Tag Archives: human resources

Technology vs. Human Capital

By Adam Gellert, Founder / HR + Recruitment Consultant at Linkus Group

Technology versus Human Capital

Definitions for the term obsolete include: ‘no longer used, as something newer exists’, or ‘out of date.’ How terrifying is it for an employee to be anticipating being no longer needed in a workplace, or expired for the lack of a better word? This is in fact the reality of many workers in today’s society – whether they are members of the manufacturing, hospitality or even business services industry.

Today’s world consists of constant changes in technology. It includes product and service upgrades, replacements, and many versions of the same products that can essentially make a process easier. Can technology be compared to Human Capital? Just as there are employees who have industry expertise, there are employees who can upgrade their knowledge through training and development, leadership programs and cross training in new business areas. Employers can replace other employees who are better suited for the job – all in all to ensure that a business has the best human capital.

The reality is, that technology can do the exact same thing but in a more efficient, fast and less costly manner. This is very common in the manufacturing industry where entire jobs become obsolete as they are replaced with technologies that can produce a higher output than what employees can produce. However, it is also becoming common in the business services sector. Imagine having to analyze a data set of over 1 million documents – it would take many employees hours of work to accomplish this task. A computer program on the other hand has the ability to complete this task in a matter of minutes. Another recent trend is investment in Cloud Computing – where businesses can access information anywhere they go – small businesses will not have to worry about renting offices and actual workspaces. Why wouldn’t businesses want to invest on such technologies? Below are a list of pro’s and con’s of the use of technology in today’s average business.

 Technology vs Human Capital

Benefits of Technology:

How technology can’t replace human capital:

Paperless business – Environmentally friendly businesses

Planning and Management – Integrating new technology is not as easy as it looks – should you purchase a brand new software program as soon as it becomes available? Or should you wait and not jump on the bandwagon and take the risk of the product being obsolete soon.   Technology is fast paced – you snooze you lose, it can also be very costly
Increased productivity – Better production results from efficiency when a new technology is introduced Re-training – New technology does not necessarily mean replacing employees – but it can mean employees may need to be re-trained and educated on how to use the technologies – which brings room for errors, and costs. There is also the importance of meeting the needs of employees through job security, employee activities, etc – something that computers cannot do.
Smaller workforce – Easy to manage, reduces costs Maintenance – What if there is a glitch, system error, or the technology merely breaks down? Yes, you can upgrade a system, but this is a cost. Technology cannot be mentored or coached to become successful as an employee can be
Better communication – introducing up to date technologies allows for fluidity in communication throughout the workforce Costs – As mentioned in almost every point above, technology can be expensive. If it is used to replace employees, businesses will have to ensure that there are no redundancies in processes to avoid unwanted costs.
Stay competitive – being up to date in technologies allows businesses to stay competitive in today’s fast paced industry

Although we live in a technology driven world, there are advantages and disadvantages to the use of technology and maintaining human capital in a business. It is ultimately up to the business to decide if it has the capacity to keep up to date with constantly changing technology, or whether to invest in the good old -fashioned human capital.

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Does Minimum Wage Hikes Equal Higher Unemployment for Canadians?

Before discussing the effects of minimum wage, here’s a basic explanation of what the term actually means. “The basic labour standard that sets the lowest wage rate an employer can pay to employees who are covered by the employment legislation is known as minimum wage. The main purpose to impose minimum wage is to protect non-unionized workers in unskilled jobs today.  In Canada, Employment legislation considers it an offense for any employers to pay covered workers less than minimum wage.”

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Besides protecting Canadian employees from wage discrimination, what does the hike in minimum wages overtime mean for the Canadian employment market?  According to the Canadian Federation of Independent business (CFIB), increasing the minimum wage hurts minimum wage workers “by reducing the businesses’ capacity to hire and retain them. In fact, the CFIB predicts that a 10 per cent increase in the minimum wage would trigger up to 321,000 job losses.”1 This statement does sound daunting for the many small businesses in Ontario, however history of minimum wage hikes shows that this in fact is not true.  Between the period of 2007 and 2010, Ontario has raised its minimum wage 4 times and the unemployment rates have stayed the same, and have even decreased – except for 2009 during the economic crisis.  Other provinces in Canada such as Quebec and Alberta have had similar experiences as well during the hike of minimum wages. 

