Ask the Human Resources Expert - Jennifer Caseley

Updated: Apr 12

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April 2021

Top 10 HR Policies you need.

I am a self-professed lover of policy.Here’s the 10 I recommend.

1.Harassment, Violence and Discrimination. This one is recommended by OH&S as well. If you only have 1-this is the one.

2. Vacation - one question most employees ask is about when they can take vacation, how they ask for time off, etc. Cover this one to save yourself time.

3. Confidentiality is very important to keep your company secrets a secret. Implement this if you don’t want employees walking away and sharing with their new employer your 11 herbs and spices.

4. Statutory Holidays - expectations on working stat holidays, what holidays you will provide and how you will pay all need to be covered.

5. Social Media - How are you going to entice customers in the door when your staff are all on Facebook telling the world about the toxic environment they work in.

6. Over-time or Time in Lieu - will you be paying out at 1.5 or 2x their regular rate or will you be implementing a Time in Lieu policy where staff take time off later at their regular rate of pay.

7. Code of Conduct - this is a great document to set expectations of your team.

8. Appearance - setting the standard for the look of your team. Uniform or specific colours-you definitely need this one.

9. Training - what will your company cover and when are they expected to train.

10. Conflict of Interest - can your team work for other companies? See BLOG for details.

March 2021

As it has been since the beginning leather is the leader in overall toughness and durability as well as its ability to take die very well offering a wide range of color anywhere from black to yellows and reds.Leather gets more supple and comfy with time and coolness and hot and sticky times are usually short lived.Well cared for leather can last in excess of ten years,it costs more but its also worth it in the long run.

Synthetic materials are the most common today and polyester is the leader among these newer fabrics.Polyester doesn’t fade from sunlight or cleaning,it is very stain resistant and cleans well when accidents do happen.The actual feel and appearance can vary from fuzzy and fluffy to smooth and textured similar to leather in -appearance all offering long wear and low maintenance.Some would say it is the “new nylon”,as nylon is also extremely strong and durable and was for many years the main cover on most upholstery for decades.

Not to be forgotten is olefin,also a synthetic fibre and very strong and flexible with a one up on some others as it is made from plastic it offers protection against liquid stains.The fibre strands in olefin are larger and coarser than polyester so the feel of it is a bit rough to the touch on its own.The way around this fact is of course blends of olefin and other synthetics like polyester, rayon or a natural fibre like silk or cotton to give you the best of all things and long life from your upholstery.

I highly recommend you turn up a cushion or tip a chair over to see what its actually made of and know what type of wear you should expect from the furniture your considering buying at your local stores or ask your retailer they will know.

February 2021

Tips for Working from Home The 2021 Edition

As we continue into 2021, COVID has not left us behind and we have not returned to what was once considered ‘normal’ working conditions.As many of us continue to work from home—here are a few tips to make it through the at home work week.

1. Find Your Space. Try to isolate yourself from kids, pets and partners during work hours. It will make it easier to focus. Assign everyone work times and stick to them.

2. Get dressed. The thrill of wearing pyjamas to work has worn off for most. Get up, get dressed and look like you are heading out to the workplace will make you feel more like you are there. Guaranteed to be more productive in work clothes than a bathrobe.

3. Take Breaks! Without cues from others it can be easy to work through lunch or break time. Set reminders on your phone to get up and walk around your living room. Kids at home learning? Invite them to a meeting in the living room where you chat for 15 minutes about how your day is going so far. Then—coffee break over—back to work everyone!

4. Reach out to Others. Set aside a few minutes to chat with your ‘work wife’ or ‘work husband’. Try to reach out to others during the day-ask questions about projects, talk about work or simply see how they are doing. Collectively we were doing really well at this last Spring/Summer but it has fallen off the radar for many.

Next month—Zoom Meetings!

January 2021

Why hire an HR Consultant?

Experience: With 20+ years of experience my hands on experience can help you through a number of sticky situations or save you money

Qualifications: In Alberta you should be seeking an HR Consultant who holds their designation, Chartered Professional Human Resources (CPHR), from CPHR-Alberta. CPHR ensures you are receiving quality HR advice. When checking the consultant’s directory, make sure it says CPHR.from making poor decisions.

DIY Many businesses take a DIY approach to HR and yes, a lot of the information you need is available online but not knowing how to properly put it together and apply it to your workplace is the tricky part.

To be Competitive: Growing your business when you are competing with larger organizations can be tough. Having an HR Consultant on board can put you on the same level as larger operations who have a full-time HR staff person.

Expertise: Are you a ‘jack of all trades’? I’m not. My focus is and has been Human Resources. It is all I do and I do it well.

Up to Date: Did you know the government rolled out more changes to Employment Standards on November 1, 2020? I did and I know how they apply to your organization and how they could save you some money.

December 2020

Mask Policy

The City of Grande Prairie passed a Face-covering Bylaw a few months ago with numbers that most people at the time thought—we will never hit those numbers. But we have. The Temporary Face-covering Bylaw is in effect and hopefully will be cancelled by the time this edition of The Experts hits the streets, but in case it comes into effect here are a few tips on what employers may want to consider.

