The University Record, May 24 , 1999

Plant Operations launches CARE recognition program

By Jane R. Elgass

Kennedy is credited with coming up with Plant Operations‘ new slogan, ŚWe Make Blue Go,‘ available on cling stickers and on many of the clothing items Plant Operations award-winners can select.
CARE (Congratulating and Recognizing Efforts), a comprehensive employee-designed recognition program for Plant Operations staff was unveiled last week in a series of events at several campus locations. The events also honored 270 staff members who received attendance, Silver Arrow or IDEAS 2000 awards.

Plant Operations, which recently adopted the slogan, “We Make Blue Go,” encompasses five units: Administration, Building Services, Grounds and Waste Management Services, Parking and Transportation Services, and Utilities and Maintenance Services.

In opening one of the events, Plant Operations Director James E. Christenson noted that CARE has conditional approval for a one-year pilot, at which time it will be evaluated for renewal. “This program benefits the University and it benefits you,” he told a May 19 Keen Arena audience. “It‘s up to us to make it work.”

John Gleason, assistant manager, Building Services, and a member of the team that designed the program, explained that the team asked Plant staff “what they valued, the activities they wanted to be recognized for, and how they wanted to be recognized.” They also studied employee recognition programs at the U-M, such as the “You‘re Super” award at the Health System and the UMatter program, and those used by outside organizations.

So far, three awards have been developed under the CARE umbrella. Staff members receive certificates or letters when they receive an award, which are presented at a staff gathering, as well as coupons that can be turned in for merchandise. Winners may turn in a single coupon, or may accumulate several coupons to apply to more valuable items.

Plant Operations staff attending the May 19 Keen Arena event heard brief remarks by Plant Operations Director James Christenson, John Gleason of Building Services and Anna Tobias of Parking and Transportation Services. Award-winners‘ names were displayed on the arena scoreboard, and refreshments were served as the winners picked up their awards. Photos by Bob Kalmbach
The Attendance Achievement Award goes to staff members who do not miss work (there are some exemptions, such as jury duty) for a six-month period (May-October or November–April). Award winners receive a certificate and one coupon.

Silver Arrow Awards recognize those who “exceed the expectations of our customers,” explains the literature handed out at last week‘s events. Recipients, who are nominated by faculty, staff, students and guests, immediately receive a certificate and souvenir, and the nominator receives an acknowledgement letter. Silver Arrow winners are honored at an annual reception, where they receive a certificate, pin and award coupon.

Individuals who win UMatter and You‘re Super awards automatically receive Silver Arrow Awards.

IDEAS 2000 awards recognize the efforts of employees who provide innovative ideas for improving processes, methods or activities. Suggestions should benefit Plant Operations by:

  • Improving the quality of working conditions.

  • Eliminating inefficiencies, waste or duplication.

  • Saving money, resources or time.

  • Streamlining administrative procedures.

  • Increasing safety, promoting health or improving morale. This criterion also covers suggestions made to the Work Safe/Be Well program.

    Individuals whose suggestions meet the criteria receive a certificate and souvenir. Those who submit a suggestion that is implemented receive four coupons.

    A yearly drawing will be held among those who submit valid suggestions that are not implemented. The winner of the drawing receives one coupon. Those whose suggestions result in a savings of $1,000 or more are eligible to receive a cash award of up to 10 percent ($25,000 maximum) of the savings recorded over a two-year period.

    Here‘s a sampling of some of the items staff can select when redeeming their coupons:

  • One coupon: “We Make Blue Go” baseball cap, auto kit, garden tool set, curling iron, travel bag, or Mickey or Minnie Mouse mask and snorkel.

  • Two coupons: Dremel engraved, two-person inflatable boat, answering machine, halogen spotlight, “We Make Blue Go” stadium blanket, 34-piece mechanic‘s tool set.

  • Three coupons: Krups Slice-It, fleece-lined or cotton duck jacket with the Plant Operations logo, electric grass and weed trimmer, gas grill, camping tent, goodies from Omaha Steaks.

  • Four coupons: Hardwood wall hutch, Bushnell Rangefinder, wet/dry shop vac, 1950s pay phone, bait-casting combination rod/reel, seven-piece cookware set, 14K gold bracelet.

  • Five coupons: Microwave oven, digital phone with three-mailbox answering machine, chainsaw, dart board, Seiko his/her Mickey Mouse watches, steam vac, crystal decanter set.

    Additional awards under development by the CARE team are the Teamwork Award, Building of the Year Award and Employee of the Month/Year Award.