Best HR Ideas for 2012: ARUP Angel Program

This idea by ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City is one of the Best HR Ideas for 2012. See the rest of them here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012
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Some of the most memorable best-idea submissions we receive are the ones that emphasize the "human" in human resources, and this one seems to fit that category.

ARUP, the University of Utah-owned national reference laboratory, with its 2,700 employees, regularly extends its hands in giving to the local community. In the 2010 holiday season, employees donated thousands in food and gifts and almost $25,000 in cash to the Utah Food Bank.

But, given the rough economic conditions many employees were facing this past holiday season, the ARUP Angels Program was created to support employees who "need a little help getting through" the holidays, says Roy J. Prasad, the lab's director of human resources.

Employees submitted the names of co-workers -- or themselves -- who they thought would especially benefit from some economic help during the 2011 holidays. Thirty-six workers were nominated for the program, and none were turned down. Each employee received a $150 gift card for each member of his or her family, as well as another $150 gift card to ensure there would be enough groceries for a hearty holiday dinner for all.

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The program was funded through employee donations of paid-time-off, payroll deductions and cash donations, with extra monies going to local charities.

"We had an opportunity to restore the dignity, self-esteem and respect of some people who felt broken about not being able to provide for their families," says Prasad. "The whole experience was one of the most rewarding things I have done in my professional career."

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