HR Associations

Looking good
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/28/2013

Despite continuing economic uncertainties, Canada’s HR associations are fully focused on members and boosting the CHRP’s credibility. We talked to the heads of associations across the country to find out what’s on the agenda for 2013.


CCHRA looking into Generally Accepted Human Resources Principle (GAHRP)

Sharon Lee
Executive director, CCHRA

Sharon Lee became executive director of the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) in November 2012 and she anticipates her background will help with one of the target goals of the association’s new strategic plan — launching a Generally Accepted Human Resources Principle (GAHRP), hopefully by 2018.

Ten years ago, Lee volunteered with the development of the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation — which she now holds herself — so she has experience when it comes to promoting a profession and ensuring there is a national standard.

“Every province has their own version of what’s accepted as HR practices, so we’re trying to get that together so that there’s generally accepted human resources practices across Canada, so standardized.”

GAHRP is still very much in its infancy and more conversations are needed, says Maureen Campbell, communications manager at CCHRA.

“It’s more about the principles around it, the principles that an HR professional should adhere to when practising. So it will enhance everything that we currently have.”

The CCHRA — comprised of eight provincial member associations with membership totalling about 41,000 — is also continuing its professional practice analysis, working with a panel of HR professionals, academics and business professionals to update CCHRA’s required professional capabilities, says Lee.

“That entails people coming across the country to look at what’s happening in the HR profession across Canada, where is Canada heading, are we keeping up with it, are we helping our designated professionals and members keeping abreast of what’s happening in Canada and around the world, and reassuring (them) that they’re keeping up.”

CCHRA is also enhancing the exam process, with an experience assessment replacing the National Professional Practice Assessment (NPPA) and ensuring the National Knowledge Exam (NKE) is robust and current.

It’s about looking at the exam process to make sure the questions reflect what’s currently happening in the profession, whether people are teaching the same things across Canada, and working with academics as well as practitioners in the field, says Lee.

“We want to make sure we are on top, we are understanding the latest trends, what’s happening and making sure that’s also what’s entwined into our curriculum,” she says.

And that also means looking at the requirements for foreign-trained HR professionals.

“We really need to make sure that we test the right knowledge, that it’s all about standards, about how you do business, not little things that are very Canadian-centric,” says Lee.

Another big move at CCHRA is just that, a move — from Ottawa to Toronto. While the exact location has yet to be chosen, the relocation makes sense, says Lee.

“HR is regulated provincially so really to be in Ottawa trying to lobby the government federally just didn’t make any sense — it’s much wiser for us to concentrate and focus and help each province to beef up their own legislation for HR.”


‘Twofold attack’ by BC HRMA

Simon Evans
CEO, BC HRMA

Over the last nine years or so, the British Columbia Human Resources Management Association (BC HRMA) has moved itself into a very solid position, both financially and as a member value equation, according to CEO Simon Evans in Vancouver.

Now, it is trying to build its presence in the eyes of the public, the government and small business so it hired a public relations firm for “a twofold attack,” he says.

To raise the profile of the 5,561-member association, BC HRMA released 50 to 60 press releases in 2012 on a variety of subjects and it was always available to the media, says Evans.

Selected groups of 20 to 25 sectional leaders and executives also met with ministers from the various provincial political parties “to make sure that the governments are hearing the issues relating to what is happening in the HR world, outside of their political talk,” he says.

The association is also looking to build the BC HRMA brand, so it hired an advertising agency in Vancouver and is working on a brand statement.

“That’s a very, very tactical and strategic situation — we as an organization have really not gone there (before),” says Evans.

It’s highly likely the branding exercise will include dropping “BC” from the association’s name, though that is still being discussed, he says.

Also significant in 2012 was the Yukon joined BC HRMA as an official membership region in 2012, the first located outside the province. For full services, it’s about becoming a full member and having an advisory council, so it made sense, says Evans.

On the professional development side, BC HRMA has partnered with the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver to offer a joint master’s degree in HR.

