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Tips for Creating an Ethical Workplace

Posted by Joanne on May 26, 2011 Comments Off

~ Your ethical muscle grows stronger every time you choose right over wrong. ~ Price Pritchett

Ethics is defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity. It also means the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. (Oxford Dictionary)

A few years ago, I was invited to speak to students at York University/Seneca College about Business Ethics & Integrity. The students were very enthusiastic and I wish I had more time with them! We talked about why businesses exist. Do they exist just for profit or do they exist for something more? Another lively discussion involved ethics. We looked at a couple of cases involving ethics in the workplace. It was interesting to hear the student’s ideas. Some felt that business ethics and personal ethics could be kept separate. Others thought that there was no way that the two could be separated. Another group was undecided. I don’t think you can separate or compartmentalize ethical conduct into personal and business life. However, I do believe you can create an ethical workplace with effort and persistence. Here are a few tips to get started.

Tips for Creating an Ethical Workplace


  1. Make sure that people understand ethical values. Create a code of ethics with input from stakeholders –customers, employees and suppliers. Ensure that ethical principles are integrated in all areas of the business, such as sales, marketing, production, human resources, and finance.
  2. Create an environment where doing the right thing takes precedent over making a fast buck. Encourage people to think outside-of-the-box, to ask questions and to speak up when things just don’t seem right. Celebrate when that happens and reward the behaviour. Business will prosper.
  3. Teach people how to make ethical decisions. Train your leaders and staff.  There are many tools that help ethical decision making, including a logical ethical decision making framework that can help solve more complex ethical issues.
  4. Build lasting ethical relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and the community. Be a socially responsible organization by supporting your community. Encourage your staff to volunteer.
  5. Recognize that a written code of ethics means nothing if the behaviour and actions of the leader and the team don’t make it come to life!

Your ethical integrity, follows you around like a shadow. Make your “shadow” a good one.

Best regards,  Joanne

P.S. Need ethics training on-site? Give us a call.

Joanne Royce, Royce & Associates, Human Resources & Training Solutions
Creating Happy, Healthy and Productive Workplaces.

Start a health and wellness revolution at work!

Posted by Joanne on May 19, 2011 Comments Off

Obesity is on the rise. We are sitting longer and walking less. And we are getting fatter.

In a recent article “Driving Is Why You’re Fat” (Fast Company, May 12, 2011) the author Ariel Schwartz wrote:

After analyzing national statistics from between 1985 and 2007, the researchers found that vehicle use (measured in annual vehicle miles traveled) correlated approximately 99% with annual obesity rates. The more we sit around doing nothing in our cars, the fatter we get.

I think he could just say – “The more we sit, the fatter we get.” whether in a car or all day in front of our computer screens. If we are getting fatter, we’ll be getting tired more quickly, and we’ll be taking more sick days. We’ll be using the company’s health and benefits plan more frequently. What can a company do about it? I liked the “Bike to Work Day” idea mentioned in the article, but there are many more ideas you can try to get a health and wellness mindset at work.

Many large organizations have health and wellness initiatives to get and keep their employees healthy. The Hamilton Healthy Workplaces program was an initiative to help bring fitness to the workplace including small and medium businesses, so check with local municipal and community centres for support and ideas.  Sandra Barrett, Human Resources Manager, for ILR Industries, a small company of 55 employees, took advantage of the Hamilton Healthy Workplaces program and she implemented some ideas that didn’t cost a lot but had a big pay off with a healthy, and productive workplace. Employees will be happy that the organization cares enough to implement a health and wellness initiative at work.

 Tips for Promoting a Health & Wellness Mindset @ Work

  1. Start a series of lunch and learns. There are many organizations that will come out to your site for free or for a small investment. Perhaps you have an employee on staff who is knowledgeable and can share their wisdom about health and wellness at work.

  2. Develop a health and wellness library with books, CDs, and DVDs including links to You Tube videos. Employees can sign out and borrow the materials to try out and get started.

  3. When providing on-the-spot recognition, include gift cards with a healthy theme – massage for stress management, gift cards for a local sports store, pay for a number of fitness classes, a consult with a nutritionist, or provide an option to sign up for a smoking cessation program.

  4. Search the web to share free resources and Health and Wellness Tips to your employees. Include the information in your employee newsletter, post links on your Intranet, or include the article in pay cheque envelopes. Perhaps an employee has a strong interest in this area. Assign this duty to them. They will love to be asked to research with permission!

  5. Replace vending machine products with healthy choices. Juices instead of pop, healthy bars instead of chocolate bars, cheese and crackers instead of chips.  If you can’t stop “cold turkey” then start by adding some healthy choices.

  6. Provide pedometers to all your employees and encourage participation by starting a friendly competition – the winning individual and department to be rewarded with a healthy gift! 

