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Incentive Awards Program (with Award Descriptions)

Recognizing employees with incentive awards is probably the most flexible management tool you have as a manager. Public recognition of superior ideas and outstanding individual and group performance helps build morale. It can also help you as a manager to build and maintain a highly motivated and productive organization. Your employees will perceive that you welcome new ideas and reward high performance.

Types of Recognition - There are three categories of recognition: monetary, honorary, and time-off. All can serve as motivation to the recipients and other employees. Effective use of awards requires consideration of the nature of the contribution and the needs and interests of the employees. For example, while it might be more appropriate to grant an honorary award to an individual for long and distinguished service, cash recognition might be considered appropriate for individual sustained superior job performance or for an individual or a group of employees who have produced an excellent product or completed a complex assignment in an outstanding way.

The Appropriate Use of Awards - The granting of awards should be considered judiciously by managers, especially in the area of performance awards, in order to avoid giving the impression that it is an employee's entitlement. Awards should only be granted where fully deserved, to those who meet the criteria, and with full explanation as to the accomplishments being recognized. In this way, you will maintain employees' confidence in the value and integrity of awards granted in your organization.


Civilian Medals on the Internet - Full-color images of the medals accompanying Department of the Army civilian honorary awards and public service awards are now easily accessible. Check out the excellent photos and learn more about these awards in the CPOL Library at Army Awards.

Superior Accomplishment Awards:
Special Act or Service Award
On-the-Spot Cash Award
Time Off Award
Performance Award

Honorary Awards (These awards are listed in hierarchical order from the highest to the lowest):
Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom
Secretary of the Army Award for Valor
Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service
Meritorious Civilian Service Award
Superior Civilian Service Award
Commander's Award for Civilian Service
Achievement Medal for Civilian Service
Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service
Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service
Certificate of Achievement
Armed Forces Civilian Service Medal

Public Service Awards (These awards are in hierarchical order from the highest to the lowest):
Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service
Outstanding Civilian Service Award
Commander's Award for Public Service
Certificate of Appreciation

Awards by Non-Federal Organizations:
Arthur S. Flemming Award
GEICO Public Service Award
Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership
National Public Service Awards

DoD and Presidential Awards:
The President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service
Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award

DoD and Presidential Public Service Awards:
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Citizens Medal
Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service
Secretary of Defense Award for Outstanding Public Service
Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service
Department of Defense Meritorious Award

Miscellaneous Awards and Information
Invention Awards
Career Service Recognition for Civilian Employees
William H. Kushnick Award
John W. Macy, Jr. Award
Nick Hoge Award
Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award

Content last reviewed: 6/20/2006-FMJ