And while the association is holding its annual two-day conference in May — with the theme “inspire, influence, innovate” — it is also focusing on smaller gatherings, such as one-day sessions and mini conferences, says Evans.

“We’re tending to do more and get more engagement with our professional development meetings,” he says, adding that means a higher level of presenters and attendees.

The mentoring program is also going very strong, with 722 participants, which is double the number seen in 2009.

And BC HRMA is seeing stronger numbers from student members, with 871 compared to less than 100 eight years ago.

“We’ve targeted next generations and really tried to serve them for the last six or seven years,” says Evans.

To better reach members across the province, the association has been working with local universities and colleges. For example, it now offers job shadowing through UBC.

BC HRMA has also worked with schools such as the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Simon Fraser University to offer HR Café, which has a similar setup to speed dating in that students can sit down to speak with HR experts for 15 minutes at a time, about a variety of HR topics.

“That’s taken off like wildfire, those are now down at 15 universities and schools around the province,” says Evans. “And that’s also part of the service level back to students.”


HRIA collaboration almost complete

Nora Molina
Executive director, HRIA

There has been plenty of activity at the Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA) in the past year — and that’s going to continue in 2013.

HRIA is expecting Alberta will officially have one HR association in 2013, as the remaining associations — the Human Resources Management Association of Lethbridge (HRMAL) and Human Resources Association of Calgary (HRAC) — are set to vote on joining HRIA in the next few months.

“The importance of that, to have a unified profession in Alberta, is so significant,” says Nora Molina, executive director in Calgary.“When we look at the multiple-association structure that we have — and it’s worked well in servicing at a local level — we just saw greater opportunities to do more working as one association and better represent the HR profession throughout the province as one association.”

As part of the merge, the association underwent a rebranding exercise and unveiled a new logo — featuring “HRIA” in blue capital letters. It was time to look at the logo and what it said about the organization, says Molina, such as lower-case letters conveying youthfulness.

“We were looking for a more mature, stronger identity and also looking to align the HRIA brand with the CHRP brand as well, so there’s some similarities but also they stand alone independently.”

As part of the collaboration, HRIA is making changes to its publications. The eSource newsletter is being retired and instead a semi-monthly enewsletter — HumanConnections — has been launched. And HRIA is blending its Network magazine with that of HRAC’s to create Human Capital magazine.

“We wanted to draw the connection between business and human resources and not say they are separate — they’re one and the same. And Human Capital is really looking at what is that human element to the bottom line in business,” she says.

HRIA is also integrating its database and website with HRAC’s and plans to launch a new website in May.

The association also conducted its first member salary survey late in 2012, with official results expected any day. More than 1,400 members responded, from a broad spectrum of positions and industries, says Molina.

“What we expected to see, and we did see, was a very significant bias towards the CHRP designation,” she says. “It was certainly revealing at all levels and all positions that those that hold the designation have higher earning potential and are more likely to fill senior roles.”

And the 5,631-member organization continues to carry out the objectives of its 2011 strategic plan.

“2012 has been a huge year on delivering on those initial priorities,” says Molina. “Most significant for us early in the year is beginning the work that we did on re-energizing the brand for HR in Alberta and launching, for the first time, a CHRP campaign to communicate both to the business community as well as broad across our membership in terms of ‘What’s the value of your designation?’ So that’s been a huge part of our early focus.”

As part of the process, HRIA worked with a local marketing company and consulted with various communities, including Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Red Deer, to gain an understanding of people’s perceptions about HR and the designation, she says.

“If you were to look across the country, most of the approach has always been branding and advertising the association and not as much emphasis on the designation. And what we looked at really is who the business community is interacting with on a daily basis — and really it is our members.”

And HRIA is looking forward to its annual conference, to be held in Edmonton on April 17 and 18, with the theme “LEAD” — Leaders empower Alberta development. Early bird registrations suggest there could be record numbers, says Molina.


