Don’t Stop Job Hunting During COVID19

COVID19 has transformed the Canadian employment landscape raising the unemployment rate and changing expectations. Many workers continue to face furloughs and lay-offs, while employers defer new hiring and are reassessing their workforce strategies. The COVID19 imposed lockdown has resulted in severe economic consequences including the loss of nearly 2 million jobs in April last year.

All this may seem daunting and as a candidate looking for work you may be asking yourself: what is the likelihood of being hired right now? While it may be a bit harder to find them, opportunities still exist, and you should continue to job hunt with the same ferocity as you normally would.

Here are some pro tips for job hunting during the pandemic:

1. Stay ahead of the competition
If more people decide to re-enter the workforce once the market recovers, competition will get fiercer. Get a head start by applying for available jobs and building relationships with different employers who may not be hiring just yet. Continue to build your personal brand and reach out to your network to let them know that you’re on the hunt.

2. Be more flexible
Roles that you were interested in before the pandemic may no longer exist or have to be performed differently now. Be open to working in new industries and applying for different roles, positions you may not have considered before such as part-time or contract work, just to get your foot in the door.

3. Leverage your tech skills
Companies are relying more on technologies simply because the shift to remote work has forced them to do so. They are more likely to hire adaptable, technologically savvy, team players with a growth mindset. Take this time to improve your tech skills and familiarize yourself with a wide range of digital platforms that businesses use.

Connect with our recruiting experts who can help you uncover opportunities and who have the inside scoop into many unadvertised jobs. Partnering with a recruitment agency comes at no cost to you but will provide you with the added horsepower to find work during a time when it’s less easy to do so.

5 Ways to Power Your Professional Development

Life-long learning is no longer an aspiration of select few but a widespread necessity of our fast-paced, technology driven, ever-changing economies, no matter what industry you work in.  Employees that cultivate a growth mindset are more likely to succeed professionally and attain those coveted leadership roles.  The good news is that professional development is easy to achieve with the digitization of information.  Anyone can now go on the internet and learn something new in minutes.           

According to a 2019 study conducted by IBM, as many as 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies may need upskilling in the next three years as a result of AI. While some skills will become obsolete, new ones will emerge to work effectively with AI.  To stay competitive and relevant to your organization, take charge of your professional growth and continuously be on the lookout for opportunities to learn, acquire new skills, explore novel technologies, and stay on top of industry trends. 

1. Join Online Courses & Training Sessions

Earning a certificate for a specific job function, to complement your college or university degree, is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition, stay up-to-date on skills and build out your resume.  There are many online platforms that offer a wide range of training sessions and courses, which can be done flexibly, on your own schedule.  LinkedIn Learning, Google Academy and Lynda are some of the more popular platforms for specific skill training.  Many colleges and universities also offer continuing education courses focusing on select topics.  And don’t forget about professional development certifications through industry associations.           

2. Expand Your Scope of Work

Many employees become disengaged at work because their tasks turn stagnant and their scope of work does not allow them to grow.  Don’t wait around for your manager to assign something new and challenging.  Instead, propose it yourself.  Look to your peers in the industry to gain inspiration for new projects.  Learn something new about the technology you’ve been using and share your knowledge with your team. 

3. Find a Mentor

Learning from someone else’s experiences is very valuable.  A mentor, someone you admire and aspire to become professionally, can share those industry secrets that you’ll never get from a book or a course.  They can provide you with objective guidance, motivate you, and offer tips to be more efficient and effective at your job.  Mentors can also be good constructive critics, often helping identify your shortcomings or areas for improvement, something that is not easy to do on your own.

4. Read & Write Regularly

There is no shortage of valuable content.  Regularly read industry blogs, articles and books to stay up to date on trends and data, discover new technologies, and much like with a mentor, learn from other people’s experiences in your field.  Not everyone likes to write but if you do, set up a blog of your own and start writing!  Blogging requires specific research and will expose you to new types of information.

5. Attend Industry Conferences

Conferences are a great way to network but also to expand your area of expertise.  You get to listen to speakers in different sub-fields of the industry and attend topic focused workshops or roundtables.   You often learn new techniques, get insights into unpublished data, and meet some of the biggest names in your field. 

Learning something new could be scary but it is also thrilling and satisfying.  Our roles, our industries are constantly changing and so must we.

