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Putting the “k” in kindness: Kiki Armstrong wins first-ever Workplace Culture PHSA+ Award

Learn more about how Kiki creates a workplace environment where joy, camaraderie and community exist alongside hard work, results and accountability.
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​Kiki, pictured here with here husband, Zeb, is the first-ever PHSA+ Award winner in the category of "Workplace Culture".


Whether it's caring for a patient, family member or colleague, being compassionate is fundamental to the work we do. We care about the health and well-being of one another and those we serve. We believe that simple acts of kindness matter.

Being compassionate is one of PHSA’s values. It is part of the fabric of our organizational culture. We live it daily, especially when delivering care to our patients.

So, it seems instinctive that we should celebrate those among us who have a unique ability to turn simple acts of kindness into joyful occasions and heartwarming traditions for their colleagues. To recognize the very people whose above-and-beyond deeds have an undeniable impact on our workplace culture.

Which is why we created a new PHSA+ Awards Workplace Culture category this year.

As our first-ever winner of the Workplace Culture award, Kiki Armstrong, administrative coordinator of PHSA’s corporate card and employee expense program, embodies this new category. She’s been making workplaces across PHSA more positive, healthy and engaged for more than 13 years, and firmly believes fostering a healthy workplace culture goes beyond work motivation and loyalty:

“Workplace culture helps shape how we work together and how we interact with people outside of the organization,” says Kiki. “As we spend the majority of our days with our 'work families,’ I’ve always felt it's important to foster a healthy workplace culture. It adds to the value we place on what we do day in and day out and helps foster unity and pride in the units and teams we are part of.”

Workplace culture with a touch of Kiki

A friendly disclaimer in Kiki’s nomination to this year’s PHSA+ Awards highlighted how the list of contributions she has made to workplace culture is so extensive a single submission may not suffice. So, in the words of her nominators, here is a snapshot of some of Kiki’s above-and-beyond contributions:

Getting social: From bake sales, to SPCA fundraisers, to barbeques, to Halloween contests, to Lunar New Year celebrations, to pancake breakfasts, Kiki has done it all. When she was located at the corporate offices in Vancouver (on 1770 West 7th Avenue), she quickly befriended the management of the pub downstairs, who were then happy to lend her their chafing dishes for a staff-wide pancake breakfast. 

Hooked on a feeling: Whether you are 1:1 with her or part of a group of colleagues, one of Kiki’s superpowers is to make you feel like you matter. Whether it’s remembering your birthday, anniversary, or passing of a loved one, Kiki acknowledges it with a card, email, or phone call. Every holiday that matters to you, matters to her, and if you ever need an ear, she’ll give up her coffee break to talk or walk in a heartbeat.

No pressure, no diamonds: Yes, Kiki is upbeat, warm, and kind. But she is also sharp as a tack and firmly rooted in her steadfast commitment to ensuring that we are as responsible as we can be with taxpayers’ dollars. Heaven help you if you misplace a receipt or are behind in completing an expense report (Kidding… kind of.)

Kidding aside, Kiki’s approach to the important work she does as part of the AP team is professional and always supportive. At her core she is customer service-focused, both towards cardholders and the taxpayers to whom we are ultimately accountable. This was evident during her high-touch approach to onboarding approximately 1,300 PHSA cardholders to a new system last year.

Positive impact at every level

In her role managing PHSA’s corporate card and employee expense programs, Kiki works directly with staff at all levels of the organization, and she holds the respect of many. Her efforts have earned her a reputation as someone infectiously kind and driven to put a smile on her colleagues’ faces.

In 2016 and 2017, Kiki had the opportunity to indulge her passion for healthy and positive work environments when she was asked to form part of the Workplace Culture Council. Doug Blakeney, fellow council member and PHSA’s chief internal audit officer, is an avid admirer of Kiki’s positivity:

“I’ve had the great pleasure of working alongside Kiki under both the best and worst of circumstances, as can be the nature of our respective roles,” says Doug. “And while I’ve grown to appreciate her positive spirit, depth of caring, and willingness to go the extra mile to make our workplace better each and every day, what I find extraordinary is her natural tendency to have these same qualities shine through, even brighter, as the challenges get tougher.”

When the PHSA+ Awards committee announced the new Workplace Culture category, Sara Christie, Kiki’s nominator, knew Kiki embodied the award.

“I’m so thrilled she was selected as the first ever winner of this award, because I think she is the epitome of a workplace culture hero. This might sound strange, but reading the category description was almost like reading Kiki’s character profile!” says Sara. “I’ve been with PHSA for almost 13 years and have met countless amazing, engaged colleagues throughout the organization, but Kiki really stands above the rest as far as I’m concerned.” 

Gratitude and family, always 

When asked about what the nomination and award meant to her, Kiki is quick to give credit to those who surround her day in and day out.

“The acknowledgement is both humbling and reinvigorating. I’m ever so grateful to have the opportunity to do the work that I do, alongside such great people within PHSA. I love my job and knowing that over the years I’ve been able to make a difference means the world to me.” 

Yes, even when being showered with accolades for her award, Kiki still finds a way to make the win not about her but about her “work family,” as she fondly refers to you and me. In fact, being around her work family is one of the things Kiki thinks about most these days.

“Finding out that someone took the time and nominated me for this award moved me to tears. I’m an extrovert and these past few months have been emotionally challenging for me as I crave being around people, laughter and doing things for others. So, finding out that I’d received this incredible honour fuelled my heart, especially during such a dark time.”  

Don’t worry, Kiki. We’re in this together and we’ll see each other soon. Congratulations and thank you for always making us feel so special; one act of Kiki-kindness at a time!

The PHSA+ Award program is managed by our Workplace Experience team, part of PHSA Human Resources. Workplace Experience also manages overall employee recognition programming, including our Long Service Awards, e-cards, perks and a variety of other recognition efforts. For more information, contact employeerecognition@phsa.ca.

 
 
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