Best Practices

Improving Environmental Sustainability Practices as a Small Business

While operating a small business can make it easier to adopt innovative sustainability processes and adapt accordingly, small and medium-sized businesses historically lag behind in introducing comprehensive environmental programs when compared to their larger counterparts. Only 67% of small and medium enterprises engage in organizational initiatives, but a staggering 90% of multinational companies have some form of corporate social responsibility plan. It may be easier for smaller businesses to practice sustainability and lower their impact on an organizational level, but the value of having sustainability initiatives in place is tangible. This effort is shown to result in improved consumer relations, up to 13% better employee retention rates, a significant increase in sales and profit, and a 15% increase in employee productivity.

But how do you reap these benefits? Part of it is focusing on scalable commitments that make sense for where your organization is at in its sustainability journey. Larger businesses usually have a more developed understanding of their emissions and climate targets, and it’s difficult to know how to translate the same metrics to a small or medium-sized business. We all want to work towards a more carbon-neutral future, and these are some tips to keep in mind when focusing on sustainability goals.

1. Reduce energy consumption  

Regardless of the size of your business, everyone needs to keep the lights on. But focusing on energy consumption can be a great starting point for organizations looking to lessen their environmental impact. Make sure your light sources are up-to date with efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LEDs, and consider using dimmers, motion sensors, or occupancy sensors to reduce usage. You can also use coverings to strategically blind and open windows, reducing the need for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.  Using office hardware with standby features and making sure employees are turning off or unplugging unused electronics at the end of the workday can help, too.

2. Properly dispose of e-waste

Ensuirng proper disposal of e-waste helps to divert waste from landfills and reduces the need for raw materials to manufacture new products. If you’re in BC and parts of Canada, visit Recycle My Electronics to find a drop-off location near you to dispose of electronics such as AV equipment, computers and accessories, internet and telecom hardware, and non-cellular phones. Recycling cell phones and batteries is equally important in helping to divert waste, as well as reducing the risk of soil contamination and water pollution from heavy metals. Visit the Recycling Council of British Columbia to learn more about how and where to recycle these items in BC.

3. Encourage sustainable transportation and employee engagement

Particularly in cities with reliable transit infrastructure, encouraging sustainable transportation amongst staff members can be a great way to get every level of your business involved in sustainability goals. You may consider subsidizing employee public transit passes or bike storage if your business is located in a downtown core, or look into developing a carpool or rideshare program in less accessible areas. You can also start smaller by implementing initiatives like a bike-to-work month. Alternatively, find out what your employees’ personal sustainability goals are, and develop internal programs that align with the things that are important to them. Composting, using less plastic, upcycling, reducing meat and dairy consumption, and replanting are all initiatives that can be encouraged and incentivized through engaging approaches such as competitions, group volunteer activities, or organizational goal-tracking.

4. Consider green digital practices

With rising concern for carbon emissions from digital technologies, there’s more opportunity than ever to identify and address areas for improvement. Start by evaluating your current processes to figure out what works best for your business – and remember that carbon emissions can come from the most unlikely of places. For example, sending an email with a large attachment can have the same carbon footprint as driving a car one kilometer! Mitigate concerns like these by being mindful with your communication habits, and utilize cloud-based tools to share content, compress large emails before sending, and regularly delete old emails. Another great way to reduce digital carbon emissions is choosing a green hosting platform for company websites, and looking for green web hosting certifications like a Renewable Energy Certificate.

5. Track carbon emissions

If you’re putting effort into reducing carbon emissions on an organizational level, the only way you’ll be able to tangibly improve is through understanding your carbon footprint in the first place. To get a basic idea of your environmental impact you can use online tools as an estimate, such as SME Climate Hub’s free business emissions calculator. For organizations interested in tracking and reporting highly accurate, auditable metrics, you can look into your company’s GHG emission factors and learn how to calculate them. There are also many companies that offer carbon emission evaluation and auditing, with software to help you stay on track and set targets specific to your needs, such as ClimatePartner or Greenly.


While this isn’t a comprehensive list, committing your business to environmental sustainability can be a long journey, and starting with these tips can be a step in the right direction. Learn more about climate change in BC here, and visit BC Green Business to learn how to become a leader in corporate sustainability.

Posted by Emily Couves in Best Practices

Protecting Yourself Against Employment Scams

With nearly half of all Canadians being targeted by fraudulent activity last year, it’s not surprising that scammers have taken to preying on job seekers in an already difficult market. It’s more important now than ever to be able to recognize and protect yourself from potential scams and fraud.

