by Stella Shepard
The Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce hosted informative events throughout Small Business Week in October.
At one event facilitated by Executive Director Lori MacGregor, a panel of entrepreneurs shared their struggles and successes in the workplace.
The panel included Alan MacPhee, Entrepreneur and Community Advocate, Mary Lou MacFarlane, Human Resources Manager with Rodd Hotels & Resorts, and Nancy Anderson, Executive Director of Inclusions East.
“During COVID-19, it has been a struggle to maintain programs,” says Nancy. “We struggle with wages and staff shortages. It has been a double-edged blade to increase services to meet the increasing need in the community creating additional jobs, and doing so when staff resources are already stretched, trained or untrained.
“Inclusions East hired a Human Resource Administrator in 2020, which was imperative to the continuation of programing. Now, a greater onus is on us to provide enhanced training.
“We have steadily improved our wages, having increased the hourly wage for a Direct Support Worker by 15 percent in five years, but finding trained staff with the credentials we require has been most challenging.
“For a non-profit, we have a very attractive benefits package and we are committed to continue to improve our compensation levels. We are so proud of all our staff as they show great care for our clients.”
Rodd Hotels and Resorts
“The culture at Rodd Hotels and Resorts is about family,” says Mary Lou. “We lost some key positions during COVID-19 restrictions to other industries, and it has been difficult to rebuild our staff levels.”
When hiring, Mary Lou uses local job posting sites and social media platforms, and she reached out to Inclusions East and hired a couple of their clients.
“I have been in the retail business for almost 40 years,” says Alan, President and General Manager of MacPhee Enterprises. Alan oversees the following businesses in Souris: Main Street Mall, Main Street Home Hardware Building Centre, and MacPhee’s Market.
“Over the past three years, the challenge has been to adapt from being a slow, stable local work setting to a very high-paced dynamic environment like we have never seen before.
“We have about 110 employees and managing the hiring needs has been a challenge, but we have adapted.
Alan says the devasting events of the past few years have put a lot of pressure on their hardware business, in particular because of the need for supplies. “Our Main Street Home Hardware Building Centre in Souris grew to record levels.
“The labour deficit in the market is not going away. Labour is going to be the challenge for the coming decade, not only locally but nationally. We no longer have a labour surplus, so we really must work hard at being the best for our customers every day.
“Last year, we hired staff from nine different countries. Immigration is the way to future hiring. It’s going to be part of our lifestyle. Communities will be transformed because of immigration, and issues such housing and the healthcare crisis will need to be addressed.
“Hiring a Human Resources Director has been beneficial in recruiting the right people, reducing staff stress levels, and addressing staff issues. Managers can now concentrate on their jobs.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about the Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce, visit www.epeicc.ca