Employee Recognition Committee
February 7, 2007
PowerPoint Presentation (with notes)
Attendees: Dina Benson, Laurie Brennan, Peter Bushnell, Jane Anne Carey, Tara Cataldo, Pam Cenzer, Will Chaney, Joyce Dewsbury, Trudi DiTrolio, Lori Driscoll, Christine Driver, John Freund, Steve Fuquay, Sara Gonzalez, Winston Harris, Jody Hewitt, Barbara Hood, John Ingram; Margeaux Johnson; Brian Keith, Anita Lambert; Jimmie Lundgren, Iona Malanchuk, Peter McKay, Kristy Mills, Angela Mott, Barbara Oliver, Tina Pruitt, Dan Reboussin, Trish Ruwell, Christy Shorey, Betsy Simpson, Terri Smith, Angela Stewart, Grace Strawn, Jan Swanbeck, Flo Turcotte, Ben Walker, Jay Wiese, Jessica York.
Introductions and Presentation
Betsy S. introduced the Employee Recognition Committee (ERC) and the committees for employee appreciation parties. Jay W. announced the Convocation date, Wednesday, May 9, 2-4 p.m. The event will include, among other things, food, drinks and fun. John I. said the date is not yet set for the Spring Picnic.
After describing a new ERC initiative, the Discretionary Recognition Fund, Betsy called on Barbara O. and Brian K. to explain how the fund may be used.
Barbara explained that University of Florida Foundation funds, from which all ERC funding is derived, are regulated. While they may be used for events, retirement parties/gifts, etc., certain restrictions apply. Any recognition awards/gifts that constitute income, i.e., anything with a recognizable dollar value, may not be purchased with Foundation funds. If purchased, the recipient’s taxable income goes up and he/she has to pay more taxes. On the other hand, things without a stated dollar value (e.g., coffee mugs, a donated certificate that says ‘good for one burrito’ or ‘good for one latte’) are ok to give.
Unfortunately, most of the time it is necessary for employees to pay out-of-pocket for ERC-related expenses and submit receipts for reimbursement. An exception is Publix because the library has an account there. ERC will work closely with employees to assure proposals for Discretionary Recognition Funds comply with regulations. As needed, ERC will consult with Business Services. Brian K. advised that despite the restrictions Library staff is encouraged to put forth milestones and achievements.
Betsy S advised that funds may be requested for small recognition events as well as large, as long as the event recognizes accomplishments that meet library goals, not just a typical end-of-the-year party. The ERC is seeking proposals and will help requestors. Use the ‘proposal’ form on the Discretionary Recognition Fund page.
Discussion Session led by Peter McKay
Topic: What do you think of current appreciation events ?
- Suggestion: Hold Spring Picnic on non-school day so staff can bring kids to this family event.
- Resolution: ERC will provide John I. with public school holidays/teacher workdays.
- Suggestion: Honor Service Award recipients at Convocation.
- Resolution: Agreed. Too numerous, use only the 25-30 years awards.
- Suggestion: Libraries need ‘stress-relief’ programs. Possibly, exercise classes, equipment, massage therapy. Yoga class coordinated by Trudi was good but not all were able to get to it during the lunch hour. Also, staff should not have to use personal leave to go to classes.
- Responses: Yoga class is not happening right now. UF provides stress management courses and EAP – for self-referral for counseling. Also, Library admin already supports attendance at UF and Library provided courses. To attend other [personal] services, exempt employees can arrange their schedule, as appropriate. Other staff may arrange their work schedule with their supervisor's approval. Library HR and admin are supportive. No funds can be awarded for personal services like massage. UF’s Living Well Clinic and ‘Living Well’ lunch were mentioned. We need to distinguish between UF/Library courses and services and personal services like massage, yoga, Weight Watchers.
- Suggestion: Appreciation awards/events need humor, something to lighten the day.
- Response: The department will set the tone of appreciation events. ERC won’t tell you exactly what to do with your appreciation event.
Topic: Is there enough money allocated for retirement parties?
- Responses: Not always. Staff sometimes spends their own money for larger events. This the first year ERC has administered funds of $250.00 per each retirement party with $100 per each retiree gift. Where would more money come from if we asked for more?
- Suggestion: Some events rely on home-made food that is really good, instead of using funds.
- Responses: Previous attempts at using all donated food failed. Not enough food. The point of appreciation events is that there is no pressure on attendees.
Topic: Other types of recognition and what should be recognized that is not now recognized?
- Suggestion: What happened to awards like ‘Perky Paula’ at the Holiday Parties?’
- Responses: Some felt that a more formal type of recognition is of more value overall and that it was time to make a change. The sentiment that rewards need to be useful /meaningful on your resume was expressed. Overall, attendees voiced support for some type of library awards to recognize employees.
- Suggestion: What about ‘Teacher of the Year Awards’? Could ERC work with the Library Instruction Committee to identify and recognize teachers, mentors?
- Responses: Agreed.
- Suggestion: What about recognizing community service done by employees?
- Response: Some do volunteer work for reasons other than getting attention. Would have to ask permission before recognizing outside activities.
- Suggestion: 5-star service by service point staff; there is currently no way to recognize that.
- Responses: The Discretionary Recognition Fund is a new avenue for providing recognition.
- Suggestion: Recognize skills in handling patrons, especially abusive patrons. Currently, staff gets no reward for handling this type of patron.
- Responses: Some commented that this type of recognition should be supervisor initiated. There used to be “Grace under Pressure” or other type of award for this.
- Suggestion: How about a “Greater Gator” type of program; patrons or staff submit individuals for recognition, at end of month those individuals are awarded with a small gift?
- Suggestion: We need to recognize special projects like the “Reclass” project, that is, behind the scenes accomplishments.
- Responses:Agreed. Special projects could be mentioned at Convocation, especially note the milestones e.g. 100,000 titles reclassified. The Discretionary Recognition Fund can be used, also.
- Suggestion: How about parking space?
- Response: Barbara Oliver explained that we can’t provide parking spaces as rewards due to the UF parking system. Also, cannot use any UF funds for renting parking space off-campus.
Topic: Should we set up a blog or wiki or other Web space where employees can post recognition/appreciation/news?
- Response: Would this be available library-wide? What format?
- Response: Would like to see a more formal recognition than just one staff mentions it on a blog.
- Response: Post a balance of Library/UF oriented accomplishments with outside service.
- Response: Could use the Library Newsletter.
- Response: Though it’s really good for information about the libraries, the newsletter is now more formal and is primarily for promoting the Libraries.
- Response: It would be nice to routinely hear about personal items like so-and-so had a baby.
- Suggestion: An option is to have another newsletter for staff.
- Response: Experience shows that a staff newsletter requires staff time and commitment, lately no one is willing. A blog may be more spontaneous, more appealing to all staff and the work would not be all on one department.
- Response: A blog may be OK, but again, you’d have to consider the privacy of the individual.
- Suggestion: How about a list-serv like “the water cooler.”
- Suggestion: Why not use the LiBBS?
- Response: A list-serv is good because only those who want to read it need subscribe to it.
- Response: But it would be nice if the info could be aggregated somehow into different topics.
Flo T thanked the ERC for working on all of this.
Compiled by Laurie Brennan