1. Communicate to your Employees. They want to know where the company stands on masks. What do they need to do if a customer comes in without a mask? What do they do if a co-worker is not wearing a mask?

2. Communicate to your clients and customers. Do you have an email list that would allow you to quickly send out a note about your internal procedures for mask use? Don’t forget to place the poster provided by the City.

3. Exemptions. Do you have employees who are exempt due to reasons under Alberta Human Rights? Have a conversation with those employees and try to find a plan that works for both sides. Employers have an obligation to accommodate if the reason an employee can not wear a mask is covered by Human Rights.

4. Non-believers. Every workplace has one or two employees who do not believe masks help or think COVID is a hoax. These employees need to follow your policy. Think of it as any other piece of PPE that you would ask them to wear.

5. Create the policy. Implement it to help guide you and your managers. Questions? Call for a free consult.

November 2020

Visit Caseley Consulting in person starting in November at our new downtown location located on the 3rd floor of 214 Place.

Stop in for a cup of tea, Tuesdays – Thursdays to chat about policies, hiring, or any other issue on your mind. Appointments are suggested but not always necessary.

Speaking of tea and policies. Does your company have a Zoom Policy? Have you considered one? Here are 5 things to consider in your Zoom Policy:

1. Mandatory Video Use—will you require staff to use the video component? This helps you to keep an eye on the audience for feedback.

2. Backgrounds—can staff use any background they want? Or do they need to use company branded look when having meetings with people from outside the company?

3. Security—Some programs like Zoom have built in security features—what ones are mandatory in your company?

4. Zooming from Home—when employees are Zooming from home do they need to announce where they are and who might be within ear shot—or do they need to wear headphones? Is it ok to have your dog, cat or parakeet in the background? What is the reality vs the expectation of the situation?

5. Dress code—are you okay with employees wear a Zullet? Work on top, pj’s on the bottom? Casual dress or work-appropriate?

Creating a Zoom Policy can be important for your office. For additional information, contact 587-343-2338

October 2020

They say the only two things in the world that are inevitable are death and taxes. I think ‘they’ have forgotten that CHANGE is inevitable and truly the one thing we can count on year after year.

I’ve heard managers say “I have my dream team,” or “We have all the staff we need.” Then change happens and suddenly things fall apart. Is your team your dream team? If so, it may be time to start thinking about next steps. Succession Planning.

Succession Planning is thinking forward to the next steps for your company, team or you!

Do you know when you will retire? Or when one of your staff will take extended maternity leave or parental leave? What about having to take time off to care for their elderly parents? There are hundreds of reasons staff may need to step aside, step back or step forward in your organization. Are you prepared?

How do you get prepared? Have current job descriptions—describe the job that is currently done—not the one you hired them for 5 years ago.

Have conversations. Does this person want to be with your organization in 5 more years? Or do they want to retire or go to half time? Will they be out on their own consulting? Or working for you in a reduced capacity or increased capacity?

Avoid making arbitrary decisions without consulting all your staff. Avoid turing it into a competition and don’t feel disappointed if your desired successor isn’t interested.

If you want to know more about what steps to avoid in creating a successful succession plan, contact Caseley Consulting.

September 2020

Many employees are coming back to the office, but is the team coming together? If you are looking for a way to build your team spirit? Try a ColourSpectrums™ Workshop.

ColourSpectrums™ is an interactive and entertaining workshop that allows teams to interact, learn more about one another and find ways to increase communication.

There will be AH-HA learning moments and HA HA learning while we work together to find commonalities and learn how to brighten each other’s colours. This exciting workshop will increase self-esteem, review personal learning styles, increase community relations and customer service skills while building team communication.

A strong team knows how to talk to one another and help one another grow. Your team will learn more about each other’s strengths and find common life experiences and personal goals.

Let’s get your team back together and re-build their strength.

Caseley Consulting offers a half-day zoom session or in-person depending on your space and comfort levels.

For additional information, contact Jennifer at Caseley Consulting. 587-343-2338

August 2020

7 Questions you must be able to answer about your workplace and the Coronavirus.

1. What is your company policy on illness?

2. Will days off while an employee is waiting for test results be paid?

3. What will the rest of the staff be doing while waiting on test results?

4. If you have an outbreak among staff—will you be able to close the doors to your business? Will you need too?

5. Do you have a public relations plan in place if the outbreak occurs? Proactive planning rather than reactive is definitely the best in this social media world.

6. If an employee tests positive and must isolate for 14 days will they be paid? Who will do their work?

7. Are your Health and Safety procedures up-to-date with all the latest changes? Who on staff can update them quickly and accurately?

There is so much for a business owner to think about right now—on top of the normal running of a successful business. This may be the time to bring in some outside support and assistance. There are many organizations in the Grande Prairie area who can help polnt you in the right direction for getting the help you need. Many companies will provide a free consult and point you in the right direction for getting your business moving forward and up-to-date.

If you are not sure what help you need—ask.

