A History of the "You are Exceptional Staff" (YES!) Recognition Program
Long, long ago, in the far off 1990s, Housing leadership was looking for a way to increase affirmation and feedback for staff – especially in the form of peer-to-peer recognition. A small group was formed to look into the idea, and they met with like-minded local businesses like Cox Cable to learn about their peer-to-peer recognition programs. Out of this research came the YES! (You are Exceptional Staff) Committee and the "We are About" values; these values reflect the principles that guide how we view our service to the organization, our relationships with fellow employees, and most importantly our work for our customers.
The YES! committee wanted to find a way for staff to recognize other staff that were exemplifying these values. But how to do that? Inspiration struck one committee member, Randy Bittner, in the form of a checkbook peeking out of a co-worker’s purse. A value "check" could be written to a staff member when they were observed demonstrating the values. That check could then be kept or “cashed” by placing it in a drawing for prizes at department events. Randy worked to create the check, and with a little help, the YES Value vouchers were born. Housing staff have been giving and receiving YES vouchers for more than 20 years!
Now that Housing has grown to become Housing, Dining, & Auxiliary Enterprises, work is being done to create a new set of shared values that include all of the HDAE departments. Although we are a larger organization, our commitment to excellent service and building partnerships remains. We can all look forward to fresh ideas and new ways to recognize and appreciate our exceptional hard working and caring staff.
By Camille Locklear & Eric Zobel
Pictured: Randy Bittner was recognized by Eric Zobel at his retirement party for the creation of the Housing YES Value Voucher.