SAHRP polling members

Nicole Norton Scott
Executive director, SAHRP

Preparing the association for the future has been a key focus of the Saskatchewan Association of Human Resource Professionals (SAHRP). In 2012, the Regina-based association reviewed its mission, vision and values and started to develop a longer-term strategy, says Nicole Norton Scott, executive director.

“We’re setting the stage to look out three to five years where we want to be, so does the mission, vision and values match that?”

The board reviewed many aspects, including the operational budget, expense management and overall purpose of the organization. The 1,500-member association will launch the new strategic plan in 2013.

In keeping with the forward-looking focus, the association will also be looking at the value of the association to membership. To do this, it will launch a comprehensive membership survey.

“What’s sexy about the SAHRP? Why do you want to be a member? Why do you want to be an HR professional? What makes people want to be part of it?” says Norton Scott.

The survey will wrap up by spring and the association will spend the rest of the year rolling out the results and communicating them to members.

“You have to give all that feedback back to them,” she says.

SAHRP will also focus on its senior members, reaching out to them to find out what value the association brings to them and how they can add to it.

“Getting them more involved in the association, maybe through mentorship or being part of the board,” says Norton Scott. “They’ve got lots of knowledge and resources.”

Last year, the association also focused on learning and development opportunities for members. The annual conference in October saw a record attendance of 300 delegates and received excellent feedback, she says.

“Learning and development and networking are reasons why members are part of the association,” she says. “We really do need to look at that, meet the needs of our members, what’s going to make you want to come out to an event?”

The association also launched webinars in partnership with the British Columbia Human Resources Management Association (BC HRMA) to reach more rural members outside its main centres in Regina and Saskatoon.

“We have people all over Saskatchewan, they can’t necessarily drive two hours, so we’ve launched webinars,” says Norton Scott. “There’s been good uptake.”

In July 2012, SAHRP joined the HR Metrics Service and it will focus on marketing that to members in 2013. Services such as this help HR become truly recognized and a value-added profession, says Norton Scott.

“It’s about informing the membership about the benefits of benchmarking yourself,” she says. “You can talk about numbers at the table: ‘This is how much turnover is costing you,’ ‘This is your absenteeism and this is how much it costs you.’ The purpose of it is to look at numbers — and people listen to numbers.”

Last year, SAHRP was busy getting ready for the changes to obtaining the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation. The National Professional Practice Exam (NPPA) is being replaced by a three-year experience assessment.

“We worked on solidifying that, getting the model, communicating that and in 2013 we’re going to work through that process,” says Norton Scott.

The CHRP recertification process has also been solidified at SAHRP and will continue to be a focus.

“We’ve offered lunch-and-learns and we’ve added more material to our website to make it more user-friendly,” says Norton Scott. “When you recertify, it’s a big deal and we want to make sure our members know that.”


HRMAM to conduct governance review

Yvonne Thompson
President, HRMAM

The Human Resources Management Association of Manitoba (HRMAM) increased its rural membership in the western and southern regions of the province in 2012.

“There was an appetite in rural Manitoba at the time, and the timing was really good,” says Yvonne Thompson, president of the 1,500-member association based in Winnipeg.

“We had some board members who were very interested and the board overall identified it as a need — so there was an appetite in rural Manitoba at the same time as an identified initiative by the board.”

For 2013, the association is looking to build on this momentum with a new initiative to reach out to communities in northern Manitoba.

“(We want to) increase our membership and increase our services to those areas — offering webinar availability, connecting them into our annual conference, so that’s a critical initiative for 2013,” says Thompson.

Another big initiative for 2013 is a full governance review.

“The board is changing all the time and people may believe they understand the governance model and have a good handle on it, but when you go through challenges like we did in 2010-11, you realize that your process may not be as good as it needs to be,” she says.

Now that HRMAM’s financial stability is back and it is feeling really strong as an organization, it’s important to conduct a full review to ensure its governance process and model are strong, applicable and updated, she says.

Once the governance review is complete, HRMAM will work on its strategic plan in 2014.

