An institution-wide employee engagement survey was conducted fall of 2014. One survey metric centered on gauging employee perception on how they were valued and acknowledged for their contributions to the organization. While the results were generally favorable, management decided this could be higher as staff recognition is core to employee engagement, satisfaction, retention, and ultimately patron satisfaction with the organization.
A staff recognition committee was put together to brain-storm ideas of how to recognize employee contributions that didn't involve the more standard recognition types like "employee of the month". One of the ideas that rose to the top was that of a "traveling award". The idea is for staff to present the traveling award to an individual from whom they received great service (to either patrons or a fellow staff member) or who made their job easier in one form or another. The traveling award is meant to be a peer-to-peer and the award nominator is encouraged to submit a brief description to the internal bi-weekly newsletter of who received the award and why. In addition, all persons receiving the traveling award have their names entered into a quarterly drawing to enjoy coffee or lunch with the library director.
To make the traveling award more fun, a pair of stuffed institutional mascots was purchased (in case of one traveler going astray). The designated traveling award and its cousin were ready to start visiting staff in May of 2015 and proved to be a huge success. Since its roll-out, the traveling award has visited staff 28 times with accompanying write-ups posted in the library's bi-weekly emailed newsletter. Staffs has embraced the traveling awards and have used them to call out colleagues for a wide variety of reasons such as project leadership, administrative support, great customer service, or just "general awesomeness. "
Staff wants to be respected and valued for their contributions and respond to appreciation through recognition of their good work because it sends an extremely powerful message that their work is valued and that they are an important part of the organization. Staff that feels that their contributions are valued by their peers and the organization is more likely to have greater job satisfaction, work better together as teams and feel a sense of pride in the organization's goals and values.
Poster presented at the 2018 Medical Library Association Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA.
Chew, Katherine; Nault, Andre.
Warm Fuzzies: Boosting Staff Engagement with a Traveling Gopher.
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