A Conversation with Ada Tai - "Diversity Practices in the Workplace"
“Diversity has to be addressed in the workplace since the biggest growth over the next 25 years is going to come from immigrants.”
Interviewed by Talent Pool Society in Calgary
Ada Tai has is an HR professional with 10 years of experience in many aspects of HR functions in a variety of industries and organizations. Currently, Ada has her own practice, where she provides generalized HR consulting services, corporate training, as well as personal job search and career coaching. Ada is an active public speaker at corporate trainings, workshops, and large events. Ada enjoys helping students and newcomers transition to working and experienced professionals, achieve personal success in their career choices.
We sat down with Ada to find out more about her views on recruiting and retaining the younger generation, on the importance of diversity, and why having business acumen is important to HR.
Q: What brought you to the field of HR?
When I was an international student at the University of Alberta, I took an “Introduction to HR” course and just fell in love with it. I decided to learn more and to become a practitioner. What attracts me about HR is the diversity of the field as well as its focus on the human side of business. When dealing with people, it is never black and white. We must always think on our feet and act strategically.
Q: As an instructor at MacEwan University and a mentor to students at the UofA, what are the biggest trends you see?
Being from Generation Y, I think I can relate well to what this generation is experiencing and learn from my students and their challenges. Career options have changed drastically for this generation. Most careers have technology-based paths and will only become more dependent on technology with rapidly changing landscape of work. Generation Y is no longer satisfied by the traditional workplace environment: they want flexibility, meaningful work, professional development, continual advancement, work/life balance and creativity in the workplace. Of course, a good salary is still important, but not at the expense of what they want and expect from an employer.
Q: What would an organization structure look like in the future? And how would HR help manage such an organization?
HR needs to help business leaders and hiring managers to truly understand the new generation that is entering the workforce. It is important to grasp the benefits of attracting new graduates who are more tech savvy. They also play a role in ensuring that their employers are up to date, competitive and successful. Therefore, employers need to create a corporate structure that is agile, flexible, value-driven and technologically advanced. This might require for businesses to take a step back and re-evaluate your corporate identity or branding in order to attract new graduates.
When it comes to corporate identity, I think that the aspect of diversity has been somewhat neglected. Diversity means inclusion – ages, races, physical and mental perspectives. Considering that the biggest growth in the workplace over the next 25 years is going to come from immigrants, diversity needs to be addressed. In order to attract new talent coming out of Universities right now, employers will have to make diversity integral in their workplace.
Q: What is next for HR?
Understanding business. Having a business acumen is hugely beneficial to an organization. It enables HR to take a more proactive approach and to partner with the business leaders, rather than just support them on day-to-day issues. By understanding business, we can establish metrics, improve human capital’s return of investment and the bottom line, and provide a different perspective from a people point of view. Having even a basic knowledge of business gives leaders another reason to invite us to sit at the table and that’s good for everyone.
Q: Why do you think the HR in a Box workshops are beneficial?
The biggest rewards of the HR in a Box workshops are networking and professional development. These workshops bring people together who have similar HR issues and challenges. They are able to interact with each other and the experts and learn new and better ways of dealing with their day to day HR issues. Offering a forum where people can connect with, and support, each other is priceless! Although the name of the workshops is called “HR in a Box”, in my presentations, I challenge the audience to think “outside of the box” about their people management practices.
Ada Tai has been a valuable speaker at the HR in a Box workshops in several cities for two years. She will be speaking next at the HR in a Box workshop in Lethbridge on February 15th, 2018. Check out more about the "HR in a Box" series at http://www.talentpoolhub.com/
Another interesting read - The Economy is in Recession, HR is Not.
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