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The Results Are In: Does Your Company Have an Employee Development Program?

In our January Question of the Month, we asked if your company has a comprehensive employee development program. The encouraging results show that approximately 63% of respondents have a program in place to help or at least encourage their employees to reach their development goals.

The full breakdown:

  • For 24% of respondents, employee development is an integral part of their culture
  • 20% offer employee development opportunities, but only on an as needed basis
  • 19% of companies encourage employee development, but don’t officially support it
  • And, 38% have no employee development initiatives in place

During the past few years since the recession, an alarming situation has emerged in the workforce. Currently, there are more than 12 million unemployed workers in the U.S. at the same time many businesses across all industries are having a difficult time filling open positions. So, where’s the disconnect? Studies have shown that the problem may lie with fewer numbers of available skilled workers.

The workplace is constantly evolving, so in order to ensure your business stays productive, it’s necessary for your workers to evolve at the same pace. Companies that place an emphasis on training and development programs for their employees are essentially helping to creating their own private talent pool. Focusing on developing younger or less-skilled workers will help ensure you have easier access to talent to fill high-skilled job vacancies. And by creating comprehensive leadership development paths, you take important steps toward securing the future of the company.

Employee training and development is a vital part of building a stable, productive, and successful business. And as the workforce continues to become more technologically advanced, the need for highly skilled workers is only going to increase. Staying ahead of the curve and making moves to fight the brewing talent war will be key to survival in the long run.

How do you develop new employees and prepare them to take on larger roles within your company? Let us know in the comment section below.

by Jared Brox on February 19, 2013 in Executive InsightsLeadership and ManagementSurveys, Polls, and Infographics



The 4 Most Powerful Words a CEO can Say

It's strange being a CEO. It can actually be lonely. People think you have all the answers and often have little to say around you. They anxiously wait for your words. And that's why for too many employees, the CEO is little more than a stranger behind the corner office door. Meaningful words are never spoken.

It's a shame actually when the CEO is a mystery. Who wants to work for a company where the most important leader is little more than a title?

I have always done my best to be me first and the CEO second. While I might not always be a CEO, I will always be me and we all benefit when I share who I am and what I believe in.

I know this is easier said than done. Whether you're CEO of a startup or a large multi-national, you feel vulnerable at times and it's easy to stay veiled. But as CEO of Aha! which is product roadmap software for product managers, employee performance and happiness is always on my mind. It's my job to ensure that everyone is as productive as possible. To make that happen, I need to help each person be better than they ever thought was possible.

As the CEO, my job is to be omni-present to serve employees.

This goes beyond ensuring that they have all the tools they need. On a deeper level, they need to know that they can approach me without personal judgement. They need to know that I believe in their potential for greatness and that I am committed to them being better tomorrow than they are today.

So, do you know what I say to make that clear?

The four most powerful words a CEO can use are, "How can I help?"

This sends a strong message to your team, whether someone's new or has been with you since day one. When you ask this question, they know you're:

We've all been thrown into the deep end at work. Whether you drowned or self-taught yourself to swim, it isn't fun -- and can kill morale. Asking how you can help has two positive impacts: it demonstrates strong commitment and ignites a sense of teamwork. I am all in.

Employees will not always ask for help. They've been conditioned to try to do it all themselves and not to make more demands on the CEO's time. Many CEOs don't care enough to ask. The ones who do are rare -- and make a strong impression. They are there to serve employees and be responsive to their needs.

If you're asking how you can help, the question exposes your humanity. It says that you care about the person and the work they are doing. Caring is good for every leader as it allows you to stay in control, remain humble, and maintain perspective. It puts the other person first and throws out any sense of company hierarchy. It deepens relationships and the effort people put in.

CEOs often forget that their employees are the ultimate shareholders. They control the destiny of the organization.

Employees have bet their livelihoods and working happiness on the company and the CEO who is leading it. So, CEOs must internalize this and put employees and their potential for achievement first.

My job is to set a vision, give the team purpose, and ensure that every single employee can better themselves and the world. How can I help?

What has your CEO done to help you?


A Dressing Down – Dress Codes in the Modern Workplace?

According to research cited by the British Association of Dermatologists, one in five Britons now has a tattoo.  Amongst US 30 something’s, the estimate rises to about two in five, with facial piercings being almost as common in both countries.  As a result, this is becoming an issue that more and more employers have to grapple with.

Employers may wish to promote a certain image through their employees which they believe reflects the ethos of their organization and tattoos and piercings may well not fit with that image.  So how should this be handled and are there any pitfalls of imposing rules of this nature on employees?

The body in the UK that provides advice and assistance to both employer and employees alike, ACAS (the Arbitration, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has recently published a guide to the sticky issue of Dress Code.  In it, they address tattoos and piercings and suggest that if an employer wants to have a rule around removal of piercings or coverage of tattoos, they are free to do so but should make sure that they consult with their employees first and that any rules that are introduced are necessary and reflect sound business reasons.

