May 15, 2018
UCalgary takes home top honours for employee recognition program
The University of Calgary was awarded top honours at the Recognition Professionals International (RPI) Annual Convention in Nashville on April 30. RPI selected the university for the 2018 Best Practice Award for using a considered approach to recognition, which has been evolving since 2013 when the cross-disciplinary Recognition Steering Committee was first formed.
“Judges were impressed with the way UCalgary embraced the process of creating a recognition strategy that aligned with the university’s strategic plan and values,” RPI said in a press release issued May 11.
Current and original members of the recognition team in Human Resources who worked on the implementation of the Recognition Strategy are pictured above, from left: Elena Rhodes, senior specialist, retirement programs and recognition strategy; Rhonda Pylychaty, director of total rewards; Iryna Leonova, advisor, recognition; Alissa Penner, co-ordinator, recognition; Kyle Fraser, manager HR operations; Jodie Jeworski, manager, wellbeing and worklife.
Rhonda Pylychaty, director of total rewards, heads the Recognition Steering Committee and says the award is a very meaningful accomplishment and offers kudos to the very dedicated and passionate resource team for all their hard work in implementing the strategy objectives.
“Recognition is so important to the workplace community and the way we engage with it,” says Pylychaty. “So much went into the university’s recognition strategy, and we are seeing so much come out of it — this award is very validating for our steering committee and all the recognition champions across campus.”
Recognition Professionals International
Strategy and measurement
The recognition program began with the Eyes High strategy and its goal to increase respect and recognition on campus and build a strong culture of recognition. From there, a formal recognition strategy was developed and adopted, and countless employee recognition initiatives have been launched since.
The UCalgary Employee Engagement Survey has eight questions relating to respect and recognition. As of 2017, respect and recognition scores had improved by 13 per cent since 2013, before implementation of the Employee Recognition Strategy.
“We are very happy with those numbers, but respect and recognition scores are affected by more than the recognition strategy alone — multiple initiatives contribute to engagement, including the Respect in the Workplace program,” says Pylychaty.
The recognition website attracts approximately 12,000 visits a year — not surprising, since employees can use the site for ideas on how to recognize their colleagues.
UCalgary’s recognition program will continue to expand its reach and its offerings. “In addition to maintaining the amazing progress we’ve made, we continuously search for innovative and customizable ways to enrich our culture of recognition,” says Pylychaty.
Visit the recognition website for the recognition strategy, a recognition toolkit, and information about eNotes and print cards. Do you have a great idea to enhance recognition at UCalgary? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recognition & Reward is one of the 13 factors illustrated in the National Standard. The University of Calgary is a recipient of the Excellence Canada Mental Health at Work Silver Level Certification in this area. Visit WellBeing and WorkLife to learn more about the implementation of the National Standard at the University of Calgary and to learn about existing programs and resources that support each of the 13 Factors.