My 2017 New Year’s Wish List for the Workplace

By Gerald Walsh ©

At this time of year – when things are less busy – we tend to reflect on the year gone by, thinking about the highs and lows we experienced and what we have learned from those times.

For me, some of the highlights included:

The rejuvenation I experienced from spending the month of August on the shore in beautiful PEI; the honour I felt by being present at the IWK Hospital when a terminally-ill, five-year-old girl was granted her “wish” by Make-A-Wish Foundation; and the admiration I have for people in my life doing purpose-driven work.

There were several lows too:

The loss of my good friend, Neville Gilfoy, to cancer; the disappointing level of sexism and racism that was so prevalent in the U.S. presidential race; and the frustration that 50,000 people in Nova Scotia still use food banks every year, despite our overall level of prosperity.

(Exercise: Take a few minutes right now to write down your highs and lows from 2016.)

I also use this time to look ahead to the coming year and, in doing so, write down my New Year’s Wish List For The Workplace. Here are my 12 wishes for 2017.

I wish ….

That we honour personal qualities like generosity, kindness and humility more than money, prestige and power.

That employers give young people the chance to establish themselves by providing permanent jobs with decent wages, good training and real mentorship.

That every young woman believes there is no limit to what she can accomplish in this world.

That the five generations in the workforce (seniors, boomers, Gen X, millennials, Gen Z) will not dwell on their differences but instead respect each other’s contribution to work.

That employers recognize that the best way to retain top talent is to invest in these key employees by giving them engaging work, access to training, and saying ‘thank you’ once in a while.

That real leaders emerge in political, business and community circles: women and men who possess a vision and who demonstrate integrity, passion, honesty and compassion in implementing that vision.

That employees and employers seek to create a more authentic working relationship with each other – one that would be described more as a “partnership” rather than a business transaction.

That CEOs reorder their priorities so that employees, customers and innovation are at the top of their list and profit, cost reduction and efficiency are at the bottom of the list.

That we all adopt the habits of lucky people: work hard, complain less, be kind, share credit, and help others.

That companies train people well enough so they can leave anytime but treat them well enough so they don’t want to. (I stole that quote from Richard Branson!)

That we treat people based on their character and skills rather than their race, gender, ethnicity or age.

That we welcome all newcomers to Canada with open arms and show them what being “Canadian” really means.


A request: What’s on your wish list for 2017? You can write me at



Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and writer. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.