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get what they’re looking for before five years, they’re likely to be at another job by the time their tenure recognition is scheduled.

media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

No matter what generation your employees are from, praise and recognition are essential to an outstanding workplace. All employees want to be respected and valued for their contribution. This is true for all employees, but especially the public works employees, who truly are unsung heroes.

The City of Columbia recognizes both tenure (via pins presented by department heads) and a monthly Employee of the Month program, but Public Works Department head Robert Anderson pays special attention to employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. He does this by recognizing them at meetings, sending staff e-mails and/ or giving the employee a big thankyou and pat on the back. Exceptional achievements are also recognized at City Council meetings.

So what does a successful employee appreciation program look like? Each organization is different, and what works for one might not work for another. But, generally speaking, recognition programs should be comprehensive and feedback should be given on a regular basis. It’s not enough to simply have a recognition program in place and assume that all of your employees will automatically feel as though their contributions are appreciated. You have to come up with staff recognition ideas that actually work.

2. City of Columbia, South Carolina

At one Council meeting, two Public Works employees were recognized: •

Solid Waste employee Vince Gallman, who witnessed a hit and run and assisted an injured moped driver until authorities arrived; Animal Services employee Dennis Flory, who saw a house ablaze and helped the homeowner remove her pets, likely saving their lives.

To many, receiving sincere thanks is more important than receiving something tangible... 3. Lexington County, South Carolina Lexington County Public Works Director Wrenn Barrett says that while his County has recognition programs, he felt that there should be a separate award for public works employees. In 2015, Barrett created the Public Works Achievement Award, which recognizes two employees per year during Public Works Week. Recipients are nominated from within the department and chosen by a committee consisting of Barrett and the division directors. One of the first award recipients was Kelly Williams, Crew Leader and Drainage Supervisor, an 18-year veteran with the County. “Because of Kelly’s continuous efforts to always provide the highest public

Three agencies in the South Carolina Midlands region have devised different, but great examples of employee recognition:

1. West Columbia, South Carolina In West Columbia, South Carolina, Public Works Director Jamie Hook recognizes employees through the City’s monthly Employee Spotlight program. The program was created in early 2017 and literally turns the spotlight on selected employees. Since the program’s inception, three Public Works employees have been spotlighted. This is a budget-friendly program; other than staff time, there are no expenses. The City’s Public Information Office creates a feature article on the selected employee, and then shares it citywide on employee bulletin boards, e-mails and e-newsletters, and through social

Solid Waste driver Vincent Gallman was recently recognized for helping a driver injured in a hit-and-run.


February 2018


APWA Reporter


APWA Reporter, February 2018 issue  

February 2018 issue of the APWA Reporter, the official magazine of the American Public Works Association

APWA Reporter, February 2018 issue  

February 2018 issue of the APWA Reporter, the official magazine of the American Public Works Association