Human Capital - Fall 2013 - (Page 7)

LEADERSHIP MATTERS HR Crisis Response BY ALY BANDALI, CHRP THE SERIES OF RECENT environmental crises that have struck our country over the last month (specifically the floods in Alberta that forced many businesses to shut down operations in June and July) caused many companies to have their emergency response plans and operational health and safety procedures put to the test for the first time. Whether your business has an existing protocol for handling emergency crises, or is lacking a plan altogether, it is very likely that the recent floods urged your organization to address certain operational health and safety (OHS) issues such as policy on flexible work arrangements, emergency recovery procedures, and employee assistance programs (EAPs). Canada has already been experiencing growing pressure from the labour force to introduce legislation that supports safe and healthy workplaces. Just last January, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ), and CSA Group officially released Canada’s first voluntary National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Although the standard is currently only a voluntary “best practice” tool, it has been designed to help organizations and their employees improve overall workplace psychological health and safety. Similarly, to better manage employee illness, the federal government is working on introducing a new short-term disability program to support employees through illness. The plan is meant to address concerns of high rates of employee absenteeism, as well as to fi nd a more effective and efficient ways of helping employees return to work after an absence due to illness. At the provincial level, we are seeing increasing efforts to improve health and safety standards. A private member’s bill on compassionate care is awaiting the last step before becoming law. Passed on May 27th, it will provide greater security for employees taking compassionate care; in some cases providing up to eight weeks of leave from their workplace to provide care or support for a seriously ill family member if the employee is the primary caregiver. Th is bill was put forward by Matt Jeneroux, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Edmonton-South West. In the Fall issue of HUMANCapital, the topic of workplace health and safety, or the internal responsibility system as defined by the Canadian occupational health and safety legislation, is discussed. The aim is to define the various facets in workplace safety, the role of Human Resources in creating, enforcing and communicating the organizational policies and procedures governing a healthy and safe work environment. From a leadership perspective, HR personnel have the ability to bring various stakeholders together and are oft en the recognized mediator between management and workers. HR can also influence the health and safety policies and procedures by participating in the health and safety committee, communicating to employees the organization’s commitment to OHS, and by training managers and employees on emergency procedures and safe work practices. For those businesses that were affected indirectly by the aforementioned floods, it is possible that as an employer or HR practitioner you managed a situation in which employees were unable to go to work, morale was low, and payroll had to be done even during the crisis. It is times like these that test our professional ethics and our commitment to protecting the public by ensuring we maintain our professional standards and carry on our duties so others can focus on recovering from the disaster. In this type of scenario, HR personnel may take on an additional role in the management of an organization by providing advocacy and communication, especially where employees express concerns around health, safety and wellness. With the lessons learned from the crisis, and the many impending workforce challenges, there has never been a brighter light on Human Resources and the importance of the HR Departments. It has become very clear that how they are structured and utilized has a direct impact on the success of an organization. As organizations continue to evolve, HR expertise will be in greater demand than ever before. Aly Bandali, CHRP Chair, HRIA Board of Directors HUMAN CAPITAL O FALL 2013 O 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Human Capital - Fall 2013

Leadership Matters
Economic Pulse
Shared Responsibilities: Human Resources Management and Health, Safety, Environment & Quality Processes
HR & HSEQ Together: Planning for a State of Emergency
Training versus Competency in the Demonstration of Due Diligence
Synergies between the Human Resources and the Health, Safety, & Environment Departments
Mobilizing HR and HSEQ for Positive Organizational Change in Health, Wellness and Productivity
HR & HSEQ: The Team Approach to Building Effective Supervisory Leadership Skills
HR LegalEase
Index of Advertisers/

Human Capital - Fall 2013