Will a four-day work week become the new normal of employment?

In 2018, nearly 70 per cent of Canadians said they would prefer a compressed four-day work week, rather than a five-day work week, according to an Angus Reid poll. Not much has changed since then. Many leaders, in fact, are now weighing the opportunity of utilizing a compressed work structure to rebuild the current economy.

We surveyed our LinkedIn audience about the benefits of a four-day work week, and the results were not surprising. 54 per cent of the respondents claimed that it would bring in greater work-life balance, while 34 percent suggested that it would increase productivity.

So here’s the big question: are businesses and government organizations equipped to embrace a four-day work week? This idea is compelling and feasible but it requires thorough evaluation and strategic execution.

1. Who Would Benefit? Companies should consider which demographic of people would benefit the most from a compressed work week. Some believe that a 4-day work week would best suit people who are in their 50’s and 60’s. This economically influential generation can make use of an extra day off by attending to tasks that are being put off such as doctor’s appointments, spending time with loved ones or pursuing a new passion. On the other hand, millennials and gen Z’s are more focused on shaping work priorities in ways that fit their daily lives, which includes remote work or a compressed work week.

2. Establishing A Trial Period: A four-day work structure is highly dependent on business and employee needs. Employees are drawn towards companies that offer flexibility and with a four-day work week concept, companies can become more desirable to job seekers. Perhaps doing a trial run for a couple of months and monitoring productivity and employee satisfaction is a good beginning point. In 2018, New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian, a trust management company, tested this compressed work structure for 2 months with 240 team members. Productivity levels increased by 20 per cent and employee stress levels reduced by 7 per cent. Similarly, in August 2019, Microsoft Japan experimented this concept with it’s Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer Program, giving 2,300 employees five Fridays off without a pay decrease and a 40 per cent increase in productivity.

3. Assessing Business Operations: To evaluate whether a 4-day work concept is suitable for a company, leadership teams need to start by understanding their work culture and make decisions around the seasonality of their business. For instance, in California, an employee is entitled to over-time pay after eight hours of work a day. This means a non-exempt employee on a four-day work week would be receiving eight hours of overtime pay every week, if companies move to a 4 day, 40 work hours scenario.

4. Stakeholder Evaluation: Businesses should examine the impact of a four-day work week structure on its stakeholders on both sides of the value chain. Will companies lose valuable business by not being available five days of the week? If your clients/vendors operate on a traditional work schedule, but your team is working a compressed week, how is this going to impact coordination and ultimately productivity? Be prepared for the challenges associated with a compressed work week and plan accordingly to mitigate any issues.


A three-day weekend sounds great, but it may not be suitable for everyone and every business. There are certainly pros and cons to doing this. Will it become a new normal of employment? Perhaps. But it will likely happen in stages and require a widespread change in attitude.

The Pros and Cons of Virtual Accounting Teams

Remote work is reshaping the future of employment, inclusive of finance roles. According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Confidence Index, 83 percent of Finance professionals claim that they can be individually effective when working remotely while 82 percent felt the entire industry could be remotely effective. Which is not surprising considering that many finance tasks do not require frequent interaction between people. Are virtual accounting teams then the way of the future? Maybe so. Companies shouldn’t dismiss the idea.

We put together a list of pros and cons for employing a virtual finance and accounting team, to help get the conversation started:

PROS

Real-Time Access To Accounts: Cloud-based accounting software such as Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Wave and Xero and file hosting platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox have enabled accounting teams to work remotely and share financial data easily. Leadership teams can access up-to date financial reports in a timely manner and can be sure to achieve higher data accuracy because of the multiple eyes on the books. Real-time access to accounts also allows for data-driven decision making.

Flexible Hiring: Virtual accounting professionals can be more easily hired on an as needed basis and are unrestricted by geography thus expanding your talent pool. Since accounting and bookkeeping needs can vary from one financial period to another, companies can hire contract/temporary accounting professionals to work on specific projects for a certain number of hours without the hassle of setting them up in a physical setting.

Cost Savings: With virtual accounting teams, companies can benefit from reduced overhead costs, like paying for extra office space and supplies to accommodate additional hires, especially ones that come on board for a temporary period to help with project needs.  There is also potential to save costs on computers if you allow your remote team to use personal devices.  

