My family emigrated from Italy when I was 10 years old.  Canada or America as it was called by the Italians back then held the promise of a good life and a good education for the kids.  My parents both worked in factories, and I can honestly say that I never ever heard them complain about their work.  Despite having repetitive type jobs, what made things special for them was working with Canadians, other immigrants, and also fellow Italians – in some cases other members of their family. They purchased homes and their mission was to simply pay off the house and put their kids through school.  Their jobs were not always easy, but they worked hard, and they had rest breaks and lunch breaks which they would look forward to each and every day.  I recall how every evening over dinner they would recount stories or news they had heard over the breaks about other family members and or co-workers.  In short, their work environment was also a social hub and part of the fabric of their life.  It wasn’t so much the type of work they were doing but the “community” they kept.  Over lunch, they not only sat down with family, but others as well – Canadians, Europeans, and workers from everywhere.  I would overhear my parents over dinner comment on the “western” sandwich they had exchanged for their prosciutto and how it tasted awesome, and how the Canadians did not even know what prosciutto was and they would laugh and enjoy the moment.  The same was true of the stories they told each other about what others were up to.  They loved the cultural differences most of all and would often talk about how little they knew about places and people in other parts of the world.  This was their life, and they were happy.

By any measure I have had a very successful career – top HR executive roles for Global SHL Systemhouse, HP, and Chief People Officer for Ceridian HCM.  Everywhere I worked I felt, together with my team, I had a hand in making life better for the people that worked there.  In all places, I tried to address inequities such as taking steps to ensure all levels were paid within range and relative to one another.  Treating people fairly and always with dignity and respect was another area I endeavoured to champion by always giving everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Employees in turn, responded as evidenced by our engagement surveys and placing the organizations I led in the company of other best employers.  In short, I strived to achieve happiness at work for everyone.

I sometimes find myself in disbelief when reading Gallup studies that report on low engagement across North America and the world.  Curiosity and wonderment then seem to take the best of me.  People in my view need to be made to feel like they belong, be given the opportunity to contribute and have a voice and the means to share collective experiences with one another.  I know that today, just like in the time of my parents, the need for “community” and a sense of togetherness and greater happiness at work is an essential element.

RehvUp is new. We built it from a “Worker Up” perspective to provide people with the means to get inspired from stories they see and hear from others just like themselves, along with those of our Employee Experience coaches through short-format videos that captivate and move people to action.  I welcome you to check us out and to talk to us about what it would take to Work Happier at your place of work.


  Written by John Cardella, Chairman & CEO at RehvUp Technologies Inc