Was the Winnipeg General Strike a Revolutionary Conspiracy?

WinnipegPhoto1The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was not an attempt to overthrow the government. If one were to ask however if a group of people were conspiring with each other in order to push for a fundamentally new way to organize labour? Was the labour movement determined to form one big union that would tear down the protective walls of capitalism and force business owners to improve relations with those who worked for them? Was the intent of the movement to cause such a disruption to the economy that the government would be forced to listen or perhaps even concede to the demands of the movement? It certainly was, but it failed, initially. The failures however provided the lessons required and the motivation among the population to find other ways of achieving their goals.

Many factors led to the outburst of dissent that crippled the workplaces of Winnipeg. The proceeding era was one through which abysmal working conditions caused illness and at times even death. Wages were not regulated and due to high levels of unemployment the employers were able to take advantage of the market conditions by providing jobs to those who were willing to work for less. Monetary policy had not evolved yet to the point where inflation was controlled which caused a massive influx in the cost of goods throughout the economy. It was a perfect storm of unfavourable conditions that fed the contempt felt by those who started to wonder why it was they were not accumulating wealth like those who were in power. Then, with the success of the Russian Revolution some groups of socialists or left leaning working-class people found themselves inspired by the level of change that Vladimir Lenin had accomplished. For the first time in a very long time, people believed that change was possible. The labour movement organized in to what was known as “One Big Union” and when employers refused to negotiate with the metal and building trades it became the catalyst that launched the crusade for the recognition of the union and worker’s rights to collectively bargain through which higher wages were being insisted upon.

As Winnipeg’s economic mosaic of workers began assembling on mass and in support of each other it soon caught the attention of those in power. Rather than motivating the Government to negotiate, it instead came to the aid of business owners, in order to ensure an already fragile economy was not damaged further through a prolonged demonstration of this magnitude. The level of support throughout the city for the working-class people is portrayed well through the Canadian Museum of History:

“On May 13, the WTLC announced the results: over 11,000 in favour of striking and fewer than 600 opposed. The overwhelming vote for strike action surprised even the most optimistic labour leaders. They expected solid support from railway, foundry, and factory workers, but were greatly surprised by the equally strong support coming from other unions. For example, city police voted 149 to 11 for strike action, fire-fighters 149 to 6, water works employees 44 to 9, postal workers 250 to 19, cooks and waiters 278 to 0, and tailors 155 to 13. With this overwhelming endorsement in hand, the WTLC declared a general strike to begin on May 15, at 11:00 a.m.”

The response from business owners and the government was profound due to concerns that this may be construed as an uprising. In fact, the federal government thought it wise to send some cabinet ministers to assist in controlling the situation and some measures were taken in parliament to broaden the definition of sedition within the Criminal Code and modify legislation that could result in the deportation of immigrants who involve themselves in such unruly behaviour. The climax of the conflict occurred on June 21, 1919 which came to be known as “Bloody Saturday”. The North West Mounted Police (NWMP) were called in to disband those who continued to march through the city in demonstrations. Business owners had also financed “special police” armed with baseball bats and wagon spokes to beat those who were protesting. The federal government, worried over the level of violence that was escalating in the streets of Winnipeg also sent in Canadian soldiers to patrol the streets and roam through the city in vehicles with machine guns mounted on them. Eventually the movement was beaten into submission, the leaders arrested and federal workers were forced back to work through the fear of losing their job. Some workers were provided with an option to return, others were not, and the moral within the labour movement dissipated along with its desire to attempt a forceful negotiation again.

Instead, a new tactic, a political tactic was devised through which change would transpire over time by way of the ballot box where considerable numbers seats and votes were won in favour of the various provincial labour parties. Over time these labour parties have evolved and have changed names. Today we would recognize one such evolution as the New Democratic Party or NDP. Through their persistence in the political arena society has seen the evolution of social services and protective laws that provide and protect the rights of the working class at the expense of others. It is some of these socialist ideas however that have come to define Canada and part of the culture that we have constructed within, as an example, universal healthcare. And while it did take nearly three decades to achieve the goal of union recognition and collective bargaining, eventually it too was done through political and legal means.

