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Posts from the ‘Work-Life Balance’ Category

10 Things To Know When You Are Being Let Go!

by Kate Toner, Government Proposal Writer, The Adecco Group, Canada

The words are still hanging in the air because your brain is scrambling to comprehend them.

Completely unsuspected, the unthinkable is happening.  The thing that happens to other people, not to you.  The hushed tale told by a friend about a mutual acquaintance to which you shake your head and commiserate with a, “how terrible for them”.

Your ear listens to a myriad of other words being uttered and grasps the phrase, “it has nothing to do with your work.”

Your brain, now beating back the enzymes triggered by stress, pauses, looks towards your ear and nods in agreement.

“We will, of course, provide you an exceptional reference.”

Your brain on high alert now—functioning at optimal levels to control not only your hearing but potential inappropriate responses to stress—FREEZES.

YOU ARE BEING LET GO!

Now as a matter of course, it will seem as though your brain has stopped functioning entirely.  This, however, is very untrue.  Your brain is in the fight of its life assigning the correct emotional responses to these events, to ensure acceptable and appropriate behaviours are attributed to each particular and subsequent unfolding moment.

Still attempting to reign in your emotions, your brain will start firing inappropriate questions off the walls of your cranium.  “What about Joe Smith? Is Joe Smith being let go too? Is my entire department being let go?  Is it just me?  Is this really happening?!?!?!?”

However, these are not the questions your brain should be asking.  The questions your brain should be asking, it will only present to you in hindsight.  This will be true for the vast majority unless perhaps:  a) you have been through this situation before; b) someone close to you (like a spouse or friend) has told you in great detail about their own experience; or c) you happen to remember a blog you read on this very topic!

Your employer is letting you go.  What are the ten things you should ask or do?

  1. Ask for time to review anything before signing.

Being let go from your place of employment is a stressful experience with an immediate and natural emotional response.  If you are being asked to sign a document that has a lot of detail, or you want to ensure you understand it fully before agreeing to any terms, you should ask to take the document with you to read in a later state of calm—or perhaps after you have consulted a lawyer, the Employment Standards Act (ESA) in your province; or Federal Employment Standards (whichever applies to your employer’s jurisdiction). Many companies will provide you the time to do so, but with a specified date of when a response is expected from you.

If you feel confident in signing at that particular moment, for example if the document is only confirming that you have been advised of the company’s decision to let you go, but not necessarily agreeing to any terms, be sure to get a copy of the document you signed.

  1. Find out your end date.

Is the expectation that you are being walked off the premises directly after you have been told your employment is ending?  Depending on the company’s policy, you may request to pick up personal belongings from your desk, or make arrangements to come back after hours.  Be prepared to have a company representative with you as you pack up your things. Alternatively you could request that your employer go and get the items you need for that day, and agree to send your remaining personal items to your home address.

In some situations you may be asked to work through a notice period.  Some questions to ask should be around expectations during this time. Are you going to be providing a transfer of knowledge?  If you are client facing, are you expected to keep or cancel any meetings you had previously scheduled?

Additionally, it is important to know your exact end date in regards to your final pay.  Some companies may consider you still as an employee while receiving any payments which may impact the beginning of your Employment Insurance (EI) benefits (if you are entitled to them).

  1. Ask if you will be considered for future employment with the company?

The role you are being let go from may simply cease to exist, your duties may be absorbed into another department.  It is beneficial to clarify, especially if there is the possibility of another role in a different department or another location with the same company.  Some companies have a policy not to rehire staff that has been let go, regardless of the circumstances.

  1. Are you getting any payments? How much and for how long?

This is an important financial planning question, because any payments made to you can also impact your Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits at the same time.  Any payments you do receive will be taken into account by Service Canada.  So while you may register for Employment Insurance, it may be a while before the Government deems it necessary to provide EI to you based any ongoing payments you are receiving from the employer.

Your payment information should be outlined in the letter/documentation you received. You may want to consult a lawyer, your province’s Employment Standards Act (ESA), or the Federal Employment Standards to ensure you are receiving the correct termination payments in accordance with legislation.

