You can’t just be Diverse you also have to be Inclusive!


By Jo Morgan Dakin – Director of Recruitment

I was fortunate to be invited to The CGMA Conference in Toronto on Diversity and Inclusion although I am not an Accountant I was eager to attend as this topic is the new buzz in the hiring world. I just happen to live in a city that is recognized as the most diverse city in the world. With half of the population of Toronto born outside of the country, Toronto is often referred to as “the most multicultural city in the world”. If it is not, it definitely has the distinction of being one of the most culturally diverse cities.

How did this come about?  In 1971, Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy.  In doing this, Canada affirmed the value and dignity of all Canadian citizens regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, their language, or their religious affiliation.   What does this say about our Canadian society compared to others? We Canadians, especially those from the larger cities are familiar with different skin colours, different races, different religions and we are more accepting of these differences in our daily lives.

Well then why are we now hearing about Diversity and Inclusion in our workforce on a fairly regular basis in 2016/17? Seems to me that although we are a multicultural country we are doing something wrong if our new prime minister was trying to have 40% of women in his cabinet.  That means there was not an equal division of men and women acting as ministers in our federal political system. Where else is this happening?  In boardrooms all across the country!

The Webster dictionary states diversity is:

“The quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.

The state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization”

And the dictionary also describes inclusion as:

“The act of including :  the state of being included

North America has seen a drop in birth rates for decades, because of this our government’s have looked to other nations to increase our population growth. We have welcomed migration to both Canada and United States, because of this we have differences in many types and forms of which we have encouraged. But have we included these differences into our workplace?

It is just not good enough to be present it must be that all are included to be free to think and say what their thoughts are. When we are inclusive and diverse performance of the team will increase, all are working towards the collective good. You can’t have some sitting on the sidelines waiting to get into the game. All present must participate.

Inclusion is personal, this is what makes it unique for every individual. It can take into consideration physically included, or mentally included, it has to do with consideration and expression. If you have a group of liked minded, the XXX’s, all the same race and gender in the group and you add someone of diversity whether it be gender, race or sex that is the O, it can be uncomfortable for the O. There is more responsibility to the O because they are different they are singled out, they can be given more responsibility or they could have less responsibility then the XXX’s because they are not trusted, they are different.  How is a team to deal with this situation to be successful? They must suspend all prejudices and work together with all members within the team. The more diverse a team and the more inclusive the more successful the team will be at problem solving. It is harder to actually survive alone. then it is to survive when you are in a group.

General Patten said “If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.”

So it is not a matter that you add another person of different gender, a person of different race, religion or ability to be diverse. It is a matter of making all within the group to be inclusive, all to be equal, all must be accountable and all must be working towards a common goal!

Do you have a diverse and inclusive work environment? Do you need a diversity audit? Contact me




Just Because It’s Summer the World is Not at a Standstill!

By Jo Dakin

We are having record highs this week in Toronto, and I am sure in other North American cities and towns. The heat is getting to people, you can see them walking slower, standing in any little patch of shade to catch a break, chugging down the water bottles and sitting inside the restaurants in the air conditioning instead of soaking up the sun out on the patios.

Sure many are at the cottage taking their 2 week holidays and some of the luckier ones have headed to Europe, a sailing adventure, a road trip across the country or a camping trip in one of our beautiful national parks. We are all in slow motion but what does this do for your job search? Summer may bring on the slow motion in the hiring department but this is the time for you to revisit your social media and get it up to date, network, and refine your resume.

Tips on summer updating, if things are slow now then take advantage of this and be ready for the back to work mentality in September.

Update your LinkedIn – do you have a recent up to date professional picture, without your child in it or Niagara Falls in the background? Has your job title changed or your job responsibilities, if so add those in. Are you volunteering? Have you upgraded your education or taken relevant career courses? If so, add those to your profile. Many people are on LinkedIn but many do not have completed profiles, this can be challenging for a recruiter that is researching you. You want your best out there at all times.

Network – while on the golf course or at the cottage you are still exposed to the working world just not in a working environment. Find out what your golf partner does, you may know someone in common, is it possible that you can help each other in the business world? That is what networking is “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.” Networking is a two way street what can I do to help you, and vice versa.

There are so many more activities that are available in the summer months, we all are out and about more when the sun is shining and the weather is warm. Get out and join groups or activities that are happening in your community, volunteer to be part of the Waterfront Festival, the Charity Hot Dog Sale, The Run for Cancer or whatever is going on in your neighbourhood. Meet new people, find out about them and what they do, you may surprise yourself and find that there are activities and opportunities that you can benefit from both personally and professionally.

