Canadian HR heroes: What to watch out for at Canadian HR awards

16 Sep 2020

With the Canadian HR awards just hours away, HRD Canada spoke to the sponsors of our exciting panel discussions to hear their thoughts on trending HR topics.

HRD: What does CSR mean to you, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

JP Perron, president and CEO of Payworks: “My view of Corporate Social Responsibility is that it must reflect why a company exists and how its purpose as an organization is brought to life through this sense of “responsibility” to society. It should be simple to understand and communicate and should reflect employee sentiment.

“Aspirational in intent, but at the same time relatable. I’m proud that our purpose as an organization is to “Do Right By People” and I’m inspired by what I see taking place across so many talented organizations in Canada. I congratulate you as finalists and look forward to hearing more about the great work you are each undertaking in your respective organizations on this most important topic. Thank you for sharing your insights with us.”

HRD: How has COVID-19 changed the role of CEO, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?  

Doron Melnick, partner at KPMG: “Our global CEO Outlook survey for 2020 revealed a broader purpose beyond financial returns, and stronger emotional connections to values and culture. Leaders are feeling the need for businesses to play a stronger role in the response to the social and environmental crises of our time. Further, CEOs have also grown acutely aware of the needs of their employees.

“Earlier in the year, CEOs ranked “talent risk” lower than 11 other risks – they now recognize it as the number one threat to long-term growth. The CEO, more than ever, needs to champion their people and communities. Our sponsored Canadian HR award will recognize a CEO who models this approach.

HRD: What insights do you expect to gain from your interview with this year’s lifetime award recipient, Dr Melanie Peacock? 

Chris Vyse, VP sales and marketing, O.C. Tanner Canada: “We are so proud to present Dr Melanie Peacock with this prestigious award, her knowledge, expertise, and passion for Human Resources is remarkable.

“Our conversation will explore her observations on what it takes to build a high performance culture, ways to build HR’s credibility and demonstrate ROI at an executive level, and her take on the importance of education and leadership training at organizations and their effect on workplace culture. If anyone can tell us what it takes to succeed in HR and where the profession is headed on the future, it is Melanie, I am certain this will be a very lively and informative interview.”

HRD: How has COVID transformed L&D in organizations, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

Joseph Crangle, manager, leadership and employee development at Seneca College: “COVID-19 has caused L&D organizations to pivot quickly, in most situations to a completely online delivery model. When many employees are working remotely and online, that impacts both the length and content of professional development programming.

“Eventually, employees will return to places of work to some degree, but what will the lasting impacts be on L&D in organizations? We want to explore the strategies the panellists have implemented in their respective L&D practises, and how they see their departments changing moving forward as a result of COVID-19.”

HRD: What lessons have leaders learned from the COVID crisis, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

Jamie Hoobanoff, founder of The Leadership Agency: “As organizations, leaders, and people everywhere continue to navigate the impact of COVID-19, one thing has become clear – this is going to be a forever shift towards companies realizing that a people-first mentality is the only way forward. We’ve learned to prioritize the health, safety, and wellness of our employees and greater community.

“Because of this new way of living, the way in which we conduct business has and will continue to be more meaningful. This has allowed many companies to look at the short and long-term success of their business and how HR plays such a crucial role in that, which we’ll explore further in The Leadership Agency’s sponsored session – Essential Skills for Today’s HR Leaders.”

HRD: How has COVID changed candidates’ expectations of companies, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

University of Waterloo: “A new generation of talent is about to enter the workforce – and they’re going to be vital to the way organizations thrive in an increasingly unpredictable workplace. Before COVID, young talent preferred workplaces that reflected their own personal values and offered positive and meaningful experiences. While these candidates are still interested in finding jobs that support those qualities today, they also look to employers for flexible remote work strategies that offer autonomy and opportunities to connect and collaborate with colleagues.

“Our sponsored session will tap into insights from experts who are currently hiring and managing young talent, sharing how organizations have continued to develop talent during such an uncertain time. We will also discuss the values and motivators that are important for next gen talent, what’s shifted due to COVID-19, and how businesses can better attract and retain new candidates.”

HRD: Has reward and recognition changed thanks to COVID, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

Workhuman: “COVID has definitely changed the workplace.  With a large portion of employees working virtually, or under new rules/regulations to create safer workplaces during this pandemic the need for human connections has increased.

“We’ve seen customers increase their efforts to connect their humans, create moments that matter, and share gratitude for all the important achievements employees are making to keep their organizations moving forward during these tougher times.”

HRD: How has workplace wellness transformed in organizations, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

Venngo: “The current increased economic uncertainty means more focus on financial wellness. Many employers are seeking benefits to help extend employee experience beyond the workplace to help their staff save money, stretch disposable income, and maximize the use of benefit dollars. 

“There is also an unprecedented focus on physical and mental health during the pandemic as employees deal with the many colliding responsibilities of parenting, teaching, and working … all at home.

“It is critical for employers to stay connected with staff by reaching out regularly to employees and checking in on their overall well-being with a mentoring and empathetic approach. Employers should encourage staff to take physical breaks including brisk walks outside and be fully aware of proper ergonomics of a workstation at home and the resulting aches and pains that can be caused. Establish rhythms for staff by encouraging them to stay connected to colleagues through virtual coffee chats, walking meetings, and townhalls.”

HRD: What do you hope attendees take away from your panel, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

Louise Taylor Green, CEO of HRPA: “One of my current obsessions is trying to unpack what it means to have a career “path”. I’d like to challenge our notion of what successful career paths really look like. When we think of a “path”, we imagine a straight line, but in fact, we often run into twists and turns, challenges and obstacles.

“I’d like to understand the challenges these women have faced and the obstacles they overcame on their route to success. I’d also like to examine the role that COVID-19 has played in shining a light on the reality of what work women do.”


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