  1. What date will you be paid?

Your date of final payment should be in accordance with provincial legislation.  Clarify with your employer when this will be, or check your local employment standards/labour code.

  1. What happens to commissions/bonus?

In some roles, your job may be a base salary plus a commission (sometimes referred to as a bonus) structure.  Find out what happens to your commissions; when your commissions will be paid out; or if they will be prorated.

  1. When will your health insurance benefits end?

Generally the majority of current benefit entitlements are required by employment standards to continue during your notice period.  You may want to speak to your HR department or the person responsible regarding insurance to clarify the policy’s terms and conditions.

  1. Will there be outplacement services?

While in Canada there is no legislation requiring an employer to provide outplacement services, some companies do offer outplacement services (potentially through a third party) as a means to ease your transition.  Outplacement services may include career counselling, re-orientation into the job market, advice on resume writing and/or interviewing techniques, etc.  This is beneficial if you have been a long-term employee and are entering the job market for the first time in a number of years.

  1. When will you receive your Record of Employment (ROE)? Follow-up!

The Record of Employment (ROE) is mandatory in establishing a claim for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.  Service Canada uses the information provided on the ROE to determine whether you are eligible to receive EI benefits, the amount of the benefits you are entitled to, and the length of time the benefits will be provided to you.  You are able to register for EI without your ROE, however your EI eligibility will not be determined until Service Canada’s receipt of the ROE.  Your employer may choose to send the ROE directly to Service Canada electronically after your notice period ends rather than during.  Now if you are in a case where there is a notice period, but you are not required to work all of it, you may want to follow-up with your employer when the ROE will be sent in.

Alternately if you can get a copy of the ROE from your employer, do so—the copy will be used by Service Canada until the electronic copy from your employer is received.  You can register the required information so Service Canada can make the above determinations regarding your file and EI eligibility without delay.

  1. File for Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits immediately.

Even if you believe you are highly employable and will not require EI, the process of looking for new employment can take longer than you might expect.  You will still have living costs to deal with while waiting for a potential employer to make you an offer, or provide you a start date if an employment offer has been made.  If you are eligible for EI benefits, file right away.  Remember that filing for EI can be done without receipt of your Record of Employment, but your assessment will not be completed by Service Canada until the ROE is received.

Registering for Employment Insurance Benefits can be done online at Service Canada’s site:  https://www.canada.ca; or in person at the Service Canada location nearest you.

Remember…

Being “let go” is a temporary state (especially if you proactively look for another place of employment).

Talk to people you trust, or to your friends and/or family.  You will be amazed by the stories you hear and the number of people you know who have been in the exact same situation—all of whom have survived and thrived, you will too.

Potentially, this can be viewed as a new opportunity for you.  Perhaps you will decide to go back to school, or travel, or become an entrepreneur.  Being let go from your job may become the catalyst for a new and exciting time in your life.

Don’t view being let go as an ending because the most important truth about the situation is so much better than that …it is a beginning!

 

Kate Toner is a Government Proposal Writer in Adecco’s Head Office.  She possesses over 17 years of professional business writing experience in the staffing industry, 16 years of which were dedicated to the information technology staffing field.  Kate’s focus on government contracts during that time has honed her business writing skills and aided in winning multiple standing offers, supply arrangements, vendor of records, and preferred status with numerous public sector clients and broader public sector clients.  Celebrating her first year with Adecco in June 2017, Kate is passionate about the power of the written word and its importance in business communications.

Disclaimer

The above is not legal advice, nor is it intended to replace legal advice.  Various industries must comply with provincial employment standards, however, some industries are required to follow federal employment standards.  An employee, in event of being let go from their employment, should always refer to the official legislated version of Employment Standards Act (ESA) regulations in their Province or at the Federal level.  Check with your provincial Ministry of Labour or the Canadian Government for the updated version of the ESA which can be found online in most regions. Please also note that if you are a unionized worker you will also wish to check with your Union Representative to understand your rights under your collective agreement which may have additional standards for employers to adhere to.  Find out which applies to your employer and contact an employment lawyer in order to know your legal rights. 