“Once you’ve dealt with immediate issues of stabilization, and now we’re looking toward growth, it’s really important to go back and look at your processes… so you can catch things before they become a problem,” says Thompson.

HRMAM is also working on how members obtain Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) recertification points. The association will work with learning and development partners throughout the province to offer programs that directly connect to gaining recertification points, says Thompson.

A training organization’s curriculum would be evaluated to determine if it aligns with the current Required Professional Capabilities (RPCs) of the designation and, if so, it would be able to use the CHRP logo in relevant training.

“People attending those courses would know in advance exactly how many points or hours of recertification professional development they would be granted,” says Thompson. “(It’s about) making it easier, improving the process.”

HRMAM is getting ready to implement the three-year experience assessment in place of the National Professional Practice Assessment (NPPA) as part of obtaining the CHRP designation. And it is excited about that change, says Thompson.

“The CHRP designation, to increase its credibility and the value to employers is to ensure a CHRP can demonstrate a significant level of experience prior to being granted the designation — that’s a very important part that we’ve been working towards for awhile,” she says. “It’s one of the final steps in granting the CHRP and improving that process.”


Regulatory requirements a priority at HRPA

Bill Greenhalgh
CEO, HRPA

It’s been another busy year for the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in Ontario. From the introduction of a private member’s bill to regulate members, to mentorships and a major research study, the Toronto-based group continues to develop and now has about 19,800 members.

Bill 28, which would regulate members of HRPA in a manner similar to accountants, passed second reading on March 1, 2012, in the Ontario legislature. When the legislature was prorogued, that movement stalled but the association plans to continue with the act, which will come back again at some point, depending on what’s happening with the government, says Bill Greenhalgh, CEO of HRPA in Toronto.

“We’re very confident that it will move ahead because we did have all three parties supporting it.”

As a full-fledged professional regulatory body, HRPA has also been working hard to keep up with the requirements over the past few years, focusing on areas such as complaints, investigations and discipline, the public register and a good character requirement for new members.

In September, the association also published the HRPA Regulatory Framework that includes: statutes that shape HRPA’s regulatory obligations; the governance and organizational structure required to carry out regulatory functions; and policies, processes and procedures that define HRPA’s regulatory activities.

It’s meant to be used as a reference document, says Greenhalgh.

“It’s very clear in terms of the principles and the themes and if you need guidance in terms of regulation and what we’re doing in terms of our disciplinary processes, our appeals processes — it’s all incorporated in there. So it’s helpful for members if they want to register a complaint or launch an appeal. It’s also very helpful for our committees in terms of how they deal with that sort of stuff.”

The association is also developing a gold standard around regulation that other associations can use and provide input to, he says.

“It’ll be helpful for other HR associations in Canada because, other than Quebec, none are covered by legislation. So it’ll help them in terms of a checklist of what they’d like to do.”

Research study well-received

The research study Canada Works 2025 by HRPA and Deloitte launched early in 2012 and looked at how Canada is going to evolve its economy and organizations over the next 12 years — and the implications for HR.

The study received huge publicity across the country, says Greenhalgh.

“That whole document was a kind of broad look at the economy in general and some of the implications and what the differences would be between where we’re going today and where we need to be,” he says.

“We’re now focusing in on some of the specifics. We want to make sure we look at the ones that we think we can influence and impact our future as a country and as a province, and those are immigration, education and prosperity.”

On the professional development side, a new mentorship program was introduced by HRPA in 2012 and there are now about 1,000 people involved, says Greenhalgh.

“That’s incredibly valuable, not just for the people being mentored but also for the mentors themselves.”

A new internship program has also been popular, focusing on HR graduates keen to enter the profession, he says, adding there are about 50 internships through organizations such as Bell, Scotiabank and Loblaws.

Career GPS was another program that launched in 2012 and it now has more than 2,000 members, says Greenhalgh. This lets members complete a position profile and skill set and then they can decide what role they would like to have in the future. The program provides guidance on what skills, knowledge and competencies are needed to reach their goal.