Moreover, outside of Canada there are examples of how minimum wage hikes can actually increase productivity.  Seattle had victoriously increased their minimum wage to $15, imposing the highest minimum wage in the US.   Following its path, San Francisco is intending on increasing their minimum wage to $15 as well.  What does this mean for its workers? It means workers get paid for the hard work that they put in, and are not feeling as though the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.  This means that for example, fast food establishments that are known for high turnover will have a more stable workforce.  A major effect of raising pay checks for earners at the bottom of the wage scale is that these earners are likely to spend more of their income on local goods and service than higher-income earners. In turn, these households will increase patronage of area businesses, giving a boost to their community’s overall prosperity”2

Research conducted about minimum wage indicates how beneficial a hike in wage would be for workers. For small businesses that have to abide by the minimum wage hikes, keep in mind that this allows for retaining employees who are satisfied with their pay, and also provides a larger pool of skilled candidates looking for work – such as recent graduates.  Although these increases are not large, it is still considered a wage increase for minimum wage workers. Increasing minimum wage does not necessarily lead to higher unemployment rates, but rather it has little or no impact on unemployment – which is always a positive for the Canadian labour market.

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Growth Strategy: Plan Your Hiring Ahead of Time

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by Adam Gellert, Recruitment & HR Consultant / Founder at Linkus Group

Startup companies are no different than mature companies – their success is contingent on finding good talent.  When a startup company is ready to hire, they usually need the new resources on an ASAP basis, but it is critical that they do not compromise on the quality of talent they hire, as the adverse affects of a “bad hire” are amplified in a small business.

Ask any recruiter and they’ll tell you they have a love/hate relationship with employers that call them saying they need help hiring for a position that should have been filled “as of yesterday”.  Of course, it’s exciting for a recruiter to go into their back pocket and pull out that perfect candidate. However, recruiters know that depending on the hiring need, immediate results aren’t always possible. They know that the best candidates aren’t always on the market when you need them so, some good, solid planning can go a long way in a successful search.

Prepare, create a recruitment strategy long term and be mindful and creative of potential hiring needs down the road. 

Have you been in a rush and forced to make decisions based on necessity when hiring? This is very common.  Successful companies know that their greatest employees are what make their company great.

A friend of mine shared a story with me the other day.  He walked into a Starbucks, and observed four of their staff at work. The first one was taking orders at a satisfactory pace, yelling out “double vanilla latte, hold the foam”, another walking around aimlessly and almost confused restocking shelves while paying customers swarmed in. The third just standing in the back washing dishes occasionally at a slow crawl and then, the one that stood out all along, the superstar making four drinks at the same time, while cleaning up after herself and making conversation with the customer’s by name. He thought- “Without her the company would collapse!”

He could tell by observing her in action that she’s a dedicated, hard working, shines under pressure and will be a favourite amongst customers – really the reason you go to a Starbucks and pay ten dollars for a coffee. It’s these scenarios you’ve got to think about during your recruitment strategy planning. Think about how the staff you spend your time and money hiring will fit within your culture really, really well.

Know that any growing business on the verge of stardom is going to need those key players on their team to build on that success the initial team has already worked so hard to create. If you’re on your own right now and hiring, that first team member is all the more critical.

Do the following:

Plan

You’ve got a business plan and set important goals. Now set a recruitment strategy. Get thinking about what roles will you need to fill to get that work done, now and a year from now.

Be methodical

Let’s say you need an Account Manager to handle the business you’ve worked so hard to bring in. What attributes will they need? Is organization more important than customer service skills or industry knowledge?

Be realistic

When you start the hiring process you’ll find its often going to be hard to find someone that checks off all your “must haves”. Set your sights on a few must haves, aim for a few more “nice to haves” and finish up your list with skills that would be a “home run” but not critical.

Execution

Recruiting requires more than one set of eyes and takes a lot of skill to fully plan, execute and hire.

Now that you’ve got a plan, you’re ready to start hiring!

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We’re Live!

-by Kassandra Wenaas, Marketing Coordinator Intern at Linkus Group

After months of having the ‘NEW SITE COMING 2012’ slogan up on our old homepage, we have finally managed to launch the new Linkus Group website. Since our new site has now gone live it feels like a good time to do a quick write-up on this milestone.

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The Recruitment Process… Made Simple

by Adam Gellert, Founder HR Consultant at Linkus Group

If your company is experiencing growth, recruitment and selection can be one of the most exhausting and difficult tasks in moving your business forward.  Yet, as daunting as it is, it’s necessary.

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Helping You Invest in Human Capital

by Kassandra Wenaas, Marketing Coordinator Intern at Linkus Group

In today’s global world, investing in human capital often directly influences an organization’s productivity.  With a continuous rise in secondary education combined with rapid advancements in technology, there’s a growing demand for highly skilled talent to fill industry roles.

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