Dust off your resume, we have all heard that your resume is a work in progress. You must keep it up to date, with all your new activities you are participating in you never know when someone lets you in on an opportunity and they want your resume now. Be prepared to share an up to date, professionally written, clean resume.

Simple tasks to do to stay up to date, don’t let the heat slow you down, get out and enjoy yourself! You never know where your next opportunity will come from!

What are your thoughts about this article? Let us know in the comments!

Jo Dakin is a Food & Beverage Recruitment Leader. She provides knowledge and expertise to Food & Beverage clients so that they may eliminate their recruitment pain and fill their void with top professionals in the “passive” candidate market.

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Motivating Your Employees to Increase Productivity

By Jo Dakin – Director of Recruitment – Hanna Castle Recruitment Solutions

Management is a difficult task at best. You are responsible not only for what you do and do not do, but for what your team does and does not accomplish. Wouldn’t it be great if every member of your team were fully engaged in the tasks at hand? Sadly, that’s typically not the case for most teams. There are several workers who seem totally into their job and are fully motivated to make things happen for the project and for the company. Then there are others. . . They simply are not feeling the connection to the company or the team…the disengaged.

In every company or on every team we see one or two people who are not fully engaged in their job. How can you as the person responsible for their output and productivity, motivate them to greater achievements? Motivating others sometimes means finding a little motivation of your own. It means taking a long look at the situation and finding where they are falling down– and sometimes, where you are falling down too. Motivating others to greater productivity and greater achievements can mean examining not only their methods but your own. Some people are just inherently part of the team and they feel a connection with you and the others with whom they work. Some people simply do not feel that connection. It may be that by looking at the reasons honestly, you can determine whether you may, even inadvertently, be feeding into that disconnect in some way. How well do you really know the employee in question? In order to know what motivates someone, it’s necessary to know a little about them. Get to know them a little better and you may find that it’s easier to see what’s standing between them and success. A few things that you can consider and look for are these: How clearly were the directions and the goals of the project laid out? Is what they are doing and how it was to be done clearly explained? Did you or someone else make it clear what was expected and the timeline in which it was to be achieved? If you’re not entirely sure what the goals or how long you have to achieve them, it can be a concern that will sometimes cause complete inaction. Is there something about the job or the team that they find frustrating or that is holding them back? Can you remove that obstacle or help them to remove it? In some cases, despite their best efforts, two members of your staff are not going to be the best of friends. Pairing them on a project may not be the best way to get the job done. Are you somewhat heavy handed or is the team leader, when it comes to leading the project? If so, that may also be a part of the problem. According to those in the know, rewarding achievements may be preferable to punishing failures. Finding small ways to reward your employees for good progress may be the motivation that they need. Finding the right method to motivate your employees may take some changes on their part and some adjustment on your own. If the result is that you’re all more comfortable at work and productivity and engagement increases, if you can find that connection, you’ve gained something of inestimable value. Want more Guidelines on Interviewing or What is Trending in the Food Industry visit our website

The Coaching Leader

The Advantages of Employee and Executive Coaching

Coaching used to be something that only very large companies did. It was considered a fad that would probably pass. Today that is no longer the case. Business coaching is considered a fundamental aspect of taking your business to a higher level and of helping your employees to achieve results. Most companies today see it as needful and necessary, but they don’t often make the funding or the time for it available.

Hiring Coaching Executives

In some cases, companies add coaching to the list of things they are looking for when they hire an executive. That should mean that we’re seeing more coaching taking place, we should be seeing it achieve the results we want, yet in many industries, that is not what we see.

Encouraging our workers, providing them with the best way to grow in their positions is the best way to keep workers happy. In some cases, such as retail for example, we’re seeing productivity and often customer satisfaction falling. The public sector is moving ahead of the private sector in customer satisfaction.

What Makes the Difference?

The difference in many cases comes from the supervisory or the executives with whom they are working. Being a supervisor or being an executive does not make a leader. There is a world of difference between the two and coaching can sometimes make that difference. Excutive coaching can turn supervisors into leaders.

There are supervisors in every business. In many cases they sit apart from the employees. They remain behind closed doors and fail to interact with their teams. They show their faces for monthly or yearly evaluations. The glory and the credit for the things that their team does belongs to them in every way.

