Mason Reaches Milestone with 200th Employee of the Month Award

Posted: July 30, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Probst

For the past few months you’ve noticed that one of your employees has been consistently going the extra mile. They deserve some kind of recognition, but you’re not sure what to do.

After looking over the variety of awards offered by the Office of Human Resources and Payroll to recognize outstanding employees, you decide to nominate the person for the Employee of the Month honor.

As of August, this process has been repeated at Mason 200 times. The Employee of the Month ceremony began 16 years ago when former Mason President George Johnson developed the award to recognize employees for their hard work and dedication.

“The Employee of the Month program is an opportunity for the university to highlight outstanding performance by its employees. By taking the time to recognize our employees, it helps boost morale, retention and an overall feeling of satisfaction,” says Lucy Cummings, reward and recognition coordinator in the Office of Human Resources and Payroll.

Sharon Cullen, executive assistant to President Alan Merten and June 2007 Employee of the Month, believes employee recognition is important because it keeps employees engaged in their day-to-day routine, and says everyone “appreciates a kind word or some level of personal recognition for their efforts.”

Administrative faculty, classified and wage employees who have been at Mason for at least one year and are in good standing are eligible for the Employee of the Month award. Although anyone at Mason can nominate someone for the award, employees are typically nominated by their supervisor or other colleagues. A nomination form must be completed and signed by the supervisor and department head of the unit in which the nominee works. The nomination remains active indefinitely among the pool of candidates.

Although it is not required, it is recommended that three or more support letters be included with the nomination. The criteria used in the nomination process are up to the discretion of the department and can include qualities such as professionalism, customer service, integrity and enthusiasm.

The award winner is chosen by the Employee of the Month Committee, which is composed of members of various university departments. This committee meets once a month to review the supporting documentation and vote on the next month’s winner. The winner is then informed by his or her supervisor that he or she has been chosen as the Employee of the Month.

Perhaps the highlight of receiving the award is the ceremony honoring the employee that is usually held in the president’s office. The employee’s supervisor, co-workers and family members are encouraged to attend. If the Employee of the Month works at the Arlington or Prince William Campus, the ceremony will often be held there.

Each Employee of the Month is presented with an assortment of items, such as a bouquet of flowers, gift certificates, a framed certificate and a deck parking pass. A plaque in the Johnson Center displays the winner’s name and photo and remains posted for the month.

“I think the most amazing part of the award was finding out that those whom I respect and enjoy working with feel the same way about me,” says Jane Wendelin, business manager in the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and January 2007 Employee of the Month. “It made me more excited to come to work each day.”

For more information about the Employee of the Month award, contact Cummings at 703-993-2739 or visit the web site.

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