CalSTRS Employee Recognition Program Receives International Association’s Best Overall Award

News release Michelle Mussuto

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA – CalSTRS, The California Teachers’ Retirement System, today announced that its employee recognition program, Virtuosity > CalSTRS Powered by You, garnered the 2012 RPI Best Practice Standards® Award for Best Overall Recognition Program from Recognition Professionals International (RPI).The international award celebrates employee recognition innovations that enhance organizational performance.

CalSTRS’ Virtuosity program celebrates the exemplary performance of CalSTRS staff working together, exceeding expectations and recognizing their peers’ successes. The program nurtures an alignment of employee interests with the core values, mission and vision of CalSTRS. Offering a recognition program that encourages the expression of gratitude and appreciation is an important factor in making an organization an employer of choice.

“Building a successful recognition platform takes dedication and teamwork. Receiving the Best Practice Overall award from Recognition Professionals International validates our vision that a culture of appreciation powers a thriving workplace where each person is valued,” said CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes. “CalSTRS is proof positive that giving and receiving recognition improves work satisfaction, increases engagement, assures support and instills a desire to be a better employee.”

“CalSTRS could not have received this award–the pinnacle of recognition success–without tremendous cross-functional support from throughout the organization,” said Laurie Hinkson CalSTRS Virtuosity coordinator. “None of this would be possible without the CalSTRS leadership team – the ultimate cheerleader and employee recognition champion.”

CalSTRS, with more than 900 employees, competed against companies with 15,000 or more employees. CalSTRS joins a prestigious line-up of previous award winners including Delta Airlines, Cargill and MGM Grand.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $153 billion as of March 31, 2012, is the largest teacher pension fund and second largest public pension fund in the United States. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plans, as well as disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS serves California’s 856,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,600 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.

Recognition Professionals International is the only professional association at the forefront of workforce recognition through its sole focus on recognition innovations and education as a systematic method for improvements in the workplace. RPI is endorsed by top authorities in the industry, has an impressive membership of Fortune 500 organizations and is the only association offering Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) courses. For more information, visit RPI’s website:, or call 651-290-7490.