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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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October 30, 2003


Harlow campus wins
prestigious business award

(L-R) Corinne ashwell, Peter Bailey and Karen Cracknell
Corinne Ashwell, Harlow manager; Peter Bailey, new chair of Harlow and District Chamber of Commerce, who sponsored the award won by Harlow campus, and Karen Cracknell, director of the Harlow campus.

By Leslie McNab
Special to the Gazette

Memorial University’s campus in Harlow, England, was recently honoured with the Highly Commended Award at the 2003 Harlow Business Awards, an annual black-tie gala organized by the Harlow and District Chamber of Commerce.

The Harlow Business Awards is the key business event in the district, attracting entries from small, medium and large businesses both from Harlow and other towns in West Essex, UK. There are 16 award categories, including Small Business of the Year, e-Business of the Year, Marketing, the Environmental Award, and Use of Technology.

Harlow campus management entered itself in the awards’ Training and Staff Development category, and placed second. Judges in that category subsequently nominated Harlow campus for the Highly Commended Award; the campus bested over 30 entries to win the special judges' citation. “The management of Harlow Campus have truly excelled themselves over the past year and highly deserve a winning accolade,” the judges said.

Karen Cracknell, director of the Harlow campus, said new staffing policies and procedures developed over the past two years prompted the campus to bid for the award, in which competitors must show how training and staff development has improved their businesses and enabled their employees to make positive contributions to the organization. “What attracted the attention of the judges was our new appraisal system that encourages input from staff members, and highlights areas to be developed in a positive way,” Ms. Cracknell said.

“Our new appraisal system has had a positive impact on staff, and has raised morale, motivation and energy,” Ms. Cracknell said. “The result is a more vibrant and active staff, committed to the very best customer care.” She added that the majority of staff at Harlow campus are long-serving and loyal, but in the past had not been given the opportunity to develop themselves through staff training.

When the Harlow campus administration was restructured two years ago, some long-serving staff found their positions made redundant. Elaine Weatherley, who had been the campus secretary for 18 years, had to re-apply for one of the two new receptionist posts. After Ms. Weatherley was hired on she took several training courses, particularly ones focusing on customer care and front-desk management. Her long experience at Harlow, coupled with new-found skills, has made Ms. Weatherley a star member of the staff. “We ask students to complete an exit survey at the end of their stay at Harlow, and one of the questions asks them to name staff members who have gone ‘the extra mile’ to assist residents,” Ms. Cracknell said. “Elaine is regularly nominated in the survey for her outstanding service.”

Memorial University's Harlow campus was established in 1969, after its board of 15 Trustees first met and voted to acquire a Victorian building in St. John's Walk, Old Harlow, as well as some vacant Victorian school buildings not far from St. John’s Church.


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Next issue: November 13, 2003

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