The greater question might be whether organizations should have such rules at all and whether by introducing something such as a ban on tattoos and body piercings, perhaps going so far as to not recruiting certain individuals because they present to the interview with tattoos or piercings, they are losing talent and not acting in the best interests of the business.  When even Samantha Cameron (the Prime Minister’s wife) and David Dimbleby (a venerable BBC journalist) have tattoos (obtained at the age of 75 in David Dimbleby’s case), you have to wonder if businesses needs to think outside the box on this issue.

The main risks of introducing a ban or rules around such matters is that they have to be applied equally to men and women and in a non-discriminatory fashion and if they are not, then claims could ensue.  It is fine to have different standards of dress for men and women (for example men have to wear a tie but women have to wear ‘business dress’), provided that the rules are more or less equal for both genders and that they are enforced fairly.

Tattoos and piercings are unlikely to have any religious connection and so religious discrimination is not going to be an issue, but modes of dress and the wearing of jewelry can have such connotations and in a recent case against British Airways, it was held that an employee should be able to wear a cross, as there was no health and safety issues in that case (unlike the person working in the National Health Service who brought the same claim and it was held that it was reasonable to require her not to wear a cross for health and safety reasons).

Setting aside the question of whether in 2014 employers would be helping themselves recruit the best talent by relaxing the rules around tattoos and piercings, what the ACAS guidance and the case law tells us about this tricky issue, is that if an employer wants to set a standard on appearance, it is free to do so, but it is important to engage with employees to work out what issues they may have with such a policy, ensure that any rules are imposed clearly and consistently and are based on sound business reasons, to avoid discrimination and disgruntled employees.

Source: (Co-Written by) Nicola Whiteley, Mandy Perry and Rachel Easter (
September 16, 2015


2015 - Should You Be Ready to Hire More Staff?

2015 - Should You Be Ready to Hire More Staff?

By: Sharon Mercer, Franchisee, Express Employment Professionals, London, Ontario

As the beginning of a new year approaches, the general consensus is that 2015 should be a good year for business. According to the career site, 74 % of executives plan to expand their businesses.

As a business leader, you have to decide if the timing is right to expand your business and hire new employees. There isn’t a crystal ball to guarantee that company growth will continue and that adding more staff is the right thing to do. It’s one of those risks that every business has to take in order to keep growing. Thankfully, there are three signs in particular, that you should look for when considering to hire more staff.

Overworked, Overwhelmed Employees
Every worker has grumbled about being overworked at some point or another, but if the majority of your employees, especially your top performers, are complaining, then it’s time to take notice. Entrepreneur magazine recommends “talking to your employees and asking them to validate their concerns of being ‘overworked’. Then look at attendance and productivity indicators to substantiate their claims.” If the issue can’t be solved through more training or restructuring, then it is probably time to increase your team members. Additionally, if your top talent is telling you that they want to expand their responsibilities or implement new projects, but don’t have the time, it’s time to bring on new staff.

Disgruntled Customers
If you are unable to meet the needs of your clients regularly, you risk losing their business entirely. If you find yourself unable to provide the full extent of services that clients are requesting or unable to implement new products that customers are asking for, then you should take a look at your workforce. suggests that if after analyzing your current processes for inefficiencies, you still can't adequately handle problems, it may be a sign that you do need more help. Similarly, Entrepreneur proposes that you take a look at your current staff’s skills and knowledge to decide if you need to add on. If a different set of skills is needed to reach the next level of success for your business, it’s time to start looking for your next great team member.

Excess Profits
Increased business is always a cause for celebration, but it can also be an indicator that it’s time to hire, depending on the circumstances. Once you’ve rewarded yourself and your employees, investing the increased revenue back into the company by bringing on more talent is a great option. However, Erik Sherman, a blogger for Inc. and CBS MoneyWatch, has a warning for anyone considering this step. “Many entrepreneurs get excited when they see a rush of business,” Sherman said. “Before deciding on growing your staff, be fairly sure that the increased workload will last long enough to justify them.”

The first of the year can be the perfect time to hire new employees and prepare for future growth. Business leaders need to weigh the decision of hiring very carefully, though. Right now, it may be better for your business to bring new workers in on an evaluation hire, allowing you to see if they are fit for the team before hiring them permanently. If the timing is right, expanding your workforce can be the best thing you’ve ever done for your business and could set you up for a record-breaking year in 2015.

For more information about this and other articles, call the London Express Professionals Office:
519-672-7620, visit our website or check us out on Facebook:



CareerBuilder: “One in Five Companies Have Replaced Workers with Technology”

According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), 21% of companies say they have replaced employees with automation. The survey also points out that while an increased emphasis on technology has eliminated some jobs, in many instances, more higher-skilled jobs were created as a result.

Check out the full report.

Has your company “automated” its workforce? If so, what was the effect on hiring? Let us know in the comments section below.