Established more than a century ago, when much of the Golden State was still the nation’s unexplored frontier, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) has grown to serve more than 900,000 educators in the nation’s most populous state. As of 2017, CalSTRS is the largest teachers’ retirement fund in the nation, providing retirement, disability and survivor benefits for educators who cover every level of schooling from pre-Kindergarten to community college.
With a portfolio worth nearly $200 billion, CalSTRS is the 11th-largest public pension fund in the world. It’s also a great place to work as evidenced by CalSTRS receiving the 2012 Best Overall Program award by RPI. CalSTRS, headquartered in West Sacramento, Calif., receives honors like that one due in part to successful employee recognition programs based on the Seven Best Practice Standards.
Their journey to better employee recognition began in 2008 when CalSTRS made a commitment to creating a culture of recognition. Part of their employee survey is devoted to recognition questions. They also did focus groups and spot surveys to determine recognition preferences and which existing programs to keep.
As a result, they transformed highly-valued programs that dealt with internal and external customer service, yet kept the personalized elements that staff and managers found meaningful (example: balloon deliveries to an employee’s work location).
The Recognition Design Teams saw the need to reinforce Core Values, so they designed a specific informal program to recognize the desired behaviors and actions.
Through extensive benchmarking with private and public-sector industry leaders, internal surveys and the efforts to two employee design teams, CalSTRS established a thriving culture of appreciation with active use of seven recognition programs within the strategic recognition platform.
Virtuosity – CalSTRS Powered by You
The CalSTRS Employee Recognition Program theme, Virtuosity, was developed to support and enhance the CalSTRS brand, and specifically to communicate appreciation to the staff for their valuable work.
From their own materials:
Vision – Our culture of appreciation powers a thriving workplace where each person is valued.
Mission – We design and deliver fully integrated recognition programs, processes and tools that support our Strategic Business Objective 4.2: being a destination employer, as well as our Balanced Score Card strategic initiatives.
The CalSTRS case study is included in the course materials in the Certified Recognition Professional program. For more information on CRP certification, please visit http://www.recognition.org/?page=crp_certification. To view a webinar on CRP, click here.