July 2020

Recruitment. It can be a very time consuming process. Hundreds of resumes flooding into your in-box, screening applicants, arranging interviews, referencing and then rejecting candidates. Are you tired just thinking about it?

Imagine setting up a system that automatically rejects applicants that don’t meet your minimum requirements, or sending an email to all applicants when you have selected your new hire. Tired of the back and forth emails or texts to find a time that suits you and the applicants to actually meet? An ATS can solve that issue as well.

Is your preference to interview in person via video? Have you thought about a taped video interview? You preset the questions, put a time limit on the responses and watch/listen to the interviews on your time. There are many options available to customize the interview experience and assist in finding the right candidate for you.

I can help make the process faster and easier for you.

Applicant Tracking Systems(ATS) are used by larger companies to create flow to the recruitment process and save time and money. As a growing business you may not require the year-round services of an ATS but there is an in between solution. Caseley Consulting can offer you access to an ATS system-for a month, 3-months, the year—you decide. I can run the system for you, or you can run it. Flexibility in hiring. Don’t you deserve the next step?

June 2020

Whether you need to hire one person or one hundred these tips will help you find the right person for the job.

Say what?! When creating your job ad speak to the person you want to hire. Use the language and words of the position and person you want to hire.

Reviewing resumes. Getting more resumes than you know what to do with? Create screening tool. It will speed up the process and save you time. Don’t forget to include the must haves, nice to haves and WOW category.

Interview Questions. Take time to create interview questions. Ask candidates to walk you through the job they will be doing. You want to hear about their real experiences and how they can help your business.

Do you have any questions for us? Hiring a truck driver? If they walk out of without asking about the type of truck they will be driving, slip-seating or maintenance perhaps pass and keep looking. If they don’t have any questions that may be a red flag.

The importance of life outside work. Asking about hobbies and how people spend their free time outside of work can help find people who fit into your company culture.

BONUS: Ask for help. Following tips 1 to 5 requires time. Time you may not have. This is where I come in and create the job description, advertisement, screen for you, create appropriate interview questions and even sit in on interviews with you.

May 2020

Temporary Lay-offs in the time of Covid-19

For many companies temporary lay-offs are a new concept. They have been in business for years and have never dreamed of laying off their fantastic employees. But the time may have now arrived. Let’s make sure you do it correctly. First consider is the lay-off necessary? Yes, I know business have dropped significantly (or completely) but are there options for re-deploying staff? This may be the time to work on that full inventory of the shop, or to have employees take photos of all your stock to put it on line. Keep physical-distancing measures in place, but let’s think outside the box. Government wage subsidy will help some businesses with payment of wages during that time. Let’s look at options before we do a layoff. Secondly, if someone needs to answer the phones and respond to inquiries—why you? Set up a couple of staff members as the ‘go-to’ people for your business. This frees you up for other processes that require your attention. It also allows employees to enter into a job share splitting the time equally between them and still eligible for collecting EI. Could be a nice win-win. Finally, is this a temporary lay-off? Or a dismissal? Do you really need this employee back in 120 days? Will your business be up and running at 110%? Or is this a time for a full dismissal? This will allow an employee to seek other employment instead of waiting for your call only to find out you don’t need them back. There are pro’s and con’s to lay-offs, workshare programs and dismissals. There is also documentation. Call Jennifer to discuss the options available and to have the documents you need completed properly.

April 2020

This month we are talking about having a Staff of 1. Many Boards have only one employee—the Executive Director. Staff of the organization report into the ED, but the ED usually is the only staff person reporting directly to the Board of Directors. Sitting on a Board of Directors for your favorite organization can be very satisfying and many people join Boards to help a cause near and dear to their hearts not fully understanding their role. Some of the most common questions around supervising a team of one are: 1. What is the board’s responsibility for managing and supporting the ED? 2. How do we know what to pay our ED? 3. What happens when replacing the ED? 4. How to motivate a staff of 1. 5. Why your ED wants a Performance Review. This course is being developed with the help from local organizations. If your BOD has areas they would like to know more about please contact Jennifer and pass along your ideas. Or visit our Survey at If you have other HR areas you would like some information on please contact me to arrange a free consult with Caseley Consulting to see how a Human Resources professional can help your organization.

March 2020

For small businesses, there are numerous advantages to hiring an outside consultant, the most important of which include having a positive impact on the company’s bottom line. Human resources consulting services can be engaged on an hourly basis or hired on a contract basis to fill interim HR management positions…The benefits of an HR consultant are both tangible and intangible; however, the bottom line reflects the tangible advantages to engaging the services of an HR consultant.

To read the remainder of this article published by Small Business Chron head over to:

Still not convinced? Try this article. “It is easy for a company to fall into hiring, staffing and company policy decisions by force of habit rather than developing strategies from a cohesive human resources strategy. An outside HR consultant brings fresh perspective to your business’ staffing decisions and policies, and measures your policies against best practices without having her perspective skewed by your company’s traditions…”

Finish this article:

Call or Email today to book your free consult with Caseley Consulting to see how a Human Resources professional can help your business.

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