will always be a challenge. But if you engage everyone in setting a work plan that takes into account each person’s unique and important commitments and their normal working hours, you can minimize the stress they will endure during these periods.

 

Doug HamlynDoug Hamlyn, B.Eng. and MBA, is the Vice President, Finance for Adecco Canada and Roevin. With 10 years in large, multinational public and private staffing companies and experience in the Canadian, U.S. and South African markets, Doug brings senior financial leadership to Adecco’s executive team. Along with his Finance, Real Estate, IT and Occupational Health & Safety teams, Doug’s focus is on regulatory compliance, business controls, process improvements and client support.

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Hire your perfect team, or get more staffing advice from our experts.

 

Small Businesses and the Growing Competition for Talent

Small and medium-sized business owners face many hurdles when competing against large corporations. Don’t lose that dream candidate to a major competitor! Let our tips help you transform your company’s team for future success.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often face considerable competition, and recruiting quality candidates is no exception. On-boarding and training new hires can be a costly endeavour and candidate attraction can be difficult with limited brand recognition. In celebration of this year’s Small Business Week, we’re highlighting some of the challenges that SMEs face when recruiting and offering our tips for finding success. Read more

The State of Canada’s Skills Gap

As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement and the technology sector continues to grow, the labour market is undergoing a dramatic transformation. The skills gap in the labour market created by these changes has made it clear that to remain globally competitive, we need to address the growing skills gap.

Although the unemployment rate has recently dropped to its lowest point in 40 years, candidates still lack the skills to meet changing labour demands, especially as automation revolutionizes the labour market by replacing much of the repetitive, manual work currently performed by humans, and as technology creates new jobs in completely new sectors. These joint developments point to an increasingly mismatched labour market, where the workers displaced by automation are unable to move into new jobs created by technological advancements because they don’t have the new skills required.

With one estimate of Ontario’s lost potential GDP at $24 billion (which is worth about 4% of that province’s total GDP), it’s clear that the costs of leaving the skills gap unaddressed are significant. So how do we work towards shrinking it?

Increased collaboration

One way is to start with the workers of tomorrow. In their 2016 report Strengthening Ontario’s Workforce for the Jobs of Tomorrow, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) points to the need for more comprehensive data collection and reporting on labour market trends to enable students to make better-informed decisions about their fields of study based on current and future in-demand occupations.

While many of HRPA’s recommendations require government action, the report highlights the role of collaboration between industry and educational institutions to help bridge the skills gap of the future. Through outreach programs and workforce development initiatives such as internships, co-op placements and apprenticeship programs, organizations can help guide students and young workers into occupations that are in-demand.

Retraining the workforce

When it comes to today’s workforce, it’s important to recognize the role that lifelong learning plays in maintaining competitiveness. As technological innovation changes the skills demanded — and as the emergence of freelancers and the gig economy puts pressure on traditional employment models — businesses will have to respond quickly to keep their workforces competitive.

One way is to consider free online courses or microlearning applications to make the most of your employees’ time and your budget. You might even consider partnering with a local educational institution to offer accredited training programs to train your most motivated employees with the specific skills your business needs. With so many training opportunities available for different needs at various price points, it’s both cost-effective and incredibly easy to introduce these options to your employees.

Culture shift

Underlying the above suggestions is the necessity of reorienting employee development as a competitive advantage. As shifts in technology rapidly change the skills employers require, continual skills upgrading becomes a necessity. As a result, a business that is seen to prioritize education can attract top talent who are intrinsically motivated to stay ahead of the curve.

Looking for some assistance filling those challenging positions? Let our recruitment consultants help! With access to some of the best talent in the country, combined with thousands of free training resources, let us provide you with the best candidate to complete your workforce!

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Hire your perfect team, or get more staffing advice from our experts.

 

Re-focus on Customer Service

It may be strategic marketing and advertising that draws customers to your business, but it’s the level of customer service that keeps them coming back and referring friends and family. Don’t let your business’s lackluster customer service affect your profits. In honour of National Customer Service Week from October 1 to 5, we’re sharing our tips to raise awareness of the importance of customer service within your company.

Customer service is an under-valued yet essential function for your organization’s success. Not only does it help you grow customer relationships, a good customer service strategy also gathers important feedback from customers about your services and products, while building customer confidence in your brand. It’s a win-win-win situation!

However, not all organizations have the capital to invest in a call centre or customer service department. So how can you increase your company’s customer service focus without a full-scale reorganization? Check out Adecco’s 4 tips and watch your customer relationships grow!

Hire service-oriented employees across all departments

“It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.”

Whether it was past experience in a call centre or even a previous retail job, hiring staff with prior customer service experience can yield great benefits for your organization’s customer relationships. Not only will these employees bring an array of customer service skills to their new position, they will likely already have a customer-first focus that won’t go unnoticed by your clients or customers. These employees will act as an example for colleagues lacking customer service experience and skills, and they can help build a stronger customer service focus within your organization.

Schedule mandatory customer service training for all staff

“A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price- or product-related.”

