In 2013, understanding the key role recognition plays in employee engagement, the University of Calgary formed the cross-disciplinary Employee Recognition Steering Committee to guide the development, implementation and ongoing review of employee recognition.
In 2014, the University of Calgary’s Employee Recognition Strategy was developed to provide best practice recognition programs, education, and communication, which support an organizational culture of personal and meaningful recognition experiences for all staff. The strategy was created with the initial implementation period of 2014-2017. In May 2017, the Employee Recognition Steering Committee approved the extension to the Strategy for 2017-2018.
With the end of the initial implementation period, in 2018, the Employee Recognition Steering Committee revised the Recognition Strategy to confirm existing priorities and add new ones in alignment with the energized university's Eyes High Strategy.
The framework for the Employee Recognition Strategy includes three hierarchical dimensions:
Honours career milestones (long service and retirement/farewell) and includes structured programs, such as the President's awards program, based on achievements or performance.
Celebrates individual, team, and organizational success - including local celebrations, social gatherings, small gifts reinforcing individuals living the University values, and life moment acknowledgements.
Noticing and appreciating the contributions of others daily - including verbal praise, handwritten cards, eNotes, and similar practices utilized to regularly praise and express gratitude to others.
The foundation and most important aspect to building an organizational culture of recognition is the establishment of everyday recognition practices. This dimension is instrumental in developing a culture of recognition. Research consistently demonstrates that over 90 per cent of staff value simply being personally and meaningfully thanked for a job well done. The informal and formal recognition dimensions augment the recognition continuum within an organization.
Key Principles to Support the Strategy
- Recognition is an important part of the University of Calgary culture – consistent, sincere, individualized and meaningful recognition is part of how we interact with one another.
- Staff need to experience purpose and meaning in their work. Contributions, both big and small, are important.
- Leader/manager education and communication is important – all leaders/managers will be provided with tools to support the importance of recognition and how to give appropriate recognition to their direct reports.
- Recognition activities should include both individual and team accomplishments. Individual recognition answers the question “Are my contributions to the organization valued?” Team Recognition encourages teamwork and fosters the University of Calgary’s values of support, collaboration, communication, and excellence.
- Recognition should be given at a faculty/unit level as well as a university wide level and focus on specific achievements that demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors, in addition to those that produce positive results.
- Recognition activities should be reciprocal. Everyone has a responsibility to express recognition and recognize when others have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Recognition Steering Committee
In an effort to ensure representation from each staff group on campus, the University of Calgary has created a cross functional recognition committee. This committee is responsible for using available resources, such as the information from the recognition survey, to provide guidance to the campus on what recognition programs are relevant to our employees and what we can implement in the short and long term strategic direction.
Committee members are as follows:
- Neil Christensen, GSA Representative
- Theresa Eng, Manager, Administrative Services, Dean's Office, Faculty of Social Work
- Kyle Fraser, Acting Director, Total Rewards, Human Resources
- Nora Molina, Director, Career Services
- Alfred Lehar, Associate Professor, Haskayne School of Business
- Erin Scott, Undergraduate Program Advisor, Academic Program, Faculty of Kinesiology
- Leda Stawnychko, Senior Consultant, Graduate Programs, Faculty of Nursing
The Committee acts in an advisory capacity and is accountable to Associate Vice-President, Human Resources.
All members are required to be knowledgeable about the university's vision and strategy and be experienced in program design, development, and communication.