Friday, October 26, 2018

Why a racially diverse workplace is important...

I remember seeing a picture of my favorite beer company on twitter.  What stood out to me was everyone was white except for one person.

I also remember going to a fast food joint where everyone who worked there was Filipino.

A supply company that I have gone to from time to time has mostly white employees.

In all three cases I couldn't help but wonder if the hiring manager had a bias towards one race of people over another.  It did bother me, not enough to completely stop going to those businesses, but I do go to the competition more often now.   I don't always get my favorite beer, I will try other fast food joints and I do look around more when looking for shop supplies.  The loyalty I had to those businesses was lessened by the lack of diversity in their workforces.

I know the comeback is always best available should get the job.  It is because of that I don't completely stop shopping at places where most people are the same race.  I feel like a single moment in time isn't enough to label a company as having racial biases in terms of who they hire.  I know from personal experience there are times that the best available who apply for the job can be of the same race if the number of employees is small enough.  That said over a long enough period of time or a large enough group of employees,  if no biases exist in the hiring managers and the business is not a family business where employees are part of an extended family then the racial make up of a business should be fairly similar to the geography of where that business is located.

In urban Alberta for example we have such wondrous diversity.  There is no way a business with over I would say 10 employees should ever have one race.  I am not smart enough to know what percentage should be what.  I just strongly feel like if a business is hiring the best available in an Alberta urban setting then that business should have a diverse workforce.  If over 5 years this is not the case then in my opinion there may be hiring biases going on.  I use the word may because it is dangerous to speak in absolutes about this stuff because I don't know anything for certain.

From a marketing standpoint it is a must in my mind to at least consider diversity in the hiring process.  To make sure as an HR department you are giving interviews to people of all races, not just focusing on the race of people you as the hiring manager are most comfortable with.   I totally understand how we are all more comfortable with those we have more in common with and how sometimes people of the same race can fit that definition meaning a hiring manager could hire a single race of people without having it be because the hiring manager is racist.  The reason why this is bad from a marketing and PR standpoint is because everyone else not of the predominant race of people the business hires won't see things that way.   They need to believe that you would give them an opportunity to interview for a job irregardless of what a person's race might be... if everyone is of the same race which doesn't happen to be your race are you going to believe that company would hire you?

What are your thoughts about diversity in the workforce?

Master Iceman

Monday, August 27, 2018

Getting hired by Columbia Ice, only local ice company in Edmonton

I wasn't in good shape mentally when Ernie called me for an interview.  It had been two years I had been unemployed.  Sure I was making a little money doing videos on youtube but not enough to really live on or call it employment.  I know the day of the interview I hadn't slept the night before as when you are unemployed for long periods of time you end up doing the stay up late, sleep in late schedule.  When your interview is for 11 am there is really no point to going to bed at least for me because nerves always got the best of me.  It was probably my size, the fact I have done sales in the past and I had a clean abstract as to why Ernie hired me. 

I remember the first day of work.  We didn't have a machine to put the small bags into a bigger bag back then.  We had to do everything by hand.  This required one person on the auger, and two other people quickly stuffing big bags with little bags and palleting the ice.  I remember Ernie saying slow down you are working too hard.  I don't actually thinking I was working too hard just sweating a lot.  I wasn't in shape and I was dying trying to keep up.  First day of anything is like that.  Your body and mind isn't ready for something new, but luckily the human body adjusts very quickly. 

I wish I could say I was a good worker back then.  I had the potential to be a good worker but at the time I was screwed up in the head.  We spend a lot of our youth screwing up and there is a point when you become an adult where the consequences of those screw ups smack you in the face.  It is a struggle learning to forgive yourself for being so stupid when you are young.  That was really the stage in my life I was at when I got the job as an ice delivery driver.  The palleting of the ice I found very difficult because within the repetitive actions of putting small bags into bigs I ended up alone with my thoughts.  When your thoughts towards yourself are not kind you are desperate for distraction.  Driving wasn't much better except I could listen to sports radio.  Sports for me have always been a way to escape giving me peace. 

7 years later I am the manager of the company, running the ice plant, hiring people, training people, taking apart machines and putting them back together.  Never would of guessed it back then.  Back then I spent most times dreaming of something better not understanding that often something better can come from where I was. 

Thanks for listening..

Master Iceman

Friday, August 17, 2018

Feds consider tips a wage but provincial government does not... confusing...

If you are a server in Alberta legally you are suppose to declare your tips as part of your wage so the CRA aka the Canadian Revenue Agency so they can tax you.  This would suggest that tips are indeed part of a wage since you get taxed on wages.  I know most servers only declare a small amount or no amount.  I imagine the kitchen staff which often gets a piece of the tip pie also rarely declares the full amount but in theory if you get tips you are suppose to declare those tips so the federal government can tax them.  

At the provincial level those tips are magic beans and do not exist when it comes to determining an employee's wage.  It doesn't matter that a server could be making an additional $30.00 an hour from tips, the wage that server makes is the amount listed on the pay slip the employer gives the employee every two weeks.  This matters because provincial governments get to set things like minimum wage.  In Alberta minimum wage is going up to 15 an hour.  Restaurant owner doesn't get any credit for creating a mechanism where a server can earn 45.00 an hour with tips.  The provincial government just sees the hourly wage on the play slip blissfully unaware that the server is taking home far more than minimum wage. 

I don't own a restaurant or a pub so this doesn't affect me directly.  I do think it is ridiculous that the federal government through it's taxation is saying tips are indeed part of a servers wage whereas the provincial government by not having tips count as a wage is saying no tips are not a wage.  Lets give these food establishments recognition for creating a way where people can earn far more than minimum wage and stop pretending tips are not part of a wage at the provincial level.  

Thanks for listening...

Master Iceman