Atlantic HR conference examines hiring, retention issues


About a hundred dealers and suppliers gathered three weeks ago at the Halifax Convention Centre to hear from HR experts on the challenges of finding and retaining workers. The conference was put on by the Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association (ABSDA).

One session outlined the opportunities to hire new Canadians, including immigrants and refugees. The need to do more of this type of hiring is clear because Atlantic Canada has the highest ratio in Canada of workers in the retail home improvement industry who are age 55 and over.

Denis Melanson, ABSDA president, told attendees that salary is typically not the main reason why workers quit. “Money is typically number four or five on the list of why people leave,” he said, adding that employees are more likely to leave because of bad management. “Hey, they don’t like you. It’s rarely that fifty cents an hour.”

Another speaker, recruiter, author and former CBC broadcaster Pierre Battah (shown here), talked about what a leader needs to do to improve employee retention. “What have you learned over the past two years about retention?” he asked. Stressing the importance of an inclusive workplace, he remarked, “people need to feel ‘I belong here.’”