Posts Tagged ‘Dr Denis Cauvier’

Busting Motivational Myths – Dispelling the top 10 Employee Engagement Misconceptions

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Hiring Myths and recruitment myths

The 2013 Ottawa HR Journal published by The Ottawa Business Journal ran a three page article based upon my latest book Stop $pending Money on Your People – How to Turn HR into a Profit Center.

The global economy has recently been in a state of flux. There is ample discussion and concern in the media and boardrooms about the recent “roller coaster” performance of most stock markets. Powerful local and foreign competitors are attempting to gain market share. Margins are being squeezed, competitors are aggressively targeting your clients and the expectations of today’s consumers are more demanding than ever before.

Business success in any economic climate is a matter of being able to tap into the potential of your employees, in good times or in bad. The over arching key to attracting, developing and retaining highly productive and engaged people is to understand what gets employees fired up vs. what doesn’t work. In the following article I attempt to dispel the top 10 motivational myths.

Here’s the PDF posted to my SlideShare account. Enjoy!

Latin America Bucks the Jobs Trend

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

latin-americaWhile most North American and European countries struggling are struggling with high unemployment rates Latin America has been bucking the trend. Averaging 6.5 percent, unemployment in 13 Latin American countries has fallen to near historic lows, contrasting sharply with rich nation’s rates and its own historic peak of 11 percent a decade ago. 35 million jobs were created over the past decade as the average length of education rose by three years, and 65 percent of women aged 25-65 had joined the workforce, and salaries have risen leading to the narrowing of income gaps. This good news trend for workers is expected to continue with the projected average growth for 2013 for Latin America to be around 4 %, which is above the overall estimated growth for developed economies.

“It’s quite remarkable that Latin America has been able to break with the tradition of high unemployment and informal employment to bring down overall unemployment rates to new historic lows.”
World Bank Regional Chief Economist Augusto de la Torre.

While all this is great news for the average worker it does present some challenges for businesses throughout the region. A recent Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by SAP stated that due to the regional economic boom small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are facing major challenges of finding and retaining skilled workers. The report was based on a survey of 175 respondents from companies throughout Latin America. Respondents were clear that Latin American SMEs face significant challenges in recruiting, attracting, developing and retaining skilled workers. In order to compete, Latin American SMEs will need to address this problem quickly.
The main findings of the SAP sponsored survey include:

SMEs face internal organisational challenges as they try to embrace a culture of continuous learning. While 42% of respondents to our survey identified the need to change the organisational culture as the largest problem they face in the area of innovation, executives also underlined the need to encourage teams to work together (34%) and to transform ideas into marketable goods/services (39%).

SMEs lack an organised way of analysing strategy. When asked to describe the way their organisation analyses strategic issues, a majority (51%) of respondents said there was either no process (5%), claimed it was largely ad hoc (16%) or said it varied by business unit or from year to year (30%).

A lack of good workers remains an obstacle to success. When asked to characterise the market for qualified, high-potential employees, 63% of executives complained of either an extreme shortage (10%) or a limited supply (53%) of talented workers. When asked to identify the three largest workforce-related challenges facing their organisations, the biggest single response (30%) was the inability to attract qualified candidates.

Recruitment and retention continues to be a challenge. Three of the other four most common responses to the same question pointed to recruitment and staffing problems: a mismatch between employee skills and organisational priorities (27%), an inability to retain key employees (26%), and an inability to build a properly motivated workforce (22%).

Source: An Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by SAP

Cracking the “QR Code” in Recruiting

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

QR PicAs I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I was recently the keynote speaker at Keyano College Career Fair on the topic of Low Cost/High Impact Recruiting for the 82 employer exhibitors. Part of my talk focused on tapping into free or near free electrons through social media recruiting. I was asked by way of show of hands how many people of the 150 plus in attendance were using QR “Quick Response” Codes in their recruiting efforts. It was interesting to see that only about 5% of the people raised their hands. I went on to share with the group that I feel not using QR Codes as a key element of a company’s recruiting efforts is a missed opportunity.