It has been debated for years if the Winnipeg General Strike was a revolutionary conspiracy and depending on how one choses to define these terms the debate will likely continue for years. It was however investigated by The Royal Commission which “concluded that the strike was not a criminal conspiracy” and so it will remain simply one of the greatest conflicts to erupt on the streets of Winnipeg to date.

References:

Gonick, CY 2010 January 7, Radical Winnipeg, Canadian Dimension. Retrieved from https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/radical-winnipeg

Labour’s Revolt: Winnipeg General Strike. Canadian Museum of History. Retrieved from https://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/hist/labour/labh22e.shtml

Fighting the good fight: Winnipeg general strike of 1919. Canadian Public Health Association. Retrieved from https://www.cpha.ca/fighting-good-fight-winnipeg-general-strike-1919

 

 

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Target Canada: a moment in Canadian history

Target

Source, The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service: http://tradecommissioner.gc.ca/canadexport/155736.aspx?lang=eng

According to Yahoo Finance on the day that Target Canada announced that it was discontinuing its operations in Canada there was an approximate 14.5 million increase in volume of its share sales and the stock price rose 3.6%. As an investor this news was exciting. The company had invested $4.4 billion in order to attempt its over ambitious expansion in to Canada suffering $2 billion in losses before it decided to concede this northern territory to those who understood it best (Peterson 2015). Unfortunately, it also meant the Canadian economy would suffer a serious blow due to the sudden loss of jobs for 17,600 people (Malcolm and Horovitz, 2015).

Opening 124 stores in one year (Lindsey 2015) is not merely a daunting task but put simply it is an absurd and reckless idea. Without considerable forethought conceived by strategic masterminds such a venture is sure to fail. It is clear that Target’s overly aggressive push to cut away a portion of the market share in the Canadian retail space was doomed right from the start. This “go big or go home” approach left the retail giant at the mercy of a number of aspects that caused their Canadian dreams of grandeur to run astray. The typical approach of opening a few test stores was ignored by Target, this was noted well by Shaw, “That strategy skirted the path most retailers take in making their first international forays: opening a few test stores and tweaking them in response to consumer demand. If there is evidence of a good appetite, the company can open more.” It is clear that an approach that allowed for slower expansion would have allowed the retail behemoth to educate itself from its mistakes and mitigate the risk of those mistakes on a much more manageable level. To aid in this education process other retail giants like Walmart use properly configured ERP systems that span the diverse aspects of their organization collecting and analyzing data. With such information at their disposal through systems that intertwine between the customer experience, the inventory system, the supply chain, finance and workforce planning, proper strategic initiatives are developed, implemented and evaluated in a timely and controlled fashion.

It was not a lack of appetite from the Canadian consumer that led to the collapse of such a grand opportunity, rather it was a lack of planning, a rush to implement without the appropriate systems at full working capacity. Inventory and automated ordering systems left Target lying at the border like a wounded animal desperately trying to claw its way in to this unknown northern expanse of retail possibilities. This is captured by Shaw as well, “Target was using an entirely new set of systems, supply chain infrastructure and third-party logistics providers in Canada – that proved to be the retailer’s Achilles’ heel.” The resulting distribution nightmare was the reason that too often shelves were left bare and customers would leave dismayed and confused. Target would have likely seen a more profitable future had Target invested in a scalable SCM system and configured it appropriately or in similar fashion to that used by other retail establishments such as Walmart. This would have given Target ample data to analyze and ensure their inventory systems and their automated ordering systems worked interdependently with each other with seamless precision. They also would have recognized what items in inventory were not turning over quickly enough. Understanding what remains for too long in your inventory provides the means to determine how to discount the items for more rapid sales. Stale inventory affects the reputation of the brand, especially if the unwanted items are the only items left to adorn the shelving. Such a sight will only convince customers that they should not return. With such a tool at Target’s disposal and if Target launched their stores in a manner by which they could control the integration of each new store through controlled environments, it is possible Target may have had a fighting chance.

