Original Date: 02/09/1998
Revision Date: 04/22/2003
Best Practice : Valued Employee Program
The Valued Employee Program is a recognition program designed to increase company-wide productivity and quality by encouraging and rewarding employees for their ideas, teamwork, and improvement efforts. All employees may participate, including part time and temporary employees. The Valued Employee Program, itself, is continuously improving through feedback and the result of participation metrics. The program is administered by UE’s Resource Center.
The key to the Valued Employee Program is to provide incentives that encourage employees to participate in company-approved activities which promote continuous improvement. There are two categories for employee participation: (1) Valued Ideas and (2) Reliable Methods and Continuous Improvement. In the Valued Ideas category, employees submit ideas for improvements in productivity, quality, morale, waste elimination, or cost savings. A prompt evaluation is made by the Resource Center to determine if the idea is something that can be implemented. If so, the employee receives an award of $25. Employees then earn a maximum of one chance in either the monthly Valued Ideas Drawing for implemented ideas, or the monthly Participation Drawing for non- implemented ideas. Even though an idea is not implemented, the employee still receives recognition and the chance to win a valuable award just for making an effort to submit an idea.
In the Reliable Methods and Continuous Improvement category, employees have many ways to earn a chance in the monthly Participation Drawing. Employees can give an oral presentation of a book study report; submit an article or work on the publication of the monthly You-E-News; participate in a company-sponsored health and wellness program; be a tour guide or speaker; write discrepancy reports or complete on-time corrective actions; pass an internal audit; meet training qualification standards; and, with prior approval, qualify by performing special projects or activities. Chances can also be earned by employees who form or participate in Action Centers, upon the problem’s resolution.
The program offers several levels of awards. The monthly Valued Ideas Drawing awards ten $100 prizes for Valued Ideas. The monthly Participation Drawing awards ten $100 prizes, tickets, and UE gift items for Reliable Methods and Continuous Improvement. In addition, the employee with the highest level of involvement in continuous improvement (as measured by the total number of eligible events completed during the month in both award categories) is named the Employee of the Month. Prizes include their picture in the front lobby, a parking space, and $100. The employee of the month is not eligible for other prizes in the monthly drawings, and can only win this award once in a calendar year.
There are also two annual drawings the Valued Ideas Annual Drawing and the Participation Annual Drawing. Employees who have implemented at least three Valued Ideas during the year will receive one chance in the Valued Ideas Annual Drawing; awards include a cruise/vacation worth $2,500 and other prizes. Employees who have participated in 12 eligible events during the year receive one chance in the Participation Annual Drawing; awards include a cruise/vacation worth $2,500 and other prizes. A total of about 65 to 70 prizes are given out at the annual drawings. UE’s annual budget for the Valued Employee Program is about $80,000 for cash and prizes, and about $15,000 for tickets.
The Valued Ideas Program has proven to be a very effective approach to get all of the employees to participate actively and repeatedly in continuous improvement activities. In most cases, UE gains small improvements that add up to big savings which increases the company’s profitability and improves its products. The program helps to generate about 100 Action Centers per year, and approximately 1,200 ideas per year of which 85% are implemented within the first month. In 1997, employee participation in the program was 100%.
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