“If you want to improve employee morale,express sincere appreciation to them. Recognition and appreciation are absolutely essential to high employee morale High employee morale is never present when recognition and appreciation are absent. .” – Dr. Dan Tollett, Utrust Administrator
How to Implement the Utrust Appreciation Program in Your System
The Utrust Appreciation Program is student led but it is most likely to be enormously successful when the superintendent recognizes and acknowledges the value of the program to the school system and the students it serves.
Dr. Mark Edwards says in his book Every Child Every Day, “When employees know that their work is valued and that the school and district care about them, they will almost always go the extra mile for their students.”. The Utrust Employee appreciation program does not require a great deal of work on anyone’s part, including the superintendent. It is built on the notion that Everyone does a little; no one does a lot. However, the superintendent can ensure that the school district has a quality employee appreciation program by carrying out the following responsibilities.
1. Get the Board on Board. To get the board on board the superintendent should:
- Ask the board to adopt a resolution establishing the program in the school district (Utrust has a sample resolution);
- Encourage participation in events by individual board members when the can do so at their local school;
- Prior to each appreciation day, ask the board to adopt resolution establishing the day in the school system (Utrust provides a sample resolution for each of the eight appreciation days);
- Place an item on the board agenda following each appreciation day for the system coordinator to make a brief report.
2. Select a Capable System Coordinator. The system coordinator is the liaison with Utrust and school coordinators. He or she is a cheerleader or encourager for school coordinators. The system coordinator keeps up with what’s happening with regard to appreciation in each school and helps school coordinators to continually be aware of Utrust materials and suggestions. The system coordinator should be a person who is respected by principals and staff. The person needs to have enough clout that principals and school coordinators will cooperate and consider the coordinator’s suggestions. The system coordinator should be able to put together a brief, interesting and informative presentation to the school board after each appreciation day.
3. Get Principals Involved. Principals are the key to the success of the program in their schools. The superintendent can create enthusiasm and support for the program by periodically asking principals how the program is going in their schools and giving the system coordinator a few minutes to highlight events and recognize outstanding efforts at principals meetings.
4. Be an Active Participant. (1) On each appreciation day, the superintendent should find some way to express personal appreciation to individuals in the group being honored. It may be a personal contact, an email, a note included in the check envelope or letter distributed through the system mail. Mail merge systems make it possible for the superintendent to personalize letters to large number of employees without being burdensome. These personal expressions mean a great deal to most school employees. (2) As much as possible, stop by the work site of employees to offer a personal expression of appreciation. Superintendents are very busy but those who take time to do it report that it builds respect and loyalty on the part of employees. It clearly enhances employee morale when employees know that the superintendent cares about them and their welfare.
5. Encourage Participation by Students, Staff and Community. If the superintendent thinks it’s important, the students staff and community are far more likely to think it important.The program receives a major boost when the superintendent makes positive comments about the program from time to time, checks on its success regularly and includes reports on the school board agenda about the program.
6. Promote the Program in the Media. It is helpful when the superintendent assigns the system coordinator or the school communications director responsibility to get information to the media about employee appreciation. Utrust provides a draft news release for each appreciation day. It includes a sample quote from the superintendent which can easily be changed to an actual quote about how the employee group contributes to the success of the school system. A local news release about celebrations in the schools after each appreciation day increases the honor to employees being celebrated.
Superintendents will find the Utrust Employee Appreciation Program to be a joy not a burden. It will make their day to make the day of employees.