2013 IT Innovation Contest

A team-based contest for creative IT solutions

UCSF Peer Recognition Program

Proposal Status: 

In the results from the recent UCSF Employee Engagement Gallup poll, "Recognition" received the 2nd lowest score of all engagement measures (lowest was having a "Best Friend" at work).  Current recognition programs have not been effective and do little to motivate and encourage employees.  Peer recognition programs give employees the power to reward one another for doing an amazing job.  Peer recognition programs are more effective because employees themselves know who works hard and deserves recognition, since management can’t be everywhere all the time and may not be connected enough to all employees; employees are in the best position to know when people are doing great things.  This has been demonstrated at a month-long pilot by Dr. Arup Roy-Burman at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in the PICU & PCICU.  Using a peer-based recognition application based off Salesforce.com Chatter, an enterprise social network and collaboration platform, employee recognition increased by 24% and multiple recognitions increased by 91%.




The primary deliverable will be implementation of a peer recognition program pilot in multiple departments.  There are two specific deliverables for this proposal: a recognition program outline and a recognition program system.


The recognition program outline is a non-technical, yet critical piece.  It identifies a generic program that can be used by multiple teams across UCSF (both Campus and Medical Center).  The principles of the program would be as follows:


 * Recognitions must come from peers and be meaningful and thoughtful, requiring a brief explanation of why a peer is being recognized

 * There should be a limit on the number of recognitions that can be given within a certain time frame

 * Recognitions must be publicly available and shareable, transparent to peers and managers

 * Additional comments from other peers can be added in support of the original recognition

 * Recognitions should come from teams, cross-teams, cross department, and ideally from across the organization

 * Rewards can and should be given as a result of recognitions


The second deliverable will be a selection and implementation of a recognition program system.  This system would include two components -- a tool for managing a program and a platform for employees to give recognitions.  In all likelihood, the basis of the tool will be Chatter, which is available to all faculty and staff at UCSF.  For Recognition Management candidates include the tool developed for the PICU/PCICU pilot (expanded for a wider audience) or an off-the-shelf product from Salesforce.com called work.com.


Using the program outline and tools, we will implement pilots within Pediatrics and units within the School of Medicine Dean's Office.



 1. Increase the level of recognition, initially in the participating pilot groups, and eventually across UCSF

 2. Improve morale, quality of work, engagement, customer service

 3. Reinforce and promote positive behavior


Team Members, Roles, % time

 1. Dr. Arup Roy-Burman, PICU/PCICU Director – mentor/guide for programs design and implementation (5%)

 2. Lindsay Lightbody - Project Manager for PICU/PCICU expansion (5-10%)

 3. David Law - Project Manager for Pediatrics pilot implementation (5-10%)

 4. Maria Livelo & Laura Chin - Technical Resource for Pediatrics pilot implementation (5-10%)

 5. Stephanie Belger - Project Manager for SOM DO pilot implementation (10-15%)

 6. Ed Martin - Technical Manager for Salesforce platform (10%)

 7. Kristin Chu - Program Design and tool selection (10-15%)

 8. TBD Salesforce Developer - configuration/customization (10-15%)




Hi David,


Stephanie Belger (from the School of Medicine Dean's Office) and I have been discussing implementing a similar program (and also eventually submitting a proposal for the innovation contest).  We were looking at two products in particular, both based on Salesforce.com Chatter.


The first is a peer based recognition program piloted by Dr. Arup Roy-Burman, Director of the Pediatric ICU and Transport/Transfer Center at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.  The recognition is part of an overall gamification program that he's pioneering to improve teamwork, behaviors, and patient care.  I have been helping Arup with his overall gamification efforts, and he's got some very positive results from the pilots he's run thus far.


The second is a product called work.com, which is a performance management product that includes peer recognition.  The recognition part is similar to what you've described.  Kristin Chu and I have been working with the Salesforce Foundation to pilot a program within our team.


We'd love to work with you on this, or at the very least, share with you what we've learned so far.




Deputy Director, UCSF School of Medicine, Dean’s Office ISU | 415.476.5400 | martine@medsch.ucsf.edu

Hi Ed,

I would love to have you and Dr. Roy-Burman be part of the team.  We want this Bear Hug not just campuswide but UC-wide recognization to our employees.  I think it is a win-win to both staff and administrator, cross campuses and cross schools.  Hopefully we can create a more harmonic working environment for everyone.