There are also professional development programs that are more workshop-focused, he says. For example, if a person has a real challenge with employee engagement, she can join about 20 people to discuss that issue and then leave the session with a semi-customized project program.

“Our members right now are often interested in coming with a problem and walking away with a solution,” says Greenhalgh.

And looking ahead, HRPA is launching live broadcasting professional development sessions for members. Using its on-site studio and classrooms, the sessions will be available to people across the province who aren’t able to come to Toronto and it should start running around April or May, he says.


CRHA looking to increase visibility, strengthen HR profession in 2013

Florent Francoeur
President, CRHA

Visibility, strong membership and strengthening the HR profession in Quebec are the 2013 goals of the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA), says president Florent Francoeur.

The association, which will mark its 50th anniversary this year, plans to increase visibility with a new HR week, to take place April 29 to May 3. This will recognize the people who are practising HR, says Francoeur.

The organization will also be launching a new ad campaign on CBC television at the end of February that expands on the radio ads the organization was running in 2012, he says.

With a new provincial government elected in September, 2013 is likely to be a busy year in terms of change in the labour laws, says Francoeur.

The association is usually involved with the government and the changes will mean more communication with lawmakers about HR issues, he says.

“In Quebec, we tend to be very visible at the front level, really involved with the provincial government,” he says.

The association, which has 8,700 members, is looking to continue to build a strong membership with its annual congress.

The congress is working on branding itself as an international French congress, in partnership with an HR association in France. There will be some training in English, but the focus will be on learning HR in French, says Francoeur.

“Overall, we want to have a place where people who speak French can come,” he says.

In 2012, the organization launched a foundation to raise money for scholarships for student members, to encourage more young people to enter a profession that will see a lot of retirement in the coming years, says Francoeur.

“We want to focus on attracting young people so they will at least consider a career in HR and, of course, make sure that when they are in the process, when they are at HR or IR school, they will stay there,” he says. “That is why we want to provide some scholarships to help them.”

The association wants to continue to support HR professionals throughout their career.

It will focus on helping young professionals entering the labour market by starting up a mentoring program in 2013 and planning activities to make sure the move from student to professional is a smooth one.

In terms of strengthening the profession, 2013 marks the second year of CRHA’s continuing education program. In Quebec, the program includes a mandatory 60 hours of professional development training required by law every three years.

The program is still new to members and the organization will be marketing the value of the continuing education program. It will be a lot of work to communicate the requirements to members in the coming years, says Francoeur.

Last year, the association launched a code of ethics. This year it plans to launch two codes of conduct — one on coaching and one detailing best practices for psychological harassment investigations.

Quebec has a law that protects against psychological harassment. Because investigations are normally handled by HR professionals, the association wants to outline how these should be performed.

In 2011, CRHA split from the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA). Since the split, the association has developed its own certification exam and competency model.

“Our exam is not really different, it’s just that we want to be more focused on Quebec laws and things like that,” says Francoeur.

And the group doesn’t have any plans to rejoin the national organization.

“We can deliver the same kind of product and we don’t see, for the moment, the value of rejoining the CCHRA,” he says.


N.B. focuses on professional development

Pierre Simoneau
President, HRANB

Last year, professional development was a big focus for the Human Resources Association of New Brunswick (HRANB).

Its conference, held in November, touched on a variety of topics of particular concern to HR professionals throughout the province and was a great success, says Pierre Simoneau, president of the 1,000-member association, based in Moncton.

“We had excellent speakers and presenters and, bearing in mind the general economy, we had fewer participants than in 2010. But we had planned for that and we had a good turnout, considering.”

Some of the hot topics at the conference included HR management, employee engagement and flexibility in the workplace.

Dealing with the different generations in the workforce was also a talking point at the conference.

“There’s the retiree who is not interested in being fully retired but is interested in coming back to the workforce and being a participant, and it’s how do you bring in that person to develop their experience and knowledge to help the organization,” says Simoneau.

