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Berkeleyan

For service above and beyond . . .
Spot Award Program rewards employees - in cash -for exemplary effort

| 26 September 2007

When the Disabled Students' Program's outmoded online student-services system began breaking down last year, the situation seemed dire: DSP faced the daunting prospect of using paper and ink to serve more than 800 students and inform faculty about what accommodations any individual disabled student would need in a given course.

That was when DSP's auxiliary-services manager, Randy Jordan, stepped outside the bounds of his job description, working with computer programmers to hasten the rollout of a more robust alternative, called SCARAB.

"Randy immersed himself in the development, testing, and validation of the application," says Ed Rogers, DSP's director, adding that Jordan's efforts "involved collaborative work throughout the day and into the late hours of the evening and weekends. I'm very proud of the work Randy has done on this project."

While everyone likes hearing they've done a good job, Rogers went one step further: He nominated Jordan for a campus Spot Award. Since Human Resources introduced the Spot Award Program last year, 836 employees - some 8 percent of eligible staff and student employees - have received $250 (less taxes) for special accomplishments, on the strength of nominations submitted by their supervisors. "It's a way to recognize outstanding individual-employee contributions throughout the year as they occur," says Jeannine Raymond, assistant vice chancellor for human resources.

Afrooz Navid is another employee whose extra efforts rose to that level. In her job as an administrative specialist at the UC Botanical Garden, Navid handles payroll and financial services. Last fall she jumped into the breach to assist her new management-services officer, who lacked experience with the garden's annual fall plant sale, an event that typically attracts hordes of enthusiastic gardeners.

Navid's work began in the sale's planning stages, when she took charge of ordering shuttle buses, training staff on new cash registers, and producing traffic signs for overflow parking at the Lawrence Hall of Science and LBNL while doing her regular job. On the day of the sale, Navid began work at 7 a.m., assisting with signage and setting up cash registers. During the day she anticipated problems, monitored traffic safety, and settled $35,000 in credit-card charges before finishing up at 6 p.m. "Because of Afrooz's diligence and her strong ability to think ahead, we averted many problems that could have been devastating," wrote Navid's nominator, Kathleen Kuhlmann.

The Spot Award Program has been renewed for this fiscal year, and managers and employees are encouraged to nominate their staff and peers if they meet the relevant criteria. (Employees represented by unions are not eligible for Spot Awards, since funding for the program is generated from an assessment on payroll for non-represented staff.)

"The program's intent is to highlight and reinforce positive behaviors and values that contribute to the overall university mission," says HR's Raymond. "In that sense, Spot Award recipients are role models for their peers."

The criteria for nominating employees were developed with input from campus managers, supervisors, and staff. Criteria, which are consistent across all units, include working collaboratively, advancing the campus's diversity goals, taking initiative, making an extraordinary effort to meet a deadline, taking actions to safeguard campus resources and the well-being of the campus community, and providing exemplary service.

More information on criteria and eligibility, as well as the award's nominating form, are available at recognition.berkeley.edu.