As I walked through the career fair looking at the exhibitor booths I was pleased to see that Dresser-Rand was using QR Codes in their recruiting by having them on the recruiter’s business cards and on the long sleeve shirts they were wearing. I loved the “Human Billboard” approach to using this technology. The photo is me in a Dresser-Rand QR Code recruiting shirt.

Link to Careers at Dresser-Rand

Given most people in developed countries own at least one smart phone and that there are a number of free QR Reader apps for every major platform, QR codes are used by organizations as a quick and easy way to market their businesses and extend the reach of their brands. When a customer/prospect scans the code with their phone the code will link directly to a website. The marketing possibilities are endless. Consumers are becoming very comfortable with scanning QR Codes to enter contests, get free information, get e-discounts and do a host of other things.

Recruiting is no different than marketing in that you are always looking for creative ways to capture the interest of both active and passive job seekers. Producing a QR Code is very easy and most often free.

Here are several links to QR Code Generator sites:

Here are some places that recruiters are using QR Codes:

  • Recruiters business cards & name tags
  • Employee referral cards
  • Print ads – newspaper, trade journal
  • Human billboards – T-Shirts
  • Billboards, banners & mobile signs
  • Posters
  • Text message attachments
  • Sales receipts
  • Window & truck signs


Get Your Employees into Bed*

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Jon Jonathan Laplante Director of Sales Obasan

If your organization has taken a stand on a social or political issue, why not incorporate your cause with your recruiting, engagement and retention efforts. For example, If your company has taken a very progressive stance in protecting the environment and you’re involved in various environmental initiatives, you’ll attract people who share your concerns. People can become very excited about the prospect of working with a socially responsible company, and the common ground you and the prospective applicant share on environmental protection may prove to be a real “gelling” force. Align your organization to supporting a cause and attract like-minded people (e.g. Bodyshop, Toms Shoes, Starbucks). A number of legal firms are doing pro-bono work for local charities as a way of giving back while enticing like-minded young lawyers to join their firms.

*Obasan, a manufacture of natural and organic mattresses and bedding accessories, not only markets their green philosophy, they live it. Jean Corriveau, the president, often travels to remote parts of the world sourcing natural cotton, wool and rubber. He and his team are committed to only doing business with suppliers who are truly committed to fair trade practices. The result is that like-minded people are seeking to be part of the Obasan team. Jean gets his employees into an Obasan bed, they get to fully appreciate the quality of the products but also the health benefits of a great night’s sleep. The employees take tremendous pride in owning an Obasan bed and in their role of providing hand crafted mattresses and accessories for their clients. Jean also actively seeks input from all employees from production, sales and administration for product development ideas and prototypes. The result is a highly productive, engaged and loyal team in a sector plagued with high employee turnover.

“At Obasan, employees are treated as full and equal partners. We hire locally and provide workers with a clean, safe and supportive environment in which they are treated with respect and dignity. I am proud that we have several employees who have been with Obasan for 15 years or more and the new or ones are happy to stay, learn and grow. This type of loyalty is difficult to come by and I deeply appreciate the trust that these workers place in me and in the company.”

Source Sleep Well, Live Well My Passionate Journey for Better Sleep by Jean Corriveau founder Obasan

To learn more about Obasan go to








Key Points on Hiring a Social Media Manager

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

I was recently the keynote speaker at Keyano College Career Fair on the topic of Low Cost/High Impact Recruiting for the 82 employer exhibitors. One of the questions I received while talking one-on-one with several exhibitors was about tips on hiring a social media manager or co-ordinator. I shared my thoughts with them and today I listened to Shane Gibson’s podcast on the same topic. In this blog I will share the key points that I offered last week at the Career Fair and at the end of the blog you will see a link to Shane’s podcast which I encourage you to listen to.

When you look at selecting a social media manager or coordinator, or whatever term you use, make sure you invest the time and energy to select the right person. This is a key position within the organization and there is a tremendous cost to your brand if you don’t do it right.  The social media manager role is about leading and contributing to the various conversations about the organization, its products, services and people. The reality is that the conversation about your brand is happening regardless of your organization’s involvement (or lack of involvement) in social media. The best strategy then is to have a talented professional leading the social media engagement from within your organization.