Attraction and retention is a particular concern in New Brunswick, maybe more so than in a lot of other provinces, he says. Many younger workers are going out West to work and companies are trying to find ways to encourage them to come back.

“There are companies that are going to go and recruit in Alberta, and the province was looking at helping some businesses and industries do that,” says Simoneau.

“Everybody is looking at these organizations and are trying to learn from them because there are certain occupations or professions that are hard to find.”

Learning and development events offered

HRANB’s five chapters also hosted a variety of learning and development events in 2012. They have partnerships with law firms across the province, which conducted presentations for members on topics such as labour relations, health and safety, terminations, changes to legislation and jurisprudence.

Last year, the association focused on getting ready to implement the three-year experience assessment required to obtain the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.

“It’s a good move,” says Simoneau. “It’s going to make sure our CHRPs have a very good grounding in HR management, and it’s a more rigorous process than the NPPA (National Professional Practice Exam).”

This year, HRANB is planning on putting a lot of energy into getting its teams set up and trained on the experience assessment, as well as communicating the change to members, he says.

“We need to advise membership of this new process and how it’s going to work because it is going to be very different,” says Simoneau.

“We’ll be going on a province-wide tour to meet people and explain the process and answer their questions.”

For 2013, HRANB is also looking to increase its services to members and offer more professional development opportunities.

The association is also planning on launching a membership survey in 2013 to learn more about what members want from it, says Simoneau.

“We did one two years ago and it will be to build on what we learned and to learn more, and to have a better appreciation of what our membership would like to see.”

The association is also looking to improve its brand throughout the province, and is developing a plan around that, says Simoneau.

“It’s important to represent our members and be able to attract new members as well, and try to be the organization to represent HR professionals in the province — we want to be the organization.”


HRANS has new home base

Cheryl Newcombe
President, HRANS

The Human Resources Association of Nova Scotia (HRANS) has moved into new, bigger digs for 2013. The organization will be expanding its training opportunities as a result of the expanded space in Halifax.

“We introduced a training room,” says president Cheryl Newcombe. “Now we’re going to be able to hold a bunch of training functions.”

That will mean more flexibility on when sessions can be held, she says.

“Which I think is just great, not depending on other people and their schedules.”

The organization is going to shift from dinner meetings with guest speakers into training offerings, such as working lunches and half-day workshops, she says.

“It’s really going to be a step up for us and I think that our members are really going to enjoy that,” says Newcombe. “It’s going to be a better opportunity for all of our members to take part in some more extensive training programs.”

The new sessions will feature a variety of topics. HRANS will not be focusing on any specific area of expertise in its training schedule, she says.

When members were asked what areas they were looking for training in, answers were diverse across the board.

“We’re going to try and provide that,” says Newcombe.

The association is also planning to use the expertise of more senior members to teach those newer to the profession and those who are mid-career as they climb the HR ladder, she says.

“They get more out of those than just bringing in outsiders to chat.”

Since the 1,200-member association is growing, member satisfaction is the most important concern for HRANS, she says.

Governance will also be a focus in 2013.

“We have really been working hard to develop and implement best practices from a governance perspective and we’re going to continue that this year — we’ve really taken some steps ahead in that,” says Newcombe.

The association is also striving to create new initiatives to further facilitate member networking and information-sharing, both online and in-person for the coming year.

“Our members are asking for that and success sharing and best practice sharing,” she says. “With the new training facility, we’re looking to increase the quality and the quantity of our new training offers.”

HRANS is also busy preparing for its annual conference in June. The 2012 conference sold out before registration closed and had almost 400 attendees, speakers, volunteers and exhibitors, according to the association’s website.

The 2013 conference will feature keynote speakers Marshall Goldsmith, a Harvard Business Review top business thinker, and J.P. Pawliw-Fry, an author and columnist.

“We’re excited about that,” says Newcombe.


HRPNL sees economic boom, more diverse needs

Heather Joyce
President, HRPNL

The economic boom in Newfoundland and Labrador is presenting new opportunities for the province’s HR association, says Heather Joyce, president of the Human Resources Professionals of Newfoundland and Labrador (HRPNL).