Target’s sloppy expansion into the great white north and its chaotic logistics were not its only failures, it also failed to present itself where a growing number of Canadians make their shopping decisions; online (Sorensen 2015). Instead of canvassing for new opportunities in a growing online market, for whatever reason, Target decided to purchase the leaseholds of the dismally performing Zellers stores. In my opinion the less than optimal locations of these Zellers stores played some significance to the demise of Zellers and HBC was lucky to find “some poor sucker” willing to take them off their balance sheet. The mixture of poor locations along with expensive brick and mortar distribution immediately diluted the potential for Target’s success. A more appropriate alternative would have been to invest in a CRM that could integrate online customer experiences and track customer preferences. This likely would have resulted in better decisions regarding the prices the market was willing to bare and shopping habits of those interested in Target’s wares. With this information I believe that Target would have opened fewer outlets in order to provide the shopping experience at the price that customers were expecting (Lindsey 2015).  Instead however Target will forever be known now as expressed in Supply Chain 24/7, “History will show this as being one of the greatest supply chain disasters in Canadian history.” (Wulfraat 2015).

 

References:

Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved March 12, 2018, from https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/TGT/history?period1=1388556000&period2=1422684000&interval=1d&filter=history&frequency=1d

Peterson, H. (2015). 5 reasons Target failed in Canada. Business Insider. Retrieved March 12, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/why-target-canada-failed-2015-1

Malcolm, H., & Horovitz, B. (2015, January 15). Target to shutter all stores in Canada. USA Today. Retrieved March 12, 2018, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/01/15/target-canada-retailing-liquidation/21798843/

Wulfraat, M. (2015, January 17). Supply chain miseries doom Target in Canada. Supply Chain 24/7. Retrieved March 12, 2018, from http://www.supplychain247.com/article/supply_chain_miseries_doom_target_in_canada

Lindsey, K. (2015, January 21). Why Target missed the bullseye in Canada. Retail Dive. Retrieved March 12, 2018, from https://www.retaildive.com/news/why-target-missed-the-bullseye-in-canada/354508/

Shaw, H. (2015, January 15). Target Corp’s spectacular Canada flop: A gold standard case study for what retailers shouldn’t do. Financial Post. Retrieved March 12, 2018, from http://business.financialpost.com/news/retail-marketing/target-corps-spectacular-canada-flop-a-gold-standard-case-study-for-what-retailers-shouldnt-do

Sorensen, C. (2015, January 15). Why Target missed its mark so badly. Maclean’s. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from http://www.macleans.ca/economy/business/why-target-missed-its-mark-so-badly/

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Inspired By: “Big Data: The Winning Formula In Sports” by Bernard Marr

Reading the article, “Big Data: The Winning Formula In Sports” by Bernard Marr reminded me of my childhood and the countless hours I spent watching my father in the gym. He was a professional bodybuilder, and I recall that even in the 1980s data was calculated for the purpose of obtaining peak performance. As mentioned in the article, calorie intake is a particular information stream that professional athletes pay attention to. This is their fuel, it is what allows them the energy they need to train and perform, and while this relevant information contributes to their success it is also closely monitored and controlled to ensure excess weight doesn’t hamper their performance. My father would track his calories using the labels on the food he ate along with a pencil and journal, today online data systems allow people to track their calorie intake using timely and simple information through a few taps on an app available on a smartphone. These apps analyze a person’s calorie intake almost instantly.

Training time was an intense period for everyone in the household as my father tracked every repetition and set of a weight lifted or exercise performed. He would monitor his heart rate by counting his pulse using his index and middle finger to ensure he was training at an appropriate intensity. Today however, as explained in the article training equipment has become not just more sophisticated but a “standard piece of the kit for every player” (Marr 2015). Using the complete information available a diagnostic breakdown can occur real time using wearable technology such as heart monitors and athletes obtain reliable and timely information that can help them understand what their peek performance is, and how long it can be maintained. The ability to ensure peek training levels most certainly contributes to the success of athletes today.

