Every month, we look back at our to-do lists, client wins as well as lessons learned. As we begin to wrap up 2018 with our clients and our team members, we started to notice a few themes and/or trends pop up along the way from 2018.  In no particular order the 5 People and Culture Themes from 2018 include…

1. Recruiting the right team members is a lot of work. I know I’ve said this before but there is no magic pill for it. Even in my own practice, where I regularly preach you have to test for values – I get it wrong (even with multiple steps and multiple meetings). It really is like dating and perhaps even more like marriage. The truth is if 50% of marriages end in divorce, why would we be any better in the work force with picking the right people? The process though – when followed – to a tee – I mean, from start to finish REALLY does seem to be the trick. It’s when we rush the process, get distracted and feel like we are desperate that it rarely does work.

2. Terminations are still really hard for people. Unfortunately, this year, our firm has been involved in over 250 terminations alone. On one side, we were nominated as one of the top HR consultancy firms to work alongside legal firms in Canada. On the flip side, we seem to know this space all too well and wish we were doing it a little less. That said, we continue to have a no termination policy at Elevated for one reason – it’s on me to make sure that I’m consistently communicating to someone my expectations and to let people know when they aren’t meeting my expectations. If they decide to leave at that point, I have done my job. I ask myself one question whenever we hire someone: if we could never fire them would we still hire them?

3. Receiving feedback is still way harder than giving. We have parted ways with a few clients this year because of their inability to receive feedback. Some of them were wonderful at giving but the truth is their issues with employees as well us as their vendors typically came down to one thing: receiving the feedback. To really hear what was being said. It’s often hard to really hear feedback but we think you can’t be good at truly giving till you can also learn to receive.

4. #MeToo isn’t going away. Learn to embrace it and change. In 2016 after Stampede, we had 21 reports of harassment we investigated. In 2017, there were 11 and in 2018 there were only 3. While Elevated is such a small fish in the pond and I have nowhere near any statistical evidence, I have a firm belief that people are starting to get it that treating people with respect regardless of how much they have had to drink is the only that or people aren’t making complaints anymore. I certainly hope it isn’t the latter.

But my concern after this year has been how many of my male clients have said, “I’m just going to avoid women” or “If I tell a woman at work, she looks great after losing a bunch of weight, will that be offside?”  I am a firm believer in it comes down to your intent. If you’re being authentic and genuine and not crossing the sexuality line – I personally think you’re fine. But here’s the kicker – if you are ever asked to stop – you need to stop. People aren’t playing games when they assert what they like vs what they don’t like. This comes back to the receiving feedback.

And back to #metoo. Stop thinking it’s a campaign. At the end of the day, respecting each other needs to be heightened. Understanding power is also important.

5. Organizations still aren’t actually paying for performance. And maybe they shouldn’t. An annual 2% raise based on a performance metric that is not written down has never been and will never truly be “pay for performance”. The only true pay for performance programs occur when no bias exists. Example: commission structures. Otherwise, you’re paying for how well someone connects with their boss (that is, if the company has money to pay out).  Compensation will always be difficult as it is the intersection between personal and business worth. At Elevated, we continue to believe that if you decouple compensation from performance management you are going to get the growth and results you desire (take Deloitte for example).

That said, at Elevated we do have a few KPI’s that help us to determine salary and bonuses. They are binary – so that either yes, I exceeded my targets or no, I just did my job is clearly laid out.

As we head into 2019, our goals will be helping organizations continue to forge ahead in these areas. We get to work with people every day who “get it” – so the task isn’t impossible. We’re simply putting one foot in front of the other to help transform company’s into tomorrow’s leading organizations.


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