Conversely, there are leaders. They lead by example and listen to and worth with their teams. They hear the ideas that are outside the lines and they act on them, working with their team to take their companies to bigger and better things.

Why aren’t we Coaching More?

In many cases today, coaching takes up a small part of our funds and a small part of our time. In fact, according to Forbes, coaching is taking up less than ten percent of the time expenditures for training for our employees and supervisory personnel.

Conversely, those who spend more time on it, particularly spending more time coaching and working with the supervisory staff and teaching them to coach their own employees, typically increase their productivity and their employee morale.

How Well does Coaching Executives Really Work?

In a study of Fortune 100 executives discovered that when they were coached, the result was an ROI of nearly six times the cost of the coaching.

International Personnel Management Association survey determined that productivity was raised by more than 88 percent when training was combined with coaching. The rise was 66 percent higher than training alone.

If you’re considering coaching sessions for your own employees, here are some tips to help you to get the most out of your coaching.

Make sure that the coaching experience and process is consistent and top quality. Coaching sessions should ideally be confidential but the overall coaching process does require some management.

Make sure that clients are prepared ahead of time for their coaching. Don’t force anyone to be coached. Allow them the option to refuse the coaching or work with them to help them to understand the need for it.

Be certain that the organization is going to provide follow up support and strong encouragement for those employees who elect the coaching sessions. Coaching should ideally be involved in other types of training as well, including leadership training, mentoring training and competency training. Doing so increases the value of both.

Creating Success With Succession Planning!

Written by Jo Dakin

Succession planning takes internal people and develops them so they can fill a leadership role in the future. Since every company is different, the succession plan for your company requires careful tailoring to meet the needs of your business.

A good starting point is to review the characteristics necessary to fill key roles. When hiring candidates in the company, these are the items you closely watch for in future leaders. Ideally, you’ll have someone you bring internally on a smaller scale and develop their skills so they can eventually take over a position.

At this time, it also pays to have a backup candidate in place. Life events can happen in a moment. Someone may pass away, become seriously injured or move across the country. For these potential other candidates, boost their skill sets in areas that also fit in with their job. You won’t want to fine tune their training in a specific area, until you’ve determined there is a need to.

When considering an individual, listen to the advice of other trusted advisors within the company. Often, we see a small portion of who they are. Others may witness variations in their character and work ethic when you are not around. This is important to note as it allows you to avoid further problems later on.

Once you have feedback and have determined a person is a match, incorporate training and seminars. This is critical for employee engagement and keeps a top tier employee invested in the company. As you have them attend training, let them know the vision you have for their career. You’ll find they are more likely to remain loyal to the company and they continuously deliver 100% every time.

With an individual chosen and development started, it is important to continue to monitor their development. It is critical to periodically review their process and verify there are no problems along the way. If you notice they are struggling in an area, offer them guidance.

It is critical to have a succession plan in place in order to deal with changes in your company. Having this vision in place helps you to better monitor staff and evaluate situations. This will ultimately help the company to continue its forward motion and avoid a situation where a key role isn’t filled with the best person possible.

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Why Should I Hire You? – How To Sell Yourself

written by Jo Dakin

Today’s job market is nothing if not competitive. Getting the job is the goal of course, but how? In nearly any job situation today, you’re selling something. Whether it’s a product or a service, you’re offering something valuable to a person who is in need of it. The product that you’re selling in the job seeker role is yourself.

As a job seeker in any career field, you’re going to be interviewed multiple times over the course of your job search. Those interviews are great opportunities for you. Getting the job means you have to close the sale and the interview is the best time to do that.

The question is, what’s the best way to accomplish it?

Bear in mind that you’re not begging for something when you are seeking a job. Presumably you have real skills and talents that will add value to the job. Express those talents and skills and explain how you’ve used them in the past to solve problems for other employers. Meet your interviewers eyes and show your confidence in what you have accomplished and what you can accomplish for their company.

Don’t be afraid to name-drop. Tell your interviewer what you did for the other company and how you did it. Examples are:”At KayRay Software I instituted a Customer Relationship software that resulted in an improved rate of return customers and repeat sales.” Selling your strong points and naming the places where you achieved that success gives you some credibility and gives them something to check on.

Don’t oversell it. No one wants to hear you brag. State simply and succinctly what you bring to the table. Follow it up with another piece of the puzzle. Most candidates are not aware that the companies they are applying to enjoy hearing that you want to work for them. Once you’ve told them that you are able to complete their staff and why, add that you’d like to work for them for __xyz__ reasons. Most employers react well to a prospective employee telling them why they chose to apply to their company.

