Rock Island Arsenal: Developing and Rewarding Teams

Rock Island Arsenal is a public firm that manufactures weapons, and is located at Mississippi River. The company has made commendable efforts to improve the quality of its products. Such efforts include team building and employee empowerment, which started in 1981 with a quality circle program. The program has evolved into independent work teams and highly performing employees because the company applies the following elements in its management: use of teams, development and recognition, and communication (OPM, 1998). Therefore, the following paragraphs discuss the concept of recognition, which is applied by Rock Island Arsenal to improve performance, and how it can be useful in a typical organization. Likewise, communication is seen as another element besides recognition that was used to improve performance. Recognition was used at Rock Island Arsenal to improve performance by monetary awards to the federal employees who perform according to the required standards. This is very important because the employee is motivated and he/she continues to perform better.

This recognition program is set for different teams, facilitators, and peers. Supervisors and employees participate in deciding who is to be given awards and how they recommend or elect the person(s) to whom the award is to be given; these awards are given by the commander. He also presents the quality excellence honors, which is given to a group or an individual for excellent customer service or process perfection (OPM, 1998).

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The other awards include environmental attainment and good community services. With all these awards, the employees have been motivated and this has led to improvement in performance. Rewards as a type of recognition can be applied in my organization because it is a positive reinforcement of actions and beliefs. This helps people to build self esteem because they accept and feel good about themselves. Luthans and Doh (2002) argues that for effective recognition, there should be criteria for selecting the employee’s performance that is eligible for a reward. Therefore, the following are the criteria to apply in my organization: all employees must be eligible for a reward, employees should be given information on what behaviors or actions are to be rewarded, the employee who performs to the required standard must be rewarded, recognition should be as close to actions or performance as possible, and it should not be determined by only managers because it will be seen as favourism.

In addition, monetary awards are important to the employees, especially when they are given in form of bonuses for the work done. Also, they can be given cheques by the most senior person for the employees to feel recognized. Employees should be given special gifts that will touch them personally. For example, the best employee of the month can be given a washing machine. Honorary titles are also important because they motivate the employee and this includes honors like professor and fellow, which are given in recognition of contributions made by an employee.

Communication is another important element used by the Rock Island Arsenal. There is free information flow because bulletin boards are posted at the local area network for all employees to read with newsletters, which helps the employees to know new processes or services, progress and team or individual achievements. There are halls for weekly meetings with television broadcasts.

Communicating has helped the company to share critical issues such as performance and productivity. The supervisors and the employees are able to know and understand well and act on the strategic direction of an organization. Therefore, with the use of written communication, the employees are able to read and reread complicated and vital instructions and hence, there is lesser chance for the information to be lost or misunderstood. With spoken communication in meetings, it has allowed employees to ask questions where information is not clear hence they get immediate feedback. The employee is able to participate in decision making and this makes him understand that he/she is part of the organization. In essence, with effective communication, the managers and the employees are able to address the performance issue and the employees are allowed to make suggestions for improvement and so they feel that they have ownership in problem solving especially in process improvements.


Luthans R.

M. & Doh, J.P. (2002).

Recognition Strategy for Performance in Teams (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. OPM. (1998, April). Performance Management.

Developing and Rewarding Teams. U.S.

Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved from


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