Worker Shortage

While the majority of employers chose to ignore David Foote’s book, ‘Boom, Bust, and Echo’, many are regretting their lack of planning as they scramble to fill the empty positions in their organizations.  It is now a regular occurrence to see ‘Help Wanted’ signs in the store windows.

Construction projects are springing up everywhere in the communities on Vancouver Island, some being delayed by the lack of workers.  It is not only labour positions that are in short supply, but right throughout all areas with skilled workers.

As the unemployment percent dips, those who are unemployed tend to be the more disadvantaged.  Persons with a disability tend to be overlooked by employers and as a result, the workforce is missing out on extremely good employees.  The unemployment rate for persons with a disability is many times higher and needlessly so.

There are many myths about hiring employees with disabilities. These myths and realities were published by the Province of Alberta’s Human Services.  Below is an excerpt from their article.  To view the complete article visit: www.humanservices,Alberta.ca/disability-services/myths-of-hiring-people-with-disabilities.html

  1. Employees with disabilities require expensive specialized equipment.

Not everyone with a disability requires specialized equipment and where it is necessary, most job accommodations are simple and inexpensive.

  1. Employees with disabilities are frequently absent from work.

Workers with disabilities have the same or better attendance records as other employees according to studies by organizations like DuPont.  Workers with disabilities also tend to stay longer on the job.

  1. My Worker’s Compensation premiums will rise if I hire someone with a disability.

Worker’s Compensation rates are based on the hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident record, not on how many employees have disabilities.

  1. If they don’t work out, I can’t discipline or fire them.

Employing a person with a disability is the same as any other worker.  You must establish clear performance expectations from the start.  If they are unable or unwilling to do the job, you can discipline or terminate their employment.

  1. People with disabilities are more likely to have accidents.

A study by DuPont found that people with disabilities actually have a lower risk of injury at work.

  1. They will always need help.

People with disabilities are more independent than you might think. They have learned to live their lives and complete a myriad of daily tasks despite any challenges they may have.

  1. It’s risky to interview someone with a disability, because it’s so easy to break human rights laws.

Interviewing someone with a disability isn’t any different than interviewing anyone else – just focus on the requirements of the job and their ability to do the job.  Tell them about the job and ask if they are able to complete all of the required tasks.

  1. People with disabilities don’t have the skills or education that I require.

The majority of people with disabilities have a high school diploma, over half have some post-secondary education, and more than one in three have a post-secondary diploma.

  1. People with disabilities are unable to meet performance standards.

A DuPont study which involved 2,745 employees with disabilities found that 92 percent of employees with disabilities rated average or better on their performance.

  1. Individuals with disabilities are not as productive or don’t work as hard as employees without disabilities.

In a study by Louis Harris and Associates nearly 80% of the managers said that their employees with a disability work as hard or harder than their employees without a disability.

The workforce shortage is going to continue and increase.  We have people who want to work and can fill many of the available positions if we change our lenses to see ability rather than disability.

“The greatest disability is the inability to take advantage of your abilities.”

                                                                                Khang Kijarro Nguyen

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Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Business Planning, Career development, Coaching, Communication, Diversity, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Employees, Employment, Empowering people, Entrepreneurs, Life coaching, organizational change, Team development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corporate/Community Culture

We all know of individuals who give back to the community, those who give of their time and ability to help those less fortunate or the arts and education, but what about the businesses who continually are helping to create a strong and vibrant community.

I’m not referring to the business that once a year donates a prize to a charity golf tournament, I’m talking about the business whose culture and philosophy is that giving back is an essential part of the social license to be in business.

These businesses have created a culture in their organization that attracts employees who are of like mind and are also drawn to serving their community.  These are businesses of all sizes and descriptions.  Recently there have been businesses starting out that have a not-for-profit as part of their business model so there is a focus on serving the community built-in.

We see local business owners who are sitting on charity boards, arts and culture boards, and getting involved in the hands-on projects that make a difference in people’s lives.  It isn’t always about giving money.  The donation of time is huge, and many give it every day to some purpose.