My father’s movements were tracked by someone choreographing his routine poses for the stage through the use of a video camera and a VHS player which could be analyzed afterwards once you found a television to connect the equipment to. Technology today however not only provides us with more accessible information but also more flexible information such as in the example where 8 cameras installed in a stadium give users the ability to, “monitor 12,000 soccer matches around the world” (Marr 2015). This system allows the analysis of players movements and interactions with the ball. It provides insights regarding team and player dynamics by “tracking 10 data points per second for every player” (Marr 2015). Computers then take this digital video footage and filter the information so an analyst can manually code the synergy that players have with the ball. The level of analysis undergone though this process, while perhaps considered by some as intensive produces accurate information that can be used to enhance player performance and team strategy.

While large cable machines used for weightlifting certainly resembled the play structures you typically found in the playground for children through the 1980s, it was made very clear to me the countless ways I could injure myself if not careful. The levels of injury that occur is another area where improvements have been made through the use of wearable technology according to (Marr 2015). Tracking data such as the intensity of the activities being performed by athletes and the impact of collisions reliable information has been collected and analyzed that assist in reducing injuries. Understanding the performance levels where athletes are fatigued will allow teams to schedule rotations of the players that minimize the effects of or injuries caused by poor decisions while fatigued.

Examining archived or historical information produces further insights into longitudinal patterns so long as this is accessible information.  This provides higher levels of validity to conclusions drawn from other types of information so long as that which was documented in the past is also considered reliable information.

The benefits of evidence-based decisions were certainly demonstrated by Marr in this well-crafted article. Illustrating that the use of various forms of information such as: calorie intake, training levels, interaction counts, injury levels and historical can prove beneficial to the entertainment and sports industry. The manner in which this information is collected today strengthens characteristics of the information with regards to accessibility, accuracy, completeness, flexibility, relevancy, reliability, and timeliness of its collection, storage and analysis.

 

References:

Marr, B., (2015). Big Data: The Winning Formula In Sports. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/03/25/big-data-the-winning-formula-in-sports/#2e03da8a34de

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2017 – Hope and Motivation

When you feel like you are going in circles, sometimes it isn’t that bad.

2017 was indeed a year of hope and renewal, physically, emotionally and mentally for me and carried with it some learning moments as I ventured into new projects.

I must start this year by acknowledging the wonderful team of people I have come to cherish working with. I work for a leader whose profound wisdom provides guidance, yet she still provides acknowledgement and gratitude during moments of humbleness expressing the individual value I bring to the team. This in itself is a refreshing experience. My coworkers and I have come together as a team where our strengths compliment each other so incredibly well that I look forward to each experience we share. These experiences continue to drive us forward towards meeting our goals. Without this fantastic group of people, it would have been difficult to successfully overcome the many challenges we faced in our changing work environment. To those of you that I work with each day, know that I appreciate you and the many efforts you provide every day. I can not express to you how much I appreciate the welcoming environment and leadership you provide to me and with me on an ongoing basis.

Just as welcoming and helpful was the staff that assisted me at the University of Manitoba as I tried my hands as an instructor. I felt this was a rewarding and positive experience, and look forward to my next opportunity to engage with students again.

I have also been attending classes through the University of Winnipeg. I have been taking 3 courses per term in order to enhance my knowledge surrounding topics of interest. While doing so, I have had the pleasure of meeting an array of wonderful people with whom I have shared some fantastic conversations. I was also surprised and honoured this past year to receive an invitation to join the Golden Key International Honour Society through the local UofW chapter. In order to ensure I am able to balance my time, I take one class in person and the others are taken online. I must commend the instructors who provide the online lectures, they are very well done and responsive to the inquiries made by students outside the class environment. The one-hour lectures provided over the internet have also been perfect for me to watch while I run in the mornings on the treadmill at home.

My health was a challenge that I had to face near the end of 2016. I had lost all sense of balance and had allowed myself to reach a weight of nearly 300 pounds. I am happy to inform you that I have lost 38 pounds so far through my quest to re-balance my life. A healthier diet, some exercise, but most of all less stress and sleeping well enough so that I now have enough energy to get me through my day. These continue to propel me towards my goals in a healthy way. One of the moments that provided clarity regarding my progress in overcoming the unhealthy mess I left behind was when my four-year-old daughter innocently said with a smile and a look of surprise in those big brown eyes, “Dad, your tummy is getting smaller!” “Good”, I said, “it is important to take care of your health and Dad is working hard to be healthier.” With that in mind I am glad to know that this experience is providing an opportunity to role model healthy behaviours for my children.

