Employee Accountability and Recognition

April 16, 2009
The FM team in Escambia County, in Pensacola, FL, uses multiple approaches to gauge employee performance

Location: Pensacola, FL
County Size: 876 square miles
No. of Buildings: 208
Total Square Feet: 2.4 million

“Employees are the backbone of our success,” says David W. Wheeler, deputy bureau chief, facilities management, public works bureau, Escambia County, Pensacola, FL. The team’s leadership uses multiple approaches to gauge employee performance.

Zone inspections, which are conducted by Wheeler, help him stay connected with maintenance technicians and building occupants. Each month, a small group of buildings is selected, and Wheeler measures the success of his team by visiting these facilities, reviewing their conditions, and talking with individuals about how satisfied they are with building operations and maintenance. “The maintenance technicians assigned to the facility accompany me,” he says. “I get more accolades and thank yous than complaints for the good job the mechanics are doing.”


Set up inspections to regularly check on the work of subordinates; administering praise for a job well done is just as important as communicating performance concerns. If you don’t have the money to reward people, find creative ways to provide recognition.

Quality-assurance inspections are another means to ensure that the work being performed is done right. Each of the team’s five supervisors is required to select five completed work orders from the work-order management system. Then, they perform an inspection of the technician’s work and assign a grade of “exceeded standards,” “met standards,” or “did not meet standards.” “If [the work] exceeded standards, it’s nice to give them a pat on the back and say, ‘I appreciate the good job you’re doing,’ ” says Wheeler. The inspections and performance of the team are tracked each month and year, and benchmarks have been created.

These charts aren’t the only ones posted at the facilities management headquarters facility. Wheeler feels strongly about making the team’s performance – good or bad – transparent. “Anybody can see the boards displayed in the hallways of our main building; even if we have some hiccups, it’s going to show on our graphs,” he says. The teams’ response time in terms of addressing work orders is also on display. Having recently categorized work orders by “emergency,” “urgent,” and “routine,” the team is now measuring its success in meeting (or beating) benchmarks.

Solid performance by employees doesn’t go unnoticed. “We have an employee action team for rewards and recognition. We’re in some difficult times right now, and we just can’t give pay raises, but we can give recognition,” says Wheeler. Each month, an employee is selected and presented with a pin, a parking space, and 4 hours of administrative leave. “It’s not a big thing,” he says, “but they appreciate it.”

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