HR database to reward on-the-job skill development

QUEBEC CITY —The Canadian Technology Human Resource Board has created a database where employees can register on-the-job achievements and be recognized for possessing skills that normally require a formal certificate or training program.

The Profile program, which should be launched early next year, will include national occupancy standards in 13 disciplines. These will allow universities, industry and government to evaluate competency gaps and give them a snapshot of their employees’ skill sets.

The CTHRB, which assists IT firms on HR issues, made the announcement at its first national conference this week.

“Employers may not know all the skills their workers have. For example, some employee may have a bookkeeping skill that may be beneficial to a small company,” said CTHRB executive director Robert Cook. “The Profile program will also be an important resource for an individual who wants to find out the qualifications needed to work for JDS Uniphase, as an example.”

Cook said the program could be used as an electronic resume or by universities to find out where a student is in their curriculum. “For example, a student may think they’re at a certain level in a particular program, while their professor may think otherwise by looking at the student’s progress using the Profile program.”

The Profile program will also be designed to help potential employers weed out hundreds of unqualified job applications or assist existing employers evaluate workers for possible job promotions or new job assignments.

The need to upgrade job skills is an ongoing requirement in the high-tech sector, according to Grant Trump, president and CEO of the Canadian Council for Human Resources in the Environment Industry, Calgary. He noted that 82 per cent of organizations in his sector indicated their staff needed to upgrade their skills.

“Professional knowledge is rapidly becoming outdated, but the environmental industry is also undergoing rapidly expansion with 78 per cent of organizations actively recruiting,” said Trump. “As a result, environmental employers are competing with the IT sector for workers.”

The growth of the environmental industry is being spurred by an aging workforce and new products and services. But it is also being hampered by a poorly defined career path and a lack of consistency in education programs.

“This is not about saving the whales, as many people believe,” said Trump. “Our main recruitment issues include how to attract new entry level employees, how to attract mid-career people and how to train for management positions from the tech side.”

Those issues are being addressed by creating a clearer definition of environmental employment and by making environmental careers information packages available at some 16,000 locations across Canada. The industry is also developing national occupational standards for environmental employment and an electronic human resources manual that would include all private sector and university environmental programs.

Ron Wiens, a partner in Ottawa-based Totem Hill Inc., said managers can’t cope with changing technology so they slow decision making down and surround their employees with process.

“But it’s not process that’s important, it’s a company’s cultural environment and the ability to share knowledge. Large companies fail because there is too much command and control and not enough leadership.”

Management often breaks large projects down and believes if each part is successful, the whole project will be successful, said Wiens. But in reality, they have to care about the success of the project as a whole for it to work.

Weins said Canada must focus on increased productivity, more investment in technology and more training for workers. He said the leadership role of managers must include emotional intelligence, relational intelligence and cultural intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to connect with your strengths and weaknesses and build self-esteem and self-worth. Relational intelligence is the ability to connect with other employees which builds trust, while cultural intelligence is the ability to develop shared visions and values and connect people to the meaning of their work.

“Leadership is about changing the picture inside workers,” said Wiens. “Structure tasks and milestones so people feel successful by having minor celebrations throughout a project instead of a major blowout at the end. Help people connect with success by taking pride in their work.”

The CTHRB conference wraps up Wednesday.


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