people management

We always consider the staff an important factor when valuing a practice. Optometry, much like many other sectors of the economy, is facing severe workforce shortages in all facets of their team.

These challenges can be found throughout the country. Whether it is a shortage of optometric assistants or lab technicians, and unrealistic salary expectations from new hires, or the threat of staff leaving due to offers of significant wage increases, the situation is the same no matter where you are.

HR was always a challenge for many owners, but no one can argue that it has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Adapt a Proactive Strategy
Staff turnovers and shortages will continue to be a serious issue; therefore, owners need to create a two-prong strategy that enables them to be more proactive instead of reactive. Like the old expression goes, “best defence is a good offence”.

I would suggest that the first prong include the change of recruitment and hiring techniques. Consider widening your pool of potential candidates.

Traditionally, optometrists looked to temp and recruiting agencies which makes sense because ideally, candidates have qualifications and training. However, if these people cannot be found, why not be creative and expand your potential list.

A key and valuable employee in any service business is one who has excellent communication and customer service skills. Therefore, think about people from other industries that can be trained to work in a dental office.

Another suggestion is to energize your interview process. We can all agree that the interview, offer, negotiation and onboarding process often takes far too long. It is amazing how many people do not craft questions based on the culture of the practice. Many go straight to the tasks and duties that the candidate will have to perform.

While this is important, identifying key traits in an individual is truly beneficial. Remember, using old patterns in these challenging times may cost you a strong candidate. It is worth noting that in this market, you can assume that candidates are interviewing with multiple employers, and an efficient and thoughtful hiring process can help you stand out.

Focus on Retention
The second prong strategy must be to focus on retaining the employees you have. Given the competitive landscape, it may be worth more to invest in the employees you have rather than look for new ones.

Think about offering better financial and educational incentives. The goal is to keep your employees feeling valued and motivated. Employees will be more likely to stay with you if they believe they cannot find a better opportunity elsewhere.

Make it a priority to make sure this is true. Studies have shown that employees stay committed to their employers when they are involved, mentored, paid well, empowered, appreciated, listened to, understood, and valued.

Owners must do an assessment and see if they encourage these traits and adjust appropriately if not. Remember, an owner’s biggest responsibility aside from patient care is to manage and motivate the team.

Your employees are the ones that will go the extra mile for your patients. Unfortunately, if a team member does not feel valued, appreciated, or challenged at work, they stop focusing on taking care of patients and unfortunately start to focus on themselves.

It’s Your Responsibility to Lead and Nurture
It is the practice owner’s responsibility to hire talent, train accordingly and applaud employees for their efforts in having a healthy work environment. Employees who are confident, knowledgeable, and respected in their profession will have a higher likelihood of staying committed to their employers.

Your job as the owner is to be committed to developing a high-quality optometry practice management system that nurtures your team and leadership growth. It is so critical for an owner to listen to their employees.

You must have enough humility to do this. Remember to give positive feedback – point out what is working out well. Praise employees for their hard-work and commitment.

Remember to treat your employees the way that you treat your patients. Both can truly destroy a practice if you are not taking care of them. Your employees need to know that they are part of a team.

Whether that means offering to get them coffee when you are out, bringing in Taco Tuesdays, or taking them axe throwing to build relationships with each other. You want your team to enjoy being together and working toward the same goals.

If you like the people you work with, feel respected and listened to, can grow as a professional without a micromanager breathing down your back, the stress will decrease. If doctors let their teams support them, the employees will stay because they love where they work, and your patients will be happy because there is no turnover.

Jackie Joachim, COO ROI Corp


Jackie Joachim is Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation. Please contact her at or 1-844-764-2020.


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Eye Care Business Canada studied over 100 publicly posted Optometry and Optical positions which reveal what Canadian practice owners are offering in the battle to recruit talent. Job postings included in the study were made between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2022.

The study indicates that a significant portion of eye care professionals posting jobs are making a fundamental error, potentially confusing search algorithms and job seekers.

Top-Line Results
Unsurprisingly, Optometrists are at the apex of the pay scale, garnering salary expectations more than double that of Licensed Opticians.

