WINNIPEG, MB - The end of the Canadian Wheat Board could have singled a logical time for Human Resources (HR) expert Diana Wiesenthal to wrap up an already storied career.
But after 35 years, as she completed the dismantling of the board's HR function, Wiesenthal saw an opportunity to apply her experience to any number of businesses who could use some strategic help.
"I spent a lot of my career kind of watching management beliefs or practices that weren't really the best," says Wiesenthal. "And sometimes employees bring a lot of toxic stuff into the workplace too."
What she learned from observing some of these dysfunctions was not that the situation was hopeless - but that you could "build healthy workplaces… an environment where people are productive and enjoy what they're doing. If the staff is successful then the business is successful."
Along with a few colleagues she brought with her from former posts at the Wheat Board, Wiesenthal began an HR consultancy focused on empowering people at work called Corporate People Responsibility (CPR).
Now headquartered at The Avenue on Portage building, Corporate People Responsibility is well-positioned to attract big corporations and small businesses seeking some help with organizational structure or leadership coaching.
"We wanted to locate centrally because we wanted to have a presence in the downtown area," says Wiesenthal. "Most of our clients are sort of in walking distance."
With testimonials from organizations big and small on its website, like Women's Health Clinic, Investors Group and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, CPR can scale its efforts; offering customized HR programs can mean everything from in-kind work for non-profits, to executive leadership coaching for major companies.
"That is one of the neatest things, learning about all the different companies and organizations that we have in Manitoba - a lot of innovation that's happening," says Wiesenthal.
Wiesenthal finds working with non-profits particularly rewarding work, since so few have the means to provide HR functions in-house.
"There's such a need and people are so appreciative," says Wiesenthal. "When you help people out of a jam situation you can just see the relief."
There are also so many benefits to having executive coaching handled from an outside perspective. Discussing your leadership credentials, including gathering feedback and self-evaluation, and providing comparisons, is much easier when done confidentially and with someone who has the academic training and experience, but who isn't a coworker.
"We completely understand what people are going through," says Wiesenthal, of CPR's former senior executives who provide the coaching. "We have people who have walked in their shoes."
For more information on Corporate People Responsibility and its services, visit www.cprinc.ca
By Downtown BIZ