While these businesses don’t do it for accolades, please take the time to thank them for what they do.  Many times, they are the catalyst for projects that individuals can then become involved in supporting with their volunteer efforts.

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The Interview

There are few things that spark the sweat glands in the hands more than a job interview.  The anticipation of the questions or the ‘behavioural interview’ process where the interviewer expects the applicant to have instant recall of how they did something in the past strikes terror for many job-seekers.

What many don’t realize is the apprehension of the employer.  Making a mistake in a hire can be costly, not just dollars, but time as well.  They have to decide what the position will consist of.  If it is new position, what are the duties.  If it is an existing position, it is an opportunity to make changes.  An advertisement should run for a week giving another week for the resumes to arrive.  Then comes the task of short-listing the applicants.  A friend just advertised two positions and received 87 applicants for one and 71 for the other so shortlisting is not an easy or quick process.

After shortlisting comes the invitation to an interview, which probably gives the applicant a week’s notice.  The interview process may be decisive, but more than likely is will result in a second interview.  Again, more time.  When the final decision has been made it is usually followed by a reference check.  These can be useful, but more and more employers are reluctant to say anything negative about a former employee for fear of litigation.  I prefer only one question, “Would you hire this person again?”

Once satisfied, the offer can be made, and negotiation may or may not take place.  If the lucky candidate is currently working, they will have to give notice to their employer.  This whole process can take one to two months and eat up a great deal of time for the employer who is hiring.

For the applicant it is more than just answering a few choreographed questions.  It is their opportunity to determine whether or not they want to work for this employer.  They need to do detailed research into who this employer is and what the business is.  Use the internet to see how they appear on the web.  Visit their website or Facebook page.  The most important part of the interview for the applicant is their opportunity to ask questions.

There is sweat on both sides of the ‘position vacancy’ posting!

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Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Coaching, Employees, Employment, Human resources, Managing stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Search and the Solution

For any small business it is always wise to know what your competition’s pricing is in comparison to yours.  You are competing in the same marketplace and with the same potential customers, so you need to know how you stack up.

Where your product is also online, you have another challenge as today’s consumer usually checks out the product and pricing before coming to your establishment.  This means you need to know your product well as they are knowledgeable customers and they know what price they can get it for online.

Over that past year I had a problem with a sealant, which would not adhere to acrylic that was subject to flexing.  I read countless articles, many of which pointed to a product that did not work and there were lots of comments that confirmed my experience.  I did find a comment from a master plumber who talked about a product he used with great success.  I had not heard of the product, so I set out to find it.

None of the local hardware or builders supply businesses had even heard of it.  On the internet I found wholesalers who were willing to sell me a dozen tubes, but not a single.  I resorted to Amazon.ca and found a tube for $35 and it would ship for free.  I stored the information and tried another work-around to my problem, but after 3 months it too was a failure, so back to Amazon.

Now it did not exist on Amazon!  In frustration I went onto e-bay.ca and there it was, $45 a tube plus $29 shipping to Canada, plus customs duties!  They did not list one Canadian supplier.  In desperation I did another search on Google and to my surprise it listed Industrial Plastics as a supplier and there was one in town.  I must say that after all I had gone through to find this product I was skeptical that I would find it at the store.  The clerk led me right to the display and I got my tube for $17!

So, why this long story?  Sometimes we, as consumers, don’t look for a product or service in the right place.  I went to where they sell the problem and they could not help me.  I should have gone to where they sell the material that my problem was made from.

The internet, bless its heart, is a rabbit warren of information.  Some is put on by those who, although their intention is to help, only add to the problem and take up volumes of your time.  Major builder supply outlets posted that they carried the product, when in reality, they did not have it in their stores or online and had no knowledge of the product.

If you are in business, engage your customers.  Know their wants, needs and expectations.  If they have a problem with your product or service, try to solve it.  Even if in the end you can’t solve it they will respect that you tried.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”  Bill Gates

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Good, Bad, and the Ugly

There is no doubt that the internet has changed the way we live work and play.

Growing up, the reference walls in the school or public libraries were lined with encyclopedias and other reference materials.  Encyclopedias were sold door-to-door and adorned the bookshelves in many homes.  Some had Encyclopedia Britannica, World Book Encyclopedia, and others Grolier.  These books were carefully researched, and update books were available annually.