Among non-licensed roles, the study reveals a wide range of hourly wages even within a specific job type. Many employers provide hybrid job descriptions and offered wages reflect a 50% differential between the minimum and maximum wage within one job posting. Why?

Job Postings can be Confusing to Job Seekers
While employers may specify a wider salary range based upon their willingness to pursue candidates with little or more experience, the study found that the wide $ per range cited in a job post is more often associated with “hybrid” job definitions, such as combining job postings for Opticians with Optometric Assistants in one post.

Tim Brenner, Chief Visionary Officer, of Talent Sorter and, indicates that such “mashup” job postings may compromise online job searches and might confuse the candidates as to what the job entails.

“Getting your job posting found by the right candidate requires a focused keyword approach. Job Titles should be clear and succinct and repeated in the post at least three times”, says Brennan.  Posting multiple positions in one post creates a dilution of the impact.

While the general labour shortage might tempt a practice owner to cast a wider net by including two or more titles within one job post, this may be counter-intuitive to the way a job seeker finds and views your job post and be sub-optimal in a candidate’s an online search.

Brennan advises employers to make the extra effort to post separate jobs, with each job focused on the specific job title, description, salary expectations, and growth opportunities. “If you find your star candidate for one position, you can delete the other or keep it running”, says Brennan.

This approach fits with one other best practice for hiring; Always be recruiting.


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Eye Care and Optical Eyeployment

Managing people as part of clinical practice has never been easy. Staff management issues have always been near, or at the top of the list of challenges that both independent practice owners and optical retailers face.

“If it wasn’t for the people this job would be easy…”

Enter COVID.
To say that COVID  has created employment uncertainty is an understatement. From an array of employment attitudinal studies conducted across a wide swath of different industries, we have a good understanding of how attitudes have changed in the employer/employee relationship as a result of COVID induced employment pressures.

Many employers are bracing for the substantial challenges they currently face and those that will continue to roll over the employment markets as COVID variants oscillate to create waves of uncertainty.

Buoyed by COVID-induced savings buffers and increasing vaccination rates, the YOLO (You Only Live Once) phenomena, first penned by the New York Times this spring, has emerged.

The YOLO mindset, most often attributed to the Millennial generation, has given rise to a tsunami of resignations as individuals pursue long-deferred dreams of new independent ventures and freedom from the grip of their employers.

Resignation Waves, Dominos and New Rules
Tim Brennan, Chief Visionary Officer, FitFirst Technologies,  a company offering candidate assessment technologies using Artificial Intelligence (AI), said recent research indicates “40% of the workforce say they are looking to change jobs in the next year.  53% are prepared to change industries if training is provided. You have a wave of good reliable, productive people making personal decisions to change things up.”

Behind the millennials, a wave of younger workers are looking to step up into the vacancies potentially causing a second wave of resignations. “We can see the signs of this already with Help Wanted signs everywhere, some businesses are operating on reduced hours and all wondering where they are going to find the people they need”, opined Brennan.

The Globe & Mail cites Travis O’Rourke, president of recruiting firm Hays Canada, advising that the competition to hire and retain workers is leading to higher wages. “It’s absolutely a war for talent, and workers are winning,” he said.

Ah, but Our Industry is Different.
Of course it is …  isn’t it?

A new Canadian Eye Industry Survey is available. Your participation can help answer these questions.

Canada Eye Care Employment Survey


Admittedly, physical site dependent health care services like optometry and optical may be different. To some extent location dependency diminishes the impact. Few jobs in eye care were moved from the practice to the home, and thus workers desiring to continue their current job from home is largely a moot point.

The veterinary industry, however, has not been immune to the challenges of acquiring and retaining personnel.  Amid the COVID pet adoption surge, Veterinarians are reportedly having huge challenges with employee retention and filling increasing vacancies.

Employees are “Hunkering Down”
The uncertainty has also created a “sheltering in place” phenomena. “ 80% are concerned about their career growth , 72% say the pandemic has caused them to rethink their skill-sets and 59% have sought out skills training without the support of their employer. If even a portion of these people act on their concerns, they will add to the resignation tsunami and it will extend beyond millennials”, according to Brennan.

