Alberta has a broad, diversified economy. Whether you are an oil field company working on drill rigs, supplying rig mats, providing safety inspection services, hauling gravel or providing construction services, the lifeblood of your business, your number one asset and your number one expense is your workforce. The same goes for businesses operating in the retail, manufacturing and service sectors. Success in business is all about your people and how you manage your labour inputs to make a profit.
However, business people tend to overlook the importance of getting the employment side of the business right. Understandably, as an owner-operator, you are focused on business development, vendor, and customer contracts. You think about the product you are producing, the state of the market, and what your competitors are doing. Your focus tends to be on the revenue side of the equation, and you spend less time thinking about the expenses side. The number one cost on that side of your business ledger is labour, and if you get it wrong, it can have serious financial consequences for your business.
The Rationale for HR Lawyers on Demand
A significant part of our firm’s Employment Solutions practice focuses on helping Edmonton employers deal with the full range of human resources issues associated with running a successful business. The other aspect of our practice is helping clients deal with the fall out when things go sideways.
The cost, in time and money, of litigating employment law disputes can be significant. In our experience, much of what ends up in court can be avoided (or better defended) with proactive planning and timely advice. However, we were finding that many employers were hesitating to pick up the phone and get legal advice on how to deal with a situation because they were worried about a big legal bill. Instead, they were choosing to proceed as best they could. Unfortunately, this sometimes ended up turning a small, manageable incident into a significant dispute with litigation dollars attached.
We wanted to find a way to help our employer clients avoid disputes where possible while putting in place contingency plans for a solid defence in situations that were likely to end in court. So, we developed a proactive approach to managing employment law issues called HR Lawyers on Demand, to acknowledge that it’s often the things you do before a dispute boils over that have the most beneficial impact.
The goal of HR Lawyers on Demand is to remove the billable hour barrier to getting timely legal help for owner-operated, small to mid-size businesses in Alberta. The focus is on proactive human resources management which includes developing policies and procedures to avoid potential problems, and when they arise, we want to help clients develop ways to address problems early on when there is a better chance of achieving a cost-effective and lasting solution.
Sometimes litigation is unavoidable, but it almost always saves time, energy, and money if you can reach a solution without the need to go to court. A built-in advantage of HR Lawyers on Demand is that if a dispute needs formal dispute resolution or even litigation you do not have to waste time and money bringing a legal team up to spend on the history of the dispute.
Think of it as having access to professional HR advice without the additional cost of a full-time employee and if you are fortunate enough to have an HR person working for you, think of it as support at short notice for those unexpected issues that arise in every workplace.
Whether you are just starting out or you have been in business for years, we can help you get your foundation in place and help you manage your workforce going forward. Contact our firm’s Employment Solutions lawyers to get started.
To view the HR Lawyers on Demand Brochure, click here.
Jarin Myskiw, and Tara Matheson
This article is intended to give general information only. We recommend you contact a lawyer for specific legal advice.