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Barbara Bowes

  • The benefits of offering benefits

    Employers are once again concerned about a capability gap appearing in the marketplace, as it seems the gulf between candidate skills and the needs of employers is widening. Perhaps this is due to the rapid change technology brings about and/or a perceived lag in educational training. Yet, the last time a shortage of skilled employees plagued the market, it resulted in some pretty creative recruitment strategies.
  • That new-job stress

    The month of November has started with a bang: a new Canadian government and a group of newly appointed cabinet ministers. However, once the novelty wears off, many of these appointees will soon begin to feel overwhelmed in their new jobs.
  • Right way to downsize

    Downsizings, rightsizing, re-sizing, reorganizing, re-engineering, restructuring -- what a grand vocabulary we've developed for when we struggle to meet current organizational and market challenges. Change results not only in layoffs, but also often involves restructured or cancelled services, facilities and programs, consolidated departments, closed regional offices and outsourcing, selling non-core businesses and/or merging with another company, resulting in the disappearance of a well-known name.
  • Debunking the 'not ready' myth

    The first negative advertising during the recent election campaign espoused the philosophy Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was "not ready." Of course, this was proven otherwise.
  • Sizing up defeat

    The votes have been tallied and the election has been won. Seventy-eight long days of campaigning, meeting people, being the centre of attention and talking one's heart out. As you might expect, the winners stand proudly with the broadest of smiles and an excitement about their new role.
  • Making the most of free time

    With election day on Monday, readers are seeing candidates' lawn signs sprinkled around like fallen leaves. Red, blue, orange and green... a good combination for the fall season. And, while they seemed to have sprouted recently, these signs were more than likely placed by volunteers -- a grassroots army that can range from just a few to hundreds. It's a good example of community commitment. Volunteerism is a big deal. For instance, approximately 47 per cent of Canadians older than 15 volunteered in some capacity for a total of 2.07 hours in 2010. According to Statistics Canada, this figure was equivalent to 1.1 million full-time jobs.
  • Self-employment becoming more rewarding, practical

    If you watch employment trends you know as the economy weakens, self-employment grows. Therefore, since we are currently experiencing the shock and aftermath of declining oil prices, it can be expected we will see an increase in the numbers of individuals moving into self-employment. For instance, it was reported 41,000 Canadians chose self-employment in January 2015 alone. At the same time, Sean Wise, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at Ryerson University, is suggesting today's millennials aren't even looking for a job but rather, focusing on gaining the knowledge, skills and experience to start their own businesses. They know the days of a lifetime corporate job are gone. They see corporate jobs as a trap and are seeking to create their own job, particularly in the high-tech industry.
  • Do what works

    Rarely a day goes by without learning of another corporate downsizing as the effect of falling oil prices continues. Salaried and management employees are losing their jobs as companies struggle to reduce operating costs. Caterpillar Corp., a well-known, 90-year-old company, recently announced plans to lay off up to 10,000 or more workers. TransCanada Corp., working in the oil and gas business, reported one-fifth of its senior management as well as rank-and-file employees will be laid off. According to reports by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, up to 35,000 jobs related to the oilpatch have been lost in the past nine months. The migration of oilpatch employees can also be seen in Manitoba. Individuals who moved west for high-paying jobs are returning home and entering the local job market.
  • Strategize to keep pace with changing world

    If you talk to a young person today, they’ll tell you the world is turning slowly, and they can’t wait for… whatever.

    If you talk to older people, particularly baby boomers, they’ll tell you the world is turning and changing too quickly. They’ll complain the days are flying by and there isn’t time to do everything they want.

  • New-job jitters?

    The first couple of weeks of school are over and hopefully, student and teacher anxiety have subsided. Yet, I don't know how many readers realize this anxiety is real. It's a mixture of elation and excitement, with fear and worry, and perhaps a bit of panic.
  • Learning never stops

    A glimpse around your neighbourhood will confirm the fall season is on its way. Children and parents are busy purchasing school supplies and new clothes. Teachers on the other hand, are already in their classrooms, preparing for the upcoming year. Yes, as Carole King likes to sing, "School bells are ringing." Yet, it isn't only children and young adults who should be thinking about school. Anyone in the workforce needs to be thinking about school, as well. Yes, you can pat yourself on the back for finishing a long and arduous education resulting in a degree or diploma. However, once you enter the working world, you still need to continue learning. In this case, the term 'school' is better known as 'continuous learning' or 'professional development'. But no matter what learning is called, every worker needs to make learning a lifelong passion.
  • Merger management