Quietly bearing the stress but ready to move: These may be the employees in your current workplace, waiting for opportunity.

Kareem Merali, co-owner of C2020, a Canadian recruiting and training firm focused exclusively on ECPs, is seeing the effects first-hand: “With an influx of jobs available, employees and job seekers have a lot more variety to choose from, not only from within the optical industry but outside of it as well.”

Merali further points out that retention of lower paying positions has become a greater challenge and that government COVID subsidy programs, like CERB, make it more difficult.

“I think owners will need to share a larger piece of the pie than they are used to in order to keep the right talent and stay profitable,” says Merali.

Impact in Corporate Optometry
Maria Sampalis, Founder of Corporate Optometry, a networking resource for Optometrists sub-leasing in corporate environments, is seeing a rise in OD salaries in the US.

Sampalis agrees, “Acquiring good talent in a shortage of available candidates is the number one challenge facing Corporations”.

She is seeing corporations respond to the issue in innovative ways, including forging partnerships with professional schools and even engaging in tuition reimbursement programs.

Training and Support: Keys to Retention
Brennan and Merali agree that keeping staff engaged and motivated is vital to retaining great staff and that training and team building are critical elements.

Practice owners should consider team-building events, mindfullness activities, out of the box training rather than simply throwing money at increased wages. Employers will have to be even more aware of the needs of their employees.

We Need Answers
There are no known studies  of the eyecare/optical industry employment trends. “Industry leaders, employers and individuals making career decisions about their future need to better understand the employment dynamics, options and opportunities”, says David Pietrobon, President of VuePoint IDS Inc, and publisher of Eye Care Business Canada. The Canada Eye Care Employment Survey, will help answer these most important questions.

Eye Care Business Canada will be hosting a digital event on November 8th  as part of its “Changing Landscape: Opportunities & Options for Canadian ECPs” series focusing on employment opportunities under the title, “Career Pathfinders: Making Informed Decisions”., a premier sponsor of this event has launched an online survey to measure the attitudes of both employers and employees regarding the current eye care employment situation. Tim Brennan will provide an overview of the employment situation and share the results of the survey with attendees.

Respondents to the survey will receive a  summary report of the research findings and a complimentary invitation to the November webinar where the results will be shared

The online survey is available now at:  CLICK HERE TO TAKE SURVEY  4-5 mins.



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Eye Care Business Canada and have announced the meeting dates for a three-part series, “Changing Landscapes: Opportunities & Options for Canadian ECPs”.

The three-event series will start on Monday October 25th (7:30 PM Eastern) and will run on three consecutive weeks  i.e. Monday, November 1st  and Monday, November 8th.

The series will debut Eye Care Business Canada’s platform for digital events and feature  industry thought leaders from Canada’s leading eye care organizations, each contributing their perspectives to important topics of relevance to optometrists and optical professionals in the current, always changing, environment.

The event series will be moderated by Roxanne Arnal, OD and Certified Financial Planner, bringing an informed and unique perspective to the events.

Technology Drives Change

The first event (October 25th)  will  delve into the key technology factors expected to impact the future of professional practice in the near term. Tele-optometry, impact of omni-channel selling and remote face trace technology enabling touchless ophthalmic lens dispensing are among the factors to be discussed.

Whether or not professions embrace emerging technologies or avoid them, there is no denying technology’s potential game changing role in both the clinical and commercial side of practice.

Follow up Events: Buying & Selling and Career Paths

Has COVID changed the valuations of eye care practices?

Industry experts will provide perspectives on the current state of play in the Canadian practice acquisition market.

Current owners and astute prospective owners seeking opportunity will hear from and meet first-hand through the virtual platform in the second event Monday, November 1.

Career options and opportunities or both young and experienced ODs have never been greater as new organizations offering unique business models enter the market and established entities respond to the changing environment.

Career Pathfinders: Making Smart Career Choices is the topic of the third event on Monday, November 8th.

Event registration is now open. Click Here for Details. 




