Click here to skip navigation Home  |  Subject Index  |  Important Links  |  Contact Us  |  Help

U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

Advanced Search

Performance Management


"Rewarding" means providing incentives to and recognition of employees, individually and as members of groups, for their performance and acknowledging their contributions to the agency's mission. There are many ways to acknowledge good performance, from a sincere "Thank You!" for a specific job well done to granting the highest level, agency-specific honors and establishing formal cash incentive and recognition award programs.

Policy Documents



Award Restrictions During Presidential Election Periods (2/00)

Explains when a Presidential election period is and the restrictions for granting awards to political appointees during this time period.

Using "Cash Surrogates" to Deliver Cash Awards (1/97)

Explains the concept of cash surrogates and how they can be used as awards.

Using "Nonmonetary Items" as Incentive Awards (1/97)

Presents the criteria that must be met and the authorization for this type of award, including an explanation of how Savings Bonds fits into this award category.

Back to the top



Approaches to Calculating Performance-Based Cash Awards (4/07) Adobe Acrobat Version [68 KB]

Describes how different types of awards typically used to recognize performance captured in the rating of record can be used to meet the regulatory requirement to make meaningful distinctions based on performance.

Awards Calendar (12/05)

Provides information on honorary awards for Federal employees offered by various organizations. Includes both alphabetical and nomination deadline listings.

Criteria for Referral Bonuses (8/08)

Describes criteria for the using referral bonuses and factors agencies should consider when establishing a referral bonus program.  Also provides examples of referral bonus practices.

GPO Rider Information for Ordering Career Service and Retirement Certificates (11/00)

Provides information on ordering career service and retirement certificates.

Quality Step Increases: Know the Costs (6/00)

Describes the long term cost implications of granting quality step increases (QSIs).

Questions and Answers on Performance-Based Cash Awards (4/07)

Answers frequently asked questions regarding the awards regulations requiring performance-based cash awards to make meaningful distinctions. (Published in the Federal Register on January 11, 2007.)

A Supervisor's Quick Review of Awards (6/00)

Presents forms of, and bases for, awards and some things supervisors must consider when deciding to grant an award to an employee or group of employees.

Reporting Awards Data to OPM (10/07)

Explains data reporting requirements to assist agencies in reporting awards data accurately to OPM.

Use of Cash Awards Governmentwide (Fiscal Years 2001-2007) (9/08)

This report focuses on the use of cash awards from fiscal years 2001 through 2007.

Using Referral Bonuses (8/08)

Explains the differences between a referral bonus and recruitment incentives.  Also provides answers to questions agencies most commonly ask when considering establishing a referral bonus program.

Back to the top
Newsletter Articles



Agencies Can Use Referral Bonuses To Support Recruitment and Hiring (Spring 2001)

Explains how agencies can use referral bonuses to help recruit and hire new employees.

Awards Recognize Travel Savings (2/98)

Describes the government program that allows some Federal employees who frequently travel on Government business to participate in agency awards programs that reward employees for savings earned through use of frequent flyer miles and reduced lodging costs.

Choosing the Best Course Using Strategic Compensation (fall/00)

Describes why agencies must rethink the way they use compensation to attract, retain, and reward employees.

Debit Cards: A New Way to Pay (Spring 2001)

Describes how two agencies in Department of Treasury use a debit card to quickly get cash award payments to employees.

Good Performance Management Aids Retention and Productivity (4/99)

Presents the results of three studies on retention and productivity describing the critical factors for creating a productive work environment and retaining good employees.

Grossing Up Awards: Why and Why Not (12/98)

Defines "grossing up" award amounts, addresses whether it's a good idea, and discusses monitoring and managing the true value of awards.

Performance Management Mailbag: Communicating About Awards Programs (4/00)

Answers an often-asked question on how agencies can let their employees and supervisors know about the agency awards programs.

The Performance Management Mailbag: Cash Incentives for Completing Customer Surveys (Winter 2001)

Explains whether an agency can give prizes to Federal employees as an incentive for completing customer satisfaction surveys.

The Performance Management Mailbag (double award) (Spring 2001)

Explains whether an employee can receive two awards for the same accomplishment or contribution.

Quality Step Increases: Timing Matters (4/99)

Explains why timing does matter and the factors involved when granting an employee a quality step increase.

You Asked About This - Must agencies still file Standard Forms 50 (SF50) for awards in employees' Official Personnel Files (OPF)? (6/99)

Explains the new filing requirements that prohibit agencies from filing award documentation in employees' Official Personnel Files.

  Back to the top
Nonmonetary Awards



The GEICO Public Service Awards (6/00)

Provides general information about this public service award that recognizes outstanding achievements of Federal employees.

The Performance Management Mailbag (8/00)

Explains whether agencies can include military service when recognizing years of Government service for career service certificates.

The Power of Positive Feedback (6/97)

Stresses the value of positive feedback, immediate recognition, information recognition, and effective program design.

  Back to the top
Case Studies and Examples



Agencies Develop New Awards Criteria (6/97)

Describes two agencies' approaches to granting awards under a pass/fail program.

Clear Goals Lead to Success in GSA (2/00)

Explains how GSA's Linking Budget to Performance initiative got Region 2 to focus on results and performance improvement.

Effective Communication Improves Customer Service (4/00)

Describes effective agency customer-focused feedback practices recognized by the National Partnership Council.

Goalsharing: A GSA Experience (2/98)

Describes GSA's successful program balancing team and individual recognition.

Gotcha Awards: Recognition Improves Customer and Employee Satisfaction (6/00)

Describes a customer and peer nomination award program aimed at recognizing employees who go the extra mile by providing quality patient care.

Group Incentive Award Increases Productivity (12/99)

Describes a Department of Interior group incentive award program.

Internet-Based Performance Management (2/99)

Describes two agencies' success in using the Internet to post information on their award and performance appraisal programs, and gives examples of the type of information they included.

Measurement and Rewards Improve Performance at GSA (2/00)

Explains how the General Services Administration (GSA) Linking Budget to Performance initiative improves organizational and individual performance.

Recognizing and Rewarding Supervisors and Managers (8/00)

Describes the criteria three agencies use to recognize outstanding supervisors and managers who demonstrate exceptional supervisory skills.


Back to the top