The seven teams working on Akron Children’s Hospital’s new building can get pretty tired at the end of a work week, especially when there are multiple companies working together for the first time and they are challenged to change the status quo.
So Bernita Beikmann, HKS, Nick Loughrin, Welty/Boldt, and Will Lichtig, Welty/Boldt, put their heads together and came up with a way to energize the teams.
“Our first thought was a monetary reward, but that meant assigning dollar values to specific tasks,” explains Beikmann. “And, at some point, the money runs out and future tasks don’t look as important unless dollars are assigned to them.”
Taking a page from the children we serve, they ended up with this fun and lighthearted award system:
- Super Star with the Sticky Notes – The team or person who made the most strides in improving communication and collaboration.
- Bright Idea – Any person or team with a new, innovative idea to share.
- Purple Heart – A team or team member who overcame personal or professional struggles during the week or did something on behalf of another team.
- Super Spice – The team that brought the highest energy to the project.
- Raising the Bar – The team whose projected innovation savings surpassed their savings goal.
- Katniss Everdeen Award – The team that reached their target cost.
- Down the Rabbit Hole – The team member who helped prevent a task or conversation from going down the wrong path.
- Energizer Bunny – The team that reached its target cost, but still kept adding innovative ideas.
“Despite the silliness of their names, the intention of the awards is to motivate everyone to excel,” Beikmann said.
The “trophies” can be as silly as their titles – a stuffed toy rabbit in a tumbler, a light bulb, a doll or a photo of the Spice Girls.
Anyone can nominate a team or individual, and the winners are chosen by the group at the end of the week.
“It was a little scary in the beginning, not knowing how receptive the teams would be to the idea,” admits Beikmann, “But the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with teams even competing for awards.” The Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection Innovation Team even rapped out one of their presentations to win the Super Spice Award.
The Purple Heart Award has been given out to a few team members who have gone above and beyond. “One recipient gave birth the day after a meeting, another worked until the day before her wedding day, and another member ended up in the ER during the week,” Beikmann said.
And, of course, Akron Children’s received the Katniss Everdeen Award, named after the heroine of The Hunger Games, for its decision to include high-risk OB in the new building. “In keeping with the book’s story line, the winner of the award reached the target without being set on fire, starving to death, or being killed by another team member,” Beikmann laughed.
For the construction workers at the site, a separate recognition program has been developed with hard hat stickers. “Construction crew members work as a team and help each other to the benefit of the hospital and the community-at-large,” Beikmann pointed out. “This includes actions like improving the walking paths around the site, cleaning up trash regardless of how it got there, and reducing noise pollution.”