CONS

Limited Control: Managers could feel that a certain degree of control has been lost with virtual teams. Therefore, it is important to maintain consistent communication and conduct regular check-ins to keep a tab on the company’s finances.

Poor Coordination: If your accounting team requires on-site collaboration with other departments or needs access to in-house systems to carry out specific functions, going virtual might result in poor coordination and hinder productivity.

Data Security Threats: As company’s leverage cloud-based technologies for remote data access, it becomes easier for hackers to misuse sensitive financial information. Safeguarding financial information beyond the bounds of a company’s internal network is crucial. Virtual accounting teams should consider implementing multi-factor authentication to ensure that confidential information is not being compromised at any cost.

Networking in 2020: Continue Building Relationships

By ProVision Staffing

Reaching out to your network through emails, texts or calls has never been more important than now. Pre-pandemic, networking events were held at specific venues but now these have shifted to online mediums. COVID19 has changed the way people connect, but that doesn’t mean that networking or nurturing of relationships should stop.

Here are few tips to help you strengthen your network amidst social distancing:

1. Strategic Online Networking: With in-person meetings and professional events off the calendar for a little while now, make the most use of online networking platforms such as LinkedIn, or even registering for webinars and podcasts that interest you. Spend time connecting with professionals that share similar interests and or those who work within the same industry.

2. Re-engage Existing Contacts: Building a genuine network involves checking in on your existing network, be it your ex-colleague or previous employer. Think about the various touchpoints and how you can proactively reach out to them. Connect with your strongest allies and let them know what you’re looking for: it could be a new job, investment ideas or career advice.

3. Personalize Your Communication: This is the right time for you to lead and engage your connections with personalized communication. Engage in relevant and meaningful conversations that you would be happy to receive. It could be as simple as wishing your ex-colleague ‘Happy Birthday’ or congratulating someone on completing a one-year work anniversary. These gestures will help you in building stronger connections.

4. Practice Empathy: Everyone is dealing with COVID19 related anxiety and isolation in some way or another. When approaching someone that has been affected by this crisis, it is important to extend empathy and reaffirm that things will get better.

5. Leverage LinkedIn: LinkedIn recently introduced a quick and easy way to solicit feedback from your network via ‘LinkedIn polls’. This is a great feature to spark new conversations, receive relevant input and have informed discussions with your connections. Use this downtime to work on your LinkedIn profile, update your work history, request recommendations from previous employers/mentors and start sharing authentic content with your connections and those who are not within your network.

Remote Onboarding: How to Better Integrate New Hires

When we bring on a new employee, we go the extra mile to make them feel welcomed. We like to leave a special note on their desk with a motivational message. There are lots of introductions and friendly handshakes. Maybe a special lunch event organized. But alas, not anymore. Remote onboarding has proven to be a totally different experience.

While it’s hard to recreate the enthusiasm that you get from a physical in-person introduction to a group of people in an office, making new employees feel appreciated and welcomed should not be deprioritized during this time. Companies can simply make some adaptations to their regular on-boarding routines and make use of technology in order to continue to make a great impression on new hires.

For this article, we spoke with Mark Nishikawa of HIRE Technologies and Lindsay Carson of ProVision Staffing, both of whom had to be introduced into our work family remotely. They shared tips and experiences to help us craft a guide for a more successful onboarding of remote workers:

Digitize on-boarding documents

On-boarding employees usually involves a lot of paperwork, from signing deposit and tax forms to integrating the new hire into a company-wide benefits plan. Digitizing these documents can translate into meaningful time and cost savings for the employer and employee. HR software such as BambooHR, WorkBright, ClearCompany, Zenefits & ProProfs Knowledge Base automate the on-boarding process. For example, ProProfs Knowledge Base helps managers create a virtual employee handbook to familiarize new hires with company policies, vision, mission etc. “Digitizing the onboarding process frees managers from manual paperwork and allows them to shift their focus on optimizing new hire engagement,” Mark suggested.

Setting up a work-from-home station

Cloud-based technologies make it easy for new employees to hit the ground running even from home. Offer assistance in setting those up and make sure to assign appropriate user permissions to avoid frustrations. “It’s helpful to get an overview of what applications and tools are required for the job and to have the login credentials noted in one place,” Lindsay suggested. Be sure to also ship any required hardware (such as laptops) in advance of the start date, preferably all set up and ready to go.

