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The effort started as a simple request through The Office of Human Resources was seeking an automated process to collect and display messages of thanks on a special web page for Carolina’s Employee Appreciation Day.

From ITS, Sheila Corcoran, then-Creative Director for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance, wanted a system that would mimic the functionality of the Six Words Memoir site.

Paul Cardillo
Paul Cardillo

That was in July. The collection of those kudos that University employees would write and submit about other staffers would become the Cheers to Peers: Employee Appreciation Day Shout-Outs, for display online beginning on October 22.

Team effort

Paul Cardillo, Web Support Developer with ITS Digital Services, suggested a WordPress solution using the Gravity Forms plugin and a mapped “Custom Post Type,” which could be used to categorize and display the messages. Cardillo worked initially with Corcoran and Hilary Hall, Communications Specialist with Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance, to develop a prototype and determine what information needed to be gathered in the form. By August 2, the form and the display page were ready for testing of the functionality and display.

The real magic of the final Cheers to Peers page happened when HR’s student employee, Charlie Dupee, an MFA candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Fine Arts, took over the major design duties of the page. Dupee initially worked closely with Cardillo to learn the intricacies of the WordPress integration of form entries and view creation, and eventually saw the project through to its finish.

Tremendously successful

The Cheers to Peers program was an enormous success. Nearly 1,100 employees submitted messages of thanks to their peers and more than 1,858 users visited the Cheers to Peers page on Employee Appreciation Day on October 22.

Within ITS alone, more than 20 employees from across the department received recognition on the Cheers to Peers page.

“Thanks for helping me embrace change,” one person wrote to Rachel Lillis, Change Management Specialist.

“You continue to rock your job, Vaughn, hands down the best around,” was a kudos that ITS Classroom Hotline’s Vaughn Booker received.

Cardillo also earned a mention. Fittingly, Human Resources’ Hall used Cheers to Peers to acknowledge Cardillo’s work on the project. “Thanks for making all of this happen,” Hall wrote.

With the WordPress forms and views that ITS put in place, Human Resources will be able to use the Cheers to Peers functions for years to come, Cardillo said.

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