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#HRPA2015 – 1, 2, 3, GO!

Posted by Joanne on January 19, 2015 Comments Off

I am thrilled to be part of the HR Blog Team for the HRPA 2015 Conference in Toronto. This three day event held on January 21, 22, and 23, 2015 (hence the hashtag #HRPA2015) “explores the business side of HR. Over three days we’ll examine how modern human resources practice combines complete understanding of the organization with deep HR knowledge to create and execute human capital strategies that get results.”

That means the HRPA conference offers three days of speaker sessions, keynotes by industry leaders, and a trade show to help HR professionals keep on top of key trends and solutions for creating happy, healthy, and productive workplaces. Check out my post on getting the most out of your HRPA conference experience. Read more …

With HR colleagues last year at the #HRPA2014 Achievers lounge!




About the Author

Joanne Royce is founder of Royce & Associates, a Human Resources, Training, and Recruiting solutions company. She creates happy, healthy and productive workplaces that result in engaged people and successful organizations.
Connect with Joanne on Twitter

Tips for Creating a Successful Mentoring Relationship

Posted by Joanne on April 2, 2014 Comments Off


CommunicationWhat does it take to create a successful mentoring relationship? A mentor and a mentee enter into a mentoring relationship hoping for success, but that does not always happen. Why do some mentoring relationships thrive and others wither?

If you are curious to know the answers, check out my March 28, 2014 Guest Blog Post over at The Employment Opportunities List.

Happy mentoring, Joanne

P.S. If you are interested in developing a mentoring program for your organization please contact us. We would love to customize and bring the power of mentoring to your organization.


Joanne Royce, Royce and Associates, helps create happy, healthy and productive workplaces that result in engaged people and successful businesses. She provides HR and training support to organizations who believe in the power of people. She is completing her four-year term as a volunteer board member with the HRPA Halton Chapter, and recently accepted a board position with STRIDE, a Halton-based organization whose primary purpose is to serve the employment needs of individuals facing mental health and addiction issues.

Related posts:

What is so great about mentoring?

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?

A little recognition goes a long way

Posted by Joanne on October 17, 2012 Comments (2)

My daughter secured a full-time job in an office this past summer. It was a new experience for her because her summer jobs in the past consisted of part-time work as a grocery store cashier. She learned a lot from going on her first formal interview to learning about the job itself and workplace technology. But she also learned about working with a team in an office environment, and communicating directly with people by phone, in-person, and by email. In addition to the people she worked with on a daily basis, she enjoyed the company sponsored Friday lunches, and the cupboards stocked with snacks.

I got a present from work!!

One time in the middle of the day, I received a text message from her and our conversation went as follows:


Can you “hear” the excitement, evident by the multiple exclamation marks? A little recognition goes a long way! And that good news story got repeated over and over again. When employees feel their efforts are appreciated and recognized, they are more engaged at work, and they bring more enthusiasm, thought, creativity, time and effort to the job. They feel their work is appreciated and recognized and that “doing good work” on a daily basis is important to the success of the team and the company.

As a mother and HR professional, I was glad her first office job was with a great place to work. She was fortunate to work for an organization that knows how to treat people right. She could have easily found herself in a workplace that wasn’t so great. She doesn’t know that in her lifetime she will more than likely experience a workplace that isn’t so great. But because she has experienced a great place to work she will know the difference and this will allow her to make choices about whether to stay or to look for a better work environment.

Great organizations encourage a culture of respect, trust, cooperation, and teamwork, and they do little things to recognize the efforts of their employees. Not so great workplaces encourage disrespectful and bullying behaviour (more on this next week), gossip and conflict, and disregard or denigrate employee efforts.

And there is a great business case to create a great place to work. Did you know that:

  • companies with high-engagement grow their earnings-per-share 28% faster, (Towers Perrin, Closing the Engagement Gap: Global Workforce Study)
  • shareholder returns are 19% higher than average with high-engagement firms, while those with low-engagement were 44% below average, (Hewitt Associates)
  • greater productivity, customer satisfaction, profit, and decreased absenteeism, turnover, and accidents are correlated to increased levels of engagement, (Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology)
  • and employees who are engaged work more efficiently, share more, find solutions, aren’t scared to speak up, provide suggestions, and meet customer’s needs more often, resulting in repeat business. (Schweyer)

Creating an engaged great place to work will help your employees feel recognized and appreciated which really benefits everyone. So what are you doing to make sure a little recognition goes a long way?