The most important role of the social media manager is to influence and lead the conversation about the organization. To do this requires two key elements in my estimation. 1. The candidate needs to have the right attitude. By this I mean that the individual needs to understand what the overarching goal of social media is. It is not about the constant one-way hard selling of your products and services, rather it is about actively engaging and contributing to an online community while re-enforcing your brand image.  Another key attitude is the notion of being “referable”, which requires earning the right to be referred by others – word of mouth advertising. This starts with an attitude of service. Lastly is the key attitude that being the social media manager is not a part time job, it’s something that requires a consistent full time approach on a disciplined daily basis.

2. The second element to hiring the right person is focusing on the core competencies. Shane Gibson has identified 22 Competencies for a Social Media Manager


Put simply, I think there are three fundamental areas of competencies. First, the person needs to possess the technical competencies regarding the ins and outs of working with the following social platforms; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Blogging, Podcasting as a minimum, and they should have a proven track record of engaging with large numbers of people via these sites.

The second competency to possess is consumer behaviour, marketing and business development skills.  These skills can be acquired through formal degree programs, specialized courses and career experience. The point is that the social media manager role is at the core a marketing one that must dovetail with traditional marketing and business development iniatives.

The third element is a strategic competency.  The social media manager needs see the big picture of how external issues can affect the organization. This role is critical to establish the organization’s social media policy. This person needs to be an internal leader showing colleagues the best social media practices and ultimately be the social media voice sitting at the executive table.


Link to Shane Gibson’s podcast



Canadian Government Posied to Ease Demand for Labour

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Immigration system update boosts skilled trades
Those workers to be considered under separate program
By Laura Payton, CBC News
Last Updated: Apr 10, 2012 10:16 PM GT+02:00

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says tradespeople who want to immigrate to Canada will get a separate, streamlined federal skilled worker program later in 2012. Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

Skilled tradespeople who want to immigrate to Canada will be getting a separate, streamlined program later this year, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says.

“We are facing huge and growing labour shortages in Canada, particularly here in the West and in Alberta,” Kenney said at a construction site in Calgary Tuesday.

“To be honest, our immigration programs haven’t been effective in addressing a lot of those shortages. Our immigration programs have become rigid and slow and passive.”

The current federal skilled worker program assesses applicants on a 100-point grid, with a pass mark of 67. The grid takes into account the candidate’s official language ability, education, work experience, age, whether they have a job offer in Canada and their overall adaptability, according to a news release from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The grid favoured professionals rather than workers in the skilled trades, who make up only three per cent of entrants to Canada under the federal skilled worker program. The program has a backlog of 280,000 applicants, leading the government to propose refunding the $400 fee to those who applied prior to Feb. 27, 2008, and now want to withdraw their applications.

Kenney said there will be tens of billions of dollars in new construction in Alberta in the next 10 years, with the country facing huge gaps in skilled workers for the same time period.

“There really is virtually no meaningful access to Canada for skilled tradespeople to come here as immigrants, as permanent residents, and make a lasting contribution to our economy,” he said.

Kenney said an updated skilled worker program will be unveiled later in 2012. It is expected to include a separate stream for skilled tradespeople, including those in construction, transportation, manufacturing and the service industry.

More emphasis on practical training

The proposed program would let skilled tradespersons be assessed “based on criteria geared towards their reality, putting more emphasis on practical training and work experience rather than formal education,” the news release said.

The news was well-received by employers with projects in the West, where the energy and construction sectors are sucking up workers faster than Canada can produce them.

The Canadian vice-president of human resources for CH2M Hill, a global infrastructure and energy company, said Tuesday’s announcement shows the government is aware of the challenges businesses face.

“At CH2M Hill, we make it a priority to hire qualified Canadians. We’ve got aggressive recruiting programs across Canada, but sometimes our needs in certain sectors simply outstrip our supply of various skilled labour categories and other types of workers,” David Larter said.

