Why He's a Top 40: For bringing fun and understanding to the complex world of employee relations
It's like a scene from The Office: Hotshot young human resources consultant waltzes into the workplace, calls everybody to a meeting and chirps, "Don't think of me as the guy who might have to fire you. I want us to work together to find a solution to our problems! Now let's have fun!"
This is not fiction. Edmonton's Jared Tabler is that hotshot young human resources consultant. He is known for his unconventional, yet surprisingly effective methods - that is, the idea of utilizing "fun" in the complex world of employee relations. And the 27-year-old consultant is a fan of The Office, though he'd prefer to think he is most like Jim, the cool guy.
The Little Potato Company was one of Tabler's happy clients. The Edmonton-based business, whose main work consists of washing and bagging small potatoes, employs many immigrant workers, who in some cases don't speak much English. Tabler came up with a program in partnership with NorQuest College that is still in effect called Common Ground, which not only teaches immigrant workers English as a Second Language, free and onsite, but also tries to ease cultural misunderstandings among employees and with management. It works like a charm. Last year, the Little Potato Company was named by Alberta Venture as one of the best workplaces for new Canadians.
Tabler had initially wanted to be an actor and was accepted to a prestigious New York theatre school, but he chose a "practical route" that was closer to home instead. He earned his MBA and found himself "called" to a career in human resources. You don't hear that every day.
"The biggest thing for me is seeing people succeed," he says. Tabler is currently completing his PhD in organizational behaviour at Harvard University, so obviously being a good HR guy isn't as simple as hiring, firing and writing cheques. Tabler, who currently works as The Edmonton Journal's HR manager, also loves the arts and stays involved "behind the scenes" in a variety of cultural pursuits, including on the board of directors for Exposure, the Edmonton Queer Arts and Culture Festival. He is a huge booster both for Edmonton's business community and its arts scene — two worlds that are maybe not as far apart as they seem, as he demonstrates with his artful corporate approach.