Source for the stats:

Business Value of Employee Engagement & How to Measure Employee Engagement,” March 29, 2012,

Do you bring your sunshine to work?

Posted by Joanne on October 10, 2012 Comments Off

One rainy day last month my husband and I were in Kingston, Ontario where we had two very different customer experiences in the retail setting. I worked in retail in the past, so I know that dealing with customers all day can be challenging. This is what we experienced.

1. Home Depot

My husband and I visit Home Depot looking for a specific order. We are greeted by several employees – “Good morning. Do you need any help?” We are assisted with our order and then proceed to the loading area, where we wait for the order. Again we are greeted and asked if we need help. There is a positive buzz around the place. As we wait for our order, we overhear two coworkers greeting each other.

Coworker 1: “How’s your morning so far?”

Coworker 2: (with a huge smile on her face and a bounce in her walk), “Just livin’ the dream. Just livin’ the dream.”

It made us both smile and brought the sunshine in on a rainy day. The people working at Home Depot that morning sure did bring their spirit to the workplace.

2. Coffeeco Espresso Bar

My husband and I enter our favourite coffee shop with smiles on our faces, each anticipating a truly magnificent cup of coffee. We look at one stony-face behind the counter and then look at the other stony-face. No smiles, no greeting. Undaunted, we cheerfully ask for our coffees, still no smiles. These two co-workers certainly don’t seem like they are enjoying work at all. (This by the way is very uncharacteristic of our favourite coffee shop because the staff are usually happy and upbeat, so make sure you drop in). As my husband and I fix up our coffees, we look at each other, and we are both thinking the same thing. It’s a rainy day, SMILE and let the sunshine in.

What different customer experiences we had that day!

It made me think about the blog post, “Optimism and Pessimism – What makes us who we are.” The author Elaine Fox explains that:

“Some people appear to be incurable pessimists, seeing the negative in everything. Others are upbeat and optimistic convinced they could cope with whatever life throws at them. At the extremes, these two different ways of seeing the world can tip people towards anxiety and depression or flourishing and wellbeing. Such divergent outlooks on life seem to be fairly hard-wired. Remarkable new evidence, however, is questioning just how wired-in traits like optimism and pessimism really are.”

It does not matter whether we have an optimism or pessimism “gene,”  because we can, thankfully, learn to be more upbeat and optimistic. The author states we have a sunny (optimistic) brain and rainy (pessimistic) brain and the good news is that both are highly “malleable and open to change.” Who wants to be a negative energy vampire anyway?

It starts with the power of one. We can each bring a smile, and our sunshine into the workplace. And when we do it sparkles and spreads!


Do you lead like an DHB (decent human being)?

Posted by Joanne on October 2, 2012 Comments (1)

Lately I’ve been seeing many references to books on how to fix dysfunctional organizational culture and leaders not leading like decent human beings. This proliferation of organizational and leadership self-help books is extremely sad because it infers many organizations do not lead with decency and goodness. It seems that certain leaders forget about being a decent human being.

What’s going on? A recent Towers Watson Survey states that “nearly two-thirds (65%) of the more than 32,000 full-time workers participating in (the) study are not highly engaged.” Key findings of the study include: increased stress and anxiety about the future, keeping employees has more to do with the “quality” of the work experience overall, and employees have doubts about the level of interest and support coming from senior leaders.

It saddened me to read Paul Copcutt’s blog post “Do you really know how to resign?” about an employee’s resignation email. When this particular employee resigned he sent an email to all employees in his organization, and then the email was posted on Twitter and went viral with its own hashtag. The email outlines what transpired and the not so great actions of his boss, from the the view point of the employee. Sending this type of email is never a great resignation idea, but while reading it, I heard a seemingly decent human being destroyed by a leader who wasn’t. (I don’t know the facts other than the information in the email, so I can’t comment on who is the DHB or who isn’t). The email portrays a previously performing employee who is so burnt out that his well-being is at risk along with his decision making ability, hence the poor decision to send the resignation email.

When values are not in sync, eventually performance and well-being suffer.

