MIT is launching a new Rewards and Recognition program to acknowledge individuals and teams for exceptional contributions to their office, department or school, or to the Institute as a whole.
Led by Executive Vice President John Curry and Vice President for Human Resources Laura Avakian, the program will create awards throughout the year to highlight activities that benefit MIT, Lincoln Laboratory or other off-campus sites. The Institute has allocated a pool of money separate from the salary review pool to support the program.
There are three types of awards represented under Rewards and Recognition. The first of these is the Infinite Mile award. Twenty design teams, chosen to represent departments and schools (also referred to as organizational groupings), are creating and customizing award criteria intended to reflect their individual goals, values and cultures. Awards may take many forms; they may be financial, nonfinancial (e.g., gift certificates, gifts or tickets) or social, as in luncheons, dinners and other group celebrations. Each organizational grouping has its own "key contact," someone who can give updates as each department's or school's Infinite Mile award is developed.
The second type of award is the Appreciation Award, which confers immediate and spontaneous appreciation. Compared to the Infinite Mile, this award is relatively small, but no less meaningful in its ability to recognize contributions. It's meant to encourage employees to acknowledge the efforts of colleagues and to share this appreciation with others.
The third award is the MIT Award. It will be an annual award, given at a public celebration in the fall to as many as 40 recipients. It is intended to highlight exceptional contributions that support Institute-wide goals. An employee committee will soon begin the process of establishing criteria. Human Resources will then work with departments and schools to ensure everyone is aware of them. Human Resources will also make nomination forms available so anyone can nominate a colleague for an outstanding achievement. An employee committee will be charged with choosing the winners.
"We're very excited about these awards. They will provide employees and managers with multiple opportunities and avenues for recognizing the contributions, creativity and excellence of their colleagues," said Ms. Avakian.
To ensure the ongoing development and success of the various awards, Jackie Stinehart has been named the program's administrator. She works in Human Resources but is more frequently seen in departments and schools, where she is assisting design teams as they develop their "Infinite Mile" awards.
For more information, see the Rewards and Recognition web site.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 14, 2001.