Sandia LabNews

Thunderbird Kudos

New program encourages employees to recognize colleagues’ efforts

Kudos website screenshot
KUDOS FOR COLLEAGUES — Employees can visit to share their appreciation for co-workers and teams. Recipients are posted on the Kudos Wall of Honor. (Image courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories)

Earlier this year, Sandia launched Thunderbird Kudos, a program that encourages employees to show their appreciation for the efforts of their co-workers and teams.

Uncertainty teaches us to value our time, resources and relationships. Employees can reinforce their relationships with colleagues by visiting to complete a Thunderbird Kudos submission, which takes about three minutes. The program was designed to be a simple and quick way to tell co-workers that their accomplishments are important.

“The program allows people to build recognition for peers for everyday kindnesses into their practice, in a way that is quick, easy and seamless,” said health educator Jenn Perea.

The structure and goals also align to the Sandia Behaviors, a key component of the Labs’ performance management system. The giver is not only saying “thank you,” but is highlighting how the efforts of co-workers represent the best of what it means to work at Sandia.

Recipients are displayed on the Kudos Wall of Honor, which is visible to the workforce. A recipient can elect to hide their recognition from the wall, however. Information about recipients can be sorted and queried on the website.

“It’s the corporate tool for sharing recognition and thanks. I’ve been here for 25 years, and I’ve seen many people I know at the Labs move on. My hope is that by increasing recognition, we can keep more of those wonderful people at the Labs,” Jenn said.

Even in this stressful climate, Sandia employees have a lot to be grateful for, and it shows in the more than 1,200 Kudos handed out since the program’s January launch. Nearly 300 have been awarded since the COVID-19 pandemic began changing the Labs’ work environment.

Gratitude and resilience

Those Kudos not only brighten the lives of the recipients; they also help the nominators.

“During times of change and uncertainty, gratitude can boost one’s resilience and ability to deal with stress,” Jenn said.

The Kudos program came about through ideas and support from the “Future Leaders Pathway” during the 2017 management and operating contract transition. The idea was passed to the division Workplace Enhancement Committees, and Jenn and a small team linked all the groups together to develop the structure and guidance.

Designer Andres Padilla and his team built and launched the tool in January. Stephanie Blackwell and Johann Snyder created the communications and advertising to let people know how it worked and how to participate.

“Doing this in a year is a huge accomplishment,” Jenn said.

Going forward, she said the team is working with other partners to find a sustainable and consistent way to reward recipients.

“At a time when people are struggling to do their best under novel conditions, a little appreciation can go a long way,” she said.