Limited Premium, Partner and Friend sponsorships are still available.

For organizations wishing to sponsor a virtual table at any of the events, please contact for further information.

Event Details:

Changing Landscapes Webinar: Technology Drivers of Change

Changing Landscapes Webinar: Selling & Buying a Practice

Changing Landscapes Webinar: Career Pathfinders: Making Choices


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While many eyecare practices do not have human resource specialists at their disposal, it’s always of benefit to understand what best practices are among sophisticated businesses that have HR specialists. This is true of pre-employment background checks.

Let’s look at best practices in background checks and how you might apply them in your eye care business.

Background checks have long been a part of many businesses’ hiring processes. It is the primary method employers and hiring managers use to gather valuable information on a candidate to help them judge whether a person is the right fit for their organization.

A designated employee or a third-party provider typically conducts background checks. Employers can run different types of background checks on job applicants. Some may require applicants to submit fingerprints, while others may call references to conduct a reference check. The amount and kind of background information collected will depend on the type of job the person is applying for and what the employer needs to know about their potential candidate.

While we will focus on the types of associates that eye care practices employ, it’s also important to understand the relevant employment laws of your province.

Privacy laws and human rights laws in Canada impose guidelines on background checks that companies can conduct on job applicants. Their privacy laws advocate minimum data collection. This means that if an employer does not need specific information (e.g., driver’s license number) for the job the employer cannot ask for it in their forms.

Moreover, employers must obtain a signed consent form from a candidate to collect their information. Companies also should be transparent with applicants about the following:

  • What personal data they are collecting
  • With whom they are sharing personal information
  • How they are collecting personal information
  • Why they are collecting the personal information
  • What are the risks or consequences the candidate faces should someone obtain these pieces of information

Canadian laws seek to protect employees’ privacy and human rights while also balancing the interest of the employer.

Reviewing Employment Background Checks

Employment background checks can take a lot of time and effort. It is essential to ensure that the process is done legally and correctly for the information gathered to be helpful to hiring managers. A small mistake could result in disqualifying the wrong candidate, leading to unnecessary costs spent on superfluous interviews or other aspects of the recruitment process.

Not having a person responsible for background checks and making sure these background checks are done correctly,  could have catastrophic results.

Many practice managers and owners don’t fully grasp how important this is because they do not know how to conduct their background check on a candidate properly. They also may not be aware of the importance of doing this properly and efficiently.

Conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks

Hiring managers can do a background check on individuals applying for a job in their companies. However, some laws govern what aspects of the candidate’s background they can check and how they should go about the process.

In most cases, employers and hiring managers can look into the following aspects of a job applicant’s background:

Licensing and Educational Background

Verifying a candidate’s license status might seem elementary, but it is essential. In most cases a simple check with the relevant provincial college or association to ensure an individual has a license in good standing is a quick and easy task.

If you are unable to easily verify that an individual is in good standing with their professional college, proceed with extreme caution.

For both jobs requiring a license and even for those that do not, educational background is part of ensuring the candidate has the skills and knowledge to perform the responsibilities of the position they are applying for.

It is also beneficial to know if the candidate has taken any courses at a vocational school since these programs will provide relevant hands-on work experience. If a candidate has a degree, it is vital to verify that what they say about their major and minor fields of study are accurate.

Employment History and References

The last thing any practice wants is to hire someone who is late for work every day or who turns into an entirely different person once they start working.

Some people also make false claims about their employment history. A thorough background check can verify what the candidate says about their previous employment and whether they are being honest about their work experience. A candidate’s work history will also show if they have previously been terminated and have a record of severe offenses in their previous employment.

Criminal History

Companies must hire candidates who have a clean record. This will keep their company safe from any legal problems that would result from a candidate who breaks the law. Hiring an employee with a history of violent crimes may also compromise workplace safety and security. Hence, companies must ensure they are hiring trustworthy, law-abiding employees.

