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Governor's Honor Awards

Created in 2018 to recognize employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Governor’s Honor Awards are a way to tell the story of the valuable and important work being done by state employees who make a difference in their workplaces

Like other state agencies, Virginia Tech nominates university employees for this award when the Governor's Office sends out a request for nominations. There have been years in the past in which the Governor’s Office has not taken nominations. Submission of Virginia Tech nominations to the Governor's Office is dependent upon whether or not the Governor sends out a request. Virginia Tech’s nominees are selected by a committee of staff members and administrative and professional faculty members appointed by the president. 

Eligibility

The Governor’s Honor Awards statewide program publicly recognizes outstanding employees for their hard work and dedication to the Commonwealth. All full and part-time classified and university staff, along with 1500 hour wage employees may be nominated for the awards. Individuals or group leaders may request that their direct supervisor review their accomplishments to determine if they meet award criteria. 

During Virginia Public Service Week, employees will be publicly recognized for their hard work and dedication. The Governor’s Awards ceremony for the recipients of each award is typically held at the Executive Mansion.

2021 Award categories

This category recognizes employees who advocate, promote and institute a change that aligns with the agency’s vision and motivates employees towards elevating organizational performance. Contribution(s) should be described so as to specify the specific problems and/or challenges, and the impact of the innovation on the agency and/or Commonwealth of Virginia. The description should include any pertinent measures, as well an account of the initiative and/or resourcefulness demonstrated by the contributor(s). It should describe how it serves as a model within the respective agency or across agency lines.

This category recognizes employees who demonstrate the courage to make bold moves that transform their workplace by improving the efficiency of state government services. Contribution(s) should be described so as to specify what responsible risks were taken that went against the grain of their unit/office/department and/or Agency, which resulted in revolutionary change in their particular mission-related program or activity, and/or the customers served.

This category recognizes employees who demonstrate a spirit of innovation by creating something new, improving an existing technology or process, or adapting a tried and true idea to a new context. Contribution(s) should be described so as to specify the impact on the particular mission-related program or activity, and/or the customers served. If the nominee is a supervisor, specify how in addition to being innovative themselves, they support and encourage their employees to think outside the box and become creative problem solvers. The description should include specific agency-level performance indicators and/or other pertinent measures, as well an account of the initiative and/or resourcefulness demonstrated by the contributor(s).

Nominations should specify the impact on such things as increasing efficiencies and alignment, transforming the culture of the Commonwealth of Virginia, significantly reducing overhead costs, implementing strategic process improvement, and/or the furtherance of the Governor’s plan of building a stronger Virginia and its related objectives. The description should include specific performance indicators and/or other pertinent measures, as well as an account of the initiative and/or resourcefulness demonstrated by the contributor(s). It should also describe how it serves as a model within the respective agency or across agency lines, as applicable. The relative span of control of the individual or team nominees will be taken into consideration. For example, a small office that implemented innovative cost-saving measures at the local level will be evaluated on equal footing with a headquarters-level organization that implemented a more comprehensive cost-savings approach on an agency-wide basis.

This category recognizes individuals and teams who have demonstrated an exceptional level of accomplishment in furthering the mission of the Commonwealth of Virginia in areas that are not specifically included in the first four categories. It includes notable achievements in such program areas as scientific research, economic analysis or any other mission-related activity of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Nominations should specify the impact on the particular mission-related program or activity, and/or the customers served. The description should include specific agency-level performance indicators and/or other pertinent measures, as well as an account of the initiative and/or resourcefulness demonstrated by the contributor(s).

This category recognizes employees who demonstrate an exceptional level of accomplishment in providing administrative support. This category includes employees in administrative and clerical occupations, usually pay band 4 or equivalent and below, whose dedication and contributions enhance administrative excellence. Achievements include, but are not limited to, such things as system benefits, increased productivity, cost savings and improved procedures or techniques. Nominations should specify the impact on the particular administrative program or activity, and/or the customers served. The description should include any pertinent measures, as well as an account of the initiative and/or resourcefulness demonstrated by the contributor(s).