As AI becomes more readily available, online and phone scams become more convincing. While the majority of us know the basics of protecting ourselves online, the technology associated with fraudulent activity is improving faster than some people can keep up. Especially during a job search, it can be tempting to assume the best when you receive an exciting opportunity or offer, but it’s important to remember that not every opportunity is legitimate. Due to the prevalence of these scams, recruitment agencies have become well-versed in identifying and weeding out suspicious offers. Here are our top tips to help protect yourself in your job search:

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is

Scammers typically prey on people in vulnerable situations when identifying potential targets. Due to an unstable labour market, cost of living crisis, and difficult economic circumstances, people in active job searches can be an easy target for fraudulent activity. Scammers know that looking for work can be a tiresome and disheartening process, and by delivering too-good-to-be-true offers, they attempt to catch people who would otherwise be able to identify a scam in a moment of weakness. Remember, if someone reaches out to you with an offer for a job with extremely high pay for little work, unrealistic flexibility, job offers without an interview, or an upfront bonus without signing, it’s worth doing some extra due diligence to verify the details before engaging further.

2. Be wary of requests for money, wire transfer, or application fees

While there is some international debate about charging job application fees (and there are some places in the world where this is the norm), no one is authorized to charge a fee for job applications in British Columbia. This applies to B.C. residents and temporary foreign workers – if a company requires an application fee, it’s best to walk away. The same goes for wire transfer requests, signing fees, or charging you for credit or background checks. Reputable companies will pay overhead for the fees incurred during the hiring process, and job seekers should be wary of anyone who tries to charge them to be an employee.

3. Verify suspicious recruitment communications

We’re seeing more and more scams involving impersonating recruiters, and it’s important to be aware of the differences in communication between a real recruiter and someone pretending to be one. Most recruitment scams involve a text message about a job that you most likely didn’t apply for, but be careful – some scammers may reference a job that actually exists online, so if you have a bad feeling about something, it’s always best to verify the identity of the person you’re talking to. The majority of reputable recruiters will not send their first communication over text, and will instead message you on LinkedIn, email you from an address associated with a real firm, or call you from local number.

If you’re ever unsure if the person you’re talking to is a real recruiter, don’t be afraid to check their identity by connecting with them on LinkedIn, cross referencing the email address they’re communicating from with the URL of the agency, or simply calling or emailing the contacts listed on their agency’s website. Real recruiters are aware of the prevalence of these scams and will be happy to provide the information you request. If someone gets angry or hostile with you for wanting to validate the legitimacy of a job posting or verify their identity, it’s usually not a good sign.

4. Don’t give out personal information upfront

It’s part of the process to give out personal info during your search, but things like your social security number, copies of ID, and tax information should be withheld until you’ve met the hiring team and have a contract in front of you.

Posted by Emily Couves in Best Practices, Career Advice

Handling Job Rejection Productively

Losing out on a job opportunity can be difficult. Nobody likes to feel rejected, but it’s an inevitable part of the process that everyone will experience at least once in their career. Being weighed down by rejection and handling it productively can be the difference between success and failure in your next role. Read on to learn how to turn a rejection into an opportunity for personal growth.

1. Don’t take it personally.

Have you ever heard the phrase it’s nothing personal, just business? While getting rejected might sting in the moment, it’s important to remember that it really is nothing personal. There could be a whole list of reasons why you may not have been selected for a role, but it’s never a reflection of who you are as a person. Don’t feel that you need to change yourself for a job – while there may be things that you can improve or work on, the right job will make you feel secure, not like you need to change who you are to fit in.

2. Learn from the experience.

Every negative situation can be turned into a learning experience if you frame it properly. Perhaps you dropped the ball during an interview and said something you shouldn’t have, or maybe you made a mistake during a skills assessment. Maybe you just weren’t as qualified for the job as you thought you were. In any case, be honest with yourself when considering what you could have improved upon, rather than placing the blame on someone or something else. Even in cases where everything went well and the circumstances for rejection were beyond your control, it can still be helpful to analyze the situation and ask yourself how it could have gone better. If nothing else, take it as a lesson that not every job will be the right fit for you!

3. Ask questions.

While it may not be at the top of your list of things to do after you’ve been rejected, reaching out to the interviewer, hiring manager, or recruiter that you were working with to ask what you could have done differently can be an invaluable tool for future success. It’s good professional form to reach out after an interview anyway, and could put you in a positive position for future opportunities and referrals as well.

4. Stay focused on future successes.

It can be tempting to wallow a little after one or two (or more!) rejections. But don’t spend too much time obsessing over the negative. Staying on track and not letting yourself get discouraged will allow you to keep your momentum up and continue your job search.


