Guidelines for Outstanding Service Award Programs

If your unit is considering an Outstanding Service Award program, the University asks you to document your purpose and processes. Here are some guidelines to consider: 

Purpose of the Program

Why is the program important, and what will it accomplish? (One example might be to recognize and reinforce employee contributions to the department or college.)

Selection Criteria

How will recipients be selected? Outstanding Service Awards recognize employees for their performance, such as: 

  • Sustained excellent job performance
  • Contributions to the unit or University resulting in, for example, more efficiency, better service, cost savings, or successful crisis management
  • Significant contribution to a major unit project or operations
  • Special service to the unit or University


Which employees will be eligible to participate (for example, full time, part time, bargaining unit)?


What form will the award take (for example, money, gift certificate, trophy, plaque)? Note: Some awards are considered taxable or may affect overtime pay requirements.

Selection Process

  • Will employees be nominated or recommended by management?
  • Who is eligible to nominate or recommend employees for the program?
  • What is the time frame for the nomination and selection processes?
  • Is there a selection committee? If so, who will be on the committee?
  • Will nomination forms or some other kind of application be required?
  • How will nominees be evaluated? 


  • How will eligible employees be notified of the Outstanding Service Award program?
  • How will recipients be notified?

Review and Update

Units are encouraged to review their Outstanding Service Award programs regularly.

Refer questions to your unit's HR representative.