Networking is a Game Changer in Helping with your Job Search

Why network? In today’s business world networking has become a big deal. Meeting people who can provide mentorship or at least put you in touch with individuals that can steer you in the right direction is key to success in a job search or even when running your own business. For some, it’s very natural to meet new people and develop relationships but for others it can be challenging even terrifying at times. Networking is like a garden that requires supervision and maintenance to deliver you success. So how do you become a successful networker? There’s really no real science to it. It’s getting yourself out there and just doing it.

Join clubs, groups and meet people who have similar interests. Volunteer or attend a fundraiser that you are enthusiastic about. Having similar interests will make it easier for you to get involved and immerse yourself in the activity, which will allow you to be more available to the people around you. You need to be visible in order to meet people. Connection is the key to building a strong network. So don’t go home right after work, go out for dinner with colleagues, attend local events, conferences and networking events.

Building trust is another key variable to building a good network. You have to cultivate real, deep relationships with your contacts before you can ask them for a favour or expect them to help you find a job. Building confidence with your network takes an investment of time on your part. Remember, people who don’t really know you, won’t refer or promote you.

Having a diverse network is also a key factor in building a strong solid network. You need to look beyond your connections and get to know people who are not like you, who are not in your industry, or social group. This means expanding outside of your comfort zone to meet diverse people. By diversifying your network, you can meet the connectors who can put you in touch with individuals that can point you to the road that leads to success.

Be open to asking genuine and thought-provoking questions. Also, prepare yourself to do more of the listening by allowing the other person to do most of the talking. This will help you understand them better and give them a positive feeling about your exchange. This will not only help you gain more information about the person but it will also give you details about them that you can use for follow-up conversations at a later date. Be open to joining a conversation during a break and introducing yourself. Most people are okay with being interrupted and it gives them a chance to meet someone new. If the conversation seems too serious, you can politely excuse yourself and move on.

Consider how you can help others but drawing connections within your own network. You might have the opportunity to be the matchmaker yourself and introduce your contacts in their service or industry to these new networks. Make sure to follow through with both parties to find out what happened with their interaction. It can help you out in the future and also allow you work on your “connector” skills.

Now you are one step closer to becoming an expert networker.

Happy Networking!

By Andrea Theophilos, Social Media Marketing, Adecco Canada

Andrea Theophilos manages Adecco Canada’s social media platforms. She possesses over 18 years of marketing and event management experience and has worked in various industries that include travel, government, healthcare, finance and staffing. 

How a Great Place to Work Becomes Even Better: Part 2

Earlier this week, we gleefully announced that Adecco Canada was included on the Great Place to Work® list of 2016. gptw_Canada_BestWorkplaces_2016_cmyk

The sentiments expressed by Sandra Hokansson, Adecco Canada’s President and Country Manager, represent how all of us as feel about this respected award: “When a venerable organization like the Great Place to Work Institute recognizes what I see every day across Adecco’s offices and branches – staff going above and beyond to help clients and job seekers, laughter and collaboration resonating from offices, a workplace of people who have chosen to make Adecco their home for years and a stream of enthusiastic volunteers for our social programs – it solidifies that Adecco’s culture is working for the people who help find others work. We are truly honored to be recognized once again.”

While we’re still elated and continuing to celebrate, we also wanted to use this as an opportunity to start a conversation about creating great workplaces for all Canadians. Our previous blog noted the importance of transparency, good leadership, listening, employee involvement in decision making, training, career advancement opportunities and an atmosphere of fun as key factors for making workplaces feel like more than a job. The list continues below with themes that Adecco staff and the GPTW Institute reported as being critical to a great workplace:

 “Our team is very special and we think of each other as family. We stay accountable because we don’t want to let our team down and that really makes a difference…”

