Jean-François Boudreault
Partner | Human resources consulting

Technological, social and environmental advances are prompting businesses to reconsider their hiring criteria. But what skills matter the most?

Employers are not just grappling with a labour shortage, they are also facing major societal changes that are forcing them to rethink the way they do business and reorganize their operations with help from their in-house talent.

This means some skills are in higher demand than ever before. We have identified five key skills that are needed to help organizations adapt and stay ahead of the curve, while remaining stable and profitable. This is what businesses should focus on when recruiting and training employees.

1. Adaptability and complex problem solving

In a world defined by constant change, people need to be highly adaptable. Business leaders, managers and frontline employees have to anticipate and recognize sudden changes, respond with quick action and propose viable solutions to overcome obstacles.

The pandemic provided a good example of why adaptability is critical to business continuity. Most retail businesses went digital with transactional websites so that they could continue to serve their customers, and many other businesses had to arrange to have their employees work from home, practically overnight. By responding quickly to external changes, these businesses did not just gain short-term stability, they also paved the way for long-term success. Acquiring and developing the ability to adapt can help your company overcome challenges, progress and thrive.

2. Collaborative and communicative intelligence

Social intelligence is a diverse set of skills that shape your social interactions, both at work and at home. It includes the ability to understand behaviours (other peoples’ and your own), as well as the ability to take appropriate action under certain conditions. In addition, social intelligence is directly related to your ability to be empathetic and communicate effectively—today’s most in-demand soft skills.

Successful teamwork has always been dependent on good communication between employees. Now that telecommuting is more common, companies need to make sure their staff are able to collaborate virtually. That is why it has become so important to promote and encourage social intelligence within your workforce. It will improve team cohesion and ultimately help companies achieve their goals.

3. Critical thinking

Since we live in a time of continuous transformation, with changes affecting all facets of our lives, one of the most valuable skills in today’s market is the ability to think critically. It allows you to analyze information objectively and organize it. Some employers believe employees should accept things the way they are and complete their duties unquestioningly. But a truly valuable employee is one who tries to understand the purpose of an action, assess the way it’s done and call decisions or processes into question if they believe there is a better alternative.

Given the phenomenal amount of information we are expected to absorb, it is important to know how to think critically. This skill is essential for innovation and is directly related to problem solving. When properly cultivated and used in the workplace, critical thinking can help teams overcome obstacles to reach established targets.

4. Emotional intelligence

Any successful transformation—whether it is technological, organic or otherwise—is driven by people. Not so long ago, recruiters almost exclusively looked for acquired intellectual skills and technical know-how. Employers preferred workers with good academic results and professional experience in their field. While these assets still matter, a candidate’s personal qualities are increasingly being given priority.

In interdependence with rational intelligence, which analyzes the information received, emotional intelligence gives you the ability to regulate your thoughts and behaviour in accordance with your emotions. It also enables you to recognize how other people are feeling, which helps promote good relationships and teamwork. What is more, emotional intelligence gives you the ability to take a step back and determine the best course of action in a given situation. People with high emotional intelligence are better able to deal with conflict and face challenging situations, forge ties with others, communicate with ease, manage stress and earn other peoples’ respect.

5. Creative intelligence

Companies need to innovate if they want to keep a competitive edge. This means they need forward-thinking employees who can come up with innovative ideas and solutions. Creative intelligence allows you to solve complex problems, evolve in step with customer needs, accept novel proposals and seize business opportunities as they arise.

Individuals brimming with creative intelligence are not content with sticking with the status quo. They have an active imagination that leads to new ideas. People with this ability tend to:

  • Have a broad vision;
  • Think outside the box;
  • Find connections between ideas, people and projects;
  • Adapt with ease;
  • Propose unconventional solutions;
  • Be proactive.

By hiring creative thinkers, companies position themselves to stand out from their competitors, especially if they operate in a highly competitive sector or saturated market.

The way we work and do business is being redefined by several different factors. Organizations that promote professional development and recruit employees with diverse skill sets will come out ahead. For many types of jobs, soft skills—such as interpersonal skills—are now more important than technical knowledge. These human qualities have become essential for convincing future employers, excelling in management and having a successful career.

To find out how to spot these essential qualities in candidates and help your workers develop their soft skills, businesses should get help from experts. Contact our team if you would like to find out more about the subject.

18 Nov 2021  |  Written by :

Jean-François Boudreault is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in human...

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The Grant Thornton International IFRS team has published Insights into IFRS 8 – IFRS 8 Principles in brief.

For entities that operate in a variety of types of businesses, geographical locations, regulatory or economic environments or markets, high quality management accounts are essential. They enable management to monitor performance, allocate resources and devise business and market strategies.

IFRS 8 Operating Segments requires much of this management information for publicly listed entities to be published externally, so that investors, analysts and other users of the entities’ financial statements can review an entity’s operations from the same perspective as management.

The Insights into IFRS 8 series considers key implementation issues, provides interpretational guidance in certain problematic areas and includes several examples illustrating the standard’s requirements.

This introductory publication summarizes the requirements and scope of IFRS 8 and explains the key steps in determining reportable segments.

Read our Adviser Alert.

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The IFRS Foundation has announced three significant developments to provide global financial markets with high-quality disclosures on climate and other sustainability issues:

  • Forming the new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB);
  • Consolidating of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) and the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF – the Integrated Reporting Framework and the SASB Standards) by June 2022; and
  • Publishing a prototype Standard of climate and general disclosure requirements that has been developed by the Technical Readiness Working Group (TRWG).