  7. Implement an Employee Assistance Program at your work. There are many programs out there, some are included within the group health plans, and you can even “create your own” by researching free or low cost community services that employees can access when needed.

  8. Ask a local fitness club to provide a “preferred discount” to your employees.

  9. Start a walking or running club before or after work, or at lunch time.

  10. Sponsor a local community sports team whether it is soccer, hockey, baseball or ballet.

That should get you started. But make sure to ASK your employees what is important to them. For example, don’t assume that your employees will want the company to sponsor a hockey team. Maybe they might want the company to sponsor a ballet recital or a local 5k run. Ask them what topics they would like included in the Lunch & Learn Series. Let your employees become part of the solution to bring a health and wellness mindset to the workplace.

And one final note, you can use some of these initiatives at home as well. When I was growing up, I lived in a small community. My friends and I walked or rode our bikes everywhere. During school breaks we were outside from morning to dusk. We experienced the freedom that isn’t always available to our children today. With technology and our fear of keeping our children safe, they’ve lost something that we had ample opportunity to become – we had the freedom to become naturally physically fit. In Halton, less than half of 12- to 14-year-olds are active in their free time. One-fifth of 5-year-olds are overweight in Halton. (Toronto Star January 7, 2010)  There are stats out there suggesting our generation of children will be less fit, and have more health problems, such as heart disease, and osteoporosis, simply because we drive them to school, to their part-time jobs, and to their friend’s house. Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it? We think we are doing the right thing, but we might just be doing something that will have a very negative impact on their health in the future. So if you do decide to start a health and wellness revolution at work, make sure to start it at home as well. 

What have you done in the workplace to promote health and wellness?  Please share your comments.

Wishing you a happy, healthy & productive workplace and home,  Joanne

Joanne Royce, Royce & Associates, HR & Training Solutions
Creating happy, healthy, and productive workplaces

Register for our Bill 168 Workshop – It’s never too late

Posted by Joanne on May 13, 2011 Comments Off

Bill 168 – Workplace Violence & Harassment Ontario

coaching, policy, tools, templates, training

Are you one of the 80% of small businesses or one of the 20% of large organizations that aren’t compliant with Bill 168?

Bill 168 became law on June 15, 2010 yet some employees and managers haven’t heard about Bill 168. It’s never too late to become compliant with Bill 168 -Workplace Violence and Harassment legislation in Ontario.

Bill 168 was prompted after an inquest investigating the murder of nurse Lori Dupont by her ex-boyfriend and co-worker, Dr. Marc Daniel, at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor, Ontario on November 12, 2005. Bill 168 legislation is intended to protect workers from violence and harassment on the job. Bill 168 amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Employers must develop broader but specific policies and programs to help prevent violence and harassment at work including procedures on preventing domestic violence in the workplace. Is your organization compliant?

Last week I summarized key learning from a panel discussion that I moderated for the HRPA – Halton Chapter on Bill 168.  If you need to learn more about Bill 168 or need help implementing in your workplace,  contact us for a consultation.

Our Bill 168 Workshop is very practical and hands-on to help participants implement workplace violence and harassment policies, procedures and practices, including training in a cost effective and timely manner. You’ll take away knowledge, and the templates, checklists, and tools to get you compliant quickly and cost effectively.

Best regards,

Best regards, Joanne Royce

Founder, Royce & Associates
a Human Resources & Training Solutions company
Creating happy, healthy, and productive workplaces

Lessons for the workplace from the Royal Wedding

Posted by Joanne on May 12, 2011 Comments (1)


The royal wedding is a perfect opportunity for employers to have some fun with their employees, said human resources consultant Joanne Royce, rather than worry about lost productivity.

“I deal with a lot of small businesses and the best events are like this . . . (they are) an opportunity to engage your employees even if it doesn’t have to do with work,” said Royce, who runs Royce and Associates in Oakville. “You could have afternoon tea or have people decorate their work stations.”

My comments appeared in the Toronto Star, on April 28th, in the article “Businesses bank on royal wedding customers.” Businesses serving customers used the royal wedding as an opportunity to sell more and to connect with their customers. But in some organizations, perhaps the first thought might have been to somehow ban access to the royal wedding for fear of “lost productivity.” While I hadn’t heard about companies that were banning streaming of the royal wedding, I didn’t know of many that were using it as a way to connect with employees. That’s a lost opportunity. This was the perfect opportunity to take an outside event and use it in a way to connect with employees in the workplace.