When an organization creates a world-class work environment for its employees, they become better motivated and engaged. And when staff go above and beyond in their efforts, employers need to recognize their contributions to the organization’s success in a way that they prefer. Adecco offers various modes of recognition and compensation so that each employee can feel appreciated in a way that suits them. Managers are given a Recognition Tool-Kit with customizable cards, certificates and vouchers that help them show impromptu appreciation to their teams. Best performing branches and team members receive a special treat like a gift basket, pizza lunch, bouquet of balloons, home cooked meal prepared by a regional vice president or even an opportunity to become a boss for the day. We also have formal Keystone Awards that recognize staff members who best embody the firm’s values, as well as the annual Superstars Contest which includes an all-expenses-paid luxury trip for the winner and a guest. We hand out Service Awards in appreciation of tenure – and considering that 35% of our workforce have been with us for 5 years or longer –  we give out quite a few of them. When we win a company-wide award (like making the GPTW list), every branch receives a celebration kit filled with streamers, snacks and swag! Colleagues are also encouraged to recognize one another through nominations and a special section of our intranet site for sharing successes and accomplishments with the entire organization. Our sharing initiatives don’t stop there – we provide generous referral bonuses when colleagues share their relationships and help find the right people to join the Adecco family, offer a profit sharing program across all levels of the company and utilize formalized salary bands for competitive compensation to all staff (in fact, we write the book on it).

“As a single mother I appreciate the work/life balance of working here.”

Smartphones, laptops and virtual networks are ubiquitous among modern working professionals so the need for a balanced work-life schedule and support programs is more important than ever before. Adecco accommodates unconventional work arrangements, work-from-home opportunities and flexible time off for our employees. Staff also receive more vacation time than legally required from the get-go, and increases in vacation time with their tenure. We offer paid sick days and leaves, health and welfare benefits, life and disability insurance and a retirement matching program to ease the burden for staff. Colleagues also have access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program which provides confidential coaching to help with various personal, family, and work-related challenges. In addition, we frequently run seminars for creating better balance and reducing stress, offer a Health and Fitness Reimbursement Program, maintain discounted gym memberships and feature lifestyle assistance services like weight-loss plans and smoking cessation programs.  Workplace happiness starts with health.

“This company values and accepts diversity – not always found in companies as large as this.”

Every employee and client should feel welcomed, included and as part of a team. A key part of Adecco’s Leadership Principles is having a “warm heart”, but demonstrating warmth in a large organization can be challenging. To increase integration, Adecco started a Coaching Program to help new hires across our branches and offices receive guidance from a veteran of the organization as they settle in. Adecco has also taken an active role in accommodating disabilities and hiring a diverse and inclusive workforce. We ensure that all our branch locations are accessible, our website material and software applications comply with best standards for accessibility, our mandates identify partnership opportunities across the country to support both internal diversity and client recruitment efforts, and that we’re working with diverse community organizations (read more about this below). Having a multitude of perspectives, ideas and opportunities in the workplace strengthens us all.

“Adecco is an organization that fosters socially responsible initiatives while investing in their people.”

Whether it’s giving back to the community, encouraging workplace health and fitness, or having a strong commitment to achievement by all, corporate social and environmental responsibility is increasingly becoming a benchmark of great workplaces, particularly for millennials. The word “pride” comes up a lot from Adecco colleagues and a large component of it stems from the company’s social and environmental stewardship initiatives that aim to give back. Our Way to Work Program was implemented to help global youth employability through internship opportunities and coaching. And our massively successful Win4Youth initiative has not only raised over $2M for disadvantaged children around the world but also encouraged Adecco’s own employees to lead a more active lifestyle.  Our 40 branches are further encouraged to support community organizations in their regions – particularly those focused on improving the employability of marginalized groups such as youth organizations, the LGBT community, First Nations and other ethno-cultural groups, newly-landed immigrants and refugees. Our goal is to help build a diverse and inclusive Canadian workforce through mentoring, presentations, recruitment programs, and offering relevant work experiences to kick start new careers. We’re also committed to preserving the health of the environment and started measuring our carbon footprint years ago. Since then, we have put together an action plan to reduce our environmental impact through work-from-home arrangements, LED lighting, recycled paper, choosing LEED buildings for our offices and equipping kitchens with energy efficient appliances. A workplace doing good is a good workplace.

“Adecco doesn’t just talk about values but acts in all instances to be true to them.”