    The year 2014 was branded by human resource professionals as the year of "merger mania" and if the recent real estate mergers are any sign, 2015 is definitely continuing this trend. It's amazing how mergers change the landscape of an industry sector. Yet merging businesses brings a whole new set of risks. In fact, there's been plenty of research over the years that suggests 50-85 per cent of all mergers fail. No matter how well you plan, the change can be quite traumatic for all concerned. That's because each party has its own organizational culture -- "the way we do things around here." In many cases, culture can appear to be similar and/or compatible, but most organizational culture is invisible, so you may not truly recognize the elements of culture until someone tries to change it.
  • The perils of a bad boss

    Twice in one week and two separate phone calls for help, yet only one problem... a bad boss! It's certainly disconcerting to receive a distress call such as that, and to learn a vacationing employee doesn't want to return to work. They are anxious, afraid and stressed. In fact, they would tell you all of their vacation relaxation has quickly dissolved and they are near the point of panic. It's unfortunately this type of leadership behaviour has caused such a difficult situation.  
  • Facing layoffs

    It's been more than 30 years since the term "outplacement" was coined and with Canada most likely heading into a recession, I am sure we will hear more about this service, as organizational changes begin to occur. Outplacement service was initially designed to provide employees with assistance to reduce the trauma of losing a job.
  • Recession fears hit the workplace

    Lately, we have been hearing Canada is in a "technical" recession. A recession occurs when there are two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. If that's the situation, then we have been in a recession since the first three months of this year.
  • Identifying the leaders among us

    Recently, I had lunch with a business acquaintance who is the epitome of a hidden leader. Over a 20-year time frame and with a grade 12 education, she rose from the shop floor to being a corporate president. When I first met her, I was teaching facilitation skills to a group of front-line employees. I took note of her ability to learn quickly, her enthusiasm, the respect others showed toward her, and her eagerness to adapt to change.
  • Schedule a summer intern

    Every summer, holiday schedules create challenges, especially in smaller organizations. In order to alleviate the problem, some leaders require that employees take no more than two weeks of vacation at a time, as it is difficult to accommodate longer stays away from work.
  • The challenge of change

    I remember in my youth I found time seemed to just creep along rather slowly. I couldn't wait to graduate, I couldn't wait to go to university, I couldn't wait to graduate from university and I couldn't wait until I secured my first professional job. Yet, now that I'm older with many years in my profession, it seems time passes far too fast. For instance, my one-week vacation flew by in such a flash I found myself confused about time and dates.
  • Reached a crossroads in your career?

    Reached a crossroads in your career?

    Learn the signs that signal it’s time for a little self-reflection

  • Going all-inclusive

    I am most proud of the cultural mosaic of Winnipeg and Manitoba. We have people from many cultures living and working here, all contributing to the economy. There are many positives from this phenomenon as well as challenges. The mayor's newly appointed indigenous advisory circle is a good example. Its purpose is to create unity and equality through understanding and building bridges in our community.
  • Policies are there for a reason

    Things happen fast in a global world. In Malaysia, two Saskatchewan siblings ended up in court and were eventually deported after they -- along with others -- stripped naked on a mountain that's considered sacred and posted photos on social media. Not only did the photos go viral, they coincided with a terrible earthquake. Unfortunately, the social-media stunt was linked by the government to the natural disaster and the subsequent loss of life.
  • Wardrobe malfunction

    There's a good deal of sizzle in the news lately about dress codes in schools. The issue falls on the shoulders of young women who are accused of baring too much skin. The other challenge appears to be that many schools don't have a dress code per se, but ask students to dress "appropriately." Of course, this is open to interpretation.
  • Summertime schmoozing

    Ah, summer. The time for vacation, time for the annual summer juggle (holiday schedules), time for student interns and the time for staff parties where the good times roll. But let's not forget time for conversations, networking and making connections.
  • Punching the clock at the cottage

    I'll be honest, I am sitting in my beautiful cedar-lined sunroom while I write my Free Press column. I can see and feel nature, hear the birds, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. It's such a pleasure to enjoy a cup of hot tea on the deck. The only thing missing is the lake. But, it got me thinking: how many employees work from their cottage during the summer? How many employees stay connected while on vacation? Technology allows us to be connected 24/7 -- and we love it.
  • Canadian pride lacking?

    I must say I very much enjoyed the Victoria Day long weekend (weather, notwithstanding) and hope you did, too. However, I was quite surprised to learn a recent survey showed at least 50 per cent of Canadians don't know why we celebrate this statutory holiday.