My children continue to give me reason to be proud of each of them. Our oldest is maturing into a wonderful young woman even while occasionally presenting the challenges of being a teen in today’s world. Our most recent adventures together have consisted of her driving through the streets of Winnipeg while I watch and guide her. Our six-year-old is doing well in school, piano, swimming, and dance. Just prior to writing this, we sat together so I could help her read a Star Wars story book. Our four-year-old has progressively demonstrated her passion for play and is also doing well in school, dance and looking forward to skating this upcoming year with her sister. This afternoon she cuddled up beside me after placing a number of stuffed toys around me while I was reading a book for one of my classes. My son at only one and a half years amazes me each day as he develops his motor skills and speech. Just recently he started singing “Paw Patrol” over and over again, apparently, he has become a fan of this show. I can’t express how lucky I feel that I am able to enjoy so many amazing moments with all of our children and watch them develop in to wonderful people. One of our favorite moments to share is of course in our kitchen as we bake all sorts of wonderful things together. One day, my children will be master cinnamon roll makers.

My wife and I have also been working hard to meet some goals. If there is one person I try my hardest to ensure is always a priority in my life, it is her. In the time we have been together we have been through many challenges, but we always come out better for it in the end. Be it through our family, our business interests, our educational goals or those moments we share on our dates to Costco (sometimes you have to take what you can get), I will always strive with the greatest intent to strengthen our relationship so we can enjoy our lives together.

My final thoughts about 2017 are this:

2017 was a time of renewed hope through which the motivation was created to see me through the many challenges that I faced. By embracing change and believing that “better” was “achievable” I created a self-fulfilling prophecy that continues to build momentum into 2018.

2018, even with the many changes and choices I know you are going to bring, I welcome you. I know that no matter what we face, we will always come out better for it in the end.

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Embrace Diversity, Let Go of Your Anger

Victoria 2017Recent events have given me the opportunity to remember just how much I cherish and value diversity in our society. I am astonished that in 2017 we find ourselves having to remind others, including those who are supposed to be our role models that regardless of our differences in this world, it is our commonalities that bring us together. It is our compassion, which has been described as unconditional love that can allow us to see through the veil of hate clouding the minds of those who are unable to let go of the pain they chose to carry within. I have asked myself recently, “how is it that people in 2017 can come to feel so passionately about something that is clearly not in the best interest of our communities?” “What hurt are these people clinging to that is placing a mask over their eyes causing them to be blind to the amazing achievements we as human beings create when we work together towards a common goal?”

Then it occurred to me, it is because some people are clinging to a story that they truly believe is the truth. Something has likely occurred in their lives to present them with this twisted point of view and so, they have become lost. In my lifetime, I have also realized that even when people become misguided and have lost their direction, more often than not there is still hope. Sometimes, the ability to change the social framing of events so that others might be willing to listen can happen in just a single conversation. In other cases, it can take years of dedicated work to shift the balance and give opportunity for alternative perspectives to be understood. Clearly, there is much work we still have to do as a society to ensure that the perceptions we create bring joy and inspire others to pursue a path that perpetuates a sustainable, healthy and loving society for all. But I have hope that it can be achieved.

To do this, we have to break down the barriers that prevent us from understanding each other. We need to let go of the painful past that we burden ourselves with and we need to forgive those who have wronged us. We should learn from our past rather than allowing the wicked to perpetuate the cycle of abuse that breeds discontent. We need to be critical of what we have been taught, and ask ourselves the following more often, “How does this perspective strengthen our society?” and let me be clear that when I use the word “society” I do not mean some form of fraternity, cult or faction of people. I define our society as a community of human beings that inhabit the Earth. “What have we done to inspire love rather than hate?” and when I say love I speak of the general sense of caring that is appreciated by all.  “How have we behaved today to bring hope to others where perhaps it was beginning to fade?” because hope is what can motivate others to achieve greatness. “In what fashion have we demonstrated love for ourselves and love for the communities that we serve?” because the easiest way to inspire others is to act as a role model that they aspire to imitate. And the last question we should ask ourselves more often is “In what way have we ensured that seven generations from today we will be remembered as someone who cared about a sustainable future for everyone?” because our world is a fragile giant that is slowly withering away, and we as a human race won’t survive without it.