Even a great workplace can quickly become complacent if their company culture remains static. A workplace is a fluid entity – workplace trends change frequently and yesterday’s values may not appeal to today’s demographics. There are always opportunities for continued improvement. When Adecco first made it onto the GPTW list in 2014, we set up a committee of employees across offices and departments to listen to staff and identify changes Adecco could implement to make their jobs better and easier. Since then, we’ve taken over 75 actions directly in response to their appeals! Our leadership is committed to listening to its people – we continue to analyze the Great Place to Work results every year, hold focus groups with colleagues to offer insights and advice on improvements and we create action groups that are tasked with seeing these ideas through to fruition. We’re always looking for ways to raise the bar and inspire other companies.

“I feel that I am valued for my contribution to the company as a whole and that we work hard as a company to continually strive for the best.  I have a real sense of pride in what we do and how we do it.”

While internal culture, giving back and continuous improvement are all important cornerstones in the makings of a great place to work, we believe that there’s an additional element that makes our workforce one of the most engaged in Canada. Adecco is a staffing firm, so not only do we come to work at a supportive, innovative, progressive and fun workplace every day, we also get to help thousands of Canadians find their own great place to work! At its essence, our job is to help worthy people transform their lives and the lives of their families. It is that mission that makes Adecco a truly great place to work.

Adecco Canada is proud to be selected as a Top-50 Great Place to Work® and as the 27th Best Workplace for Women. We would like to once again congratulate the other exceptional workplaces on the list.

So what makes a great place to work for you? Is it a company’s social responsibility? Flexible work arrangements? Game rooms? Mission statement? Tell us in the comments below and on our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter by using #whatmakesaGPTW.

How a Great Place to Work Becomes Even Better: Part 1

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When Adecco was first featured on the prestigious Great Place to Work® list back in 2014, we could have just congratulated our colleagues, drafted a press release and continued on as we were. While we certainly did celebrate – with streamers, stickers, a little champagne and a dedicated GPTW edition of Lēad Magazine – we quickly began working on how a great place to work can become even greater.

gptw_Canada_BestWorkplaces_2016_cmykWell, a year and a half later – Adecco and our specialty brands Adecco Professional and Roevin Engineering and Technology –  have once again been awarded a top ranking on the GPTW List of 2016, making us one of the best companies to work for nationwide. Further this year, Adecco was honoured as being the 27th Best Workplace for Women!

The Great Place to Work® Institute has been studying and identifying exceptional workplaces around the world for the last 25 years, and with more than 5,500 organizations surveyed every year, the program is the world’s largest of its kind and is the definitive list for the makings of an exceptional work environment.

Evidence is mounting that when a company cares about their employees’ perceptions of the workplace, it increases productivity, improves sales and aids in retention. But what exactly makes for a great work environment? We set out to survey our colleagues across the country in various roles and stages of their careers about what they value in their workplaces. The themes that emerged from their responses lead the GPTW Institute® to include Adecco on their 2016 list and also informed the list below. The lessons for employers are clear: give your staff a voice, help them to grow, allow them to give back and provide meaning in their day-to-day work.

“We have a lot of great leaders who are willing to provide support and help out whenever needed.” 

In a global organization, leadership decisions can oftentimes be far removed from a company’s daily operations and can sometimes alienate employees. Transparency is critical to counteracting this. Sandra Hokansson, Adecco’s President and Country Manager, and other members of the broader Canadian Leadership Team keep their pulse to the ground by touring every branch in Canada at least once a year. When there, they focus on engaging with each and every team member – not just the managers – in an open forum to gather valuable feedback, listen to suggestions and learn about opportunities from those on the frontlines of the organization. When companies invest in leadership and transparency, everyone benefits.  And that includes financial transparency – when staff can see the direct impact of their efforts and understand what makes their teams financially successful, motivation comes easily.

“The trust and support at all levels of the company and the open door policies show that your thoughts and actions are not only considered but that they are important to the success and growth of the company.” 

No one wants to feel like just another employee in a large corporation. Staff need to be shown that they are individually valued and given opportunities for taking initiative in whatever role they hold. At Adecco, having an entrepreneurial spirit is part of our Core Values. To foster it, we look for employee involvement in decision making in everything from our group benefits plan and test pilots for new software tools to process improvements, operational efficiencies and even job titles for their roles.

