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#1 Teamwork Tip

Updated: May 27

Looking back on the 22 years that I spent as the payroll manager before retiring from the District School Board of Niagara, I have come to the conclusion

that the key to success can be summed up by one quality that every member of my team possessed: dedication to integrity. Paying six thousand employees a total of nearly a half billion dollars in salaries and benefits per year accurately and on-time, while following the ever-changing line up of strict Ministry guidelines, provincial regulations and of course union agreements meant that always striving to do things right was a must.  I can tell you from experience that being part of a team that places integrity above all else not only ensures high performance on the job but also makes going to work each day a highly enjoyable and rewarding experience. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.


Having integrity doesn’t ensure that you or your team members won't make mistakes from time to time - that's an inevitable human quality that none of us can escape! What it does mean is that adhering to a strict ethical code of professional conduct must always take precedence over individual ego or self-interest. Here are some of the attributes of integrity in the workplace that stand out to me:


1. Trust and Honesty. In a nutshell this means following the rules, being truthful and making the right decisions. If you've made a mistake, let it be known to the rest of the team as soon as you notice it. Not only will you gain the respect of others for your courage for being honest, but you will also encourage others to do the same.  It's infectious! An added bonus is that you will find yourself in the best position to quickly solve the problem. Hiding or a brushing aside a mistake always seems to have a nasty habit of coming back to bite you. 


2. Responsibility and Accountability. I can't stress enough how important it is to truly take this on board. As a manager I can tell you that I took great pride in my team because they were people I could always count on to do their job and take ownership of their work.  Going back to point 1, this includes owning mistakes. 


3. Loyalty. This really speaks to putting the organization first. Not only does this mean putting in a good day's work but also focusing on making sure the board's goals are being met. 


4. Self-awareness and Fairness. It's not always easy or convenient to look inwards.  Sometimes it can be downright challenging.  We may even find ourselves justifying the validity of something for personal reasons.  We're all human! But we also have the power as individuals to notice these behaviours in ourselves.  This can help us to be more objective and treat others fairly and compassionately. In this way not only do we help others, but we also help ourselves to be our very best and do things the way we should be doing them.

I credit my sense of integrity for helping me throughout life both personally and professionally.  I believe it is important to lead by example at work and at home. When people at work noticed my efforts it always gave me a deep sense of satisfaction and reinforced my beliefs.  I feel a great sense of pride when I see that my son who is now a grown man has developed a deep sense of integrity and how it has helped him flourish in his career and home life. 

Because every member of our Payroll team shared these same values, they made my job so much easier because I had trust in them, knowing they would work to the best of their ability, do what was right, take responsibility for their actions and help others when they needed it. I retired from my role as Payroll Manger last year and miss them all dearly. But somehow retirement has not stopped me from working again!

HRPLink has turned out to be a perfect fit for me.  As a member of this new team I am thrilled to say that I have found the same kindred spirit here that I left behind at the District School Board of Niagara.  Although working in a commercial enterprise was a big change for me, I feel very comfortable and happy here. 

I have once again found myself to be amongst a fabulous group of seasoned professionals who all know how important it is to be trustworthy, fair, responsible and above all, dedicated to what's best for our clients.  We frequently talk about this and one thing that always comes up is the importance of never promising what we can't deliver. We wouldn't feel right if our clients weren't getting exactly as expected. And because mistakes can have serious consequences for our clients, we've put a lot of effort into ensuring that we can proactively prevent errors from happening in the first place. More on this later in a blog from our President Darren Valladares, who has worked tirelessly with our development team.  They have built self-testing features directly into our software that routinely performs tens of thousands of automated tests to find potential problems before changes are made available to our users.

For school boards, finding a software vendor that they can rely on the way I relied on my team is not an easy feat. I am sure that many of you out there who are reading this know just what I'm talking about. Because the HRPLink team places a high value on integrity we have built an extraordinary team with a promising future.  I look forward to each new day and what it brings to our clients.

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