If you are angry, let it go before it breeds hate and causes the suffering of those around you and from within. Then be the change that you want to inspire in others, because if nobody starts, then nothing will change.

Do you value diversity in our world?

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Balance and Sustainability

World in balanceRecently I’ve given pause to consider the notion of balance and sustainability which led me to consider our future; all of us. I thought I would share with you some thoughts.

If you consider the rate at which technologies change and the world conforms to these changes, you must have hope. We as a people who have hope for a better world already have the motivation that we need to act so that we can make this a reality.

I envision like most other things on earth a lifecycle will take place if not by our choice, then perhaps through the natural consequences of the choices we make. Eventually the world will succumb to the need to behave in a more sustainable manner, it will require people to learn to see past our differences and focus on the commonalities we share. Through history people have shown that when humans act in the interest of a common goal, that remarkable feats can be achieved.

I believe our needs will be focused on renewable resources rather than the finite resources we currently use. I believe growing food in one’s own home will become more popular and perhaps vital to sustain our food supply in a sustainable fashion. Or perhaps there is potential in the market for indoor, climate controlled agri-solutions in order to amplify the food supply and reduce the amount of chemicals that are required to deter pests and unwanted weeds. I believe people will respect the limited natural resources we have left and eliminate unhealthy habits that contribute to the demise of our planet and bodies such as buying bottled water. We as a people will end such unhealthy habits and purify that which nature has already provided for us.

I believe transportation will utilize more sustainable means of construction and the fuel will be some form of electrical power. I believe we will recognize value in sustainable development of walk-able neighborhoods so we can reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the amount of individual transportation that would be required. The development of such sustainable models of living would improve our use of existing infrastructure and improve the social interactions that exist within our communities. The possibilities of such a sustainable way of living are at our doorsteps, we have but to open the door and embrace the changes that are needed to implement them.

I’m not suggesting we all become bicycle riding, tree hugging, organic vegans who live in communes. What I am suggesting is that we all in our own individual ways decide to take one action to promote a better way of living. For instance, I’ve chosen to no longer support the purchase of bottled water. Studies have shown it is less healthy than tap water, it pollutes our earth through the creation of the plastic bottle it is packaged within and it removes vital fresh water resources from our rivers, lakes and underground wells that can no longer be used as nature intended them. I live and work in an area that has clean drinking water available, so the need to purchase what is already available at no additional cost simply does not make sense to me. My hope is that I am not alone in this endeavor and through this; I can hope that 7 generations down the road clean water will be available for future generations to come.

Let’s recognize that sometimes the consequences of our actions today may not be realized until years to come, but it is our choice as individuals to decide how we wish others to remember what actions we take and why we take them. I believe people will reclaim the power to make the world a better place by recognizing it is the everyday people like you and me whose actions guide the decisions that get us there. I have hope that a better future is possible when we as a people decide to no longer support the destructive systems which will lead to our demise.

Let us recognize that words will not lead us forward, action is needed and it is only through our actions that we will be judged by those who live through the legacy we leave behind. So I ask you, what have you done to promote balance and sustainability in today’s world so you can be remembered 7 generations from now as someone who made a difference? What have you done today to give others hope and inspire them to build a sustainable and healthy future?

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Recruitment: Going the Distance

IMG_20160904_180957.jpgWhether you are new to recruiting or perhaps you have been recruiting for the last 15 years you will have to agree that recruitment is different today than it has been in the past. Today we have such a unique market in comparison to any in history.

Today’s work environment has four generations of workers all working together with a fifth generation on the way. We have a global economy that affects us even if we are a simple local business that doesn’t venture out of our urban centers. With globalization we have an increasing competitive environment for jobs and talent. We have the ability to communicate with the world in ways we never would have considered in the past. Today’s recruiter must extend themselves beyond what is considered traditional and breathe innovation if they are to be successful.

