Cornell offers new ways to express appreciation

The new Cornell Appreciation Portal gives supervisors, faculty and staff an online venue for congratulating each other, recognizing a milestone or achievement, and showing their appreciation to one another.

“We know that timely recognition is valued and appreciated and can go far in our efforts to create a culture of gratitude and belonging,” said Mary Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer. “In a busy organization such as Cornell, we sometimes forget to take a moment to say ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ to our co-workers and colleagues. This portal can make it easier for all of us to share that appreciation.”

The Cornell Appreciation Portal – launched through a partnership with Awardco employee recognition software – allows all faculty and staff with a NetID to recognize in writing an achievement or milestone the moment it happens.

Another feature allows supervisors to periodically award nonacademic and bargaining unit staff small tokens of appreciation, in the form of points redeemable at Amazon and The Cornell Store. Awards are between 10 and 75 points, and can be spent when received or accumulated over time and redeemed later.

“The Cornell Appreciation Portal celebrates employee contributions and achievements through simple, meaningful, no- or low-cost recognition,” said Kim Babuka, director for compensation for Cornell Human Resources. “Similar programs are growing in popularity across organizations and businesses nationwide.”

The appreciation portal is part of Cornell’s efforts to provide comprehensive, universitywide recognition and appreciation, with formal components including spring and fall employee celebrations, recognitions for completing academic degrees, celebrations of years of service, awards for excellence in service, just-in-time kudos and spot recognitions. There are universitywide events, and events and opportunities within individual colleges, departments and units.

An earlier version of the portal launched in March 2018 for the 2018 Service Awards program. The Cornell Appreciation Portal now consolidates length of service recognition with the just-in-time kudos and spot recognition, allowing employees to combine their recognition points across programs.

“The beta testing was so popular with employees that appreciation messages are already being used in real time and populating the portal,” Babuka said. “Some of the messages are welcome notes to new employees, encouragement to team members working on projects, and congratulations to colleagues on achievements and milestones – all of which enhance engagement and support meaningful connections among Cornell staff.”

If you have questions or feedback about the Appreciation Portal, email Learn more about Cornell’s appreciation and recognition programs.

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