Have you ever experienced job rejection? How did you handle it? Let us know! Keep the conversation going on our Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Posted by Emily Couves in Best Practices

Improving Inclusive Hiring Practices

Inclusive hiring is incredibly important for a number of reasons. Not only does it open your business to a widened range of viewpoints, approaches, and management styles, but it can be a net positive for an organization’s overall success. With benefits such as employee retention, productivity, and an increase in employee satisfaction, hiring with the goal of inclusivity means spotlighting hiring practices that recognize diversity and new perspective. But inclusive hiring is about more than recruiting with the intent to tick off a box. It should include an active effort to eliminate bias on an organizational level, while actively preventing discrimination. But regardless of your place within your business, where do you start?

1. Evaluate your weak spots and consider what diversity means to you.

What are you missing in the success of your organization? This could be an open line of communication for all employees, a wide range of employee perspective, generational gaps, experience gaps, or intersectionality. Often, when you can identify the areas in which your business is lacking, it’s easier to see where the blank spots exist. Once you’ve effectively identified areas of improvement, approaching a diverse hiring strategy is much more manageable.

2. Pivot your brand identity.

Brand identity is critical to ensuring your business is approachable and welcoming to all applicants at the source. In some industries that can be more male-dominated, messaging can benefit from a makeover. Identify language that could deter visitors to your social media or website, and pivot to inclusive messaging. A good rule of thumb here is to communicate with the goal of making everyone feel like your target audience. Depending on your business there may be exceptions to this rule, such as when you’re identifying specific skill sets or industry experience, but for the most part, your language should be non-gendered, free of stereotypes or generalizations, and neutral in tone.

3. Re-evaluate your job posting strategy

Using inclusive language is important when postings jobs too, but it can also be beneficial to evaluate what job boards you’re utilizing to attract candidates. Some large job sites such as Indeed may have the option to highlight posts for minority groups or persons with disabilities, but getting creative with your posting strategy can be a great approach as well. A good place to start is to check out local non-profit organizations or event groups that have job boards. These can include groups for women in tech, new immigrants, or people with disabilities. Not only will this increase your applicant pool, but you’ll have the opportunity to meet people who may not have otherwise applied.

4. Eliminate career growth obstacles

Larger businesses should already have an internal recruiting strategy in place, but implementing internal mobility tracking can help you to identify where obstacles exist for employees, and paint a clearer picture of growth progression for all employees. As an added bonus, this will help with employee retention and overall morale too!

5. Be mindful during the interview process

The interview process can be intimidating for anyone, but it’s especially important to consider how your organization can benefit from more inclusive practices. Consider a gender balanced interview panel, and be mindful of obstacles your interviewee may have faced over their employment history. You don’t have to compromise on your qualification requirements in every case, but being open to a variety of career paths and employment backgrounds will allow you to see talent and valuable attributes that you may not have encountered otherwise.

6. Keep an eye on your metrics

It may not make sense for smaller companies to track hiring metrics, but larger organizations can only benefit from having an idea of what their hiring looks like from a broader perspective. Some applicant tracking systems can highlight the differences between why certain employees were hired over others, and display pipeline obstacles for candidates with diverse backgrounds. It can also help to keep track of things like how new hires are fitting in with their peers, or employees who may be falling behind.

Do you have a specific hiring need that isn’t being met? Are you having difficultly finding and retaining top talent? Stellar can help. Get in touch with our sales team here.

Posted by Emily Couves in Best Practices

Navigating a Multigenerational Workplace

For the first time in history, there are five generations interacting in the workplace. The workforce is now made up of employees from a combination of different milestone generations, each with different values, needs, motivators, career goals, and professional experience. And this is only the beginning – in the coming years, there could be up to six different generations working within organizations at one time, which is why learning to navigate and manage a multigenerational workforce now is so critical. With the median retirement age in Canada steadily increasing,  it’s inevitable that organizations will have to pivot to include the evolving priorities of newer generations while still accommodating older employees, and this shift won’t be easy. However, it’s important to remember that generational divide is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and there are steps that can be taken at all levels to ensure that you, your colleagues, and leaders are mutually benefitting and growing within this new generational environment.

What’s In a Year?

While it can be detrimental to categorize groups of people based on their generational group, there are certain elements and experiences that are universal to each generation.