Why take the effort? Because you’ll have employees at work who are “present” but not working at 100% because their minds are going to be elsewhere anyway. This is called presenteeism – a term used for when an employee is at work but not fully engaged and not working to their full potential. Banning access would only serve to alienate employees and cause a high level of “lost productivity” over the long run. If you take the opportunity to build small positive events at work, your employees will remember that. Like Stephen Covey states, you’ll be building the bank account with positive episodes so that when you need to withdraw if times get tough, your employees will still stand by you.

What I suggested was taking the opportunity to acknowledge that employee’s minds might be focused elsewhere for a bit, and to use this external event to connect with staff. You could have turned the “Royal Wedding” into a teambuilding event and relate it back to the workplace. You could have served early morning or afternoon tea. I noticed that a local bank had pictures of Kate and William on a prominent wall in the bank. The tellers had “decorated” an entire wall in honour of the upcoming wedding. You could use a theme afterwards to reinforce with lessons learned. Here’s what I mean: 

Lessons for the workplace from the Royal Wedding 

Project Management & Time Management Skills: Anyone watching the royal wedding would have been impressed about how well organized it was, down to the last detail and minute. What does it take to plan and organize an event like that? You could pull in project management and time management tips to emphasis key skills in a fun manner.

Company and Personal Branding: You could use some of the fashion successes and failures to emphasize the importance of first impressions and personal branding. Pippa was stunning with minimal makeup, natural hair style, and a simple yet elegant dress. The world went gaga over her. The two princesses, Eugenia and Beatrice, presented a very different image to the world. The world, not so nicely and almost gleefully called them the “ugly stepsisters.” (A learning moment for compassion, tolerance of diversity, and respect in the workplace.)

Presentation Skills: One just had to listen to the speakers during the wedding, from Kate’s brother to the ministers who delivered near flawless presentations. What did they do to make sure their speeches were outstanding? Did they practice? How long did it take to plan and prepare for their presentations? How did they use pauses and tone of voice to effectively emphasize key points in their message? How did they use eye contact and hand gestures to connect with the audience?

You might have started out thinking, “What could we possibly learn from the royal wedding that would be helpful to us in the workplace?” I’ve just mentioned a few things. You can probably think of more if you let yourself! You can take an external event and turn it into a method of connecting with employees and helping it become a learning moment as well.

In what ways did you connect with your employees and share learning moments over the royal wedding?  Please share them by commenting below.

Best regards, Joanne

Joanne Royce, Royce & Associates, HR & Training Solutions,
Creating Happy, Healthy, and Productive Workplaces

Bill 168 – Lessons Learned

Posted by Joanne on May 5, 2011 Comments Off


Bill 168 – Lessons Learned
Moderated Panel Discussion for the HRPA – Halton Chapter

In March, I was delighted to plan and moderate a panel discussion on Bill 168-Lessons Learned for the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) – Halton Chapter. It was important to have a diverse group of experts participate on the panel to provide insight from different perspectives. I was pleased to have several experts accept the invitation to join the panel. The panel consisted of an Ontario Ministry of Labour coordinator, a risk assessment expert, an employment lawyer, an Organizational Wellness Manager, and an Operational HR Generalist.

The objective of the moderated panel discussion was to find out:

  • What was it like implementing Bill 168 in your workplace?
  • Is your organization in full compliance?
  • How can lessons learned help with implementing future changes in the workplace?

The audience left with a better understanding of issues related to Bill 168 and how to plan, implement, and manage change required for future legislative changes. Here’s what participants had to say:

  • Great topic. Really pleased with speaker panel.
  • Very relevant. Panel format is engaging & diverse.
  • Excellent session – very informative & practical. Joanne was an excellent moderator.
  • Great panel! Moderator was excellent – kept the discussion moving at a perfect pace!

Key Learning from the Panel Discussion:

Scott Hanville, Regional Program Coordinator, Industrial Program, Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL). Scott has worked for the MOL for 12 years, with 10 years in the field as an industrial inspector.

  • When the MOL inspections started they found noncompliance with all parts of s.32 across all sectors and in both large and small workplaces. Some workplaces had policies and programs in place already for workplace harassment and workplace violence but needed to formally document them to comply with s.32.
  • 80% of large workplaces and 20% of small workplaces were in compliance and the most common order involved risk assessments and training.
  • The MOL role regarding “complaints” is limited to ensuring compliance with the minimum requirements, fact gathering, and documentation. The MOL does not mediate issues.
  • Training of employees (providing information and instruction) means training can be delivered in whatever method or time frame that ensures the employee is competent with the policies, measures and procedures.

Patrick Ogilvie, CPP, PSP, King-Reed & Associates LP. Patrick’s Board certifications in Security Management and Physical Security aided in the development and rollout of King-Reed’s Bill 168 assessments, focusing on procedural and physical security protocols and responses.