Communication is key

Good, widespread communication is always important but especially so when everyone is working remotely. Announce the addition of a new employee with a company-wide email briefly outlining their role. Include a short profile with their interests and hobbies to help start conversations among the team. “It helps to feel welcome when your manager reaches out consistently and tries to answer your questions,” Lindsay pointed out.

Use Video Conferencing

Face-to-face interactions through video calls are vital to the success of remote onboarding. “A group call to introduce the members of the company is helpful because you can put a face to a name,” Mark mentioned. Organize regular group video calls, even if brief, for the benefit of helping the new employee interact with their coworkers, rebuild office banter, and help keep your company culture alive.

One-on-one meetings

Don’t forget that new employees need a little bit more attention. You want them to last, you want them to be engaged, and you want them to succeed, after all. In an office it is easy to see when someone is struggling or finding something to be a challenge. But remotely not so much. One-on-one virtual meetings or calls between the new employee and their manager are a good way to provide support, identify struggle points, and nurture a professional relationship.

Coping With Job Loss: Take Charge & Keep Going

Two-in-five Canadian households have already experienced some type of job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Losing your job is stressful under normal circumstances but during this time of uncertainty it can be especially daunting.  But don’t give in to despair and anxiety.  Take charge of the situation and develop a plan for being mentally healthy and focused on your goal of finding another opportunity in due time.  

We would like to share some tips for staying on track and remaining optimistic as you find yourself stuck at home, isolated and/or frustrated, and with much more time on your hands than you were used to:

Keep job searching:  Stay positive and recognize that this is a temporary setback.  While getting back out there with an aggressive job search and networking agenda right now might be tricky due to office closures and social distancing, keep moving ahead and don’t stop looking for opportunities.  Hiring may have slowed in many industries but hiring managers and staffing firms are building a pipeline of talent at all times.  Reach out to them and pitch what you have to offer.

Hone your skills:  Use this time to update your skills as well as learn some new things.  Research which skills are most valuable to employers in your industry and sign up for online classes or free tutorials.  There are also many charitable organizations who can use a helping hand right now.  Volunteering is a good way to gain some hands-on experience in a different capacity and will help to fill the employment gap in your resume.

Grow your network: This might seem an impossible task in today’s world of social distancing and isolation, but growing your network is still achievable.  Join a webinar and interact with the participants and/or presenters, engage in conversations by email or phone, and connect with new groups on social media. Start with your existing network and devise a plan for how you can build out.  Because many opportunities go unadvertised, having a strong network is very helpful.

Connect with a staffing firm: We don’t bite.  In fact, our recruiters can help you assess your skills, provide tips on best resume writing practices, and talk you through the necessary steps for finding a new job, all without any cost to you.  Think of us as your support system during this time.  Friends and family can offer sympathy, but we will take charge and set you on a course to a new career opportunity.

Losing a job is never easy.  Companies are having to make difficult decisions during this time and employee layoffs are unfortunately the consequence of having to cut back on operations and expenses.  No matter what your personal situation is, try to remain motivated and set yourself up for job search success for after everything returns to normal.      

For information about what the Canadian government is offering to workers who have lost their job due to COVID-19

The Key to Differentiation: Your Employees!

For many companies, finding points of differentiation is a struggle as they compete in a generally oversaturated landscape of similar businesses. Your service offering alone will not get you very far nor will a fancy new, avant-garde website. So how can you crush your competition and be the first-choice company for your customers? Start from within: recognize that your employees and those you hire are key to setting your company apart.   

Think of employees as your brand ambassadors. The more they believe in your mission and the more passionate they are about it, the better they will pitch it and provide more effective customer outreach. Let’s not forget that 93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service. (Hubspot Research)

Below we share 3 tips to empowering your employees and turning them into exceptional brand ambassadors:   

Communicate and keep communicating: Maintain open lines of communication at all times.  Inclusive communication and feedback build understanding and respect within the workplace while keeping everyone engaged. Employees also need to have the right information to be able to share your brand’s story and deliver a consistent message. 

Recognize and Acknowledge: Boost employee morale, regularly with positive, upbeat messages and company events.  Embrace a culture of self-improvement by supporting professional development initiatives and reward accomplishments with special gestures. Celebrate successes and share losses together as this binds employees and creates a greater sense of belonging. 

