Top panellists reveal hot topics from this year's Canadian HR Awards

This year's Canadian HR Awards will look slightly different – but the message is just the same

Top panellists reveal hot topics from this year's Canadian HR Awards

As we navigate the turbulent waters of COVID-19, employers and employees alike are bound to be feeling the stress. These are uncertain times, with the impending threat of a second wave and lockdowns on the horizon, HR departments needs to invest more time and effort into appreciating their employees.

This year’s Canadian HR Awards will look slightly different – but the message is just the same: recognition is the key to retention. Our event this year will be free to view online, streaming all the glitz and glamour you’ve come to expect into the comfort of your own home.

We’re also introducing innovative panel sessions, featuring global leaders and world-famous organizations speaking on insightful and important sector topics.

In anticipation of the ceremony, our panel sponsors have offered an insight into their sessions.

HRD: How has the notion of company culture changed thanks for remote working, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session? 

Christa Manning of Ultimate Software: “There is a greater focus on how we can enable workforce connectivity and offering flexibility to let people work in the best way that works for them. We are also conscious that there needs to be more communication, but that communication is a two-way street - we need to listen more to how people are feeling and what they need to be successful in this environment.

“The great news is that there are tools we can use today to listen remotely at scale and are able to analyze what particular people and populations and respond to their needs and coach managers and leaders how to model the behaviors we know are important to help keep people resilient.”

HRD: What new tech trends are we seeing emerge in the close of 2020, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

READ MORE: Are you investing in a strong people culture?

Michael Cohen, chief product officer at Achievers: “In light of the pandemic a lot of organizations are changing their priorities. I think there is a greater focus on the employee experience and technologies that will support that experience both in office and at home. In our areas of expertise, we’re seeing organizations increasingly understand the power of recognition to engage and build teams in a dispersed employee population.

“Voice of the employee solutions are also becoming critical tools as companies add pulse surveys to their engagement measurement toolbox so they’re making decisions based on the latest input from their employees rather than relying solely on annual or semi-annual engagement surveys.”

HRD: What does leadership look like post-COVID, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session? 

Andrea Wynter, head of HR at ADP Canada: “The global coronavirus pandemic has presented a sea of extraordinary challenges that has left no community or business untouched.  It has fundamentally changed the way we live, the way we work, how businesses operate and ultimately the people that lead them.  

“No business leader can escape its impact – but every business leader must rise to the occasion.  And that time is now, as leaders navigate their workforces into the “new normal” , forging ahead and addressing uncertain circumstances around employee personal safety, mental health and managing a flexible workforce all while crafting a vision of the future and a clear way forward. 

“During this panel discussion, the ADP HR Rising Star finalists, will deliberate what good business leadership looks like in a post pandemic world as well as what actions HR Leaders can take when charting a course that will ultimately elevate their own capacity and the capacity of the organization.”

READ MORE: Are women leaders better champions of well-being?

HRD: How has communication changed post-COVID, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session? 

John Stockwell, chief people officer at Dentsu Aegis Network: “Virtually all workplaces became virtual as a result of COVID.  That has challenged us all to find new ways to connect and communicate to continue to foster workplace culture.  We will be learning from some of best strategies to connect and engage in our “now normal” and look forward to sharing those insights and successes with you.”

HRD: What lessons have we learned from COVID-19 in HR, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session? 

Chris Lee, VP of communications at Gallagher: “Employers entered uncharted waters in 2020, steered by a pandemic that has forced them to adapt, seemingly overnight. In this kind of environment, we can always learn from our peers. We’re looking forward to hearing about actionable strategies that the country’s top HR teams can share about how they’ve found success.”

HRD: How can HR elevate their D&I strategy, and how will you highlight this in your sponsored session?

Susannah Crabtree, partner at Mercer Canada: “An organization’s DEI strategy should be considered from several different perspectives, and elevating it requires a multipronged approach. It’s our view that the critical first step is to elicit the full backing of the executive team; their explicit and visible support of a DEI initiative will send a strong message throughout the organization.

“HR leaders must also confirm they understand their organization’s current state and that employees feel they have a forum for their voices to be heard. Identifying what changes are needed and building a real strategy for transformation can only happen after that. And, goals that are set through the strategic process must have sustainable, measurable target outcomes. It’s not a simple path, and each organization’s journey will be different.”

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