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You Want Time Off! New Shifts in HR (1 of 3)

An increase in immigrant staff with eastern business mindsets, combined with the unique work values of Generation Y employees have created a workplace diversity that has turned human resource planning on its head.

New immigrants coming into Canadian workplaces from Philippines, India, Pakistan, and China bring with them an eastern view of communications and work relationships.

Generation Y employees (in their early 30s and younger) bring different values and expectations to the workplace than their Baby Boomer and Generation X bosses.

Although managers would like to manage these diverse new employees as they have Canadian born or older generation workers – they do so at their peril. Without understanding and making adjustments for this diversity, organizations may experience a loss of productivity and increase in turnover.

This article is one of three – looking at how diversity affects how managers perceive time off, training demands and giving negative feedback.

Time Off

In most Canadian provinces, paid annual vacation is accrued over 12 months and is taken in the form of a two-week absence. In some provinces (or at the discretion of the employer), annual leave can be taken in advance of the 12 month accruement. In the province of Saskatchewan, employees are entitled to three weeks instead of two. After 5 to 15 years, depending on the province, three weeks are mandated by law with the exceptions of Saskatchewan (where four weeks of vacation is mandated after 10 years) and in Ontario and Yukon (where no extra week is offered).

New Canadians – Time in Blocks

In many organizations, employee shortages make it difficult to schedule the two or three mandated-weeks off consecutively. However, for some new Canadians, not being able to take their holiday weeks back to back (and even add an additional week of unpaid leave) may be a reason enough to leave your organization.

For many managers who have risen in the ranks of their organizations and dutifully waited for their chance to enjoy weeks off in a row, this expectation seems outrageous. However, for some immigrant employees who have ‘left’ their family behind to come to work in Canada, it is essential that once a year they have a block of time long enough to get back to their home country, visit their family and return. Managers that do not recognize this expectation of many new immigrant employees may find themselves losing top notch staff members to the competition – not for more pay, but for consecutive weeks of annual leave.

Generation Y – Time is Money

Generation Y employees also bring expectations of time off that is foreign to older managers.

Each generational group is motivated by different factors. Key motivators for Traditionalists (those over 65 in the workplace), for example, are accomplishment, control and responsibility. As well as control, Baby Boomers are motivated by recognition, money and promotion. Gen Xs and Gen Ys are both motivated by recognition, mentoring, training and meeting personal objectives.

But one big difference separates the two youngest generations. Gen Xs are motivated by economic bonuses for extra effort or time on the job. Gen Ys are motivated by time off. This means that if a Gen Y works extra hard, they don’t automatically want a financial bonus as does a Gen X – they want the choice of extra pay OR time in lieu.

For this generation, the economic mantras of “time is money” and “bang for your buck” has been replaced by “money is time” and “bang for your minute”. A generation raised during the aftermath of 9-11, and more recently ISIS terrorism, see time as a rarer commodity than money and so negotiate it diligently. This leads to not only saying NO to overtime, but demanding flexibility in their time off – whether that is annual leave or time in lieu of work done in overtime.

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