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Achievers’ Hopper edition makes recognizing easy

Posted by Joanne on September 21, 2014 Comments Off

I am a raving fan of Achievers so I was delighted when I was invited to attend the Achievers Customer Experience (#AACE14) conference as part of the A-team blog squad earlier this month. The two day event brought together Achievers’ customers, guest speakers, analysts, and employee engagement advocates, to discuss and learn how to change the way the world works. It also gave Achievers an opportunity to unveil the newest enhancements to its platform. For those of you who are not aware, Achievers delivers a cloud-based Employee Success Platform™, an awesome application to engage, align, and recognize employees, to drive business success.

Anything that promotes employee recognition goes a long way to creating happy, healthy and productive workplaces. People spend way too many hours at work not to be appreciated for their contributions. Sadly with only 30% of the workforce feeling engaged at work, people are starving for recognition.

Achievers gives its new releases the names of key achievers such as Einstein, Ghandi, and the most recent release, Hopper. Hopper honours Grace Hopper, an American computer scientist who created the first compiler for a computer programing language. (Side note: She is credited with the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches. The “debugging” term was inspired from an actual moth (a bug) being removed from a computer!)  I think if Hopper was around today she would be impressed with the new features.

Razor Suleman, ‎Founder, Chairman & Chief Evangelist at Achievers notes that a measure of success for the platform (or any platform) is “utilization.” Is it easy to use? Do employees use it? Utilization shows the value placed upon the platform by clients and employees (and it ensures the continued success of an already great platform). The new features released with the Hopper edition makes recognizing employees mobile and easier than ever before. Here is a quick introduction to three of the new features:

Achievers Mobile

Achievers Mobile offers a company branded iOS app and an enhanced mobile website to provide recognition mobility. Now employees can recognize, Like and Boost, on the go, anywhere, anytime. With phone-in-hand there are no excuses not to recognize A-Players.

Open Recognition for Email

This is so cool because now employees can immediately access the Achievers Employee Success Platform without logging directly into it. With Open Recognition for Email, employees can send recognitions right from their email application simply with a “cc.” The email posts recognitions directly to the platform. Using email that is a business tool used constantly, makes it easy to give recognition immediately when deserved.

Achievers Anything Visa® Prepaid Card

The Achievers Anything Visa Prepaid Card lets employees transfer recognition points to a personalized, reloadable Visa card to spend anywhere Visa is accepted. The card can be branded to your organization, and your employees can use the card to purchase what they value most. Of course, the Achievers catalogue is also available where points can be redeemed for actual products.

These new features make the Achievers platform easier to use. Easy to use interfaces help increase utilization. Increased utilization means success.

Why is recognition important for business?

Increased recognition results in a more engaged work force. People who are recognized feel valued and are more engaged at work. More engaged employees give discretionary effort at work which results in increased productivity, creativity, and innovation. The end result is a better performing business and a place where people WANT to work. The best companies perform nearly two times better than the general market.

Makes sense to me. How about you? Who have you recognized today?

Joanne Royce creates happy, healthy, and productive workplaces through human resources, recruiting, and training initiatives for organizations that invest in people to invest in success.


Do we need a special day to remind us to be happy?

Posted by Joanne on March 20, 2014 Comments Off

Today is International Day of Happiness, established by the United Nations in 2012 to recognize the relevance of happiness and well-being as a fundamental human goal. It is a great reminder, but do we need a special day to remind us to be happy? It made me think about happiness, what it means to me, and what it takes to create a path of happiness in life and at work.

Do for yourself – Think happy

As a teenager, I remember having an AHA moment when I realized that I had two grandmothers with very different ways of living life. I call it The Tale of Two Grandmas. Both my grandmothers overcame hardship, and yet one was happy and a joy to be around, and the other seemed to drain the joy out of life. I decided I would choose to be happy because I wanted to be like my happy grandmother. I carried this thought into parenting where I often told my children, “You have a choice. You can get up in the morning and be happy, or you can be miserable.” I carried it into my relationship where I recently celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. And I carried it into my business where my mission is helping create happy, healthy, and productive workplaces.

In Habits Of The Most Resilient People, Denise Brosseau talks about a client who referred to the negative self-talk in her head as the “itty bitty shitty committee.” Another described it as two wolves inside her head – one wolf is positive and the other is negative – and the one that she feeds is the one that wins.

