Ontario Arts Council report provides insight into the status of women in the arts in Canada

May 15, 2019

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) released The status of women in the Canadian arts and cultural industries: Research review 2010-2018, a report commissioned by OAC from a research team led by Dr. Amanda Coles, a Canadian on faculty at Australia’s Deakin University. This report provides an important synthesis of existing research on the status of women in the arts in Ontario and Canada. The majority of existing research focuses on specific sectors, such as media arts/screen, or theatre, etc., rather than addressing the arts and cultural industries as a whole. The report covers six sectors: visual arts, dance, theatre, literature, music, and media arts/screen. Some key findings in the report include:

Research shows a pervasive gender-based income gap across all six sectors under review. Overall, women’s average incomes are lower than their male peers – a defining feature of work in the Canadian arts and cultural industries.

Gender inequality in the arts and cultural industries cannot be explained by the education or skill of professional female artists and cultural workers. A cross-sectoral analysis of available data on education and training clearly shows that across all six sectors, women are as highly educated as men.

Women are well represented in administrative leadership roles in visual arts, publishing, and theatre, and in the top tier of Canadian orchestras. Executive and organizational leadership roles in the music industry are male-dominated. There is a notable shortage of data on organizational leadership in broadcasting, film and television production, the interactive digital media sector, and dance. Women are severely under-represented in key artistic leadership roles in media arts/screen, theatre and music. In contrast, key artistic leadership roles in visual arts and publishing, such as curators and editors, are female dominated.

Culture: The charity sector's missing ingredient

May 15, 2019

Want to learn more on this topic? We've partnered with the author to present a free webinar on May 23! Click here for details and to register.

As more and more people look for meaning in their work - up to 80% of North American Millennials according to a recent report - and with a generational shift in the workforce, it seems logical that charities would have hopeful employees knocking down their doors to join their causes. However, attractive offers from purpose-driven businesses with deep pockets often pull ahead of charity recruitment and retention of top-notch talent. Charities need to level up - and experts suggest the way to do that is by investing in culture.

Where’s the opportunity?

A recent Parson study polled young millennials (18-24 years old) about their expectations and aspirations for the workplace (it’s worth noting that this is the group who incidentally will make up about 50% of the workforce by 2020!) The study revealed that 80% would be more motivated and committed at work if they felt their employer made a positive impact on society, compared to 46% of baby boomers. Arguably, through the very nature of the work, there is no better place to find meaning than with a charity.

Right? Not necessarily, as being purpose or mission driven doesn’t automatically translate to a positive culture. That’s where charities and nonprofits are finding challenges. What are the challenges?

Yes, charities are meaningful places to work, emotionally connected with people, and are broadly known to be positive. Indeed, this has, in the past, been enough to set not-for-profits apart from other entities in the eyes of their potential employees.

However, this is no longer the case, as more and more corporations are recognizing the value in these traits. Businesses are increasingly sharing this desire for social impact as well as making money.

They are seeing the cause and effect of good work culture and predictable success - “The world’s most successful companies have a clear sense of purpose and a strong set of values that guide their actions. Forward-thinking organizations recognize that to survive and thrive in the future, they need to exist for reasons beyond making a profit,” says Rosie Warin, CEO, Kin&Co - As a result, the edge that charities once had is not assumed. This means that going the extra mile is critical when recruiting top talent, and retaining their employee loyalty.

So what can you do without huge salary offers, or swanky office spaces, and how can you continue to attract and retain the best people out there? - The answer: investing in culture.

What do we mean by culture and why is it important?

Culture - it’s not a word you often hear in the charity sector. For some it may be regarded as corporate jargon, a luxury only the big private companies can afford. Historically many charities have not allocated budget or resources to exploring what culture within their organization is or should be.

In order to attract and retain the best talent, charities need to start putting some serious thought to their internal workplace culture. Our research found that 85% of Canadians would be more motivated and committed at work if their organization had a strong purpose or values. Eight in ten (79%) of Canadians would consider leaving their job for a similar one at an organization that had a stronger sense of purpose, and over three quarters (78%) wouldn’t work for a company that didn’t have a social purpose or values in the first place.

Many nonprofits have the purpose aspect covered through the very nature of their organization, however often it’s the values and culture that needs work. What a focus on culture means is taking time to consider how your organization behaves, what makes you unique and why people would choose to work with you over any other charity or business. It’s about nailing your colours to the mast and demonstrating how you work and how you want to work in the future.

Where do you start?

Now that you know what we are going to be sharing with you, we would love for you to join behaviour and culture change expert Jessica Pelchat, National Director at Kin&Co, as she provides 5 Top Tips for using culture to positively transform your organization! Join us on May 23 for this free webinar - click here to register.

Jessica Pelchat is the National Director at Kin&Co Canada, an award-winning culture and behaviour change consultancy that fixes the way the world works. She brings a wealth of experience working at the intersection of strategy, communications and sustainability over the last decade, guiding some of Canada's largest employers in both the corporate and not for profit sectors to realize their goals through holistic organizational change. She is driven by the transformation and growth of a purpose-driven business, and cares deeply about the people she works with – making sure that the serious work of social change also includes some playfulness, an occasional pun, and little moments of bold inspiration.

Nearly half of job seekers in Canada receive multiple employment offers while job searching

May 14, 2019

Companies shouldn't assume their employment offer is a candidate's only option, new research suggests. A survey of workers from global financial recruitment firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting found that nearly half of job seekers in Canada (49 per cent) have received two or more offers simultaneously when applying for jobs. The competition for top talent is tough, and candidates rarely wait long when they receive a great offer. A majority of professionals surveyed (71 per cent) reported making their decision in two or fewer days. The top five reasons job seekers accepted one offer over another include: salary, benefits, position's responsibilities or challenges, commute, and advancement potential.

Distressed employees ineffective for eight days per month due to lost productivity

May 14, 2019

Distressed employees spend more than one third of their time at work being unproductive and average one full day off sick per month. This revelation comes with the release of Workplace Well-being: A Summary of the 2018 Workplace Outcome Suite Annual Report, released in partnership with the International Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA). The report is based on data from multiple employee assistance providers worldwide and over 23,000 employee use cases.

According to the research, employees struggling with mental health or other well-being issues are unable to concentrate on their job, a symptom known as "presenteeism," for more than a third of the total scheduled work time (38%) – or about eight total days per month. For context, it is more than twice as much as the typical "healthy" employee. In addition, these employees are also absent from work for an average of 7.36 hours per month – almost one full working day.

The most common clinical issues behind the reduced productivity were related to mental health (i.e., depression, anxiety) or personal stress (40% of cases), followed by relationship problems of marriage or family life (29%), work and occupational issues (18%), and alcohol misuse and drug problems (4%).

The report looks at the utilisation and effectiveness of employee assistance programs (EAPs) and found that about eight out of every 10 cases for counselling were self-referrals, with referrals from a family or other source at seven per cent, supervisor referrals at five per cent, and a mandatory referral from HR or the employer at only 2%. Thus, 98% of cases were people voluntarily using the EAP for counselling.

TalentEgg offers nonprofits discounted tickets to recruitment conference in Toronto

May 14, 2019

Don’t miss the 2019 TalentEgg National Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards & Conference where you and your team will learn how to attract the best young talent to your nonprofit organization. This day-long event in downtown Toronto will combine insightful speakers and panels covering trends in talent attraction and engagement along with the Awards Ceremony to celebrate excellence in campus recruitment. Plus, TalentEgg will be revealing their survey results with insights into young job seekers in High School, Post-Secondary and among Early-Career Professionals - including invaluable information about recruiting for the volunteer and nonprofit sector! TalentEgg is pleased to extend a special promotion of 25% off tickets to all nonprofit organizations. Use the code NFP2019 at check-out.

What to do when your employee presents a mental health concern

May 14, 2019

What to do when your employee presents a mental health concern - The owner of a mid-sized business, you’re going about your daily routine when you’re approached by one of your most dedicated, hardest-working employees. He wants to speak privately. As you sit down to talk, you notice this employee is visibly distraught. He proceeds to explain, emotionally and with reservation and difficulty, that he’s experiencing mental health challenges.

Moving on: A quick guide for nonprofit workers in career transition

May 13, 2019

Moving on: A quick guide for nonprofit workers in career transition - The Counselling Foundation of Canada supported the creation of this new resource for nonprofit workers who are experiencing a career transition to help them navigate what can be an uncertain time in their life. The nonprofit sector is diverse and strong and there is great potential for those interested in continuing to work in the sector whether they be arts, social services, environment, employment, or other organizations.

How to negotiate salary: 37 tips you need to know

May 13, 2019

How to negotiate salary: 37 tips you need to know - Whether we’re starting a new job or gunning for a promotion at our current one, we all know that we should be negotiating the salary. Or do we? A survey by revealed that only 37% of people always negotiate their salaries—while an astonishing 18% never do. Even worse, 44% of respondents claim to have never brought up the subject of a raise during their performance reviews.

New school performance process design: Opportunities and cautions

May 8, 2019

Want to learn more on this topic? We've partnered with the authors to present a free webinar on May 16. Click here for more information and to register.

Well-known companies such as GE, Gap, and Microsoft have made, or are in the process of making, the move away from rating past performance and toward more frequent, meaningful conversations aimed at driving ongoing improvement, development and realizing potential. With these organizations paving the way for a new trend in performance processes, curious organizations of all sizes are asking, “should we follow the trend?” or “why should we bother with performance ratings?”

In defence of performance ratings

Those in favour of performance ratings assert that employees want to know how they “measure up”. Ratings allow for maximum performance differentiation and establish clear links between performance and rewards.

Further, ratings supporters may assert, ratings are a communication tool for managers. Without ratings, employees may be unclear about where their performance stands if managers aren’t skilled at performance feedback.

What neuroscience shows us

Really though, how different is a rating of 2.5 from a 2.75? Ratings reduce complex human behaviour and performance discussions to a single figure or label. In addition to what may be seen as “false” differentiation, those in favour of a shift away from performance ratings can look to the findings of neuroscientific research which demonstrates that performance ratings can be counterproductive for two reasons:

  • Labeling employees with a rating or ranking results in a “fight or fight” response, shutting down the ability to engage in meaningful, productive conversations about performance; and
  • A focus on past performance rather than future potential sends the unconscious message that performance levels are fixed and unlikely to change.

Common performance rating challenges

Furthermore, most managers and employees have experienced more than one of these common challenges associated with performance ratings:

  • Ratings provide an “out” from the responsibility of having honest, direct and sometimes difficult performance conversations in a timely manner and/or crowd out room for discussions about development;
  • Ratings fuel competition among employees rather than fostering collaboration among employees to compete with other companies;
  • There are high time and costs associated with rating processes. Deloitte found their previous performance system had employees and managers spending around two million hours a year on performance reviews.
  • Ratings cause employee reluctance to discuss their learning experiences, personal performance concerns and development needs for fear that they may be penalized;
  • Overall, there are negative feelings and perceptions of unfairness by both managers and employees when ratings are part of the process.

Factoring the shift to no ratings

For the organizations that pioneer the transformation, front-line reasons for shifting to a no ratings performance process include:

  • A desire to shift the investment of time away from creating and discussing ratings and towards discussing and leveraging performance in a timely manner;
  • A need to remove the “check box” approach to reinforce that managing performance is an ongoing, not a once a year, process; and
  • A need to recognize high-performance behaviours rather than high performers. This mindset is growth-oriented and acknowledges that any individual is capable of, and should be recognized for, high-performance when appropriate.

Caveats for consideration

So, while the general consensus around performance ratings tends to be frustration, if not outright disdain, there are a number of things to be carefully considered before jumping on the “no ratings bandwagon,” the top three typically being:

  • Management Capability—Do managers have the skills to deliver ongoing, meaningful performance feedback without the “crutch” of ratings?
  • Legal Considerations—Can the performance process continue to have the ability to provide sufficient notification when a performance problem exists?
  • Links to Rewards and Opportunities —How will the performance process link to pay and other talent decisions?

Change the narrative of ratings

That said, if a simple rating scale is best suited to your organization, here are some shifts in practice to enhance the meaning of your ratings:

  • Use narrative descriptors as opposed to numeric ratings or letter grades to facilitate meaningful performance conversations; and
  • Consider listing your descriptors according to where you see the vast majority of employees performing. Traditional rating systems that place “meets expectations” in the middle of the rating scale tend to make performers feel adequate rather than successful, which is not the true intent. Listing descriptors in order of expected frequency sets up a different mindset regarding performance.

No magic potions without due diligence

Performance ratings, if implemented correctly, can provide value; the challenge is that the costs often out-weigh the benefits. When rating systems are not working well, the movement away from performance ratings gains momentum. However, removing performance ratings without other changes and supports is not the magic potion for your performance process fixes.

Kyla Nicholson is a senior consultant and Vincent Chow is co-founder and partner at LoganHR, a BC-based HR firm specializing in compensation, performance management, and career transition.

Online giving to nonprofits grew by only 1% in 2018 – the lowest rate in 13 years

May 8, 2019

For the first time in more than a decade, online giving to nonprofits slowed to single digit growth, according to the 13th annual M+R Benchmarks Study. The study was researched and created by M+R, a communications agency that works with nonprofits and foundations to advance their causes online, in the media, and on the ground. Online revenue for nonprofits increased by just 1% last year. In 2017, this same group of nonprofits reported 23% growth. After years and years of steadily increasing online revenue, including record-breaking 2016 and 2017 gains for many nonprofits, that trendline flattened out. Additional findings from the report include:

  • Revenue from one-time gifts decreased by 2%, while monthly giving revenue increased by 17%. Monthly giving accounted for 16% of all online revenue in 2018, up from 13% in 2017.
  • Advocacy email response rate declined by 15% in 2018, to 1.8%. Drops were reported for open rate (down 5% to 15%), click-through rate (down 16% to 2.4%), and page completion rate (down 7%, to 72%). The unsubscribe rate fell to 0.12%, which is 2% lower than in the previous year.
  • Nonprofits sent an average of 59 email messages per subscriber in 2018. This marked an 8% increase in volume from 2017. The largest category of email messages was fundraising (25 emails per year per subscriber). International nonprofits sent the highest volume of email, with 104 messages per year per subscriber; 50 of those were fundraising messages.
  • Desktop users accounted for the majority of donation transactions and revenue. While just 44% of traffic, desktop users made 63% of all donations and contributed 71% of revenue. Mobile accounted for 21% of all revenue, a 15% increase from 2017.
  • For every 1,000 email addresses, nonprofits had an average of 806 Facebook fans. But compared to Twitter (+26%) and Instagram (+34%) growth, nonprofits only saw a 6% growth in Facebook fans in 2018.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre welcomes $2 million donation

May 8, 2019

Treasure Hill President, Nicholas Fidei, presented a $2 million donation to enable Future Care Now at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The donation will be celebrated with his team, the “Cycle Warriors,” long-standing supporters of Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, along with leaders from The Princess Margaret. The gift will support the Cancer Centre’s multi-phase Space Transformation that will improve the experience for patients and families. The project prioritizes the patient experience, emphasizing that patients are at the centre of their individual treatment plans and partners in their own care. This important initiative will facilitate clinical research at this world-class institution and the development of cancer care around the globe.

CMA Foundation funding available for programs working on youth mental health and substance abuse

May 8, 2019

The CMA Foundation’s Healthy Canadians Grants Program is designed to provide support for community-run initiatives that improve the quality of life for patients and vulnerable populations living in those communities, thereby having a positive impact on the entire community. This year’s theme is youth mental health and substance use. These grants aim to make a tangible difference in the lives of youth, their families and the physicians who care for them. Grants will be available for organizations across Canada that are delivering programming at the community level and are focused on improving mental health, reducing and preventing substance use, increasing resiliency, reducing stigma and decreasing barriers to mental health. This year the CMA Foundation is offering 15 grants of $20,000 each. The deadline for this year’s applications is May 31.

Call for presenters for Aging Well Conference in Mississauga this fall

May 8, 2019

The Voice of Older Adult Centres (OACAO) Conference Planning Committee is seeking presenters for Workshops, Keynote Presentations, Management and Leadership Stream and *NEW* Lightening Talks on a variety of topics which support this year’s conference theme AGING WELL: Making It Happen – Making it Matter! Conference workshop proposals are due on or before Thursday, May 16, 2019. Please submit your completed application to The Aging Well Conference will be held on November 4 & 5, 2019 Mississauga, Ontario.

Nonprofit job description toolkit

May 8, 2019

Nonprofit job description toolkit - The job description is your primary vehicle for announcing the open position to external and internal audiences, and is a valuable tool for finding candidates best-suited to your organization's needs. This toolkit features a wide range of sample job descriptions for senior nonprofit leadership roles, including CEO/executive director, COO, CFO, board member and more.

Survey shows what perks employees want this summer

May 8, 2019

What do workers want from their employers this summer? In a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, Canadian employees said the best summer perks their companies could provide to them are flexible schedules (49%), such as work-from-home opportunities and condensed days, and early departure on Fridays (38%). But which perks are employers actually offering? Fifty-five percent of senior managers in Canada said flexible schedules and relaxed dress codes, and about one in three (36%) reported allowing staff to leave early on Fridays. Another common warm-weather benefit cited by managers was company picnics or potlucks (47%). Unfortunately, this wasn't likely to win over employees, according to the survey.

Nominate an Alberta organization for a Nonprofit Innovation Award

May 8, 2019

The Alberta Nonprofit Innovation Awards celebrate nonprofit professionals and organizations across Alberta who have challenged the status quo and inspired others with creative and disruptive solutions to address enduring community challenges. Nominate an inspiring organization or individual today!

Award winners exemplify creativity and innovation through new models of organizational effectiveness, collaboration, and program delivery. They increase impact and address systems-level gaps. They create an inspiring picture of the future and empower others to have a positive impact on the community. From well-known programs to a variety of smaller scale initiatives, there are many rich examples of innovative practices in the nonprofit sector.

Click here to view the Award guidelines and eligibility requirements. Questions? Please email Dana Silver at Please note, self nominations are no longer accepted.

CRA Charities Directorate announces in-person information sessions across Canada

May 8, 2019

The Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate is offering in-person charities information sessions. These sessions are free to all registered charities and other qualified donees across Canada. If you are a board member, a treasurer, a volunteer, or an employee of a charity, a session is a great way to learn about the legal obligations that come with registration. Topics discussed will include:

  • Receiving gifts and issuing receipts
  • Gifting to qualified donees
  • Keeping books and records
  • New educational products and digital services

In-person sessions are being held in the spring (May and June) and the fall (September and October), while the videoconference sessions will start next year. Register for a 3-hour session that includes a question and answer period.

Accommodating caregivers: What’s an employer’s responsibility?

May 8, 2019

Most organizations recognize that having family-friendly policies is an important part of having a competitive employer brand. And for nonprofit employers, offering flexible hours is often a way that organizations on a tight budget can offer the perk of work-life balance without spending extra cash. But the truth is, it’s no longer exceptional to offer flexible work hours to support families and caregivers – for employees, flexibility is fast becoming a baseline expectation offered by employers in most industries.

But conflicts can arise when an employee’s need to attend to family responsibilities conflict with the organization’s operational demands. In those situations, when flexibility is an inconvenience, it can be tough to know whether you have a duty to accommodate based on family status, or whether the responsibility for making alternate arrangements rests with the employee.

Suppose an employee comes to you and says that the obligations of the workplace discriminate against them based on their status as a parent, or as a caregiver for their elderly family member. As a leader, it can be a challenge to know exactly when the duty to accommodate is triggered. That’s when getting clear on the facts and having a process in place for responding to family status accommodation requests is essential.

What do the courts say?

The BC Human Rights Tribunal applies the following test to establish whether accommodation based on family status is necessary: whether a condition of employment has resulted in a “serious interference with a substantial parental or other family duty or obligation of the employee”. Basically, if the workplace requirement prevents the employee from fulfilling their legal responsibilities as a parent or caregiver, and there is no other reasonable alternative, the employer’s duty to accommodate may be triggered.

What does this mean for leaders?

For employers, this means that not every conflict between work and family obligations will trigger an employer’s duty to accommodate. While providing flexibility and saying “yes” to most reasonable requests to help employees balance work and life is best practice, sometimes it’s just not feasible from an operational perspective.

After all, if every request based on an employee’s preference had to be accommodated, you can bet that most of us would choose to spend more time with family! While an employee may want to pick their children up from school or attend every ballet lesson and soccer practice, their preference to do so is not necessarily (or even probably) something that their employer must accommodate.

With that in mind, if an employee comes to you with a request for family status accommodation, there are some important steps to follow:

1. Engage in meaningful conversation to determine whether accommodation based on family status is the appropriate route. As with any accommodation, family status accommodation requests should be looked at case-by-case.

2. Remember that the employee is obligated to actively participate in finding a solution to their caregiving dilemma. Consider what alternative supports may be available to the employee as well as what other efforts the employee has made to deal with the conflict.

3. If an employee’s request is reasonable, explore it! If a change in work hours or scheduling to accommodate an employee’s family obligations won’t cause you undue hardship as an employer, consider ways to make it happen!

4. Follow your organization’s accommodation policy to make sure you’re ticking all the right boxes and ensure that each step in the accommodation process is followed and documented accurately.

5. If you have to say no, make sure you have a solid reason and have documented your exploration of their request. Finally, be transparent about your findings, and communicate your decision to the employee along with a clear rationale.

The Takeaway? Fulfilling family status accommodation requirements while accomplishing the organization’s objectives can be a challenge. If an employee came to you tomorrow with an accommodation request based on their status as a caregiver, would you know what steps to follow? If not, or if you don’t already have a clear accommodation plan in place, set time aside to formalize your policies and procedures around accommodation and flexibility.

Engaged HR transforms workplaces by providing essential human resource management services and expertise to non-profit organizations and small to medium-sized business. Whether you are building your start-up HR program, facing people-management challenges, or growing your business, Engaged HR will help you create a great place to work.

Funding available for Calgary initiatives to support affordable housing residents

May 7, 2019

As part of The Home Program, The City of Calgary is offering grants of seed money to non-profits for initiatives that improve the housing system and stimulate lasting positive change for affordable housing residents. Applications with a focus on improving tenant self-sufficiency and increasing participation in community well-being activities can receive up to $15,000 per initiative. This program also advances The City’s affordable housing strategy, Foundations for Home. Nonprofit applicants are asked to show benefits to the affordable housing resident community in four key areas:

  • Residents feel they have increased housing stability
  • Residents have increased financial competency
  • Residents are more comfortable with and have better access to community wellness services and activities
  • Increased opportunities for resident-led community wellness activities

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis while funds are available. Once $125,000 is awarded, the application process will close for 2019. Organizations may submit more than one application for consideration, and accepted initiatives must be completed within 12 months from the time the funds are awarded.

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