The Not-So-Obvious Brand Ambassador

By: Kathryn Sebesten

I’ve been hiring rock star employees for over six years now and I have come to realize that employers tend to underestimate the power of a candidate. Employers are so focused on the end result that they let everything else fall by the wayside. They forget about all that happens during their search for that ideal candidate. Applicants can be the company’s own personal critics. Now, whether a review is positive or negative, is up to the hiring manager.

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Life Lessons From My Father

By: Saira Gangji

Throughout my father’s life, he struggled.  He worked incredibly hard, had an unbreakable work ethic, faced some difficult demons, but he persevered – all the time with a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a cheeky grin on his face.

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Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

By: Carrie Beckett

Recently, a client called me to let me know that their employee had brought marijuana into the workplace and didn’t know what to do. The client was worried, as he had heard about the new ‘rules’ around Medical Marijuana and now felt that he couldn’t just fire the employee for bringing the drugs into the workplace.

So, the big question is – how does an employer deal with the potential of Medical Marijuana in the workplace? Employees with a prescription should be treated like any other employee with prescription medication that could affect their ability to carry out their employment duties. For medical purposes, marijuana is – and has been since 2001 – legal in Canada. Marijuana without a prescription, however, remains illegal, pursuant to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The legal status of marijuana is the same across all of Canada.

Canadian Human Rights legislation requires that a ‘disabled employee’ be accommodated. What does this accommodation mean for an employer, in terms of medical marijuana?

  • A prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to be impaired at work;
  • A prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to damage their own safety or safety of others;
  • A prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to smoke in the workplace. Anti-smoking laws apply to smoking marijuana in the same way they do to regular cigarettes;
  • A prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to unexcused absences, late arrivals or misbehavior;
  • The employer is, however, required to attempt to find suitable, accommodated work for the employee, as would be required for any other disabled employee with a medical drug prescription.

As with other disabilities, an employer has the right to request documentation that is reasonably required in order to assess the potential need for accommodation and the options that might be available. Employers can ask for information regarding the impact upon the employee’s ability to carry out her job-related functions, but they cannot ask for diagnosis other private information.

This may be a good time and reminder for employers to review their handbooks (which we recommend to do at least once a year) particularly those involving drug and alcohol use. These policies should be drafted broadly enough to encompass potentially unsafe marijuana impairment, so consider using terms like “impairment” and “fit for duty”. Give Elevated HR a call if you would like some feedback on your current policy as well as if you run into a situation like described above!

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About Last Night…

By: Abby Tiangco

Being in HR, the Elevated team is no stranger to recruitment. We believe in finding the best fit for both the candidate and our client as opposed to simply filling a role, while using creative strategies to attract potential hires. In fact, we like to think of ourselves as “matchmakers”. But what happens when that translates outside of the professional setting?

Well, I’ll tell you.

For the last while our Leading Lady Michelle has been determined to find me a match as I happen to be the only single team member. I would be a fool to think she would take a traditional approach in doing so. To paint the picture, on my third work anniversary she posted a picture of me on social media. Included was a little blurb congratulating me on the milestone, a cute little tribute on how much I’m valued as a team member, and then….a call to action for all the single fellas out there.

And then I received this message a couple of nights ago:


Was I surprised? Not at all. I was definitely intrigued though. I mean, I had just received a collage of hot men with Michelle offering a PAID night out! So I decided to look into the details a little further. Turns out the Leading Lady was enticing me to attend the Sixth Annual Bachelor Auction – an amazing charity fundraiser in support of Survive & Thrive Cancer programs. Plus this was a chance to snag a date with a handsome bachelor! I’d be a COMPLETE fool to turn this down!

Not only did Michelle and I attend last night, but we absolutely enjoyed every minute of it. Amber Craig of Bamboo Creative Inc. did such an incredible job of organizing the event and the energy among everyone there was so positive. I am extremely grateful to Michelle for suggesting we go (and being my financial sponsor)! I too have benefited from this fundraiser as I have landed a hot date with one of Calgary’s most eligible bachelors (Erik Allen)! Did I mention we placed the highest bid as well? Because, like I said, he’s HOT! Of course I’m sure he has a great personality too…

Needless to say, I’m totally looking forward to spending some QT with this cutie. Stay tuned for updates on my date!

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The Art of Networking

By Kathryn Sebesten

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Vancouver Board of Trade Thrive Series titled “The 5 Step Action Plan to Improving Your Business”. The keynote speaker was Hussein Hallak, an international serial entrepreneur who currently holds the title of General Manager of the Launch Academy.  While there were many great take aways, what stuck with me most was how we should be introducing ourselves within a networking forum and what we hope to gain from our new connections.

Introductions…are always way more difficult than I expect. I typically default to my name and title…you know, basic. Yes, my name is important, so I’ll probably stick with that…but titles? Does it really matter what my title is? “Hi, my name is Kathryn Sebesten and I’m a Client and Talent Acquisition Advisor.” If I heard that I would think… So what? What good am I doing by reducing myself to just a title? I’m so much more than that. Fortunately for me, just moments after Hussein spoke, I was able to change my introduction in front of a large group.  When the floor came to me, I said, “Hi my name is Kathryn and I work for Elevated HR Solutions. We partner with small to medium sized businesses that help them identify and conquer their HR barriers to ensure that they have a solid foundation to achieve their future aspirations. Also, we truly believe that HR doesn’t have to suck! We’ll show you how!” At that moment I saw at least 4 out of the 7 individuals eyes light up, which led to 3 separate offline conversations. I couldn’t believe the success rate that I received!

The second key takeaway for me had to do with my approach to acquiring new referrals.  I’ve found at most networking events that people seem to be self-interested (I’m guilty of this as well) and don’t like to give unless we know we are going to receive. Hussein suggested to reverse that thinking; to start by giving. Begin by adding value to others because when they see the value, they will turn around and return the favor. Instead of showing up at a networking event asking for business, why not show up and offer business? Ask people what they are looking to achieve and help them get there. Even better, introduce them to a potential client or prospect. I’ve already seen how this selfless act boomerangs back to me with a positive outcome.

And for the closer, Hussein ended by saying, “Always remember, be yourself because everyone else is already taken.” Words to live by, don’t you think?

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