CH2M Hill now employs about 2,000 people in hundreds of projects across Canada.

Larter said his company hopes to double staff in Canada in the coming years — but he adds that won’t be possible if immigrants aren’t part of the equation.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford on a Recruitment Drive

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

This is a sign on the times. I have been discussing the forth coming labour shortages for several years now. Premier Brad Wall is on a recruiting tour to Ireland. Here is a great article from The Calgary Herold.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford will be looking for some strong workers Monday in her trip to the so-called City of Big Shoulders.

While the main focus of the premier’s mission to Chicago this week is highlighting Alberta’s energy relationship with the United States — including the role of the oilsands — the province’s labour shortage will also be on her mind as she meets with political officials and union leaders.

“There’s a lot of work we’re going to do down there with respect to labour,” she said at a news conference last week.

“We’ve had discussions with a number of labour organizations in Chicago who’ve been doing work with decision-makers in the United States — and with the Canadian and U.S. ambassadors — to try to find avenues where we might be able to accelerate access of skilled labour into Alberta.”

Redford, who left for Chicago on the weekend and will stay for two more days, said in Calgary on Friday that the province is looking for workers with specific skill sets to fill key positions in Alberta.

Chicago may have a few to spare.

A new Calgary Economic Development study identifies communities in Canada — the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland — most able to fill 25 jobs that are most needed in the coming years, a list that includes engineers, geologists, nurses, plumbers and carpenters.

The top recruiting spots are Los Angeles, Phoenix and Denver, but Chicago is in the next tier of cities.

With the Alberta economy heating up — the province projects GDP to grow 3.8 per cent over the next year — demand for workers is an increasingly pressing issue for government and businesses.

Labour demand is expected to climb by more than 600,000 workers by 2021, with about 114,000 more jobs than people in the province. That includes a shortage of 1,300 engineers and 4,800 registered nurses.

In Calgary, demand for workers is anticipated to increase by almost 190,000 by 2020.

A lack of workers is already a factor in an expected drilling slowdown, with the Petroleum Services Association of Canada recently projecting the energy industry won’t drill as many wells this year, in part because of the labour crunch.

Competition for scarce workers is also one of the biggest contributors to cost inflation that threatens the oilpatch in boom times.

During the last uptick in activity between 2006 and 2008, the labour market was so tight that skyrocketing pay for Alberta oilfield workers helped push up the cost of oilsands projects.

Some were shelved or eventually scrapped.

Today, more than $110 billion of oilsands projects are back on the books; annual oilsands investment is projected to peak above $20 billion in 2014.

Energy economist Peter Tertzakian of ARC Financial Corp. said recently that cost inflation due to labour tightness is an “area of caution” for the industry in 2012.

“It’s at the margin here. We are at full capacity,” said Tertzakian. “So if there is any hint of increased spending, whether it’s a big project in the oilsands or broader oilfields, it’s going to trigger higher costs.”

Neal Hughes, a vice-president with HMA Land, which provides project management services for the energy industry, said he expects the coming shortage of workers to be more severe than in the past.

“Alberta industries have tremendous plans for hiring for the next two to five years and, with respect to skilled trades and professions, I think there is a critical shortage looming for this part of Canada,” said Hughes, who attended a Friday SEPAC luncheon where Redford spoke. “Any measures the Alberta government can take to ensure we do have that supply of labour are most important.”

Redford said she is so concerned about the issue that she’s asked deputy premier Doug Horner to put together a group of oil sector officials to speak to Alberta MPs and the national Conservative caucus on the issue.

“There needs to be some recognition of what we’re actually facing in Alberta,” she said. “It’s time for us to pool our resources.”

—_With files from Darcy Henton and Rebecca Penty, Calgary Herald.

Dr. Cauvier on How to Write a Winning How-to Book by Bob Barclay

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Dr. Denis Cauvier – International Best Selling author of 8 books began his presentation to The Ottawa Independent Writers Association with a short review of the modern book market. With the rise in easily-available technology, it has never been easier to publish a book, but on the downside this proliferation makes selling the work for profit a daunting challenge. The focus of Dr Cauvier’s presentation was non-fiction, but it turned out that a great deal of what he would say applied equally to the production and marketing of fiction.