We build leadership through proper support, training and opportunities that develop employee talents. New employees at Adecco receive thorough on-boarding and orientations that help them settle in and prepare them to perform their jobs successfully.  Our national training team also arranges one-on-one coaching calls, video tutorials, and interactive customer service courses. Additionally, we provide online job aids, a virtual Adecco University LearnCentre for all colleagues to expand their knowledge-base and skill sets and offer tuition reimbursements, a Management Trainee Program and an opportunity for executives to attend training programs in leading business schools in Europe. Career advancement is also very important for job satisfaction – particularly to millennials – so every year Adecco promotes approximately 10% of our workforce and allows 25% more to advance their careers laterally. Those who do not receive the promotion in a particular year are presented with aids and exercises which help them refocus and strengthen their skills so that they can succeed the following year. Another program offered is the Short Term Exchange Program which lets an employee switch places with a colleague in another country for a set period of time, capitalize on exciting travel opportunities and learn from teams across the world. When you invest in your employees, they return the investment tenfold through their dedication to the company and talents they bring.

[Adecco] cares about providing the right information and tools to fellow colleagues so that they can perform their jobs properly.”  

Knowing how a company runs, the resources it has available to it and the challenges it’s facing allow a dispersed workforce to perform their jobs effectively and better serve clients, builds mutual trust and creates camaraderie. Effective and frequent communication is key. Adecco colleagues not only have direct contact with senior level executives, but also receive quarterly all-staff calls with the Canadian Leadership Team, a monthly President’s Message outlining strategy, results and colleague success stories, weekly Corporate Communications delivered to their inboxes, and daily 10 minute Branch Meetings as a quick hip-check with their teams. And as part of our global innovation efforts, we also utilize a mass text messaging tool for important alerts.

“Employees are encouraged to bring forward new ideas and opinions.” 

Communication needs to be a two-way street to create a community-oriented corporate culture. Making sure employees’ voices are heard is critical to ensuring a company culture is representative of a multitude of opinions and on the right track. That’s why at Adecco, each colleague has a formal monthly one-on-one meeting with their direct manager to discuss their projects, contributions, challenges and individual goals.  We also hold employee focus groups annually, listen to employee feedback on how to improve work experience and challenges – and follow up with concrete action plans.

“I love working for a large company that makes everyone feel like we are a part of something special.”

We spend most of our time at work so there should be a fair dose of fun involved. And when you attract and hire the best, most entrepreneurial and positive individuals – fun happens organically. But to give the natural fun a boost, Adecco’s Social Committees – found in our larger offices – organize entertaining events that allow colleagues to get to know each other better and have fun through year-end celebrations, bake sales, pumpkin carving contests, scavenger hunts, team lunches and delicious potlucks. We also have light-hearted initiatives like ringing a bell when orders come in, making dance videos and taking part in singing contests, costume parties, sporting events and local charity events. And when there’s a birthday or milestone occasion like a wedding or baby, there’s an expense policy in place for colleagues to share in the celebrations at work. A workforce that plays together, stays together.

Fun picsWe’ve covered the importance of transparency, good leadership, listening, employee involvement in decision making, training, career advancement opportunities and having fun in creating an exceptional workplace. But we’re not done yet. Our next blog post will feature the rest of the list, covering the other critical elements that make up a great place to work – as deemed by both Adecco staffers and the GPTW Institute.

Until then, keep the conversation going on social media and in comments below. Tell us what you think makes a great workplace on our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter by using #whatmakesaGPTW.Newspaper
Congratulations to all the other great workplaces on the 2016 list! The full list is published in a Special National Report in today’s Globe and Mail.

 

A Guide to Work-Life Balance during the Holidays

We’re almost there – the season of food, family and good cheer will be upon us before you know it. However, does your holiday reality consist of being stuck at work watching the clock while visions of sugar plums dance in your head? If this is your holiday reality, it doesn’t have to be. We’ve found a way for you to maintain the delicate balance between home and office life during this holiday season.

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Squashing Generational Stereotypes

Generational stereotypes are placed on employees of all ages. However, this type of mentality is counterproductive and only infringes on perceptions of these employees in the workplace. Let’s squash the rumors by first showing the stereotypes that are placed on these groups by others, and then we’ll show the value that each group brings to the workplace that counters the rumours about these generational workforces.

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