I know that life and happiness in not that simple, but I do think that when our minds wander down the path of negative self-talk, we can correct it and train our brains to think happy and be happy.

Do for another – Understand happiness

But sometimes happiness is not as easy as choosing to correct our thoughts. My own mother (and most likely my grandmother) suffered from depression and she once described it as “being in a deep, dark hole, with no glimmer of light, and no way of knowing which way to claw yourself up.” I had a hard time understanding why my mom couldn’t just change the way she was thinking especially when she was surrounded by a family that loved her. I was reminded of her description when I watched Why we choose suicide a talk by Mark Henick at TEDxToronto.” Mark referred to depression as one where the mind focuses on a narrow and limited perception or thought, much like a CD stuck in a rut, playing the same thing over and over again. Only this time it plays thoughts of worthlessness, hopelessness, and sadness. This is when help is needed to pull the individual out of the deep dark hole of limited perception. In this case, telling someone to choose happiness does not work. Understanding that attaining happiness is not as easy as a choice and some people will need help.

In the workplace, educate yourself on watching for the signs of depression or addiction in your team. HR and management should never act as a counsellor. They should facilitate and encourage an individual to seek the help they need through company employee assistance plans, group health plans, and community services.

Do for others – Spread happiness

Happiness is contagious. You can help spread happiness and fill up the happiness tanks of those around you. Use the Losada Line to guide you. Marcial Losada’s research found that it takes 2.9013 positive interactions to counteract one negative interaction, and it takes six positive interactions to every negative interaction for teams to produce their best work. Keep that in mind when trying to motivate your team or an individual.

Do your part in life and in the workplace by stopping disrespectful, bullying or gossiping behaviour. Don’t participate in it and be a leader in modelling behaviour that promotes happiness.

Have some fun. In honour of International Day of Happiness do something fun. Take a break in the workplace and do Ben Aaron’s Time to Dance Walk Baby!

What are you doing to bring happiness into your life and into the workplace? Please share your comments,

Spread your sparkle, Joanne

Joanne Royce creates happy, healthy, and productive workplaces through HR, recruiting, and training initiatives for organizations that invest in people to invest in success.

Other blogs on happiness you might be interested in:

Do you suffer from the dreaded tetris effect

A formula for balance and success

It’s okay to be happy at work

What is the happiness quotient at your workplace

Happy holsteins give more milk: Lessons for the workplace

What do you do about Charlie (Sheen) Part 1 of 3

Do you bring your sunshine to work?

Is 2014 the Year to Unplug?

Posted by Joanne on January 2, 2014 Comments (2)

For part of last year, I unplugged. I unplugged from most of social media for the summer. Earlier in the year, I even stopped blogging. Perhaps it had something to do with my last post and deciding to focus on where magic happens. We have only so many minutes in a day and it seemed like social media was taking a larger percentage of my time than it should. It was getting to be a bit much.

I think social media can be isolating some how, and this seems to be verified by a study about social media and its impact on loneliness. Sure there are connections online but to have deeper relationships people need to spend time in real life. I spent my “found” time reconnecting with my in real life friends (some, ironically, that I’ve met through my online community), colleagues, and former clients; the people, in addition to my family, whom I cherish and who cherish me. Seems like more people are thinking this way.

On January 1 of this year two people I admire greatly because of their love of life and of a each other announced that they were unplugging from social media for all of 2014. Why? Because they said they seemed to be more attached to their social networks than to each other. And they were going to take the year to experience life and moments together, privately, and in real life. I applaud them.

Another online acquaintance regularly posted that he would be purging his Facebook friends and if people hadn’t interacted with him he would “unfriend” them. When I went to comment on his new profile picture I found that I was “unfriended.” Well, I had been warned. I hadn’t interacted or commented or Liked any of his status updates and he hadn’t interacted with me either, so it was valid to be “unfriended.” But it made me think – this guy is on to something. Why gather “friends” who never interact with you directly? Who never reply to your comments or even acknowledge that you’ve spoken to them online? Social media makes it very easy to ignore someone and, at the same time, my in real life friends would never “unfriend” me because I hadn’t spoken to them in a few months. Real life friends can meet up with each other after a prolonged absence and talk a mile in a minute as if there had never been an absence.

Another colleague said she was cutting back on social media because she was sick of the facade that everyone’s life was totally awesome. Life isn’t sugar coated, she said, and social media lets you filter your life to only the good things. I think she has a valid point. Are we airbrushing our lives online like advertisers who make models perfect and flawless? Does social media somehow make us feel like our life and careers are lacking because everyone else seems to be living a life covered in awesome sauce?

