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Performance management handbook (recognition) - chapter 11

Chapter 11. On-The-Spot Awards


The purpose of this award is to provide supervisors with a means of recognizing employees for those day-to-day efforts which contribute "in a special way" to getting the job done. This nonmonetary award program provides for immediate recognition with minimal documentation and serves as a means of giving employees recognition for nonrecurring contributions.


On-the-Spot Awards are granted by supervisors to recognize accomplishments which represent steps toward achievement of organizational goals or purposes, but for which higher level recognition such as honor awards, performance awards, or special act awards are not appropriate. Awards may be granted to employees for noteworthy contributions, which have benefited the employing office, the employee's bureau, or the Department.

Operating units may implement on-the-spot award programs, which meet their specific needs and are compatible with their organizational climate. This program is not meant to replace other traditional methods of recognition, but rather to increase supervisors' options in rewarding and reinforcing employee excellence.

Value of Award Item

The dollar value of an individual merchandise item may not exceed a total of $500. An employee may not receive merchandise items that exceed a total of $1,000 in a single calendar year, including any items received as part of a group. Individual supervisors are responsible for assuring compliance with the $1,000 limitation.

Merchandise/Contribution Levels

Merchandise items are divided into three contribution levels: 

Level A - $50, $100, $150

Recognizes effort beyond normal performance expectations of the job in a given instance. Typically, the employee might exercise initiative by developing a new approach to a task, or might put forth extra effort permitting early completion of a routine project.

Level B - $200, $250, $300 

Recognizes a particularly efficient or resourceful effort expended by the employee. Typically, the employee takes the initiative to develop and follow through on a difficult task not specifically required but which results in an immediate benefit to the work unit, or the employee completes an important and particularly difficult assignment in an exemplary manner. Level B is appropriate to recognize an employee who takes extra steps to resolve a troublesome situation or in some special way benefits the work unit.

Level C - $350, $400, $450, $500

Recognizes exceptional contributions of employees. As an example, the employee may apply original concepts to an unstructured, non-routine assignment, or an employee may perform outstandingly in a crisis situation. Level C is appropriate to recognize an employee’s effort that clearly can be called “going significantly above and beyond the call of duty.” 

Departmental Requirement

On-the-Spot Award Programs must be approved by the Department. To establish a program, submit a memorandum signed by the Secretarial Officer/Head of the Operating Unit or Departmental Office, to the Director for Human Resources Management, and include the completed On-the-Spot Award Program Template.

On-The-Spot Award Program Template