Lessons on employee engagement and effectiveness

Highlights from the Carswell Business/HRPAO conference in Cobourg, Ont., including links to all the PowerPoint presentations
By Lesley Young
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 10/17/2007

Do you have what it takes to be a top employer?

Attendees at the ninth Annual HR Best Practices Conference 2007, held Oct. 3 in Cobourg, Ont., and co-sponsored by Carswell Business (the publishers of

Canadian HR Reporter

) and the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPAO), got to answer the question by benchmarking their own efforts against insights from experts across a range of topics.

The theme of this year's conference was "Best Practices: Employee Engagement and Effectiveness."

John Cardella, executive vice-president and chief people officer for Ceridian Canada, was the keynote speaker and gave a presentation about what it takes to be a top employer. He cited a long list of tasks for HR to tackle if they want to make top employer lists. (Ceridian just landed on the Mediacorp’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers list for the third time.)

His advice about “living the company values” touched a chord with the audience. Below is a list of the of the conference sessions, along with links to the full presentations.

Here’s a complete list of the conference sessions with highlights, as well as links to the full PowerPoint presentations. (To view the presentations in your browser, simply click on the links below. To save the presentations to your computer, right click on the link and select "Save Target As…")

The ultimate HR benchmark – what it takes to be a top employer and the impact on the company

Presented by John Cardella, executive vice-president and chief people officer for Ceridian Canada

This is the third year in a row Ceridian made Mediacorp’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers list. What does it mean to be a best in class organization? Cardella addressed all the key areas that demand a proactive HR presence including establishing a trusting corporate culture, living the organization values, developing great leaders and simply “listening” to employees.

John Cardella's presentation (PowerPoint format)

John Cardella's presentation (PDF format)


Take charge of your workplace

Presented by Jamie Knight, partner at Filion Wakely Thorup LLP

Knight highlighted the need for companies in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces to recognize management rights rather than let unions, or the fear of unions, compromise an effective HR department. A helpful tip: Non-unionized companies should read competitors’ collective agreements and strive to offer the same standards to employees.

Jamie Knight's presentation (PowerPoint format)

Jamie Knight's presentation (PDF format)


Getting practical about return on investment

Presented by Claude Balthazard, director of HR Excellence at HRPAO

HR return on investment (ROI) is not an easy topic to cover, but Balthazard helped remove some of the mystery around the math with a historical overview of various formulas. Understanding the key hurdles to successful ROI will help any HR practitioner struggling to deliver a bottom-line equation. And Balthazard’s 12 point practical approach to measuring ROI is indispensable.

Claude Balthazard's presentation (PowerPoint format)

Claude Balthazard's presentation (PDF format)


Helping your joint health and safety committee become more effective

Presnted by Dilys Robertson, former occupational health and consultant and author

Research shows that workplaces with effective joint health and safety committees receive fewer inspections. Robertson’s trouble-shooting pointers, and insights into best-practice committees (also available on SafetySource, a product published by Carswell Business) help pave the way to self-sufficient, highly motivated teams.

Dilys Robertson's presentation (PowerPoint format)

Dilys Robertson's presentation(PDF format)


Harnessing conflict for better business results

Presented by Kay Hubbard, manager of organizational effectiveness and talent management at Thomson Carswell, and Jayne Jackson, manager of HR and corporate communications at Thomson Carswell

The presentation focused on learning to better understand conflict, which surfaces even in the healthiest organizations, and using it to achieve better business results. Identifying the stages of conflict, from prevention to arbitration, and conducting a survey can help HR professionals identify their own conflict-management style.

Kay Hubbard and Jayne Jackson's presentation (PowerPoint format)

Kay Hubbard and Jayne Jackson's presentation (PDF format)

Lesley Young is a Toronto-based freelance writer.

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