I’m not a psychologist but this is where I think social media becomes isolating. We don’t pour our souls out, our challenges, and our hardships to people who are not our in real life friends. We only do that with people who really know us and with whom we have formed deep relationships; we share the whole picture. So if we are spending more time online we aren’t having those deep conversations that help form the type of intimacy that banishes loneliness. In fact, Peggy Drexler, Ph.D., a research psychologist, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University, wrote in Psychology Today, that “it is important to remember that as far as barometers of friendship go, social media is pretty shallow. It’s unrealistic, and dangerous, to presume you know how someone feels about you based on how they react or respond to you, or don’t, through virtual means, whether that presumption is positive or negative. How people use social media is too new, and too varied. Judging how someone feels about you is what in-the-moment conversations and face-to-face encounters are for. It’s called real life—remember that?”

A good friend of mine many years ago told me that we need to gather more experiences and less things. I think this applies to social media as well. I love my online community, but I should not be spending all my time there. Life is an adventure and life is a choice. Every day we make choices that hopefully enhance relationships and make our life a good one. We need to live more in real life because the most important people in our lives, the ones who know us really well and care about us deeply, are the ones who are right in front of us.

May your 2014 be blessed with happiness, health, meaningful work and deep relationships, Joanne

Six tips for success in your first career job (or in any new job)!

Posted by Joanne on March 13, 2013 Comments Off

I created this vlog in May 2012 and never posted it. I guess I was still too “scared” to post it then, but I’m posting now. It’s almost 7 minutes long, so just over 1 minute per tip. Here it is …

Today, I’m doing something that scares me. I’m posting my first vlog on six tips for success in your first career job (or in any new job)! I hope you enjoy it. Doing something new can cause the “fear-factor” to increase and sometimes if we wait for perfection we will never do it.

What are your tips for success in your job, especially a new position? Share in the comments section below. If the comments are closed, you can contact me; just mention the blog title along with your comments.

Joanne Royce creates happy, healthy, and productive workplaces through HR, recruiting, and training initiatives for organizations that invest in people to invest in success.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas

Posted by Joanne on December 24, 2012 Comments Off

Tis the season for sharing the valuable commodity of TIME with loved ones. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas surrounded by the most important people in your life. Disconnect and be in the moment. That is what Christmas is all about.


Wishing you lots of love and laughter, Joanne

Bullying in the workplace – a legal perspective

Posted by Joanne on November 16, 2012 Comments Off

I interviewed Stuart Rudner, Partner with Miller Thomson law firm, about bullying in the workplace – a legal perspective. Stuart shared his  legal expertise on bullying the workplace in our first Google+ Hangout Live on Air Broadcast.

Interview Questions:

  1. Have you seen an increase in court cases involving bullying?
  2. Tell us what the risks are for companies not acting to stop bullying in the workplace?
  3. What laws, other than Workplace Violence & Harassment and Human Rights, touch on bullying in the workplace?
  4. Tell us more about constructive dismissal and how it may apply to bullying behaviour in the workplace?
  5. Can you comment on the $1.4 million court ruling in favour of a former Walmart employee who was bullied on the job?
  6. Could you recap the key points about bullying from a legal perspective for both the employee being bullied and the company?

P.S. Sometimes you just have to try something new (Hangout Live on Air Broadcast). You will notice that the video only shows me, and not both of us, except for the little screens at the bottom of the page. This is a learning opportunity for  next time. There’s great information shared, and we will get better with the technical aspects of Google Hangout Live on Air in the future.

Better to try something new and learn something, then to wait for perfection!

Related blogs:   Bullying in the workplace series

Bullying in the workplace – blog series

Posted by Joanne on November 15, 2012 Comments (2)

Table of Contents for the Bullying in the Workplace blog series.

Forty per cent of Canadians have experienced one or more acts of workplace bullying at least once a week for a period of six months during a study conducted by Jacqueline Power, an assistant professor of management at the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business. (Globe & Mail, December 2011) Bullying in the workplace is often called the silent epidemic because people don’t report it and witnesses don’t speak up. Often the organization culture of the organization supports bullying behaviour especially in competitive or fast paced environments. Because of this, statistics could actually be much higher than 40% especially if you include people who have witnessed bullying and are impacted by it. Perhaps part of the problem comes from the fact that people don’t realize what constitutes bullying behaviour in the first place.