“One of the great things we’ve noticed in the last number of years here is that there’s such an increase in demand for HR professionals,” says Joyce. “I mean it’s really expanded tremendously here in the province.”

With more members come different demands.

“The level of those HR professionals that are coming into the province with the larger organizations that are establishing here and what they expect from the association might be a little different because of what they’ve experienced in Alberta, Ontario,” she says.

As a result, the St. John’s, N.L.-based organization is working to accommodate a membership with diverse needs.

In 2013, the association is focused on addressing some of the more non-traditional items in its training offerings, including discussions on getting HR to the C-suite level and having HR at the management table, says Joyce.

The association will still focus on more traditional training offerings, but really wants to bring high-level training to the table so members can show the benefits of the HR function to their companies, she says.

Training will still address areas such as talent management, but HRPNL will also tackle areas such as applying lean concepts to organizations.

“A lot of the topics we’re focused on are more broad organizational, but we’re still focused on areas that the human resources function can impact,” says Joyce.

The group will be leveraging partnerships with the Industrial Relations Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., the Canadian Payroll Association and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters to offer members opportunities they wouldn’t be able to get on their own, she says.

“We are a smaller association, we’ve got about 160 members, and geography being what it is, sometimes we don’t have the benefit of access to a lot of the speakers that some of the other jurisdictions would,” says Joyce.

“In partnering with these different groups, we’ve been able to leverage the relationships and bring the higher-calibre, the more widely-exposed speakers that we may have not been able to in the past.”

The association has to keep its more seasoned people up to date on issues and there are more broad topics they want to be exposed to, says Joyce.

“The level that they’re operating at is not just at the transactional level, so what they’re looking for in terms of information and guidance is somewhat different from our more junior HR members getting their feet on the ground with the more transactional HR,” she says. “So we’re trying to offer that variety.”

As the association continues to expand its offerings, it expects membership will be expanding.

“We really feel there’s tremendous opportunity to expand our membership in the province,” says Joyce.

One of the challenges HRPNL faces while expanding membership is geography because people are so widely dispersed across Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It’s not a 30-minute drive to come to a session, it’s oftentimes a couple of hours, so we’re looking to leverage technology and go towards smaller sub-groups throughout the province,” she says.

There might be just a few HR professionals in a particular area of the province.

“For them to get to attract a high-level guest speaker to talk to 10 to 15 people, that would be difficult,” says Joyce.

To engage HR professionals outside the metropolitan area, the association will be using tools such as webinars and live streaming.

“So that we don’t just deliver the information to the people who are able to get to it in St. John’s, we’re also focused right across the island,” she says.

The association will also be looking to leverage partnerships with other provincial HR associations. Unlike larger associations in other provinces, HRPNL only has a part-time staff person, so connecting with others is essential.

“Other member organizations have been fantastic with lending their knowledge, lending their expertise to us to ensure that we’re able to deliver the quality that we want to deliver to our membership. For us this year, the big thing is leveraging those relationships,” says Joyce.


CSTD boosts certification numbers

Valerie Hickey
President, CSTD

The Toronto-based Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) helps learning professionals help their organizations to learn faster, learn better and be more competitive, says president Valerie Hickey.

“Our role is to bring that vital learning to organizations so that we’re competitive within our own country and globally.”

To do this, the 2,700-member association made a concerted effort in 2012 to increase the number of members who are certified.

Learning professionals can become either a Certified Training Practitioner (CTP) or Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP).

“(Certification) really shows these are the standards of learning, and if I’m a learning professional and I have these designations and these certifications, then I’m more employable than those who don’t,” says Hickey.

More than one-quarter (28 per cent) of members have a certification, along with 55 per cent of the chapter volunteers and 90 per cent of the board, she says.

CSTD has also been focusing on helping employers bring learning and development standards into their workplaces through its full set of competencies. Organizations such as the Bank of Montreal, Suncor, Cenovus, KPMG, CSA Group and Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto have adopted the competencies, says Hickey.

