Good Practices in Recognition at UBC

A number of faculties and departments at UBC have developed their own employee recognition programs.

How Other UBC Units Recognize Their Staff

University Classroom Services – Caught in the Act

The University’s Classroom Services unit practices a “Caught in the Act” recognition program. It involves giving a staff member a candy-gram with a note that indicates what they did well or how they had a positive effect on another person.

This is a good example of a recognition program because it is specific to an action, work task, or project, is timely, low cost, and public. It’s unexpected and inclusive, and the staff member is rewarded for doing something well. Many staff members believe that their good performance isn’t noticed, so this is a great way to recognize them.

Faculty/Department (Arts, Science, Law) – Recognition/Achievement

Some of the University’s faculties (e.g., Arts, Science, Law) have staff excellence award programs in place.

This type of award varies from one faculty/department to another, but here are some elements that may be included:

  • recognize the excellent service that a staff member provided to the faculty, their colleagues, or to the students.
  • acknowledge an individual who developed and implemented an innovative idea and/or process in their area of responsibility, which increased the effectiveness and efficiency of the unit and/or the faculty.
  • some have a small committee to call for and adjudicate nominations.
  • some have different categories of awards.
  • some present the award to the employee at the Dean’s staff meeting.
  • some provide a gift certificate or small gift along with the award.
  • some provide a wall plaque listing names of award recipients.
  • some allow staff to nominate their colleagues.
  • some have a lunch for winners and their nominators.

These staff excellence awards highlight that a staff member’s colleagues are aware of the good work of their peers, and that they wish to recognize them for it.

Just Say Thanks

A common but powerful recognition approach is to thank staff members individually for their contribution to the faculty/department. The message should be specific about what is being rewarded.

Expressions of thanks for doing a good job can be given verbally, via email, or in a card. A small gift like a box of chocolates may accompany the thanks.

This approach is simple, doesn’t cost much, and can be very meaningful to staff members.

Recognition Wall or Newsletter

Another approach is to create a wall or board where staff members can post notes of recognition about their colleagues. This can also be done in the department/faculty newsletter, or verbally in a public forum such as a staff meeting.

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