Is your workplace a cross between a “high school (think Mean Girls … and guys) and the Mafia?” That is actually how I heard someone describe the workplace that they went to every day. Do you want to work for an organization like that, where the values of the organization and your own values are not aligned? When values don’t align it isn’t good. It destroys well-being by causing stress, mental fatigue, anxiety, and feelings of not wanting to go to work. It results in increased absenteeism, and very unproductive presenteeism at work! In fact, a dysfunctional workplace can destroy the well-being and productivity of previously stellar performing employees. And that isn’t good for the employee or the company.

When leaders are not decent human beings, productivity, profit, and company brand suffer.

Think about how this one resignation email impacted the brands of the employee, the boss, and the company they work(ed) for. Would you want to work for the boss? Would you want to work for the company? Would you hire the employee who resigned? Which brand suffered the most? Do we really know what kind of workplace, employee, or leader were involved? No, but unfortunately social media and people’s perception become the new reality.

In real life mean-spirited mafia-like workplaces are not good for anyone.  If you want to create a decent workplace, please contact us. We can help make your business an awesome place to work. I’m not talking about group hugs and fluff; I’m talking about making the world a better place one company at a time, by creating happy, healthy and productive workplaces where individuals are respected for their contributions, held accountable for their actions, and developed to their full potential. (This just happens to be our vision statement!) Oh, yes, and we’ll help train your leaders to be Decent Human Beings!

Related posts from the archives:

The Grandma litmus test for ethical behaviour,

What makes a great leader

Should you hire family and friends?

Posted by Joanne on September 26, 2012 Comments Off

There certainly are pros and cons to hiring family and friends. I was cited by Danielle Harder in an article in the May 2012 issue of The Canadian Employer - ”Should you hire family and friends? A successful workplace relationship depends on boundaries, communication and rigorous hiring.

Hiring family and friends can work well if you approach it in a thoughtful and thorough way.

Tips for hiring family and friends

  1. Clarify expectations by clearly defining the role and accountabilities in advance.
  2. Eliminate any overlap in the decision-making structure and redirect issues back to the appropriate manager.
  3. Follow rigorous screening and hiring processes.
  4. Be aware of and avoid favoritism (nepotism).
  5. Plan for succession with family members and invest in their development.
  6. Set boundaries and keep personal and professional lives separate; don’t let family or friend dynamics spill over into the workplace.
  7. Keep open lines of communication to prevent misunderstanding, and skewed perception especially with existing employees.
  8. Plan for a positive exit should things not work out as expected.

You can read the full article here: Should you hire family and friends The Canadian Employer May 2012 (PDF)

What has your experience been with hiring family and friends? Please share your thoughts.

What Steven Covey taught me – We have a choice

Posted by Joanne on August 16, 2012 Comments Off

“The desire to love is not itself love …. Love is an act of will – namely an intention and an action. Will implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love. No matter how much we think we are loving, if we are in fact not loving, it is because we have chosen not to love and therefore do not love despite our good intentions. On the other hand, whenever we do actually exert ourselves in the cause of spiritual growth, it is because we have chosen to do so. The choice to love has been made.” ~ M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled, 1978

I love the above quote, which I first read in Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families. It is a powerful statement for work and for life. While learned the power of choice and attitude in my teens while working at a local grocery store, I didn’t really realize the reason why I had this ability until I read Covey’s description of our four unique human gifts.

We have four unique human gifts that allow us to make choices!

Stephen Covey notes that human beings are the only living creatures in the universe that can “think” before they act. We can CHOOSE how we are going to respond! We can decide to speak, act and behave in ways that create positive and memorable experiences for ourselves and for others.

Covey explains our four unique human gifts or attributes this way:

  • Self-Awareness – Allows us to step back and observe our own behaviour!
  • Conscience – Let’s us know deep down inside ourselves, whether we are harming or enhancing our relationships by our behaviour, and actions.
  • Imagination – Allows us to visualize another way of acting. It lets us choose a better response, one that will have a longer-term positive effect.
  • Independent Will – Let’s us take action and choose to take a positive road to enhance relationships!

These four unique gifts give us the ability to CHOOSE how we communicate and interact with each other. It gives us the power to build lasting and positive relationships at work and in life.

So what did YOU learn from Stephen Covey? Please share it here.


P.S. During our Leadership Program participants learn more about their style of leadership and communication, and learn about the choices they can make to build positive relationships with their staff, customers, and suppliers. And of course, these lessons can be applied to their own personal relationships as well. Contact us for more information.

Related posts:

What Stephen Covey taught me – The Power Pause

What Stephen Covey taught me – The Circle of Influence

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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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