Prepare well for the interview and learn as much as you can about the person who will be interviewing you. Examine the company culture and the problems that may be inherent in the company. You’re not going to step in and solve them of course but knowing what they are can strengthen your position when you offer your skill set and what you bring to the table.

Phrase your speech as if you are already a part of the company. Use “we,” “us” and “our” when speaking about company’s products and services as if you are a part of the team.

When the interview ends, don’t’ forget to close the sale. While many people are afraid to be bold about it, reiterate that you are available to start at any time that is convenient to them. Don’t forget to express your thanks to the interviewer as you leave. Good manners are appropriate for any situation.

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Do You Know How to Negotiate Your Future?

Written by Jo Dakin

You’ve gone through all of it. The grueling process of application, interview, second interview and received the holy grail of employment seeking–the job offer. Now that you’ve been offered the job, how confident are you in your ability to negotiate your own future?

The employment offer comes to you and you’re always excited. That’s especially true if you’ve been out of work for more than a week or two. Don’t let your excitement blind you to the fact that now, you have to negotiate for what you’re going to take away from the offer. This includes salary, perks, insurance, sick days, vacation days, whether you work from home or office, car or cell phone allowances, laptops or computers and anything else that you can think of.

In the initial rush of excitement it doesn’t seem as if it will make that much difference. You may be inclined to take what they offer and to walk away. The reality is that a dollar an hour or a thousand dollars a year can make a huge difference in your overall income over the course of even ten years with a company. A computer or laptop offered by your employer may save you several hundred dollars.

The negotiations may take place via mail, email or in person. However they happen, it’s important that you keep them open, honest and that neither person leaves the table feeling like they’ve been taken advantage of.

That’s what makes it so important that you know the score and that you speak your mind and let them know exactly where you stand and what you want from your contract.

Do your legwork. Know what you’re talking about before you begin the negotiations. Research the company or talk to people who have or are working there to find out typical salaries. Look at local area salaries for like positions and use those as a median range.

When you are making specific requests about salary or contract, tell them that you’ve researched the salaries that are given in your area and in your field. Request a median salary from the findings of your research. Most negotiators or hiring managers will see that as reasonable and not just a number plucked from the air. You’re more likely to see the request granted that way.

Be willing to compromise, but don’t do so on something that you really need. Insurance may be a requisite. Family policies, if you need them, are something that you can’t compromise on. Stand firm and be assertive about those things that you really have to have for future security. In the end, if you didn’t ask for it, you’re not going to get it.

The overall goal is to get a happy medium that you and the company feel is fair. If you walk away from the negotiating table feeling as though you’ve been taken advantage of, you can’t blame them, you have to blame yourself.

Get a package that you can live with and nail down every aspect of it politely and positively. Once you’ve accepted it, live with it. You can’t complain about a contract that you laid out and had every opportunity to refuse.

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How to Effectively Train in Spite of Language and Cultural Differences

Written by Jo Dakin

In the early 1970s, Canada was one of the first countries in the world to adopt an official policy of multiculturalism. This forward thinking and inclusive political stance means that today, Canada employs one of the most diverse workforces found anywhere in the world. While this allows for a vibrant culture both inside and outside of the workplace, it also means there are certain challenges to overcome in industrial training situations. This is largely attributable to language and cultural differences.

For those operating in the food and beverage production sector, it is sometimes easy to overlook the necessity to tailor training programs that cater to all cultural and language backgrounds. Taking a pro-active approach to modifying existing methods can ensure successful training for employees across any demographic.

Techniques to Overcome Cultural and Language Barriers

Even when employees have a basic command of the English language, training facilitators should not overlook the fact that the actual delivery of training is a key determining factor to the success of a program. Miscommunication and misunderstanding is a risk when training is hastily delivered, or facilitated by those who are unfamiliar with the cultural and ethnic diversities that they are training. Communication needs to be clear, slow, and concise, without excessive use of jargon or culturally specific idioms.

In industries involved in production, there may be certain technical language that is unavoidable. This makes it important to employ a policy of regular clarification to ensure a mutual understanding. Employees who speak English as a second language may become introverted when they are confused, so facilitators must be aware of this, and take command of two way communication. They must continually seek confirmation and test knowledge to ensure that instructions and teachings are mutually understood.