There are three essential reasons for writing and publishing a book:
Financial – to earn a living on sales of your work
Legacy – the message you want to communicate; your personal written record
Education – bringing information to people
Whichever of these paths an aspiring writer chooses, the key issue is to build credibility for your personal brand. Researching titles and topics in order to find the correct niche for the work is an essential component. A triangle using these three points is helpful in defining the ‘sweet spot’. The effective intersection of these three values is the mark of a highly successful book:

The ‘sweet spot’ lies somewhere within the triangle

The author must have total clarity on the Why before proceeding.

Identify your market; who will pay for the book, and who will buy it? In the realm of how-to books it is sometimes the case that the buyer is not the end-user. Dr Cauvier used the example of his book The ABCs of Making Money for Teens as an example of a textbook that was purchased by adults for a youth readership.

A synopsis will help to achieve clarity.
– Take an honest look at the competition to determine in what way your work is unique, or needs to be made unique
– Write your synopsis with the above in mind
– Produce a working title

Tell the World
– Share your idea as widely as possible – both title and synopsis – but protect it from theft by registering the contents
– Telling potential purchasers that the work is on the way gives them an inducement to buy, but it also gives the author a stimulus. The best way to avoid ‘writers’ block’, or procrastination as it should be termed, is by telling everybody it’s on the way citing a specific release date.

As mentioned in the Introduction, with modern technology publishing a book is comparatively easy. Sales of school e-textbooks, for example, rose from 3% of the market in 2010 to 6% in 2011, indicating popular access to a readily available technology. There are three general categories of publishing:
– Trade – the upsides of having a work accepted by a publisher are that most aspects of quality, marketing and distribution are taken care of, and the resultant work provides the author with great credibility. The downsides are loss of control of the product, the comparatively parsimonious return (perhaps 10 to 15% – of net of discounts prices, if you are lucky), and the time it takes from acceptance of the work to actual publishing
– Hybrid – in this category the publisher accepts the work, but leaves much of the control in the authors’ hands. The upside of being published, yet still controlling your product, is countered by the need to publicize and sell the work yourself
– Self-Publishing – it is only recently that self-publishing has become a respectable component of the industry; the slur of ‘vanity book’ is now dated. With the great rise in print-on-demand and e-book formats, self-publishing is very straightforward. The upside is the complete control that it offers, including cover design, text layout, etc. (Some self-publishers will contractor-out design work, and this is a wise move although costly.) The potential downside is clearly that sales and marketing are entirely in the authors’ hands

How to Write a Book in Five Days
Yes, it can be done! Dr. Cauvier has done it several times and argued that this process can best be done on a beach in some tropical location, and with the freezing rain soaking the Nation’s Capital just outside the window, audience agreement was unanimous. It is assumed that the knowledge you wish to express is already there, so writers of large fictional tomes might pause here. Here are the five days:
– Day 1 – write the story boards, create the table of contents, define the overall look and feel of the book (including visuals, layouts and texts in as much detail as possible)
– Days 2 and 3 – dictate the book. There are several apps, such as Dragon Dictation, for portable devices and smart phones to convert words into text. Refer often to your story boards and don’t worry about the pauses, ums and ers.
– Day 4 – take all the text material from the dictation and organize into a logical flow.
– Day 5 – Clean-up the sentence structure, check for details and hand over manuscript for professional editing and production
In case anyone in the audience was skeptical about this approach and time frame, this reporter did exactly this for a textbook on musical instrument-making, but sadly not in a tropical paradise.

