By Thomas Miller
In a labour market with incredibly low unemployment, businesses need to be ahead of the curve to maximize profits and get the most out of their workforce.
Starting on Wednesday, the 12th annual Business Education Month gives businesses the opportunity to continue learning.
The month-long event is put on by a partnership of Streetscapes Co., Community Futures, the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce, the Lloydminster Learning Council, the Lloydminster Construction Association and Lakeland College.
It all begins with Hugh Culver, a motivational speaker giving a presentation called “Give me a break,” over breakfast at the Exhibition Grounds.
The Learning Council is next on the docket with iPad workshops on March 1 and 2.
March 6 to 8 may be the most informative three days of the month, with sessions on labour standards, income tax and hiring right.
Scott Kovatch, manager of Community Futures Lloydminster, said the hiring right program is especially important given the low unemployment rate, which stood at 3.8 per cent in January according to Alberta Works.
“I can’t speak strongly enough on the importance of a program like that from the perspective of a low unemployment rate,” he said. “We have identified that a number of employers and businesses are so busy doing business that it’s hard for them to plan to even have a human-resources officer or perhaps find and keep a human-resources officer, which is the very start of developing a good hiring and retention and attraction program.
“I assume if you were to call 10 different employers in Lloydminster across the different industry sectors, eight of them are going to say that they’re hiring, seven of them are going to say that they’ve been hiring over the last year and probably six are going to say that they haven’t been successful in hiring to the amount, level, quality or quantity of individuals that they feel they need to have to have their business working at a maximum capacity.”
He said the hiring right workshop will focus on the intake process to help businesses attract and retain employees.
“Identifying properly the rules of the individuals that you’re hiring for and presenting that information appropriately to those individuals,” he explained.
“Past the intake process to ensure that when the individuals are hired that they understand their role and as an employer you’re providing them with enough information to feel comfortable with their work and to excel under the conditions that you’ve hired them.”
Executive director of the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce, Pat Tenney, explained that the labour standards workshop will also be beneficial given the unique situation that businesses find themselves in here in the Border City.
“It’s very important for business owners and managers to know what the labour laws are,” she said. “For instance, holidays are different (in the two provinces), vacation time is different between Alberta and Saskatchewan.”
Tenney said that the chamber has been involved with Business Education Month since the beginning.
“We used to do some of our own educational seminars and that sort of thing because there’s other organizations who also do that stuff, we decided that we needed to group together and spring our expertise and members together so that we’re not duplicating,” she said. “This is just a time when we get together and do some special, different things for our business community.”
To wrap up the event on March 28, Georgette Reed will speak to celebrate women in business.
Reed is a Canadian track and field legend, with 17 national titles over the course of her career. She currently coaches the sport at the University of Alberta.
She will speak about overcoming obstacles and how by learning from her experiences others get past barriers in their lives.