Driving Record

While driving is not often a responsibility within an eyecare practice, a person’s driving history can help an employer determine if a candidate is good at following rules and regulations. A driver’s history is often cited in cases involving accidents, speeding tickets, or drunk driving charges. Hiring an employee who does not have a clean driving record could cost a company thousands of dollars in fines or harm its reputation as an employer that cares about safety policies. If driving for any purpose is part of the job description, a driving record check is essential.

Consumer Credit Reports

A hiring manager may consider checking the applicant’s credit history to learn more about the candidate’s character and bad payment history. Credit reports can show whether a person is making payments on time and how they manage their finances. Although it is illegal for employers to refuse a candidate based solely on their credit score, this step can help them determine if a candidate can handle their financial responsibilities. This is of particular importance if bookkeeping or handling cash receipts is part of the job description.

Social Media

In recent years, more and more employers will look into a candidate’s social media activity. There have been cases where companies have decided to fire candidates based on their social media profiles because they found illegal or offensive content that can jeopardize their reputation.

Employers can’t legally use what someone says in their social media profile. Still, it can be investigated and used in a court of law if the employer feels an employee’s social media activity reflects poorly on the employer. Social media posts and activities can also contain red flags that employers and hiring managers may consider before hiring a candidate.

The Takeaway

All of these aspects of an applicant’s background can provide valuable information that will help companies judge if candidates will be a good fit for their practice.

It is up to the practice owner or hiring manager (if there is one) to decide which aspects of a candidate’s background are most important. For example, companies that require candidates with professional licenses will need to verify that the license is in good standing.

You should not rely on your instincts alone when conducting pre-employment background checks on candidates. These types of reports require experts who know what they are doing.

Some Resources to Help:
Today. The web provides convenient resources that makes record checking and attaining references much less onerous than in previous years.

Here are two services to help you qualify a prospect and provide the assurance that you’re getting a star for your practice. 

Feature Photo Courtesy of: Marten Newhall from Unsplash


is a writer, digital marketing specialist, and human resource specialist. She creates content and contributes to several blogs and websites regularly. Laura writes about business, hiring, employment, employee engagement, career advice, and digital marketing.

She worked as a hiring manager for years before pursuing a career in digital marketing and writing.


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people management

This job would be easy if it wasnt for the the people!


by Maria Sampalis, OD

Compensation plans for optometric practices need to be executed carefully since they are a significant expenses for an optometry clinic.

You need to do is the right way to ensure that you don’t end up costing the clinic too much money. Here are five critical steps required to implement a proper action plan that will make the entire process more efficient.

1. Determining the Right Market Pay Rate for Every Position
Each position at the clinic will require a different compensation amount. You will need to use a salary survey to establish bands for salaries. These bands are basic groupings of existing salary rates based on the experience of the candidate or the employee. You will need to determine the amounts for senior, mid-career, and entry-level positions. This can help you make decisions about hiring and raises.

Publishers’s NOTE:  Published Salary rate bands are difficult to come by in Canada.  With a little bit of effort, data points may be available with minimal cost or even free of charge at

2. Creating Comprehensive Job Descriptions for Every Position
You should think carefully about the responsibilities and duties of every position.

Having a detailed and proper job description that includes duties, required skills, educational levels, and working hours can help the candidates and employees understand their position in a better way.

The description should also have a summary of expected employee behaviour.

The more accurate you are, the more realistically the employees can approach the task. The optometrists should make sure that the employees do their tasks well, and the job description can help with that.

3. Explain the Entire Process to the Team
Making sure you are transparent is the most important thing.

You should answer any questions and make sure the employees know everything they can about the job.

You should also meet with every employee individually to make sure they have a clear understanding of the expectations and compensation plan. This process will pay off in the long run.

4. Ensuring Team Accountability
The performance standards and responsibilities need to be met, but don’t wait till the end of the year to update the employees on their standing.

You should give regular and clear feedback throughout the year to ensure that they are able to improve their performance. Frequent evaluations and reviews will help them, and they will definitely appreciate it too.

5. Reviewing Team Performance, Revenue, and Potential Raises
Evaluate who are the top performers for the year and reward them before anyone else.

Then, you should look at the employees who may not have met your expectations and consider other options.

