Recognition ranks high among staff for finding satisfaction on the job
UCOP extends and expands popular health care facilitator pilot program

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs


Susan Hagstrom

Susan Hagstrom

30 AUGUST 00 | Berkeley staff want to be recognized for their contributions, but not necessarily with parties, lunches or other office-wide celebrations.

Instead, employees prefer to be rewarded with increased pay and benefits, opportunities for professional development, the chance to provide input on departmental issues and time off from work.

At least that's what Susan Hagstrom found out when she surveyed nearly 350 staff members as a part of her internship to help the campus develop staff recognition programs and practices.

The survey also revealed that immediate supervisors - as opposed to department directors, clients or peers - are the most important sources of recognition and the top three areas staff want to be recognized for are exceptional performance, customer service skills and teamwork, said Hagstrom.

o "What motivates me is knowing where I fit into the bigger picture," said one survey respondent, "knowing that I am part of the whole and linked to other parts."

o "Professional training and other investments in my career make me believe I have a long-term future here, and I will want to stay," said another respondent.

"Being recognized was highly valued by those surveyed," said Hagstrom, who took a one-year leave from her job as an academic adviser to head up the internship. "However, satisfaction with the current programs is pretty low."

To improve these statistics, Hagstrom worked with various pilot departments and units across campus to interpret the survey data and develop methods for utilizing the information.

Helen Diggs, director of the Office of Laboratory Animal Care, said she learned from the survey that staff are the best judge of what they want to be recognized for and how that recognition takes place.

For example, her staff developed a list of criteria that they felt best described exceptional performance. Using this criteria, supervisors score their staff and co-workers evaluate each other, with the top vote-getters receiving an award.

Diggs tries to keep recognition programs flexible and adaptive, employing different methods depending on the situation, such as awards for being helpful or trying hard.

But before any recognition program can be effective, warns Diggs, the basic principles of communication and respect must be firmly in place.

"Recognition is like the cherry on top of a sundae," said Diggs. "It can't be used as a fix for everything."

"Susan's findings on what staff value and how they want to be recognized are crucial to our efforts to build community on campus and improve recruitment and retention," said Chancellor Berdahl. "Departments and units looking to improve their recognition programs will find Susan's work an invaluable tool."

Hagstrom collected her data from a cross-section of units on campus, including Plant and Microbial Biology, Material Management, Undergraduate Affairs, the Office of Laboratory Animal Care, Capital Projects and University Relations. She also used past surveys and questionnaires as part of her findings.

In addition to her work with departments, Hagstrom also used the internship to set up other new programs.

Working with the Office of Media Services, she created a video - which includes a welcome from the chancellor and interviews with campus staff - that, beginning this fall, will be shown to all attendees of the new-employee orientation sessions.

Hagstrom also worked with Human Resources to create a campus-wide "Years-of-Service" event, an annual celebration, currently in development, to honor staff's length of service.

An online warehouse of information regarding staff recognition and rewards is currently under construction by Human Resources, using Hagstrom's research. The Web site will include guidelines and policies; information on current recognition practices and programs; summaries of college and departmental programs; the results of Hagstrom's survey; and recognition practices used by other institutions and companies. The site, locted at will be ready by mid-September.

Hagstrom worked with the Chancellor's Staff Advisory Committee, the Chancellor's Office, Human Resources and the Center for Organizational Effectiveness as part of her self-inititated internship.





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