Honouring the contributions of faculty and staff increases engagement and motivation

2020 HR Report to the University

Our institution’s success depends on the contributions of our faculty and staff. We celebrate and acknowledge those who have made an outstanding impact through a number of recognition programs throughout the year.

Celebrating long-term service

In late 2019, 367 employees were honoured at our annual Celebration of Service and Retirement events. The events recognize and celebrate the outstanding long service of our faculty and staff. Employees who have retired or served the organization for 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 years are honored in separate events. The event also provides an opportunity to recognize outstanding ambassadors of the university with a multitude of peer nominated recognition awards which focus on excellence through service, community and citizenship.

One such ambassador is Lily Laser, a graduate student services administrative assistant in the Faculty of Engineering recognized in 2019 with the Support Staff Recognition Award. Lily was nominated for the award by her peers who want to recognize her for the outstanding contributions she makes to the university and her faculty.

“The descriptive statement on the award I received declares [the award is] ‘a symbol to remind us of our dependence on one another and the importance of strong relationships.’ That statement essentially summarizes why recognition programs are important to the university,” says Lily.

 The university's recognition program incentivizes university employees to perform at an increased level of excellence. They motivate loyalty and a sense of pride in the university.  

Lily Laser, graduate student services administrative assistant in the Faculty of Engineering

She adds, "There is more to being a university employee than being competent. Equally significant are the attributes we develop interpersonally. I was excited, honoured and grateful when I received my award.”

This led to Lily becoming an internal advocate: “I am able to be a spokesperson for the university in a more personally invested way than before,” after having experienced the ceremony as a public affirmation as an award-winning staff member. “That experience was a confidence booster—it’s encouraged me to grow where I’m planted, to be the best version of myself.”

To see past winners, learn more about recognition, or nominate a deserving staff member, visit our recognition programs website.

E-cards allow employees to recognize and reward colleagues, boost morale and increase engagement

Informal recognition is a great way to recognize and reward colleagues, boost morale and increase engagement. To promote and facilitate impromptu recognition, Human Resource Services developed the Recognition E-card. Faculty and staff can send virtual cards using a variety of themed templates to recognize their colleagues for their hard work, show their appreciation, stay connected and care for one another. Since the e-cards were launched in spring 2020, more than 2,500 cards have been shared across the University.

More than 2500 e-cards have been shared across the university

“The recognition e-cards are a quick means to show appreciation to a colleague, send best wishes, or acknowledge a special event,” says Deb Kershaw, Strategic Initiatives Lead and Executive Coordinator with Performance, Analytics and Institutional Research. 

“I know some of my co-workers are feeling isolated and disconnected,” says Nancie Hodgson, a research coordinator in the Faculty of Arts.

 I like to use them to let my co-workers know that I'm thinking about them, even though we don't see each other every day right now.  

Nancie Hodgson, research coordinator in the Faculty of Arts

“I also use them to recognize accomplishments or milestones. Outside of COVID-19, they are still a great way to acknowledge co-worker's accomplishments, just say 'hi', or wish them happy birthday. They're also a great way to welcome new employees [who] can't properly be welcomed [while] working from home.”

The emailed cards are an excellent way to boost morale, and brighten someone’s day. Nancie said that two people have said she’s made their week or weekend with her notes.

“They make everyone—senders and recipients—feel special,” Nancie says warmly.

“I believe they help to foster working relationships during a time that we are not able to have casual 'photocopier' or 'water cooler' conversations,” says Deb. “I think people feel happy when they receive a card. It is always nice to open an email and have it bring a smile to your face.”