“These competencies are helpful to them because it helps them recruit learning professionals to standard, to develop them, to help assess them and to move them along in their careers.”

CSTD provides the minimum competencies a professional should have upon being hired, as well as those that should be achieved throughout his career, which can be used to guide annual performance appraisals.

“You could talk about how this particular competency is an area of strength for you or ‘Let’s work this year on this area,’” says Hickey. “It makes it easier for large organizations who have a learning team to really excel and meet and exceed their standards.”

Professional development has also been a focus of the organization, with 80 learning-related events held in 2012.

“We want them to stay current and to feel like they’re part of a community of learning professionals,” says Hickey.

While CSTD has been offering webinars for a few years, monthly member-only webinars were launched in 2012 and they have been very popular, with a lot of uptake, she says.

“It’s very flexible for people, they can take this hour at noon and attend a learning event,” says Hickey.

“It’s very convenient for them but it’s a focused event and they’re going to learn about evaluation or instructional design or facilitation — how to handle difficult people in the classroom.”

The association’s website had a facelift last year and is now more collaborative. It includes forums for members where they can get to know each other and post questions and responses.

“There’s the potential for people to collaborate and discuss successes and challenges,” says Hickey. “The last question was ‘How did you get here? What’s your career path that led you to where you are today?’ and it’s been interesting seeing that.”

While learning is becoming more and more virtual, face-to-face opportunities are still important for CSTD’s members. To facilitate this, CSTD has two big events each year — a spring symposium and the annual conference in November, which saw strong numbers in 2012, says Hickey. Both events will continue to be a focus in 2013.

“It’s a different kind of discussion when you’re face-to- face — it’s more precious, it’s extensive, you’re there, you’re feeling energetic and you make connections different than you would in your day to day,” says Hickey. “It’s a chance to go deeper.”


Technology association to host events out West

Richard Rousseau
President, HRMSP

The HRMS Professionals Association (HRMSP) will be expanding its HR technology-focused events to Calgary and Vancouver this year.

HRMSP, which is not a professional designation association but an organization professionals can join to find out more about HR technology, has run events in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto for years.

In late 2012, the association expanded to Ottawa. And now it’s moving out West.

Offering events in more cities is likely to mean a boost in membership and exposure for the organization, says Richard Rousseau, president of HRMSP.

This year marks the association’s eighth year of running events for technology-focused HR professionals and, through the years, it has attracted 2,100 participants to its events and activities. The organization has about 100 members.

HR professionals become members of the organization or attend events because they have a mandate to improve technology internally.

The association’s objective is to create awareness among HR professionals on the use of technology in order for them to better achieve their business objectives, he says.

For HR professionals, it is not just a question of collecting data through HR or payroll systems, but being able to convey the usefulness of the data to management when they ask about trends, says Rousseau.

HR metrics hot topic

One of the trends that will be addressed in sessions this year is HR metrics software. It is something people are talking about every time the association holds events, says Rousseau.

“They want to know more about what it does, how to achieve it,” he says. “It’s a complex situation but everyone is asking about it.”

Finding trends in data and ideas on how to apply those trends are also goals of HRMSP, he says. Members want to know what vendors are on the market and what tools they offer, says Rousseau.

“The other objective is to provide technology producers the opportunity to promote their solution on the market.”

The association meets these goals by holding networking activities and other opportunities to exchange ideas. In-person networking is essential for HR — social media sites are not a good enough alternative, says Rousseau.

“Going through Facebook or LinkedIn, it’s nice, but when you’re really in front of people, you ask more questions, it becomes more personal,” he says.

“We notice that a lot of people, they talk about their own situation and they’re very open in explaining what they’re using, how they’re using the technology and that’s part of our objective to create some networking opportunities.”

This year will also mark new leadership for HRMSP. The association’s annual general meeting is planned for March, at which time the organization will be getting a new board, says Rousseau.

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