The good is that we have more information at our fingertips than at any other time in history.  If you need to know how to do anything, it is on the internet somewhere.  It provides a venue for the arts and events worldwide.

The bad is that the information is not necessarily correct, or the best information.  Case in point; I needed to change the headlight in my truck.  I had tried to figure it out on my own but could not see a reasonable way to get at it.  The Youtube video was very good giving step-by-step instructions on removing the grill and other parts of the front end to gain access to the burned-out bulb.

This seemed a tad extreme to replace a headlight.  I could not believe that the Detroit engineers could have designed something so inconvenient, but then again, they could have been the same ones who thought it convenient to put the fuel pump into the gas tank.

Fortunately, I read to the bottom of the comments on the video and the last comment was, “I used these”, and it was a picture of a pair of slip-joint pliers.  I got mine out of the toolbox and replaced the bulb from the back in a couple of minutes.

The ugly is there are those with too much time on their hands who deliberately put false or dangerous information on the web for unsuspecting users.  Malware, viruses and phishing are all too common.

The bottom line is use caution.  When looking for something on the web, use more than one source of information and compare so that you can make an educated decision.  Remember that nothing comes without a price and if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

Be careful out there in cyberland!

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The Reason to Change

Doing self-employment training and support, I often hear, “I only want to be small”, or “I don’t use technology in the business, so it won’t impact my business”, or “I don’t need to put in training money because I’m experienced”.

It really doesn’t matter whether you are a little or big business, you need to be prepared for change.  No matter how prepared you are or think you are, it will happen.  It might be your competition bringing in a new product or service, which may draw your customers away.  It may be an online supplier in another location, halfway around the world, that can provide your products cheaper. So much for technology not impacting your business!

There are constant changes in how things are done, whether you are in the trades, make widgets, or roast coffee. Marketing changes the trends, and as a result, the needs and wants of customers and clients.

These changes have influenced change in many businesses.  The fitness industry which relied on long-term contracts, now finds itself competing with the $5 a week, 24 hour, fitness centres.  Many of the larger retailers have found themselves the ‘display room’ for those who, once they see and feel the product, buy it for less online.  This has affected technology stores, and department stores.  The survivors are the ones who have adapted and developed their own online presence.

The beauty of small business is that they can usually react quicker to change.  The object is to be proactive and ahead of the curve.  Being reactive means you are following the curve and may lose out as a result.  You need to be the one who is ahead of the curve.

Being current with trends and technology will help in the struggle to remain ‘in charge’.

“Even if you‘re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there”. – Will Rogers

Make sure you keep moving in a positive direction and prepare for change!

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Appreciation for the Story

I was reminded last night of the importance of listening to someone’s story before making up one of your own.  Over my lifetime I have developed a deep appreciation for music, music of all genres.  That is, except for rap.  Last night I watched an interview with Jay-z, and, while I still won’t rush out and buy rap, the genre makes more sense to me now.  His background gives reason for his huge popularity and I applaud his success and giving back to the community.

Everyone has a story and many times it is what defines who they are and what they do with their lives.  It can drive their passion for what they are doing, or it can suck it out of them.  Circumstance and their ability to make good choices and rise above the situation determines where they arrive in life.

An example of this are the homeless in our communities.  I hear the comments about drugs being the reason they are on the street now.  That for many is why they are there now, but was it drugs that took them there?  However, some are persons with a learning or physical disability that has made it difficult to get and keep employment, others have mental illness.  There are also the working poor, who, because of circumstance, can find minimum wage work but cannot find housing.

There is a fine line between helping and enabling.  Currently we are assisting with food, temporary cold weather accommodation, showers, clothing, and spare change.  But, what are we doing to change their circumstance?

Desmond Tutu said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”

We need to listen to the stories, appreciate where they have been, find the real need, before we can move them forward.  Anything else will not change the circumstances and only create a hole for others to fall into.

Listen to the story.

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Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Clients, Coaching, Communication, Diversity, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Empowering people, Environment, Lifestyle, Listening, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment