HR has a seat at the C-suite table: talent search boss

Global HR company Randstad Sourceright appoints its first Canada-based executive

The ability to select and implement the right people in the right roles can be the deciding factor in whether a company will sink or swim. In the human resources (HR) sector, striving for proficiency and success in this process is a constant battle for supremacy.

Randstad Sourceright is one of the world’s top-performing talent solutions companies. Recently, it appointed Jean-Francois Vezina, a Montreal native with over a decade of experience, as executive vice-president – the first Canada-based executive on Randstad Sourceright’s leadership team.

In an interview with Business in Vancouver, Vezina discussed how the landscape of the human resources industry has changed and how Canada fares on a global level when it comes to talent acquisition and retention.

Q&A

Q: What are some things that have changed drastically in the last five to 10 years within the human resources sector?

A: One thing that changed through the last five to 10 years is that in the past, we would see HR reporting in to the CFO. Now, HR truly has a seat at the table, and we do see the presence of HR at the table at the C-suite level. Frequently it was only in a few organizations, and today we see it much more frequently where there will be a CHR [chief human resources officer] within organizations too.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges in the HR industry today?

A: The notion of the employee has changed; the notion went from a full-time equivalent [FTE] employee, but organizations are starting to look at it as non-FTEs as well. Whether it’s contingent workers or contractors or consultants, any type of talent touching the organization becomes much more important … and organizations are starting to understand the impact of those other workers.

When we look at it from an HR perspective, whether it’s from an employee branding perspective or whether it’s from a human capital management perspective, any person touching the organization will have an impact on the performance. It is important to understand what we can leverage.… What should be the core business for the organization, not just [from] an operational standpoint but from a human capital standpoint? And where should we go … to either outsource or to acquire temporary talent or contracted talent to supplement to get the expertise needed at any point in time?

Providing agility with organizations becomes a very high concern, especially in an economy that is much more open globally where competition and productivity increases a lot. From an HR perspective, that creates new challenges as well. Which part of your workforce will you always have, and which part of your workforce do you add at a certain point in time based on what you need to achieve and the direction you need to take?

Q: What is unique about the HR industry in Canada and how does it differ from the rest of the world?

A: I think we are very well positioned in the country and in the world.… We are well positioned from an economic standpoint and we are well positioned from a logistics standpoint.

As a country, we are not the first movers typically when it comes to talent management, so we like to wait and see some of the best practices. In the U.S., they are a bit more advanced when it comes to practices for talent management – in the U.K. as well.

One of the opportunities, when it comes to Canada, is although we aren’t the first movers, I think there is potential to learn faster from what is being done in other countries and implement those practices faster. To bring us forward, have better practices, build more competitiveness … there is definitely an opportunity to increase the pace of change within our human capital practices, and that goes [for] both the governmental bodies as well as the private bodies.

Additionally, I think we made immigration slightly easier as of late. As we make immigration easier, I think we need, as a country, to be much better at integrating immigration into our economy. Diversity hiring would be one thing we need to improve on.… I think that’s something we have done well, is immigration, but we can do better at diversity hiring as well as recognition of competencies through that.