Visual aids will greatly increase the effectiveness of training presentations and on the job training. Accents, and even localized dialects can form barriers even when a common language is present. The use of visual aids will provide clarification of the topics discussed, without the barrier of culture or language. In the case of machinery operation or manual processes, visual instructions are an unambiguous aid that leave little to interpretation.

The most important thing however when training a culturally or language diverse group, is that facilitators recognize and understand communication barriers and can adapt their delivery style to their audience. With an understanding of these barriers and a robust training plan, businesses can ensure that any employee induction, on the job training, or upskilling initiative is successful, regardless of the cultures, ethnicities, and languages of the employees taking part.

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Turning Negatives Into Positives

Written by Jo Dakin

It can be difficult at times to stay positive in the face of real opposition or real challenges. It’s not always easy to work in a given environment or to have negative responses to your work or to your feedback. Difficult situations make for challenges in our daily lives.

Negative situations are everywhere we go. How we react to them, how we respond to them is what sets the tone for the continued interaction. There really is a silver lining in many of these situations. Sometimes it takes more effort to find it but once you do, you can take away something very positive from an uncomfortable situation.

If your work is being criticized, recognize that you can take a learning experience away from that and grow in your career. Despite it being proffered to you in a negative way, you need not allow the way in which it was offered to make the entire scenario negative.

Bear in mind that there are always going to be negative people around you. Whether they are in positions of authority or not, you’re going to have to deal with them. Allowing them to spread negativity and to damage morale—particularly yours, isn’t helping anyone and it won’t rectify the situation.

Negative people can often be managed by a pleasant response. You don’t own their negativity so don’t fuel it. Offer a smile, offer a sympathetic word and listen. Let people vent their anger or frustration if they need to do that, but don’t feed into it. If it is a supervisor who seems unduly harsh in their critique, try to look past the attitude and find the useful information there. Sometimes it’s difficult to do so, but if you can, you’ll likely take away something worthwhile.

Try to help to create a situation where the people around you feel as though they are worthwhile and included in discussions and situations. Help them to see their options, rather than to focus on the purely negative.

If the negativity is aimed directly at you, take a hard look at it. Are the comments about your work or your actions something that have real value? Even the rudest commentary–the most negative reaction may hide a grain of truth.

If it’s something that you can change, take a look at the value underlying the comment and act on it. If you can change it or it merits change, act on it. Taking a positive away from it puts you in the driver’s seat.

You are not always able to control a negative situation, but you can control your reaction to it. Keep an open mind and an upbeat attitude about any negative situation. Examine the situation in which you find yourself and take a breath before you respond. Some of the people that you honestly believe you’re not going to work well with or to interact well with can become your closest allies.

Keep in mind as you seek to keep your life and your workplace positive that sometimes negative reactions and negative emotions are completely appropriate, depending on the situation. There may not be a great solution for that but you can be a good listener who is available with a sympathetic ear and a reasonable response.

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How to Build an Effective Team

Written by Jo Dakin

Can a business realize success without its employees interacting effectively as a team? No, a company will never make it if the employees are at odds with each other. Therefore, it is crucial that companies build effective teams of highly motivated individuals that work together smoothly on a daily basis to bring about success. How does management accomplish this task?

  1. Selecting the right people to be on the team is crucial. When management is interviewing job candidates, it needs to discover during this process, whether they are team players. Management can weed out problem personnel right from the start in this manner. Questioning the job candidate if he plays well with others and understands the importance of teamwork is an effective way to accomplish this. His answer will say it all.
  1. The company should acknowledge that every team member’s role is important to the success of the company no matter how minor or major that role may be within the team or company. Management will empower the team to forge onward to greatness when it provides this acknowledgement. On top of this, management needs to define the duties of each team member clearly, so that all the members understand their individual responsibilities.
  1. Management should always encourage members of the team to voice their ideas, opinions and suggestions on present special projects and daily operations. The team could have the answers to certain problems management discovers on a regular basis. Feedback from the team often can lead to operations running more smoothly and swiftly.
  1. Management needs an open-door policy to keep communication flowing freely. Team members need to feel that they can approach management whenever necessary to keep a task or project running smoothly, or if they have an issue with another team member that they cannot resolve on their own. A weekly meeting with team members also is an easy way to encourage effective communication.
  1. Building an effective team also involves management setting clear and precise goals for the team to meet. Goals such as these could be deadlines on projects or daily targets to reach just for a couple of examples. The team works more efficiently with such goals.

A company that builds a team in the above fashion increases its possibility for success. Develop a winning team at your company today to enhance your productivity!

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