knowledge transfer

The Keys to Effective Knowledge Transfer

The role of human resources involves many different facets in an organization. It includes everything from finding qualified staff, on-boarding them, maximizing employee performance, and sometimes having to let them go. But what’s often forgotten in this cycle is the transfer of knowledge to ensure the long-term success of the organization. 

In business, knowledge transfer is the term used to describe the issue of transferring knowledge within the organization. Specifically when there is a change in staffing, leadership or otherwise. Similar to knowledge management, knowledge transfer should aim to capture knowledge so it’s accessible and available for future users.

Open Communication

The most important key to sharing knowledge in the workplace, is open communication. A culture of open communication benefits the transfer of knowledge among employees. Facilitating a safe environment where all employees know their contributions are respected will allow for easy knowledge transfer. A simple explanation of open communication is a workplace where asking questions and sharing information is second nature and encouraged. Creating a culture of open communication is easier said, than done. The benefits are undeniable. 


Mentoring is something that every organization should incorporate into their employee engagement strategy. The benefits of having a mentor in the workplace is invaluable to new staff. It helps them to easily learn the culture of the organization. It also allows seasoned employees to share information and provide newer employees with a go-to person when situations arise. This type of relationship assists with the transfer of knowledge in the workplace. Cultivating learning opportunities like cross training between related areas and hosting lunch and learn type sessions spreads the knowledge and doesn’t keep it locked with one individual or team. Mentors also help establish networking connections to further facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

Promote Collaboration

Collaboration is key to the success of every organization. Promoting collaboration also plays a large role in the transfer of knowledge. This can take many forms but most common are cross functional teams and group communication such as via email or meetings. Whether it’s a new employee or longtime leader, learning what your colleagues are working on will aid in knowledge transfer. Overall, collaborating on problems can help all participants find innovative solutions.

Casual or formal meetings with staff, or at least key staff, on a regular basis to discuss issues and success stories can help to maintain a culture of open communication. Meetings also keep lines of communication open and help with the flow of knowledge.

For any of these suggestions to work, people leaders must create a strategy to  facilitate knowledge transfer. Incorporating collaboration, communication and mentoring are the first steps, but the journey to ultimately shift a culture will take time, effort and great leadership.

employee burnout

Dangers of Employee Burnout…

Employee burnout results in high absenteeism, lower productivity and less employee engagement in the workplace. Ultimately, employee burnout leads to unhappy employees, turnover and high costs. The key is to try to identify the signs of employee burnout early. This allows management an opportunity to fix the issue before it becomes a serious problem. 

Here are a few tips all people managers should employ to stay on top of employee burnout.

Set the Example

Employees will behave in a manner they see demonstrated by their leaders. Therefore, managers should act in a manner that sends a clear message to employees. This includes things you wouldn’t necessarily consider. For example, taking your allotted vacation days to demonstrate the importance of balancing work with personal life.

Also, show your appreciation whenever you have the chance too. Basic manners like saying thank you and recognizing a job well done will go a long way to improve employee morale. 

Teach Time Management

Wasted time is one of the biggest issues for employees facing burnout. When facing deadlines, or a heavy work load, employees should have tools to manage timelines effectively. The advantages of better time management are plenty: less stress, more free time and ultimately more opportunities. As a manager, take the time to mentor and coach your employees on time management by using techniques suited to their work style.

Actively Promote Health & Wellness

An important tool to decreasing employee burnout is health and wellness promotion. For starters, every organization should have an active health and wellness program. Programs such as gym memberships, flex or “mental health” days and nutritional support to help people feel their best are ideas to consider. Get input from your team before implementing a new program. 

Most importantly, ensure that staff feel able to take breaks when needed, and that they are not pressured to work 10+ hours a day. Employees who feel overworked are stressed out, and prolonged stress will eventually lead to burnout. 

Support Your Team

The one thing employees desire at work more than free snacks, ping pong tables and yoga classes is a supportive supervisor. When staff know their manager “has their back”, they can better manage heavy workloads, deadlines and workplace stress. As a manager you should equip your team with resources. The type of resources they need to make them feel as though they have everything they require to be successful in the workplace.

