Dec. 5, 2012

Staff recognition efforts increase in response to survey

In response to feedback from last year's Employee Survey, an Employee Recognition Team has developed a suite of programs to give Cornell staff more recognition for their good work.

The new programs -- created by staff, for staff -- range from new awards and ways of thanking each other to grassroots gatherings across campus, called Cornell Recognition Event Days (RED). The first Cornell RED event will take place in January, with details to come.

Employee Assembly's (EA) Kudos Award program and employee discounts have also been revamped and will receive greater publicity. The Kudos Award program is a way for staff to recognize their colleagues through the Employee Assembly newsletter, in Pawprint and at an annual lunch. A new online form streamlines the recognition process by letting the sender and recipient know when the kudos has been submitted.

The recognition team and Procurement Services also expanded the list of places offering discounts to Cornell employees to include such retailers as Agway, True Value, Avis Car Rental, Verizon Wireless and Apple. A list of discounted items for managers to purchase for employees in recognition of their hard work and a list of no-cost ideas for managers to recognize staff are now available for supervisors to access on the human resources website.

"Our goal is to create a grassroots, staff-run effort that supports a 'thank you' culture at Cornell," said Karen Raponi, recruitment consultant in the Recruitment and Employment Center and lead of the 11-person recognition team. "We want to complement the university recognition programs already in place, such as the fall and winter Employee Celebration days, the annual Service Recognition Dinner, and the many recognition events held by the colleges and units."

January 2013 kicks off a call for nominations for two new staff awards: the Individual Excellence Award and the Management Award. Nominations will be accepted through February and announced later in the semester. In addition, one of the nominees for those awards will be chosen to receive a presidential award, "Far Above Cayuga's Waters." A luncheon with President David Skorton and Vice President Mary Opperman will be held annually to recognize the award winners and all award nominees.

An Innovations in Diversity and Inclusion award is planned for 2014.

The recognition team has already been promoting their efforts and soliciting feedback from staff at several events on campus, including the customer appreciation sale at the Cornell Store and Benefair.

"Thanks to partnerships with the Campus Store and athletics, we were able to make these events a success. Athletics sponsored basketball and hockey ticket giveaways that helped us draw a crowd," said Raponi. "More importantly, the feedback gained from these events will help bolster our efforts. You'll be hearing much more from our group in 2013."