Hi David, Laura, and Maria,

As Ed Martin mentioned, we have piloted a Recognition app within Salesforce.com Chatter, with a group of 124 nurses in the PICU and PCICU.  The application includes and weekly and all time leaderboard-- and adoption of the app was additionally powered by a gamification engine (LevelEleven).  We surveyed our nurses on the importance of peer recognition prior to the pilot-- they highly valued both giving and receiving.  However, when queried as to frequency of both giving and receiving, the numbers were quite low.  With this app, we had a marked increase in peer-recognitions (with a user group for the app limited to these PICU/PCICU nurses and a few in immediate management).  Recognitions flowed to the Chatter pages of both the sender and recipient, and were displayed on the app itself, too.  Residents and other non-ICU nurses who saw the app often requested access, so as to recognize other peers/colleagues.  I agree with you strongly that peer-recognition is very important, and is a key component to employee engagement.  Importantly, I would also like to add, that through development of a process/app which allows involvement of ALL staff, but retains work-unit based leaderboards/posting-boards, we can additionally promote inter-disciplinary/inter-professional recognition, which would only further accelerate employee engagement across the institution.  Would love to partner with you here!


Arup Roy-Burman, MD

Medical Director, PICU

Director of Transport, Access, and Outreach

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital


Thrilled that this idea has so much enthusiasm! 

I'd like to add to the conversation another software platform that we are reviewing called BI Worldwide.  BI Worldwide is the platform that the Medical Center uses for it's THANKS program, and we are considering deploying to the SOM.  If we utilize BI, we could link the recognitions generated through BI to Salesforce Chatter (which appears to be the platform of UCSF's future). One of the benefits of BI is that they could run monthly prize drawings and prize distributions.

Stephanie Belger

Manager, Special Events and Projects

SOM Dean's Office

Hi David and Team,


This proposal sounds terrific- and meets a great need in our UCSF and UC System.  Best of luck with it and thank you for promoting this important concept of team building and support!!

Great idea to promote teamwork!  Thanks for all your hard work in making this available!!



I think this is an excellent idea.  This provides a means for us to recognize the hard work of personnel throughout the system.  Previously, either e-mails thanking the people or department specific programs were the only way to get recognition out to people.  This looks to be a great way to achieve this.

In my opinion, the development team that is responsible for developing the UCSF Chatter link located under the APEX section of the default homepage of UCare Links is a worthy recipient of the IT Innovation Award for 2013.  Why may you ask?  I will illustrate the vast and broader implications for why it deserves consideration below:
  1. Streamlines, consolidates, replaces, and improves upon the existing Recognition link currently located under the Thanks link on Ucare homepage.  Allows for complete, full-spectrum employee inclusion from all levels - janitor to doctor or executive to be able to be recognized for their contributions by any member of staff regardless of rank.  In essence, this changes the lateral recognition system to a circular recognition system similar to the concept of the Knights of the Round Table in which all employees are recognized as valued participants in our hospital organization with equal potential for recognition.  This is not only an excellent business model for inclusion and engagement, it is also a very American value reflecting democracy instead of aristocracy.  The implications of that radical change in both medical and nursing culture are vast and incredibly progressive.
  2. Allows for a 24/7 virtual staff meeting experience in which the platform is business-oriented/clinically-oriented and provides a common meeting space for any staff to post updates on everything from policy updates, clinical procedure changes, and everything in between to truly optimize the Excellence value of UCSF`s PRIDE mission.  It provides a go-to place for departmental updates while at the same time, maintaining privacy.  It is designed as a combination of Facebook and Twitter merger in format.  It has long been EVERY department`s frustration about not being able to keep updated with all of the myriad of changes that impact the hospital on a weekly basis.  Chatter solves that problem if it is used wisely.  In essence it transforms the busy, chaotic work flow into a more streamlined, organized, professional work flow improving communication while lessening frustration.
  3. It deserves the award mainly for it`s simplicity in concept and design (the one link concept) that has immense implications as to how it will be used as a catalyst for refining and transforming both UCSF Benioff, UCSF Medical Center, and UCSF Campus business operations as well as business/medical/nursing/general staff cultures on all levels.  To have something so simple yet so far reaching in its potential for positive change is worthy of strong consideration for this award.  It sets a wonderful precedent for future awards based on the value of simplicity with far reaching positive outcomes on all levels.


Selected comments from Reviewers:

Would like to see how this tied in (or not) to similar to other efforts at UCSF (Medical Center THANKS, School of Medicine Great People, etc.); try to leverage/integrate with what we have; too early, requires institutional assessment/decision

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