Check back for more posts in this series about “Bullying in the workplace.”

Is a high performing bully manager ever acceptable?

A profile of a workplace bully, P.S. I forgive you bully

Tips for handling bullying behaviour in the workplace

Bullying in the workplace – a legal perspective (Google+ Hangout Live on Air Broadcast – video)

HR must be leaders in stopping workplace bullying Guest post over at EOList.

Tips for Creating an Anti-Bullying Policy



Related posts

Workplace violence and harassment legislation – Bill 168 (Ontario) – Q & A

Bully or effective leader?

Do you lead like an DHB (Decent Human Being)? (My post about an incident that inspired me to write this series on Bullying in the Workplace)

Managing is not bullying (Stuart Rudner’s post further to our Google+ Hangout Live interview)

A profile of a workplace bully, P.S. I forgive you bully

Posted by Joanne on October 30, 2012 Comments (4)

Last week in “Is a high performing bully ever acceptable?,” I shared statistics about bullies in the workplace, and information on workplace bullies from informal interviews I conducted.

While searching for information on bullying in the workplace, I came across, “In Darkness Light Dawns: Exposing Workplace Bullying” by Dr. Lisa Barrow ( In her book Dr. Barrow gives a detailed profile of a bully at work. Take a look and see if the profile reminds you of anyone you work with or might have worked with in the past. Her profile sounds very similar to some of the descriptions compiled from the informal interviews I conducted earlier.

The profile of a workplace bully

[excerpt from Dr. Barrow's book, “In Darkness Light Dawns: Exposing Workplace Bullying”, reprinted here with permission]

Upon first meeting, a bully may come across as polite, amiable and even jovial. The term “wolf in sheep’s clothing” comes to mind. At the outset, a bully may be winsome and engaging, seeking to win your trust. All the while, he or she is gathering information that may prove useful later in thwarting the goals and desires you’ve revealed.

Bullies typically possess a “Type A” personality; they are competitive and appear driven, operating as they do from a sense of urgency. This has its advantages in the workplace but the shadow side of Type A is the tendency to become frustrated and verbally abusive when things don’t go according to plan. Impatience and temper tantrums are common for Type A individuals who haven’t engaged in the personal growth required to gain self-awareness, maintain emotional stability and consider situations from multiple points of view.

Because of the bully’s “two-faced” nature—considerate if things are going well and abusive if not—his or her presence in an organization can cause the work environment to become tense. People feel as if they are “walking on eggshells” around the bully. They feel he or she is a “sleeping giant” who could, upon awakening, explode with rage.

Above all, bullies crave power and control, and this craving underlies much of what they do, say and fail to do and say at work. Bullies use charm and deceit to further their own ends and seem oblivious to the trail of damage they leave behind, as long as their appetites for power and control are fulfilled.

When confronted, bullies typically ramp up the negativity rather than curtail it because they feel a loss of control. The more threatened they feel, the more aggressive they become, and unfortunately, they are easily threatened because of the deep-seated insecurity they strive at all costs to hide, even from themselves.

If you’ve been bullied, you may find it difficult to see past the bully’s shortcomings enough to feel sorry for him or her, and in that way to begin moving past bitterness toward forgiveness. It may help you to remember that despite all of their arrogance and bravado, bullies are needy, weak and yes, unwell. They abuse their power in order to feel good about themselves. They lash out at others in order to protect themselves. At the end of the day, they are afraid their inadequacies will be exposed. They are terrified of the emptiness inside their hearts, which they have not allowed love to reach.

I forgive you bully

Dr. Barrow suggests that, perhaps a victim of bullying may be able to feel sorry for the bully, and be able to feel “I forgive you bully.” This does not mean that bullying behaviour is acceptable. But being able to forgive a bully who, as Dr. Barrow notes, is weak and unwell with an empty heart, just might allow a victim of bullying to heal and move on, without bitterness, with life and work. By forgiving, the victim takes back the power from the bully and that is a powerful statement.

Next week, I’ll share some tips on handling bullying behaviour at work.

Related blogs:   Bullying in the workplace series

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 Joanne Royce

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Use our insider tips on human resources, training, and interpersonal relationships to create your own happy, healthy, and productive workplace. We'll also comment on life in general and share info and highlights from books.

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