When you are the recruiter who has been charged with hiring for locations considered some of the more remote places on Earth there are many challenges that you are required to meet. This requires you to wear many “hats” in order to succeed in hiring the right person not just for a job, but for a community.

Increasingly it is shared with us that there is a growing shortage of talent in many industries. In fields such as medicine, nursing, pharmacy, education or even retail it can be difficult to fill these positions in a cost effective manner. Finding people who are willing to modify their lifestyle to meet the needs of a remote community can diminish the number of applicants quickly.

Some places exist in harsh climates such as the arctic. When traveling above the tree line you are faced with an environment sometimes described as a frozen desert. It can be – 50 °C in the winter with snow storms that can bring your visibility to zero. The other extreme could be when you are tasked with finding candidates to work out in a tropical jungle village tucked in an area only accessible via a hiking path. In secluded areas such as this it is often difficult to obtain supplies and at times there may be limited communication via phone or internet. Such lifestyles choices are not for everybody. Such examples are often in communities that are small and a lack local resources with the appropriate skills to hire from. A challenge that is difficult for any recruiter to overcome.

A lack of infrastructure and housing can also be a challenge when hiring in remote locations. Some communities in the world are only accessible via plane, boat or by foot. In such cases, you may have to consider if the applicant has a genuine fear of flying. If the only way to enter the job location is by plane, it is unlikely the applicant would be comfortable accepting the role.

What if the applicant has a serious medical condition and there is no hospital in the community? What if the applicant has teen aged children but there is no high school in the community? These are all circumstances the recruiter needs to make the applicant aware of before a decision can be made. Failing to inform an applicant about such things could result in the applicant choosing to accept a role only to find later that they aren’t able to live in the community or inadvertently have put their safety at risk.

If an applicant does accept a role, sometimes the challenge is finding a place for the employee to live. Housing in remote communities can be scarce at times. Or perhaps the housing that is available isn’t up to the same standards the applicant is accustomed to so they refuse until more suitable housing can be found or created. In some organizations its the recruiter’s role to manage these types of challenges. Will the company have to rent, lease, buy or build a place for its staff to live?

Not being able to find local talent can be incredibly challenging. Finding someone who was raised in an environment where things such as roads are taken for granted then asking this candidate to physically seclude themselves from the world outside is a hard thing to ask of someone. From the candidate’s perspective accepting such an endeavor is not a simple either. The person’s adaptability to a variety of circumstances whether emotional, physical or social has to be strong.

Living in these remote environments requires new recruits to make incredible lifestyle choices. Customs in the local communities may prohibit them from socially behaving in a manner they are accustomed to. In my experience I have learned some communities restrict drinking alcohol which we would consider normal social behaviour in Winnipeg.

At times communities restrict outside professionals who come to service the community from developing romantic relationships with anyone in the entire community. You can imagine for young professionals wanting to help and make a difference in a community how challenging that can be. They are restricted to live without the possibility of companionship sometimes for years.

One way organizations have tried to manage the potential pitfalls is to seek couples or groups who would like to work in these communities together. Unfortunately it is expensive to relocate one person to a community for a role, but the cost of relocating a whole family or group of people can be much more.

This is why people who recruit for positions in remote communities often end up in a long and tedious recruitment process. This becomes a process where “fit” and “emotional intelligence” is considered to rank above having the right education and experience. Of course there are some cases where this isn’t an option. You can’t hire a person who wants to take a crack at being a doctor who was not educated or licensed to do so.

Whether an applicant is choosing a role in a remote location for the money, for the experience or for the adventure it is vital to be as transparent as possible. Without this transparency the organization could spend a lot of money in recruitment, training and relocation costs without a return on the investment.

It’s vital for recruiters to be transparent regarding the role, the benefits, the community and any challenges associated to them. The applicant in turn should be questioned and should be honest about their expectations, their concerns and any challenges they may require assistance with in order to make sure their personal safety and well being are considered appropriately.

Do you have other suggestions that can assist people in recruitment or would like to share your thoughts regarding what I’ve written, then please leave a comment.

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