Neil Poutney, president of HRdownloads, spoke with Sarah Dobson, editor of the Canadian HR Reporter group, to discuss the latest HR challenges, newer trends in HR tech and employee survey takeaways, along with explaining how his company can help employers with its products and services, while providing up-to-date, accurate information.
Sarah: [00:00:13] Hi there. I'm Sarah Dobson, editor of the Canadian HR Reporter Group. And joining me today is Neil Poutney, who is president of HRDownloads, which has been named a five star HR software and technology provider for 2022. So welcome.
Neil: [00:00:29] Thanks for having me.
Sarah: [00:00:31] So of course, we want to hear more about the work that your company does to help HR and employers succeed and to begin. Can you talk about some of the more challenging areas that you're seeing for HR these days?
Neil: [00:00:43] Absolutely. So some of the more challenging areas to HR are these days include recruitment, the looming recession, and its impact to HR budgets and staffing and managing and engaging remote or hybrid work forces. With regards to recruitment, we've seen significant turnover in some sectors, and many employers are struggling to find or replace skilled talent. With rising job vacancies and the significant rise in inflation, workers are making increased demands to salaries and benefits to accommodate rising costs. With concerns of a recession looming, some businesses are opting or being forced to operate with reduced staff, which is also placing stress on employees and businesses as a whole. Many leaders have received or are expecting to receive directives to control costs and reduce spending, which will impact HR budgets. And there are concerns of employee layoffs on the horizon. Finally, with so many organizations moving to a remote or hybrid work model, leaders have been forced to rethink how they interact with how they manage and engage their employees. For many leaders, their workplace culture is a strong part of their organizational identity and they're concerned about it eroding and having only limited interactions or having these be exclusively electronic interactions with their staff.
Sarah: [00:02:02] Great. Yep. Sounds like some of the trends we're definitely seeing. So can you talk about how your products and services can help with these challenges?
Neil: [00:02:11] Yes. Well, firstly, the central nature of our offering helps our clients during times of fiscal uncertainty or downturns, being that we offer unlimited HR resources for the unlimited number of HR challenges that arise at a fixed cost. So whether it be our clients having unlimited access to our thousands of our documents or assigning an unlimited number of training courses from our library, or even having unlimited phone calls with a dedicated HR advisor, we offer price certainty and flexibility to meet the needs of every HR organization. Hr Drive, which is our HR is offering, is not only the most cost effective HR in Canada as it's included for free with any HRDownloads membership. But in a remote and hybrid world, HR drive empowers leaders and engages their employees. With HR drive, we've created a connected platform where leaders can do everything from onboarding new hires instantly to deploying a professionally designed employee engagement survey in seconds, to saving time on tedious HR tasks like drafting a policy so our clients can instead spend their time on important HR initiatives like improving their workplace, recruiting and retaining top talent, or simply focusing on growing their business. Lastly, no matter what occurs, our HR advisors, a team of experts well versed in virtually all HR challenges and experience across all industries, are ready to take our clients calls in real time for step by step advice and practical support and answers. It's for these reasons that we've traditionally had a higher level of engagement with our clients during challenging times, whether it be previous recessions or downturns or the pandemic itself, as we work with them as a strategic partner through it.
Sarah: [00:04:01] Perfect. Sounds like you've got a lot on the go there. That would work well for for HR So obviously a big player in HR Tech. Can you talk about some of the newer emerging trends in that area?
Neil: [00:04:13] Absolutely. So one of the emerging trends in HR tech is that clients are in fact, adopting new HR technologies at a faster rate than we've ever seen before. Even before the pandemic, many companies were looking to upgrade their older legacy HR applications that lack the ability to integrate with fresher software and move to newer, more secure, cloud based solutions. With the pandemic, more workplaces than ever before are operating with distributed work forces. Couple this with the fact that a recession looms from the economy finally succumbing to the pressure of rising inflation and labor market shortages. And most organizations are motivated right now to automate, to streamline and consolidate their HR operations, as well as just overall find savings in their HR operations.
Sarah: [00:04:58] Okay. So, of course, one of the bigger areas in your business is employee surveys. Can you talk about some of the latest takeaways you're seeing?
Neil: [00:05:06] Absolutely. So again, with the shift to remote and hybrid work and the increased competition to attract and retain skilled talent as an overarching trend, employees are now valuing flexibility, compensation and wellness more than ever before. As organizations work to differentiate themselves to candidates as desirable places to work. Employers need to appeal to younger workers who have different values, such as offering learning and development opportunities. At HRDownloads, we've not been immune to needing to rethink how we interact with our employees and maintain our culture. I can share on a corporate level, HRDownloads has instituted strategic HR initiatives such as providing ten paid wellness days and professional development budgets for every employee. We've introduced performance based pay increases, established national recruiting to help us source the best talent and invested in online engagement activities and in-person corporate events to support our culture.
Sarah: [00:06:02] Very impressive. Some great offerings there. Well, considering all that you do in products and services, can you talk a bit about how you make sure those are accurate and up to date?
Neil: [00:06:12] Yes, well, our content is developed and monitored by our team of in-house compliance experts, researchers and HR professionals. We also work with top tier employment lawyers to ensure that our content and advice is up to date on Canadian case law developments with our army of experts. Our clients could then rely on our accuracy, our news updates and our recommendations. We pride ourselves on being a 100% Canadian business. That is 100% about supporting other Canadian businesses. And through this specialized focus, we can dedicate our technology, our content and expertise to helping business owners and HR professionals from coast to coast thrive through workplace trends, changing legislative requirements and evolving case law.
Sarah: [00:06:57] Great. Well, you've covered a lot already, but overall, to what do you attribute HRDownloads' continued growth as a company?
Neil: [00:07:06] I would attribute HRDownloads' continued growth as a company to our core values and specifically to our commitment to our people and our commitment to constant innovation with regards to our people. We think of our employees as well as our clients as part of an extended family that is reliant upon each other to achieve any kind of success. With regards to our innovation, our product roadmap is a relentless illustration of investments into new product development, as well as continue improvements to our existing products to delight our customers and maintain our best in class standards. And through it all, we maintain a focus to ensure we are designing software that one fits with our clients to solves their problems. And three is better than our competition.
Sarah: [00:07:52] That's great. Well, that's that's lots to take in, but very impressive. So thank you, Neil, for your time today. Sounds like HRDownloads is doing a lot of innovative work as it continues to grow.
Neil: [00:08:04] Thanks for having me today.
Sarah: [00:08:06] And to our viewers, be sure to check back to hrreporter.com for regular videos.