For example, you can look for new hires or provide a chance for them to develop further. Offering formal reviews for all the team members can help.

Optometry compensation plans may not always be easy to execute, but only if you don’t follow the right steps. It doesn’t have to be such a complicated procedure if you have an action plan in place


is the founder of Corporate Optometry, a peer-to-peer web resource for ODs interested to learn more about opportunities in corporate optometry. Canadian ODs and optometry students can visit to learn more.


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These three commonly-held beliefs about hiring have been around for a long time. They might have been good advice to someone, at some point in time… but if they are part of your unconscious belief systems, you’d best revisit your assumptions.

The thing about ‘conventional wisdom’, is that all too often it relates to things we’ve been doing a certain way for so long we don’t even remember the original assumptions any longer. It’s kinda like autopilot – you set it and forget it. There’s an awful lot of ‘autopilot’ in our lives. Sometimes that’s OK – and sometimes it can hurt you.

Here are three areas where you may be on autopilot without realizing it… and where you may want to consider taking back the controls and charting a different course:

1. The ideal candidate will possess X years’ experience in the job/function/industry.

How often, in your advertising and in your mindset, to you impose the ‘experience required’ rule? How critical is that previous experience, really, or would you be better off to hire someone with a great attitude, a diversity of experience they can bring to bear in a creative way, and a track record of learning quickly and figuring things out? In many cases, that experience that people bring to the table may actually be a liability, in the form of bad habits and narrow beliefs.

2. Hire the very best you can afford at all times.
This may seem like sacrilege, but think carefully for a moment. You have a certain amount you can afford. Stretching financially to hire a rock star can sometimes backfire on you in a couple of ways – one, it can starve you of talent in other areas (think baseball – are you better off hiring an expensive home run hitter, or three far less expensive players who consistently get on base?) – and two, they can sometimes be high maintenance. Are you and the rest of the team up for the challenge of managing the chemistry?

3. Referrals from your existing employees is your best source of quality candidates
Again, there is a nugget of truth here. Yes, referrals can be your cheapest source, and they can yield some of the very best candidates. Generally speaking, though, the very best referrals will only come from your very best employees. That’s because of the old birds of a feather thing – we all tend to surround ourselves with people who share our standards, attitudes and values. Top performers tend to hang out with others who share that standard, and poor performers – well, you get it. So be careful whose network you ask to tap.

There you go – a little unconventional wisdom for a change. It can be fun and useful to flick off autopilot once in a while to take a closer look at the terrain.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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If the candidate’s not engaged, the employee never will be.

The axiom seems self-evident, doesn’t it?

After all, we don’t value that which comes too easily. It’s a quirk of human nature. If we don’t have to work even a little bit for something, we take it for granted. This applies in all aspects of life, including when we are looking for work.

A certain amount of desire is critical to good matchmaking. It fuels the chase and builds commitment – not just to the consummation of the deal, but to making the relationship work in the long term.

In case you think I’ve forgotten about the looming talent shortage, rest assured I understand market dynamics, the laws of supply and demand. When the economy’s booming, it’s a seller’s market. Employers feel a sense of scarcity and respond by dropping their pants. That’s nothing new. And this is about keeping your clothes on, even in a tight market.

Engagement starts early, even when the practice is the suitor.

The principle of engagement is the same, regardless of the market – you’ll need fewer people if you hire those who’ve taken the time to do a little due diligence of their own, who are willing to invest a little time and effort in declaring their candidacy. If they have joined you for the right reasons, they are going to be less likely to leave for frivolous reasons.

If the axiom is so self-evident, then why have we made such a mess of things?

In the rush to build systems that supposedly make it easier both for employers to search through vast résumé databases, and for candidates to find the next, better opportunity… we have succeeded in commoditising both talent and work.

Recruiters and the systems they use are designed to check each candidate’s pedigree against a set checklist of criteria in the posting specs, each time asking themselves, “based on their education, credentials and experience, can this person likely do the job?” We’ve created enormous databases and elaborate search engines, the logic being ‘the more résumés I see, the more likely I am to find a candidate who can do the job’. Not the right candidate, necessarily, but one who will satisfy the specs on paper. We are admitting people into the talent pipeline and filtering them out on the basis of information that has no bearing whatsoever on retention, performance, or how engaged they are likely to be as an employee.

