Putting It All Together
Versatility the driving force behind online support system.
- By Valerie Weadock
- Apr 01, 2004
THE most valued employee is often the most versatile. The more job tasks you
can perform well, the more appreciated you are by your company. This notion also
applies to computer programs.
AllStarRewards Inc. provides a customized online support system that can meet
your communication needs, fulfill your MSDS requirements, manage your online
training, and simultaneously track the components of an integrated, point-based
At the heart of the AllStarRewards system is a basic
communication and information management tool. Upon logging in, your employees
will see up to five panels consisting of clickable buttons customized to your
needs. The buttons an employee sees are configured based on his/her individual
log-in information and location in your pre-set organizational communication
To keep costs low, AllStarRewards designed the program as a template, but the
company makes every effort to individualize your site through the incorporation
of your company logo. "Most company employees access the system through the
company's Web site, so we try to make it look branded," explained Dennis
Downing, president of AllStarRewards. "This system will never be done because
we're constantly updating and adding new features based on customer
Numerous requests have led to the inclusion of an employee data center or
database of personal information. Employees can easily update their own
information, and changes are automatically sent to the human resource
To facilitate management and employee communication, the system also includes
a vertical messaging system called cMail. Ideal for employees without personal
e-mail accounts, this feature is designed to allow e-mail communication between
managers and employees while eliminating the lost productivity and other
problems associated with employee-to-employee e-mailing.
Other communication features often requested include various text boxes that
supervisors can quickly update with information such as work schedules, weather
conditions, and meeting times; a scoreboard for employee recognition; and a
suggestion management system that tracks employee suggestions. "The biggest
advantage is that every step of the way, the employee knows where his suggestion
is," Downing said. "It keeps employees from feeling like the company doesn't
Because most of its customers are faced with the
daunting task of MSDS management, AllStarRewards has incorporated a Web-based
MSDS management feature provided by MSDSonline. MSDSs are organized
alphabetically in a virtual file cabinet or old-fashioned library card catalog,
objects with which the company feels users are particularly familiar. "Some of
our customers are or have employees who are unfamiliar with the Internet and its
jargon," Downing explained. "We needed a system they could relate to, so we
tried to make everything very visual."
MSDSonline updates its database with the most current MSDSs and notifies a
manager at your company of the change. However, the manager must activate the
new MSDS so it can be viewed through the AllStarRewards system.
One of the most sought-after features of the program
is an online training management system that allows companies to present
customized online training to their employees, using their own training content
and resources. The system enables you to combine PowerPoint slides and related
audio recordings--which also can be converted to Flash-- into short, interactive
Users can determine in what order an employee does the training segments and
create related quizzes an employee must pass to move on. Training can be
configured specifically to the job of a particular employee based on his/her
log-in information. Employees with more experience may appreciate a pre-test
feature, which saves time by allowing them to move on to more advanced
Unlike other company Web sites that employees
often don't know exist, the AllStarRewards system features a reward program that
can be integrated throughout the site, encouraging its use. You can allot point
values to everything from reading a memo or updating personal information to
submitting a valid suggestion or completing training. Points can later be
redeemed for awards valued up to $500.
The system keeps track of the points an employee earns while logged in and
stores a point total in the Bank. Accessible by a button on the home page, the
Bank looks like an ATM and allows the employee to check his or her point
balance, view recent point transactions, and set award goals. To spend points,
employees click on the Rewards button. The Rewards page resembles an elevator,
with each floor button corresponding to an item category. When employees find an
item they like, they can buy it if they have enough points or can make it a
goal. The system sends employee point redemption notices to the purchasing
department for approval, and employees usually receive their rewards within
seven to 10 days.
Downing said the Web-based system's accessibility also has enabled families
to participate in company incentive programs by giving them a voice in reward
selection. "This provides extra motivation because a person will quit on his own
goals quicker than the goals of his family," he said.
Even with cute elevator and ATM graphics, the AllStarRewards system does not
look as good as most custom-designed Web pages and can even appear overly
simplified. But by meeting numerous business and safety needs with one package
rather than several, the system is simply rewarding.
This article originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.