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Section V:

Human Resources


Employee Management and Development


Employee Recognition Program

Current Effective Date:


Revision History:


Original Effective Date:




The department wishes to recognize the tremendous effort that many Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) employees demonstrate in carrying out their jobs or in taking on extra assignments. Currently, managers as well as co-workers have limited official mechanisms to recognize employees in a tangible way. This annual program will formally recognize any permanent DHHS employee.


The DHHS Employee Recognition Program provides a system for individuals, groups, and/or units to be recognized for their performance and contributions, to uniformly recognize overall leadership and professionalism, as well as to express appreciation to groups and/or individuals.

Employees may be recommended by a client, co-worker, manager, or an employee from another division/facility/school. The criteria are: Heroism, Service Excellence, Volunteerism, Teamwork, Leadership, and Safety and Wellness. A description of each criterion follows.


  1. Recognition Program Criteria:

    1. Heroism - Demonstrates extraordinary efforts to respond to an emergency or crisis at work or in the community.

    2. Service Excellence - Exhibits unselfish devotion to duty; exhibits friendliness, timeliness and responsiveness, patience and tolerance; illustrates a high level of accountability; and models a level of professionalism that demonstrates an outstanding level of proficiency.

    3. Volunteerism - Displays humanitarian and public service efforts, particularly efforts related to the agency’s missions and goals.

    4. Teamwork - Promotes collaboration across units; contributes to synergy within unit/group; and demonstrates extraordinary communication skills to achieve the group’s goal.

    5. Leadership - Provides both a clear vision and direction to others; pulls ideas from in and out of state government to ensure unit functions at the cutting edge; promotes the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness; empowers others; and promotes the development of employees.

    6. Safety and Wellness - Illustrates commitment to promoting a safe working environment; promotes physical and mental well-being of self and others; places safety and health requirements as first importance; promotes protection of fellow employees and the public.
  2. Criteria for selecting nominees:

    1. All permanent employees are eligible for recognition. Nominees may come from any classification level and any number of employees (or teams) may be recognized at a given time. If no employees meet the criteria, no nomination is given.

    2. Nominations may be made by peers, management or clients; within or outside the employee’s work unit or division/facility/school.

    3. Employee's name and details of the employee's performance are given to the supervisor who reviews the rationale for the nomination.

    4. If the supervisor concurs, the supervisor arranges for one (1) or two (2) employees familiar with the nominees’ work or action to validate the nomination by filling out the nomination form documenting the reasons for the nomination.
  3. Review Process. Nominations are forwarded by the division/facility/school to the Employee Management and Development Section which coordinates a central review committee. The committee reviews the nominations based on established criteria. Based on the committee’s decision, recipients receive either a certificate of merit or a plaque.

  4. Award ceremony. Those receiving certificates or plaques will be honored at a reception given annually by the DHHS Secretary. The State Employee’s Award for Excellence nominees and/or winners are automatically included in the recognition ceremony.

  5. Communications Strategy:

    1. An introductory pamphlet and memorandum from the DHHS Secretary announcing the program is sent to all division/facility/school directors. Each human resource office will receive an electronic packet comprised of copies of the above pamphlet and nomination form.

    2. The DHHS newsletter will include program criteria.

    3. Photos of the employees are placed in highly visible areas at the local level.

    4. News releases are sent out to provide community recognition.
  6. Informal Recognition Program. Because there is significant value in acknowledging employees’ contributions on an informal and impromptu basis, the divisions/facilities/schools are encouraged to develop their own informal program. Managers/supervisors should be reinforced for their efforts to provide informal recognition to their employees.

  7. Evaluation Process:

    1. Division/facility/school’s provide recommendations and initiate programs themselves.

    2. A wide cross-section of employees both by level and demographics are nominated.

    3. Nominations are submitted for individuals/groups who have demonstrated exceptional capabilities and reflect a high level of excellence.

    4. A general enthusiasm is verbalized and demonstrated about the program throughout the department through informal and formal communications.

    5. The nomination process is seen as fair and objective, and the forms are seen as an efficient and effective means for communicating deserving nominations.

For questions or clarification on any of the information contained in this policy, please contact Human Resources. For general questions about department-wide policies and procedures, contact the DHHS Policy Coordinator.

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