Encourage Brand Stewardship – Create opportunities for employees to promote your brand through social media and allow them to be the voice (make sure it’s a positive voice!). Motivate employees to share your story through videos or podcasts, and encourage them to share authentic content that is relevant to your brand.

Treat ALL employees like partners and hire with emphasis on cultural fit and personality.  Show your customers that you’re different through their positive interaction with your staff, something that will impress them a lot more than anything else.    

Use Self-Isolation to Advance Your Career

As you find yourself with more free time at home during COVID19-imposed isolation, take this opportunity to reflect on your career.  Are you feeling challenged and satisfied by what you are doing in your current role?  Can you improve or update some of your skills?  What is the next step for your professional advancement?  Many of us don’t get to ask these questions on a regular basis, as we struggle to keep up with many every day demands.  Now is the time to evaluate and be proactive. 

Update your online presence

Start with updating your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, create one!  Employers nowadays look at LinkedIn regularly and it could be their first impression of you.  Spend time building your personal brand and displaying your professional strengths.  Make sure that all your social media platforms show you in the best possible light.  Blogging about your area of expertise is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership and give credibility to your qualifications.  Use your online presence to network and reach out to potential employers of choice.

Train and re-train yourself 

This is the best time to learn and develop a new skill.  Look for online courses that can help you enhance your knowledge.  Most provide a certification of completion that you can add to your portfolio and resume. Also, start reading those interesting industry publications and blogs that have been sitting on your list but you haven’t had a chance to get to.  Catch up on trends, refresh necessary software skills, and learn about new technology platforms that might benefit your career in the long run.

Reconnect with your contacts

Use this downtime to catch up with your friends, former colleagues, past employers or anyone that you have not heard from in a long time.  During this time of social isolation, they will appreciate a friendly hello and the extra bit of human interaction.  As you reconnect with them, new and surprising career opportunities might present themselves.

Participate in online discussions. 

Online forums are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and discuss shared experiences. Join discussions that align with your interests and share resources that can benefit you and the community. Online forums provides you exposure to different job opportunities, help you grow your circle of friends, allow you gain feedback from industry experts and empower you with access to new and relevant information.

Staying isolated at home is certainly not easy but we’re all in this together.  With a focussed and goal-oriented mindset, you can make the best of it and set yourself up for success once society returns to normal.

Recruiting in the Time of Social Distancing

By Elizabeth Connelly, Vice President

The challenging reality of COVID19 in Canada continues to unfold daily, leaving many businesses in a scramble to deal with its effects.  Hiring, as a result, may have slid down your priority list yet it’s important to keep your grasp on top finance and accounting talent, particularly in preparation for a different economic landscape to come.  But how should you proceed with recruiting in a new time of social distancing and isolation?  Here are some tips to keep you engaged with top talent and continue to build a strong relationship without in-person meetings:

Keep the Line of Communication Strong

While we remain in isolation mode and shift gears to crisis management, it shouldn’t mean that communication with candidates of choice must cease.  Video conferencing, text messaging, email – these are all very obvious ways that you can use technology to stay in touch and get to know them further without having to meet in person.  Think of this as an opportunity to nurture that relationship and take it to the next level, beating your competition to the finish line when everything goes back to normal. 

Impress Through Marketing

Instead of inviting the candidate to your office to meet with the team, woo them by sending a customized, well-designed package, either digitally or by snail mail, that contains information about your company’s achievements, industry highlights, and company culture.  Include statistics, team bios, and even positive testimonials from other employees.  Show your company’s personality through branded graphics and office photos.  Candidates will appreciate the effort and it will help to sway their decision in your favour.  

Develop a Revised On-boarding Plan

Hiring during this time may require on-boarding the candidate while your office remains closed and everyone continues to work from home.  Adjust your company’s plans accordingly so that anyone joining your team will feel welcomed and appropriately supported despite not having too much face-to-face time.  Set up a group video call giving everyone an opportunity to introduce themselves, provide necessary training remotely, and adjust your expectations for roles that do not normally accommodate working from home, as the learning curve might be a bit steeper.  

Supporting each other is essential to navigating through the current, COVID19-imposed hiring challenges.  For companies this means adjusting their expectations and for candidates it means being flexible and patient.