ABSDA gathers Atlantic dealers for master class in hiring and retention practices


The Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association held its second annual HR Conference last month, bringing together experts on hiring and recruitment with a room full of dealers looking for ways to cope with the ongoing shortage of available workers.

“It’s a perfect storm of aging demographics and a new generation coming up,” said ABSDA president Denis Melanson in his opening remarks. He added that 34 percent of the population in Atlantic Canada is now 62 years or older, and where the new workers will come from is a serious concern for this industry.

The venue was the Halifax Convention Centre and more than 100 delegates attended.

Melanson and his team created the HR Conference in response to a survey of members that pointed to hiring issues as pain points for the membership. The issues included recruitment, onboarding, and what kinds of policies are in place to help individuals along in their careers. “It identified some glaring gaps, but in turn it provided some opportunity for us as an association to provide services.”

The morning was devoted to a hands-on workshop conducted by HR expert and workplace issues expert and author Pierre Battah. He managed to keep the audience riveted for the entire morning. (Scroll down to see more from Pierre in “Ask an Expert” in this issue.—Editor)

Julie Melanson is an HR consultant with JMC HR Consulting in Moncton, N.B. She took to the podium after lunch to share some tips and guidelines for hiring and retaining staff with her “HR tool kit.” Stressing the need to create a positive and welcoming environment for your candidates right from the start, she reminded the audience that some people can be extremely nervous during a job interview. “It’s not something we do very often.”