Canada’s labour market challenges have landed squarely in Humboldt and surrounding area with many local employers and companies busy analyzing ways to make up the worker shortfall. That’s a big part of the reason that Sagehill Community Futures is hosting its Recruiting and Retaining Employees Conference on Tuesday, September 20. On hand will be some of the province’s most successful companies in the labour acquisition and retention game, along with experts who make it their business to support those companies. 

Stephen Eger is one such expert. He will be presenting a session entitled “Beyond the Paycheck” at the conference. As a small business owner, Stephen is the managing partner of Kn/a HR Consulting and is a life-long learner with nearly 25 years of experience in a variety of public agencies. He has created and implemented human resource services, policy, evaluation, strategy, change management, communications, and organizational development.  Stephen has successfully led organizational redesigns achieving streamlined delivery models and a significant reduction in corporate expenditure.

Eger takes a straightforward approach when coaching organizations about employee relations.

“In real estate, you always hear about location, location, location. For effective organizations, it’s communication, communication, communication. All the research work we do with organizations and research in the field, so much of it is about taking the time to have a conversation with the people who work with you and for you.” 

It’s a matter of understanding what employees need and working with them to create solutions based on those conversations, says Eger. 

At the conference, Eger says attendees will dig into what is important to their organizations and a look at the culture of their workplace.

“Everyone offers a paycheck, and granted some will be slightly better than others, but most are competitive in their pay. So then what is the experience you can create in the workplace? Is it about a  chance to learn and grow? Is it about the space for people to own a piece of work and be creative? So much of the success I see in organizations is where people have got the opportunity to be themselves, and looking for people you can get along with and share similar values like teamwork and collaboration. 

Eger acknowledges the challenges faced by employers in what seems to be a new work environment. He notes that in the post-covid world, workers who may have been more inclined to accept work situations that were less than ideal are now “voting with their feet.” They’re not undertaking work that doesn’t suit their needs and they’re leaving jobs for those opportunities they perceive to hold more value. 

Creating an environment where people want to stay means retention is not an issue. At the same time, Eger says those workplaces will likely have an easier time when it comes to attracting workers. 

“It gets to be known that you’re a good place to work and you like being there - that conversation gets into the community, be it big or small, and that’s so important. That gets into the reputation you have as an employer.”

Also appearing with Eger are Katherine Regnier, CEO of Saskatchewan phenom digital company, Coconut Software, Tracy Arno, CEO and founder of Essence Recruiting, and Werner Bleyfield, talking about the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program. Tickets for the conference are available through Eventbrite