Gen Z: Born between 1996 – 2014

  • Immersed in technology from birth, adapted to a technologically interconnected world
  • Experienced growing up with financial and social instability
  • Grew up during an economic downturn during major global events
  • High aptitude in digital communications

Millennials: Born between 1981 – 1996

  • Witnessed major technological advances within their lifetime
  • Experience finding work in difficult job markets
  • Witnessed wealth followed by economic downturn
  • Good balance of in-person and digital communication

Gen X: Born between 1965 – 1980

  • Experienced high divorce rates and disproportionately high single-family upbringings
  • Significant technological advancements during working years
  • Varied workplace experience and high adaptability
  • Combination of digital skills

Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 – 1964

  • Post-war upbringing
  • Not native to digital technology, but experience working throughout varied technological advancements
  • Experienced high job market accessibility
  • Tend to be less adept at utilizing digital technology

Traditionalists: Born between 1925 – 1945

  • Experienced the first wave of true technological innovation during their upbringing
  • Typically have limited experience with technology in the workplace


Industry Matters

Tech-centric environments are some of the most influenced by multiple generations of employees. It’s becoming increasingly necessary to hire younger employees to close the knowledge gap while still relying on older workers’ tenured experience, which can lead to conflict.

The methodologies in a technological environment are a huge contributor to this issue. While the fundamental career goals of many employees remain the same, including a need for financial security, desire for work-life balance, and overall commitment to their career, methodologies within a tech environment are one of the big differences seen when comparing older and younger generations. In general, rapidly changing technology influences the way that workers interact with each other, with certain environments facilitating a highly communicative and collaborative approach. This can exile older groups while leaving younger generations feeling unheard. Incorporating generational differences in training and mentoring can help, with an emphasis on understanding and integrating the preferred communication styles of all generations. Overall, the most important thing to remember is that the larger goals of the company should be the focus. A good strategy is identifying the areas of each generational group that can be of benefit to the bigger picture.


Lose the Labels

Generational stereotypes just aren’t accurate. It’s an oversimplification to box younger employees into a specific way of thinking and can lead to more division, and research shows that different generations tend to think that their older or younger counterparts have vastly different priorities than they actually do. When it comes down to it, it’s important for organizations to maintain a good idea of what all of their employees want, without making any assumptions. Anonymous company-wide surveys are a good way to monitor the success of different initiatives and gain an overall understanding of how your team is running from a cultural sense. In short, put in the time to find out what your workplace culture is and work together to build it as a team based on real metrics.


Meet People Where They Are

Every employee is going to have their own individual values within the workplace, no matter what age group or generation they’re a part of. The most important thing to remember is that generalizing an approach isn’t the most effective way to manage any team, and having a good understanding of your employees’ widespread goals is the best way to strategize your approach. Good corporate values, better communication, and the right amount of support are things that every employee can agree facilitate a positive working environment, and these are things that can be upheld by employees of any experience level or generational group. Focusing on the things that each person has in common is more productive than trying to generalize each specific concern, and creating an environment that supports good communication allows everyone to have a good understanding of workplace needs as a whole.


Moving Forward

Ready or not, the workplace is changing faster than many organizations can accommodate. On average, only 1 in 5 employers said that they felt “very confident” that their organizations were ready to manage the next generation of talent. To get ahead, prepare to leverage young talent to bridge the skills or culture gap that you might be experiencing. Hire based on skill, not experience, and remember that employer values can make or break a successful work environment. Keep on the pulse of the new generation while making room for your older, more experienced employees. Whether you’re an employer, employee, or brand new to the workforce, think about the things you can do to share your own knowledge with the people around you to build an inclusive and successful place of work, for the benefit of every generation.

Posted by Emily Couves in Best Practices, Career Advice

10 Things to Do to Set Your LinkedIn Profile Up for Success

As far as social media goes, LinkedIn is one of the most important tools for career-minded individuals. Whether you’re an employer, job seeker, or any industry professional, LinkedIn can be a great resource to leverage your connections and build a network of like-minded individuals.

1. Choose the Right Profile Picture

Your profile picture will be the first thing a potential employer or connection sees, and gives a face to your name and skillset. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but your profile picture should look professional and up-to-date, and should reflect the type of role you’re seeking.

2. …. And Background Photo

A great background photo will be interesting, eye-catching, and should represent your personal brand. Consider choosing something that shows who you are and makes you stand out.

3. Perfect Your Summary

The “summary” section is arguably the most important and overlooked aspect of a LinkedIn profile. Your summary will tell your story to anyone who comes across your profile, and should be relatively detailed and a little more personal than just a list of skills or accolades. Take the opportunity to write about your experiences, give some context to your examples career history, or show off your personality. Still stuck? Check out some great of LinkedIn summaries here.