Candidates, for their part, have their own tactics for ‘marketing’ themselves in order to make it through the usual screens and filters. It’s also a numbers game for them; we have taught our employees through the school of hard knocks that survival requires the adoption of a ‘free agent’ mindset. Most have learned the hard way not to entrust their best interests to anyone else and, as we saw in the last boom, many very average performers had adopted a ‘mercenary mindset’, repeatedly selling and reselling their skills to the next higher bidder.

In both cases, the rules of the ‘game’ , if you will, are clearly established. The candidate’s objective is to always have their résumé ‘out there’ and to ‘win’ by receiving a range of offers from which to cherry pick; the recruiter’s is to screen and disqualify contenders, but ultimately to close the search and get the open requisition off their desk. All too often, neither side gives due reflection to whether or not it’s the right candidate or the right job.

In this transactional approach, much has suffered over time. For too many, work is nothing more than a means to an end, something one puts up with to meet another need. Both sides of the supply/demand equation lament the absence of loyalty. Relationships are shallow. Work is less rewarding. Stress and conflict are at an all-time high. Productivity, morale, esprit de corps, even organizational depth are at an all-time low.

Both sides are feeling ripped off, and as a result we face an epidemic of disengagement whose cost to lives – not to mention the economy – is staggering.

If you want an engaged employee, you need to engage the candidate.

Just stop it. Stop relying on traditional means to find people. Think about it – a job hunter can visit Monster or Workopolis and spam their résumés out to 25 employers over lunch, and still have time for a sandwich. Systems like CareerBuilder and others will actually send their CV to employers they have never even heard of! You’re getting a raft of names of people who may only marginally meet your specs, but who are totally uncommitted to you as a prospective employer.

Stop going out of your way to make it easy for candidates to get into your hopper. One-click resume attachment allows them to play the numbers game and get on with their day. It doesn’t help you.

Stop using education, work history and (God help me) keyword searches as the primary means of filtering people in. That methodology is busted.

Perhaps most important, stop lying to candidates. Stop telling them what a great place this is to work, amplifying the features and benefits without presenting a balanced picture. Candidates are adept at finding out the truth; in fact they probably know more about what your people are saying about you than you do.

What should you start doing? Start filtering candidates in on the basis of the four critical aspects of fit first, then on the basis of skills and experience. That will require you to do away with the résumé, or at least move it to the side and look at other factors first. Factors that are predictors of retention, performance and engagement. A Case for a New Approach:

Start asking different questions. Ask candidates questions that will reveal their underlying attitudes and preferences in areas critical to their success, and use those as the admission tickets that determine whether the candidate should advance or not.

Our clients have learned that when they adopt a Fit First Philosophy, everything changes.

Allow the candidate to be the first to opt in. Or out.

We need to trust that, presented with the opportunity, candidates are a pretty good judge of what’s right for them, and what’s not. Very few will consciously invest time in pursuing job or a situation that presents a poor fit.

This is where current thinking around employment branding is so critical. The standard thinking has taken a dramatic turn in the last few years. Gone are the days when polished marketing materials and glowing claims had any appeal; in fact, the opposite is now true: those traditional approaches raise suspicion and doubt, and can actually be talent-repellent.

Truth, transparency, respect, openness and authenticity are the new hallmarks of successful employment branding.

The most successful organizations are those that lead with frank information about what it’s like to work there and to be successful. Many have a series of ‘man in the cubicle’ interviews of real employees, unscripted and unrehearsed, saying in their own words why they joined the company, what works well and not so well from their perspective and, more importantly, why they keep coming back every Monday. Others offer blogs, live chat with existing employees, and other features that allow candidates to obtain meaningful, live information about the employment experience. This approach ultimately conveys respect and gives candidates the opportunity to be the first to opt in or out on the basis of fit.