Sales and Marketing
It’s not widely understood that writing a book consumes perhaps 30% of the time and energy, while the remaining 70% needs to be spent in making it sell. Some useful recommendations are:
– Write a marketing plan, revisit the title and cover, and pay especial attention to the appearance of the finished product especially the front and back cover
– Create a website and build a database. With bookstores and on-line sellers such as Amazon there is no way to keep a track of who is buying the book
– Go to local bookstores and local media outlets. It can be a waste of time to try the larger chain bookstores; normally they won’t want to deal with self-publishers
– Libraries and educational institutes are excellent resources because they share information amongst themselves, providing ready-made publicity
– Bulk sales are often tied to a product. For example, Kevin Kolman grilling book was rejected repeatedly by publishers. Kolman got creative and now sells bulk orders to barbecue manufacture Broil King.
– Promotions – use social media, hire a publicist (if you don’t have the expertise, buy it) and get well-known thought leaders to write reviews. Also, it is quite possible with modern printing methods to customize book covers for specific markets

As this reporter was taking his notes during the presentation he realized that, had he one tenth the energy, skill and commitment of Denis Cauvier, he might just be able to flog a few more of his books. In conclusion, an excellent presentation with a great deal of food for thought. For more information on Dr. Cauvier please go to

A Reader’s Dilemma: Her Teen Wants Wheels – by Sarah Bultler – CBS Money Watch

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

From time to time, readers contact me with questions, mostly about their kids and money. Here’s what one mom wrote in recently:

“My 15-year-old son got a job working in a high-end bicycle shop. Although I am happy he is earning money, I am concerned because he wants to buy a $900 bike now. I told him he had to save half of each paycheck and he could spend the rest as he wished. He, of course, was not pleased with me. We’ve talked a lot about living within limits and not needing the best of everything at 15. I understand that he is not mature enough to understand completely, but I am looking for some words of wisdom to help me explain this to him without him taking it personally.” –Jayne

I turned to some experts for help with Jayne’s question. Alan Lysaght and Denis Cauvier, co-authors of The ABCs of Making Money 4 Teens, offered this advice:

First, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a first-class bike. Cycling is a healthy hobby, it can be a practical way for a teen to get around without a car, and a bike sure beats a high-priced video game system.

Second, the mom should resist the urge to lecture. If she responds, “Nine hundred dollars for a bike? That’s crazy!” she’s missing a great teachable moment with her son.

Instead, she should sit down with him and understand, without passing judgment, why this is the bike he needs. “Is he caught up in a name brand and feels he has to have the best of everything?” Cauvier asks. “What if he has done his research and realized he’s going to have it for the rest of his life and this bike will hold up? Or maybe he is a competitive athlete. Hats off to the parents for helping a young person develop this thought process and be a more aware and savvy consumer. That’s great parenting.”

Then they should set a plan. After saving 50% of each paycheck, and accounting for his other weekly expenses, how much does he have left each week to save for the bike? “It’s a great lesson for kids for their whole life, because it forces them to learn how to budget,” Lysaght says. “They might see, ‘OK, well, if I can only apply $10 a week to this bike, it’s going to be two years before I can buy it.’ Then they can see that instead of spending, say, $20 per week on junk food, if they applied an extra $15 to the bike, they’d get it that much quicker.” This process also focuses his attention, Lysaght says. When he sees years of scrimping ahead of him, he might realize that a $400 bike is sufficient for his needs. Above all, parents should resist the urge to simply write a check for him to help him out (although that’s not likely to be Jayne’s problem).

Third, help him consider some entrepreneurial options. Is there an employee discount at the shop? Does he race and could the shop sponsor him to defray some of the costs? “Is he a good-looking kid who might appear in ads for the shop, with the parents’ permission?” Cauvier asks. Help the child brainstorm ways to make more money.

Finally, the authors advise, Jayne should stick to her guns on the 50% savings rule. When his daughters were growing up, Cauvier required them to save 50% for long-term investments (like college), 25% for shorter term investments (like a new iPod), and 25% to spend however they wanted.

Cauvier told his daughters that when the time came, they might opt not to go to college; they could buy a car or invest in real estate. “But we preached that money got them options,” he says. “It gave them a sense of freedom and independence, and when they were of age, they would decide what to do with it. The independence card — ‘This will help you become more independent and have more choices’ — resonates with teens. This is really what they want deep down inside.”