A new survey from the American Psychological Association confirms supervisor support as the biggest influence on employee experience at work.  According to the survey, “Employees who reported feeling supported by their supervisors were more than twice as likely to also report being satisfied with their jobs, valued by their employer, and willing to recommend their company as a good place to work.”

Overall, treating employees fairly and providing a variety of tools to keep them engaged and happy will decrease employee burnout.  It’s important to emphasize the small things that can help manage workplace stress. And to also be proactive in managing employee relationships to ensure that the employees you’re hiring are driven, hardworking, and there to stay.

Ontario employment legislation 2017

Is Your Business Ready for Changes to Ontario Employment Legislation?

Start preparing now for major changes in Ontario employment legislation 2017.

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017  proposes dramatic changes to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. The legislation is being introduced in response to a two year study of current employment laws. The Changing Workplace Review released its final report in May with 173 recommendations.  The report identified that the nature of work has changed, Ontario’s employment laws have fallen behind and are failing to support workers in part-time, contract or minimum-wage work

The Bill has received a lot of criticism from business groups, especially small and medium sized businesses. Despite business concerns the Bill has moved forward with only minimal changes to date. The Bill passed 2nd reading in October and has been referred to standing committing for review. 

What Your Business Needs to Know about the Changes Proposed in Bill 148:

Minimum Wage Increase to $15 per Hour

  • January 2018 minimum wage increases to $14.00 per hour.
  • January 2019 minimum wage increase to $15.00 per hour.

Equal Pay for Part-time, Temporary and Full-time workers

  • Workers performing the same job must be paid the same wage, regardless of the worker’s status as part-time, temporary or full-time employee.


New rules around scheduling work are being proposed to protect workers. Some exceptions are outlined in the legislation for emergency situations. 

  • Request Changes: employees will have protection to request changes in shift and location without repercussion,
  • Right to Refuse Changes: employees will have the right to refuse work scheduled with less than 96 hours notice,
  • Cancellation: guaranteed minimum three hours pay when work is cancelled with less than 48 hours notice,
  • Minimum Three Hours: guaranteed minimum three hours pay where employee required to work less than 3 hours, 
  • On-Call Minimum Three Hours: guaranteed minimum three hours pay for employees on-call.

Paid Vacation 

  • Workers with 5 or more years service with an employer would be entitled to 3 weeks paid vacation.

Emergency Leave

  • 10 days emergency leave each year, including 2 paid emergency leave days for all workers.

Pregnancy and Parental Leave Extended

  • Extension of job protected pregnancy and parental leave up to 18 months to match the Federal Government’s recent extension of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for pregnancy and parental leave.  

Employee Misclassification

  • Employers who misclassify their employees as “independent contractors” could be subject to penalties including prosecution and fines. 

Stronger Penalties

  • Stronger penalties for employers who do not comply with Employment Standards including increase in monetary penalties, interest on unpaid wages, and publishing of the names of individuals who have been issued a penalty and a description of the contravention.

Record Keeping 

  • Employers will have additional responsibilities for record keeping.

Next Steps – Consultations 

Additional public consultations on Bill 148 were held last week by the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Next steps will include potential for amendments to the Bill and referral to 3rd reading. 

For additional information on the Ontario employment legislation 2017 proposed changes refer to the Ontario Ministry of Labour News

pay for performance

Pay for Performance – Everyone Wants a Piece of the Pie

When hiring new staff salary negotiations can sometimes be tricky, and the same can be said for how to connect pay with performance.

For most organizations, salary negations are done annually and the reward or pay increase is based on meeting or exceeding performance criteria. However, each party has very different goals and intentions when it comes to this type of negotiation. The employee wants to get the best salary possible, and the  manager wants to get the best deal for the organization. In essence, each side is working against the other.

As a people manager acquiring and retaining the best staff should be foremost when negotiating, not making a deal. Here’s why:The most talented, loyal and hardworking employees only ask for one thing in return for doing a job well done, a fair salary with a positive work environment. Organizations should have a very detailed pay for performance design and process for implementation. Here are a few tried and true tips that will help you maneuver a clear path.

Keep pay for performance simple

Whether you are a mid-size or small organization, your pay for performance system should not be complex. Keep it as simple as possible. The program should be based on a simple goal-setting with a rating and ranking process. At the senior management level the program can have additional features to recognize the uniqueness and importance of the role. But overall keep it simple.