In this way, candidates become engaged early… setting the stage for a well informed, engaged and productive employee.


is Chief Visionary Officer with Fit First Technologies Inc, the creators of Eyeployment, TalentSorter and Jobtimize.


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What hiring trends are emerging in 2019?  The 3.8 million members of, the largest social media network of small businesses in North America, have identified three key trends from surveying nearly 6000 small business members. Do these themes sound familiar?

Trend 1: Hiring surges are predicted among many small businesses in the U.S. and Canada for the rest of 2019. 

According to the survey results, 33% of small business people polled want to hire even more people than they had planned in early 2019. However, 59% of those hiring say it’s a growing struggle; finding the right people is a huge problem.

In Canada, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan businesses anticipate being the most active recruiters while Manitoba trails the pack.  (see table below )

Trend 2: Small business owners who are hiring are having a tough time filling their open positions.

Getting a good number of quality candidates a problem?  You are not alone. Unemployment levels remain low and are getting lower.  The June 2019 unemployment rate nation wide fell below 5% in June and the trend is down.

Trend 3: Despite the heightened demand for help, thousands of Alignable members 50+ are still struggling to secure full-time or even part-time positions, pointing to blatant ageism.

Tim Brennan, Chief Visionary Officer of said the Ageism called out in this survey doesn’t surprise him, noting, “one of the most obvious visual discriminations is age and it’s a weak predictor of behaviour”. Employers may perceive that older candidates may want higher pay and employers do not necessarily value the experience and mentorship attributes an older employee might bring to the team.

Brennan’s hiring technology provides the ability to “meet the candidate before you see them”, which reduces all forms of visual bias and improves your odds of getting talent stars for your business and avoiding the passengers.

Brennan advises, it always better to get the best person possible rather than “settle” for someone who walks in your door and looks the part particularly in a tight labour market.  Making a hiring mistake gets amplified under such market conditions.

 % of Small Businesses that plan to hire more than initially planned in 2019. 

NB – 60%

SK – 40%

BC – 31%

AB – 25%

QC – 25%

NS — 25%

ON – 24%

MB – 20%



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There is a resource reference in the summer issue of Profitable Practice magazine entitled A Startup’s Secret Weapon: Retirees by Liz Brody. Recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that people 65 and older lead the way as the fastest growing segment of the American labor force. For the most part, these people have exited their former jobs and careers for retirement. Many, it seems, want more than a sunny beach, an afternoon nap or satisfying round of golf. They are not ready to go quietly into retirement and believe they have much to share given their previous experiences.

As a consequence, there are a number of companies today (YourEncore, Empowered Age, Patina Solutions, Work At Home Vintage Experts etc.) that are staffed with these “retirees” who bring expertise from a wide variety of business jobs and careers. They act as consultants as characterized by Liz Brody “who have been there and done that”. Their clients are often young millennial-aged entrepreneurs with startup business problems. These young gurus often face a business impasse they can’t seem to bypass and are stymied. While they are often superb risk takers and decision makers, they realize they need help and that more brain power and another pair of eyes is required to get them mobile again.

All entrepreneurs try to invent a new product, service or process or at least apply an innovation to an existing one. In doing so, they are repeating a journey that many others have taken before them—a few successfully and the many who got hung-up along the way. Health care practitioners are constantly searching for new and better ways to deliver health care service. Many find a successful track of operation either by perseverance or by enlisting the aid of others.

The above scenario got me thinking about my own company, which my father started and eventually sold to me. Recently my dad and the company received recognition for 45 years of distinguished service to the practice sales industry. In my case, he was always there in the background giving me the wisdom of his experience. In addition, the company had—and still has—a number of senior associates (retired dentists for the most part) who left dentistry to start a new career in practice sales. This core of elders was invaluable to the growth of our company and allowed us to be successful by avoiding many of the impasses all businesses face.

To my mind, no matter what business or health care practice you are in, it is wise to seek out the advice and ideas of both the young and old. Health care graduates today are schooled in the latest procedures and technologies and bring a contagious enthusiasm and a refreshing willingness to share with and learn from their older peers.


is Chief Executive Office of ROI Corporation Canada’s national professional practice and brokerage firm.


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