The organization’s vice-president of talent acquisition and total rewards discusses promoting careers to equity-deserving communities, a new menopause policy and the stability of joining a defined benefit pension plan.

Q: What top challenges do you face in your role?

A: One of the organization’s commitments to creating an equitable, diverse and inclusive culture is to promote careers to women and other equity-deserving communities, particularly in highly skilled, niche roles. With the coronavirus pandemic resulting in a drastic reduction in women’s participation in the labour force, their return to work is grounded in new expectations and criteria of balance and well-being. Having an agile and adaptable total rewards strategy is key and means we must be constantly evaluating our benefits offerings, policies and programs.

Q: What new programs or initiatives are you looking to implement?

A: We’re currently in the process of evaluating and adjusting our total rewards policies, programs and employee value proposition to ensure they’re inclusive and valuable for everyone at all stages in their lives and careers. Through a series of town halls, benefits roadshows and direct access to a total rewards team member, we aim to elevate our employees’ understanding of the benefits available to them and their families.

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Q: What programs do you consider the most successful?

A: Our Employee Care Office connects employees to appropriate resources when they’re going through challenging times. Resources geared towards women have some of the highest participation rates of all of our programs. These include the childcare support program, flexible working arrangements and parental leave top-up. Our new menopause policy, which was introduced earlier this year, was developed to acknowledge the significant impact the symptoms of menopause can have on the quality of life at home and at work.

Q: What key HR issues do you expect in the coming year?

Career crib sheet

Sept. 2023 – Present

Vice-president, talent acquisition and total rewards, Metrolinx

Nov. 2017 — May 2023

Vice-president, talent acquisition, IG Wealth Management

Dec. 2015 — Nov. 2017

Vice-president, HR, North America, Match Marketing Group

Nov. 2014 — Dec. 2015

Senior director, talent management, North America, Match Marketing Group

Nov. 2013 — Nov. 2014

Director, talent acquisition, Match Marketing Group

Aug. 2011 — Sept. 2013

Group manager, field talent acquisition, Target

May 2011 — July 2011

Senior manager, integrated talent management, Walmart Canada

A: Attracting, engaging and retaining talent will continue to be an opportunity in the coming year. Being successful in today’s complex economic environment will require organizations to rethink their talent acquisition strategies while also responding to talent scarcity and the skills gap for key roles. Bridging the skills gap will call out the importance of strategic internal mobility that redefines work and deploys targeted upskilling and reskilling initiatives to ensure preparedness for immediate and future business demands. The balance of ‘buying’ and ‘building’ talent will need to be more closely examined than ever before.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

A: With the hustle and bustle of raising three teenagers with busy social lives and commitments to their competitive sports, free time is an interesting concept; however, I wouldn’t change a thing. In my downtime, I find that engaging in anything creative is a great stress reliever and very relaxing. With hundreds of photos stored on my phone over the years, I’ve recently taken up scrap-booking to capture many of our greatest memories. . . . And not a digital scrapbook — I’m printing pictures, cutting, gluing and strategically planning the layout of each page.

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Q: What’s your favourite employee benefit and why?

A: Having recently joined Metrolinx, the full suite of employee benefits was very attractive to me and an important consideration in my decision-making. Membership in the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System is one I was most interested in as there are many features that aren’t commonly offered in a defined contribution pension plan, such as survivor benefits, inflation protection and disability coverage. The OMERS’ plan, in the remaining years I have left to participate, will be the significant financial asset in providing my family with peace of mind and comfort.

Jennifer Paterson is the editor (on leave) of Benefits Canada and the Canadian Investment Review.