Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – April 2014

Queen's University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

Apr. 2014   



In This Issue…

  1. Enhancing Your Strategic Value as a Human Resources Professional: Playing to Win in HR
  2. Random Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace: Balancing Employee Privacy Interests with Workplace Safety
  3. Flashback Feature:
    Unions and Workplace Smoking Policy
  Queen's University Campus  

Enhancing Your Strategic Value as a Human Resources Professional: Playing to Win in HR
Kevin E. Yousie, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and President of Crosswater Partners

The notion that human resource (HR) professionals need to be strategic and aligned with their organization's strategy is not by any means new. In their book The HR Scorecard published almost fifteen years ago, Professors Becker, Huselid and Ulrich noted that "traditional HR skills have not diminished in value, but simply are no longer adequate to satisfy the wider strategic demands of the HR function" (Becker, Huselid and Ulrich, 2001). Since then strategy frameworks and the language of strategic management have evolved. The question is, has HR kept up with these, especially in the past year or so?

This article is written for HR leaders and explores the HR-related implications of strategy work drawn from a variety of sources but in particular work that grew out of the strategy practice at Monitor Company and subsequently further developed by Roger Martin, former Dean of the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto, and A. G. Lafley, former Chairman, President and CEO of Proctor & Gamble. Their work Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works (2013) was recently published by Harvard Business Review Press and won the prestigious Thinkers50 Best Book Award (Thinkers50 website, 2014). "Playing to Win" is a down-to-earth, simplified approach to thinking about strategy that is resonating very well with many business leaders. The "Playing to Win" framework is practical, effective and efficient.

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Random Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace: Balancing Employee Privacy Interests with Workplace Safety
Melanie D. McNaught, Partner, Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP, 2013

In modern society, safety and privacy interests frequently seem to conflict, particularly in the workplace. Random drug and alcohol testing is one instance when these interests may conflict. Employers are obligated under occupational safety legislation to provide a safe workplace for employees. The risk of workplace accidents increases if employees are working under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To mitigate that risk, some employers have implemented policies of random drug or alcohol testing. Employees and unions often object to such policies on the basis that random drug or alcohol testing infringes employee privacy interests.

Several months ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that employee privacy interests outweighed employer safety concerns in Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 30 v Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd., 2013 SCC 34 ("Irving" ). Irving marks the first time the Supreme Court of Canada has considered workplace drug or alcohol testing. Further, Irving is a departure from some of the earlier appellate court decisions on drug and alcohol testing, which focused on the legality of such policies under human rights legislation, as opposed to privacy considerations.

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Flashback Feature:
Unions and Workplace Smoking Policy
Graham S. Lowe and Deborah J. Neale, 1992

Do you remember when workers could smoke in the workplace? This article was written in 1992, at a time when concern over environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) was being identified as a leading occupational health hazard and policy makers were instituting smoking restrictions and bans in workplaces.

This study draws on three major sources of information: published literature on workplace ETS and smoking policies; unpublished literature from unions, health promotion organizations, employers, etc.; and interviews with over 30 union representatives and officials of health promotion organizations. The issue of workplace ETS and union involvement in policy-making is addressed from the perspective of union-management and union-government relations.

>> Download Article



Upcoming Programs

Advanced Human Resources
April 14-16, 2014

Organizational Design
April 14-16, 2014

NEW Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy
April 23-25, 2014
June 4-6, 2014
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Building Smart Teams
April 28-May 1, 2014

Change Management
April 28-May 1, 2014

Dispute Resolution Skills
May 4-8, 2014

Talent Management

May 5-6, 2014

NEW HR Decision Making
May 7-8, 2014

Strategic Grievance Handling
May 13-16, 2014

Labour Arbitration Skills
May 25-29, 2014
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Labour Relations Foundations
June 2-6, 2014

Managing Unionized Environments
June 10-12, 2014
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