This category recognizes employees who demonstrate exceptional commitment to the value of diversity, inclusion and outreach in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the furtherance of the Governor’s plan of building a stronger Virginia. The category includes demonstrating significant progress in the workforce demographics of an agency and enhancing access to Commonwealth of Virginia services for the communities served. Nominations should specify its impact on the particular community or Agency and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole, and the furtherance of outreach or workforce diversity and inclusion objectives. Nominations for diversity and inclusion will be based on several areas, including having created a singularly welcoming and inclusive work environment, success in leading and enhancing diversity and inclusion efforts, actively promoting and enhancing the diversity and inclusion goals of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and effecting positive change where the contributions serve to benefit the entire Commonwealth of Virginia workforce. Nominations for contributions specific to outreach must describe the under-served community’s programmatic challenges and will include accomplishments related, but not limited to, such things as the following (1) improving access to Commonwealth of Virginia programs for historically underserved communities, (2) improving job opportunities for veterans, and (3) closing the professional achievement gap by providing opportunities to talented and diverse young people to support the Commonwealth of Virginia 21st century economic development priorities.

This category recognizes outstanding contributions in support of the Governor’s plan of building a stronger Virginia, as well as individuals and teams who have otherwise demonstrated an exceptional level of accomplishment and innovation in serving their customers. Nominations should specify the specific challenges to customer service, and the impact of the innovation on the customers served. The description should include any pertinent measures, as well as an account of the initiative and/or resourcefulness demonstrated by the contributor(s). It should also describe how it serves as a model within the respective agency or across agency lines. The relative span of control of the individual or team nominees will be taken into consideration. For example, a small office that implemented innovative cost-saving measures at the local level will be evaluated on equal footing with a headquarters-level organization which implemented a more comprehensive cost-savings approach on an agency-wide basis.

This category recognizes employees who voluntarily risk his/her life in the line of duty. This category also recognizes employees who demonstrate exceptional heroism by exhibiting outstanding judgment or courage in an emergency, or displaying meritorious action to prevent injury, loss of life, or preventing damage to or loss of property in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This category recognizes employees who have made outstanding contributions by participating in or implementing community and public service projects (such as volunteering with various non-profit organizations) that have made a beneficial and sustainable effect on the quality of community life for citizens in the Commonwealth. Nominations for contributions specific to public service must describe the community’s challenges and will include accomplishments and evidence of change.

This category recognizes individuals and teams who have demonstrated an exceptional level of accomplishment in furthering the mission of the Commonwealth of Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes notable achievements in such program areas as scientific research, economic analysis or any other mission-related activity of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Nominations should specify the impact on the particular mission-related program or activity, and/or the customers served. The description should include specific agency-level performance indicators and/or other pertinent measures, as well as an account of the initiative and/or resourcefulness demonstrated by the contributor(s) during the pandemic.

Nominations for Public-Private Partnership must be sponsored by and cleared through the respective Secretariat. Each Secretary may submit one nomination in this category, in addition to the nominations from the respective agencies in the other ten categories. Note if you win in this category it is highly recommended that a letter of recognition is sent to the external partner; only the state employee(s) will be recognized at the Governor’s Honor Award ceremony. 

Nominations

State agencies nominate employees for the Governor's Honor Award. Nomination forms and instructions are sent to all agency heads and HR Directors with criteria and the submission process.  Each agency’s process for determining nominees may be different, however supervisors are encouraged to discuss nominations with their Human Resources Director. Many agencies allow employees to nominate their colleagues for agency awards that may be eligible for consideration as a Governor’s Honor Award nominee.

Nominations will be accepted through your agency’s human resources director from June 7, through July 2, 2021. Only one nomination per category will be accepted for each agency. Employees are encouraged to address accomplishments for consideration with their immediate supervisor for referral to their human resources department.

Complete the nomination form.

Selection

Recipients are selected as the result of a two-tiered judging process by the Governor’s Awards Committee, which consists of some members of the Governor’s Cabinet and agency heads.

Award

Recipients receive a $500 award and are honored at a reception hosted by the Governor.

Note: There have been years in the past in which the Governor’s Office has not taken nominations. Submission of Virginia Tech nominations is dependent upon whether or not the Governor’s Office sends out a request for nominations. 

For questions please contact Jessica Pharis, Program Coordinator, Division of Human Resources or visit the Governor's Honor Awards FAQs webpage.