Read our Adviser Alert for more information.

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Marie-Josée Blanchet
Senior Manager | Co-leader of Tourism-Leisure-Culture | MBA | Business Transformation

The labour shortage has been particularly severe in the tourism industry, an important segment of our economy. What can be done to address this challenge—which will not go away in the short term—and what are the solutions for your organization?

Quebec’s tourism industry has seen strong growth. It represents $14 billion in revenues and around 400,000 direct and indirect jobs at 30,000 different businesses.

However, this growth is hampered by a lack of workers. The labour shortage has been a challenge for several years now for a number of reasons, including a lack of interest in low-paying jobs, difficult work conditions and the ageing of the population. The pandemic seems to have aggravated these problems.

To keep your business viable over the next few years, you will need to consider a transformation of your business model.

How to adjust your business model

Of course, there are medium and long-term solutions that can solve part of the problem: for example, investing in automation or recruiting internationally.

In the shorter term, SMEs in the tourism industry can expand their pool of potential employees by encouraging seniors to stay at work or return from retirement and they can take advantage of wage subsidy programs to integrate youth and people with disabilities.

However, this won’t be enough for many businesses and you will need to find personalized solutions.

To help yourself find the solution that works best for you, start by evaluating your current situation and answering some key questions: What is your objective? What will your value proposition be? Which partner can help you deliver it? Here are some key things to consider when adapting your business model to the new reality.

Enhance the customer experience, one element at a time

Your customers are at the heart of your business. To maintain an optimal customer experience despite the labour shortage, you first need to identify your touchpoints before, during and after the interaction with the consumer. Then you can find ways to address problem areas, one aspect at a time. Here are some potential solutions:

  • Improve your website management and step up your presence on social media, by subcontracting if necessary.
  • Optimize your booking platform.
  • Prioritize in-person reception, which is very important to customers.
  • Use parking pay stations.
  • Offer packages that enable remote working and promote long stays.
  • Offer enticing deals in low season when it’s less difficult to find staff.
  • Consider focusing on business customers on weekdays and staying closed on weekends.

Pay attention to the employee experience

The same approach applies to points of contact with your employees. So how do you attract employees and make them want to stay?

  • Improve the onboarding process: ensure the wellbeing of new employees and give them feedback.
  • Promote engagement: build strong relationships with your employees, recognize their accomplishments.
  • Give employees more enriching tasks: workers who are given the opportunity to grow will want to stay with your company.
  • Reduce work hours or business hours: this will also help improve work-life balance.
  • Offer reduced hours to students during exam time.
  • Embrace and promote your role as top employer: participate in job fairs and post attractive offers on social media.

Integrate digital solutions

Automation gets talked about a lot, and it’s important, but it should not come at the expense of the customer experience. People are central when it comes to creating meaningful relationships and interactions in the tourism industry.

You will need to be smart about the way you integrate technology so you can tackle the labour shortage while improving productivity and reducing time spent on repetitive tasks so your employees can spend more time with clients. Consider getting training for yourself and your employees on using digital inventory, transaction and scheduling tools. Choose digital tools that are user-friendly and will appeal to the younger generation (and to everyone in general!).

Adopt a less labour-reliant business model

Does a company really need to constantly grow and increase its revenues? “Small is beautiful” might just become the new watchword in the tourism industry. The key is to identify your target clientele (the main source for your profitability) and concentrate your efforts there.

For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you might opt to ditch lunch and focus on dinner, or position yourself as a neighbourhood eatery that’s open on weekdays and closed on weekends. Or if you’re a hotel owner, you could choose to focus on business clientele so you don’t have to stay open seven days a week.

Maintaining the status quo is impossible. Owners and employees of tourism SMEs are already exhausted. The situation is not sustainable in the long term. The end goal is not to be open as long as possible. It is to offer a great customer experience and a great employee experience while respecting sustainable development best practices.

The sector must work together

Tourism organizations need to rethink their marketing strategies, target audiences and offers so they can meet the needs of SMEs and ensure a sustainable recovery. They have to promote teamwork and the sharing of resources from here and elsewhere in order to boost creativity and generate new ideas.

It is all well and good to spend money to promote a region, but you have to make sure that local hotels and businesses have the capacity to receive tourists. It would be more effective, for example, to encourage them to travel to less visited regions or come to you during low season, and to cut down on content and advertising for sites that are already very popular.

Develop local partnerships to boost your region’s visibility and appeal. Include cultural activities, explorations and educational experiences in your offer. The creativity of service providers plays an important role in tourists’ choices and allows businesses to diversify their offer and better manage tourist flows.

The circular economy is an interesting trend to promote. For example, you might consider promotional tie-ins or cross-selling with a partner that has a complementary service offer. This economic model has been gaining popularity because it allows businesses to share human and material resources, preventing losses and enhancing efficiency.

So where do you start? Before all else, you need to produce a detailed assessment of your organization and its environment. A good diagnosis will help you reframe your business model, prepare an action plan and prioritize actions based on your timeline and your situation.

17 Nov 2021  |  Written by :

Marie-Josée Blanchet is an expert in Business Transformation consulting at Raymond Chabot Grant...

See the profile