Jonathan Dingwell, PCP
HR Associate – Pensions, Emera, Halifax, NS
Jonathan Dingwell knows that being open to new experiences and opportunities can open doors. He grew up on a small farm on Price Edward Island but, as he got older, he sought to broaden his horizons and decided to move to the more urban area of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
While Halifax has been a change of pace – Jonathan loves it. As a young professional, he appreciates how easy it is to explore the city on foot, meet up with friends and try new restaurants. When he’s missing home, he finds pockets of serenity within the city that remind him of his roots, by visiting his favourite local flower shop or taking a quiet kayak trip.
Jonathan’s career has varied and grown over the years. He started working in the hospitality industry, working his way up at the many hotels in his area. Once he made the move to Nova Scotia, he gravitated more to retail management. What he loved most about this change in industry was the exposure he got to new people and cultures – things he didn’t see much of in his small hometown. Now, with cruise ships coming in and out of port daily, there are always new faces with interesting stories and perspectives coming in and out of the shops.
Craving a more predictable work schedule, and upon the recommendation of some people close to him, he started looking into a career in payroll. Thanks to his management experience, he had a fair amount of exposure to various components of payroll, so he jumped right in and was able to land a payroll position and began taking courses through the National Payroll Institute. While at times it was a lot to juggle, he found it incredibly valuable to be able to work on his designation while working, because he was able to see the concepts he was learning about come to life in real-time.
Soon after earning his PCP, Jonathan was hired by Emera Inc., an energy services company with operations in Canada, the US and Caribbean, where he currently works. There he found a wonderful mentor, Wendy Doane, a Past-Chair of the National Payroll Institute’s Board of Directors, who helped him establish himself in the company and in the payroll department. When she moved on to the Pensions and Benefits department, he followed. While Jonathan’s responsibilities have grown into new areas of Human Resources, he finds that his foundational knowledge of payroll is extremely helpful, especially when evaluating new benefits packages and how they will impact employees.
“It allows me to give sound advice and make well-reasoned decisions that will work for everyone. I understand how our pay is processed, so I can speak from experience about how we can go from ‘Point A’ to pay.”
When Jonathan looks back at his first role in payroll, he already can see that so much has changed in a short amount of time.
He feels that advancements in technology are great opportunities for payroll professionals. Not only to focus on the bigger picture of a business and to make sure employees are supported and taken care of — but also to take a well-deserved vacation. He sees automation taking on many of the repetitive tasks of payroll, while the professionals can transition to more of an employee engagement role.
“Employees look to payroll for support,” he says. “They’re looking at their pay, looking at their pensions and benefits, looking at what’s coming off their paycheque and wondering what it means. Technology is allowing payroll to increasingly have the ability and capacity provide that support.”
His advice to other payroll professionals is to be open to opportunities that come your way.
“Payroll opens doors, and it affects large portions of the business. You might have opportunities to move outside of the payroll department throughout your career. But you’ll always be able to apply your knowledge and your designation to so much more. So don’t be afraid to explore.”