Customer service is more than just handling customer complaints. It requires product knowledge, clear communication skills, positive language, empathy and so much more! Given how multi-dimensional good customer service is, helping your employees develop these skills can dramatically improve your organization’s customer focus. Make it a priority within your organization by scheduling mandatory training sessions with all colleagues annually. In these sessions, emphasize company policies on product or service warranties and role-play a variety of potential situations to help develop your employees’ customer service skills. By preparing colleagues for those tricky interactions, they will feel more comfortable and confident in handling any customer issues that come their way.

Provide a desktop cheat sheet

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.”

Customer service skills take time and practice to develop and they don’t necessarily come naturally to your employees, especially those who work in departments that wouldn’t normally interact with customers or clients. Provide staff with a cheat sheet of the best words and phrases to use in challenging customer service situations. By providing your employees with this tool, you help them take control of the customer interaction, while working towards a positive outcome.

Incentives and rewards

55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service.”

Recognize colleagues who have maintained a strong customer service priority within their daily work. This will reinforce your organization’s commitment to a high level of customer service and influence colleagues to focus on their customer service skills. However you choose to acknowledge your high-achievers — think an extra vacation day, gift card, or employee of the month certificate — providing employees with an incentive can be the push they need to make customer service a priority within their daily work load.

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Hire your perfect team, or get more staffing advice from our experts.

The Pursuit of (Workplace) Happiness

It’s no surprise that employees appreciate a “happy” workplace, but the benefits to employers are sometimes overlooked. In this article, we take a look at the positives of creating and maintaining a happy workforce. 

We all know that employees want to work in a place that makes them happy – who wouldn’t? But what might get overlooked is that employee satisfaction can also have a significant impact on organizational performance. From productivity to brand promotion, a happy employee makes your organization better  by just being happy.

But what affects an employee’s happiness? It might be surprising to note that salary isn’t the only factor. In fact, a Glassdoor study found that, at all income levels, compensation was the least significant workplace priority for workers — lower than culture and values, senior leadership, career opportunities, business outlook and work-life balance.

It’s clear that employers have a significant effect on employee satisfaction, and it’s often through factors other than compensation. While it may be daunting, it’s also increasingly obvious that employers must consider employee engagement as an official part of their corporate mission.

At Adecco, we’ve taken this to heart. We know that employee satisfaction is a fundamental part of our success, so annually, we measure it through the Great Place to Work® survey. And for the second year in a row, we are proud to be recognized as a Great Place to Work. Given our experience, we believe employers will benefit in the following ways when they focus on creating and maintaining a happy workforce.

Better employee retention

With frequent turnover, an organization can face considerable hiring and on-boarding costs. From job postings to interviews, on-boarding to training, the costs of replacing an existing employee can add up! These expenditures combined with a competitive candidate market can make turnover challenging for any organization. Happy employees are more likely to stay and grow within the company — increasing their value and reducing your costs. Encourage open dialogue with your employees so to continually assess employee engagement and make adjustments as needed.

Improved productivity

Cultivating a work environment to promote employee satisfaction can have a dramatic improvement on your staff’s productivity. A study conducted at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% improvement in productivity. And with employee engagement falling in Canada, it’s clear that there are productivity gains to be made by championing employee satisfaction in the workplace. With happier employees more likely to come into work everyday and fully engage with their tasks, employers can expect increased productivity and less lost time from sick days. Plus, with increased levels of energy and creativity, happy employees are also more likely to go above and beyond during peak business periods, resulting in overall greater company performance. At Adecco, we firmly believe that one of the ways to improve employee satisfaction is by cultivating a culture of transparency. Whether it’s through our quarterly company-wide call, weekly president’s message, or in-person visits from the leadership team across our branches, we’re dedicated to connecting people to important company information so they feel included in our organization and well-prepared to perform their jobs.

In-house brand ambassadors

Happier employees increase the success of your brand for one reason: they become brand ambassadors! The goal is to have employees who are invested in the success of your organization thereby helping to increase sales and maintain better client relationships. You can encourage loyalty by highlighting each employee’s contribution to business success. At Adecco, we’ve seen a positive effect on engagement through setting aside time in every one-on-one review to identify the business impacts of tasks. By doing so, our Operations team can map their contribution to company success, which fosters each employee’s motivation while also providing a way to prioritize tasks according to value.

Improved collaboration

Improving collaboration within the organization is often on the strategic to-do list. What can be overlooked, however, is the effect of a stressful work environment on this goal. It can be easy to let the stress of peak business periods go unchecked and permeate the workplace, but this can weaken the relationship between management and staff, and foster departmental silos. Prioritizing a work environment that engages colleagues and keeps them motivated to come into work every day encourages collaboration amongst employees and inspires creativity and problem-solving. At Adecco, we take full advantage of opportunities to encourage camaraderie amongst our employees. Whether it’s through our open work spaces that allow for continuous sharing and collaboration, or the social committees who organize events that allow colleagues to get to know each other and have a little fun at work — we are dedicated to promoting collaboration throughout the organization.

A happy workplace is equally beneficial to the employee and employer. By creating a happy work environment, you are creating a work culture equipped to reach new levels of success, while ultimately achieving a better place to work.

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Hire your perfect team, or get more staffing advice from our experts.