4. Show, Don’t Tell

A list of your skills and technologies works, but it won’t make you stand out to future employers. A great way to really draw attention to your profile is by displaying demonstrated experience and giving examples of times that you were successful while employing certain skills. This gives context to your skillset and shows that you have the achievements to back up your experience.

5. Grow Your Network

Keeping an up-to-date network of relevant industry professionals is an easy way to stay in the loop about potential opportunities, from networking events to open roles to speaking opportunities. Remaining engaged within your industry puts your name out there, gives you plenty of talking points, and helps keep your skills sharp while you’re in the midst of your job search and beyond.

6. Manage Your Endorsements

Endorsements are a great way to give some substance to your profile and skills. Having relevant endorsements gives you credibility and demonstrates that you’d make a valuable addition to a future employer’s team. However, it’s also important to remember to keep endorsements relevant – make sure you’re reaching out to people who’s endorsements really matter, and endorsing skills that will help you in your job search. You can always tailor your endorsements to the type of role you’re on the market for by using LinkedIn’s edit features to choose what to show and what to hide.

7. Take a Skills Assessment

Skills assessments can do wonders for the overall success of your profile, and data direct from LinkedIn shows that job seekers with verified skills are up to 30% more likely to be hired for the roles they apply to.

8. Share Relevant Content

Sharing interesting articles, videos, photos, and other content is a great way to keep up your activity and drive traffic to your page. This will let you retain meaningful connections and interact with your network on a regular basis. Keep an eye out for content that fits your personal brand and interests, and share content that you find reflects your point of view.

9. Stay Engaged

Commenting and reacting to others’ content might seem unimportant, but it’s a fantastic way to establish your opinion, show what you care about, and put your name out there to potential employers. Remember to keep your comments professional, polite, and remember that you’re representing yourself to hiring managers and others in your industry.

10. Follow Industry Pros

A great way to find interesting, relevant content is to follow well-known influencers and professionals in your industry. This will help you find content to share, keep up-to-date with industry trends, and demonstrates your interests and passions to anyone browsing your profile.


Are you on the hunt for a new opportunity? Stellar can help. Visit us on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn to connect, or get in touch at

Posted by Emily Couves in Best Practices, Career Advice

6 Tips for Interviewing Remotely

Interviewing remotely can be a challenge. It’s relatively easy to put your best foot forward when you have the opportunity to meet with a hiring manager face to face, but video interviewing opens up the opportunity for a number of potential problems, and it can be tough to know how to approach the process.

With an increase of remote hiring practices taking place, especially considering the sudden influx of employees and companies conducting business from home, we’ve compiled these 5 tips for acing your video interview.

1. Get Prepared

Just because you’re interviewing from the comfort of your own home, it doesn’t give you the opportunity to skip past the preparation process. Just like any other interview, it’s important to brush up on your knowledge of the company you’re interviewing with and prepare a list of questions to ask the hiring manager.

2. Clean Up Your Space

Make sure the space you’ll be interviewing from is clean, tidy, and professional looking. You also may want to consider removing any items from the background of your video to ensure the interviewer’s full attention is on you. Setting up your space in front of a blank wall with plenty of natural light is always a great idea. If natural light isn’t possible, make sure you’re in a well-lit environment.

3. Focus on the Camera

It’s easy to get distracted when you’re not interviewing face to face. Make sure you’re spending the majority of your time focusing on camera, and not looking down at your notes or paying attention to how you appear in the webcam window.

4. Minimize Distractions

When you’re preparing to interview from home, make sure there’s minimal background activity that may distract you from the task at hand. If you have pets, consider removing them from the room. Ensure your family is aware that you’ll need a quiet space to yourself, and be sure to turn your phone volume off and close out any additional browser windows while the interview is taking place.

5. Stay Confident

Interviewing remotely can be just as, if not more, nerve-wracking than interviewing in person. It’s important to remember to relax, take a deep breath, and make sure that you’re speaking slowly, clearly, and confidently.

6. Dress to Impress 

Interviewing from home isn’t an excuse to wear sweatpants – make sure you dress the part, even if your interviewer can only see your face. Dressing appropriately for an interview, no matter where you are, can help you project confidence and professionalism into your delivery, and helps put you in a great mindset to ace your interview.

Are you participating in more remote interviews in recent weeks? Do you have any tips for job searching during the Covid-19 outbreak? Make sure you stay connected with us on social media to keep up on remote job search tips, information about working from home, and more!

Posted by Emily Couves in Best Practices, Career Advice