  • Education and communication are critical and ongoing so that employees know what to do when needed. E-blasts, Intranet posts, lunch and learns, and training help.
  • There are many different interpretations about what constitutes an assessment, coming from H&S & HR professionals, legal minds, etc.  The most important thing to recognize is that violence and harassment generally are not random, but more the growing and festering of issues. They may reach their pinnacle because the workplace doesn’t have the programs in place to guide and mitigate issues before they become occurrences of violence and harassment.
  • Companies can balance between exposure and solutions by conducting a threat risk assessment, and understanding their exposures. From there programs can be created such as an Employee Assistance Program, ethics reporting, and conflict resolution. Programs and reasonable measures based upon the industry and specific vulnerabilities can be implemented. Companies can implement cost effective strategies, such as electronic assessments.
  • Care must be taken not to use a one-size fit all risk assessment and programs. Two companies in the same industry, one with a much higher risk of harassment and violence than the other, would need more comprehensive programs put into place.

Stuart Rudner, Partner in Miller Thomson’s Labour & Employment Law Group. Stuart focuses on employment law. He speaks and writes extensively on employment law and litigation topics, and has been interviewed on television, radio, and in print. Later this year, his book on summary dismissal in Canada will be published by Thomson Reuters.

  • It is critical that employers be aware of the specific terms used in the legislation, and the definitions thereof. The legislation is designed to apply to all workplaces, so it is not sufficient to consider potential dangers at “head office.” It covers all places where workers are performing work – it can include being in a car, visiting a client, or – when we spoke at this conference, that was our workplace. A helpful test is whether the individual is being paid to be at the place in question.
  • Similarly, “worker” is a much broader term than “employee.” It includes contractors, consultants, and many other individuals that would not be regulated by, for example, employment standards legislation. Bill 168 is intended to protect a broad group, and employers should be careful to ensure that they take into account anyone covered by the legislation.
  • Remember the wording in the legislation – “must take every precaution reasonable…when they are aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that domestic violence may occur in the workplace and that it would likely expose a worker to physical injury.” Employers cannot bury their heads in the sand and ignore the signs of potential issues. Employers are not expected to spy on their employees or interrogate them about their personal lives, but they cannot ignore warning signs. If there is a risk, they must take reasonable precautions, which can include things such as extra security, surveillance and restricting access.
  • There is a fine line between disclosing information about a worker with a history of violence and protecting individual privacy. Employers should only disclose if there will be contact and likely injury, or they risk liability for disclosing personal information. If it is necessary to disclose, employers should be careful to only disclose as little as reasonably necessary

Michele LeBlanc, CHRP, Human Resources Generalist – Operations, TDL Group Corp. Michele was involved in the tactical implementation of Bill 168 in regards to Workplace Harassment Policy revisions at the restaurant level.

  • The workplace assessment found there were gaps in accountability that we could focus on correcting.
  • Domestic violence happens more than expected. Bill 168 and the requirements raised the awareness of domestic violence and the risk of it coming into the workplace. Domestic violence is not always between spouses, and can be between parents and children.
  • In a country wide company like Tim Horton’s, it is best to incorporate the highest legislation from a province and implement it nationally as a standard.
  • In a franchise situation, communicate the legislation and the implications to the franchisees as business owners. Provide tools that can be customized to help them implement the requirements of the legislation while ensuring that they can customize to their specific circumstances and locations. Communicate that they are accountable for implementation.

Jill Ramseyer, Manager, Organizational Wellness, Tim Horton’s Inc. Jill oversees National Wellness, Disability Management and Occupational Health and Safety Programs.

  • Ensure you dedicate an appropriate amount of time and resources for this kind of project. Having a cross-functional project team was key. Make sure to have representation from different facets of the business including HR, H&S, Operations and Legal
  • A one size fits all approach will not work. It is important to consider different business functions and adapt appropriately.
  • The creation of a training matrix was helpful to identify the different groups that require education and training, after which the delivery method can be identified along with the level of instruction that will be effective for each group.
  • When doing assessments it was useful to speak to stakeholders. It is not just about a physical assessment. There are already lots of procedures and practices in place that are an important part of the big picture.

These are all good tips to get you started. It’s never too late to become compliant. Don’t wait for an incident of violence and harassment to force you to react. Be prepared.

If you need more help, call us for a consultation or register for a workshop. Our Bill 168 Workshops are very practical and hands-on to help participants implement the workplace violence and harassment policies, procedures and practices, including training in a cost effective and timely manner. We provide you with the knowledge, and the tools to meet the requirements

Best regards, Joanne

P.S. If  you would like to be proactive about meeting legislative requirements for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by the deadline of January 1, 2012, register for our  AODA Workshop.

Joanne Royce, Royce & Associates, Human Resources & Training Solutions,
Creating happy, healthy, and productive workplaces

 Joanne Royce

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