Make it fair

The most effective pay for performance systems should result in employees feeling as though they have been evaluated and treated fairly. To achieve this all of your staff should already be paid a fair salary that is within the market range. Create a set of goals with your employees that fit within the organization’s overall plan and company vision. Three goals per quarter are reasonable. When given achievable goals that are clearly understood, it helps to motivate staff.

Have quarterly goal reviews

If goals are created per quarter, then ideally there should be quarterly reviews included as part of the pay for performance program. Sit down with your staff every three months and talk about what employees have done and how everything they do on the job fits in with the company’s  goals. This review will provide a great opportunity to see if goals are still clear and appropriate. It will also help to create an environment where employees can succeed in meeting their performance goals.

The bottom line

Performance goals and pay for performance should always be a collaborative process with input from the employee and manager. The foundation of a successful program is making sure that employees are receiving the market rate for the role and that they are aware of and understand their goals for each quarter. Overall, as part of the pay per performance process, employees should  understand what the range is for their salary, how are they positioned today and what they have to do to improve that position.

ontario minimum wage increase october 2017

Ontario Minimum Wage Increase Reminder October 2017

Ontario Minimum Wage Increases October 1, 2017

Effective October 1, 2017, Ontario minimum wage increases from $11.40 to $11.60 per hour.

More Changes to Minimum Wage on the Horizon

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 passed first reading this spring and will be discussed at committee in the fall before being referred to second reading.

If passed Bill 148 would increase minimum wage to $14 on January 1, 2018 and to $15 per hour on January 1, 2019. Read more about Bill 148 and proposed employment law changes.

angry employees

How to Deal With Negative Employees

In a workplace not everybody has the spirit and joy of Mary Poppins or a constant smile like Mickey Mouse. Yes, these are fictional characters and in reality no one is ever always in a great mood. However, for the most part, at work people tend to lean towards happiness and positivity. But what about the opposite end of the spectrum? People who are perpetually negative, with a constant cloud of disapproval and hostility hanging over them?

Unfortunately, they also exist. And that type of an attitude can have a lasting effect in the workplace. They’re not always easy to pick out of a crowd, but they can do their fair share of damage over time.  Negative employees like this tend to fall under the radar and don’t make the big mistakes that call attention to themselves. They are typically good at their jobs so don’t get called out on their negative behaviour.

If you’re not sure, here are a few telltale signs of an unhappy or negative employee. They  include employees who:

  • are always finding things to complain about, or over emphasize a co-workers mistake;
  • are gossipers and turn fellow employees against each other;
  • talk behind co-workers’ backs, or
  • undermine authority with criticism that’s not obvious, so is rarely corrected.

The first step to dealing with a bad attitude is for the manager to identify the actions of negative people , then make it clear that those actions will not be tolerated. If the individual is a good performer this can be difficult. But the bottom line is you cannot let one individual cripple the whole team’s morale.

Understand the Problem

The first step is to take a closer look at the employee’s behaviour to understand what’s causing it. Maybe they are not happy with their job, or are not being challenged enough. Perhaps they are having issues in their personal life. Whatever it may be, talk with them and ask them how they are doing – not just at work but at home too.  If you find there’s a reason for why they’re acting the way they are, offer solutions to help.

Provide Constructive Feedback

In many cases, toxic employees don’t know the effect they have on others. That’s why it’s important to give honest and direct feedback. Explain the negative behaviour and its effects using specific examples. And talk about the kind of behaviour you would rather see by telling them what you expect them to change. Aim for clearly defined, measurable goals by creating an improvement plan with the employee. This will give them a chance to change their attitude and have a more positive impact on people.

Explain the Consequences

While developing a plan, make sure the consequences of continuing with a bad attitude are clear. Let that employee know what they stand to lose if the behaviour continues. This is not a threat of getting fired, but let them know that privileges that they care for could be taken away or modified as a result. This could be a bonus or the ability to work from home. Whatever it is, most people will be more likely to change their attitude if they know that it comes at a cost.

Here are a few additional tips. Don’t get distracted and always document everything. Have a clear plan and a paper trail of the actions taken. This is extremely important and will serve you well when issues like this are escalated.