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The Director’s PILLAR Award for 2001

Tuesday, April 3, 2001
MSG 2001-030a
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
Steven R. Cohen, Acting Director
The Director’s PILLAR Award for 2001

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is inviting nominations for the Director's PILLAR Award for 2001. OPM established the Director's PILLAR Award to showcase agencies that have recognized that effective employee performance management is a critical tool for ensuring they are making the best use of employees' capabilities to achieve strategic goals. The PILLAR Award stands for Performance, Incentives, and Leadership Linked to Achieve Results and symbolizes how effective performance management supports organizational success.

The attached material provides detailed information on the criteria for the Director's PILLAR Award and the nomination and selection procedures. I encourage you to share this information in your agency. Nominations are due by May 18, 2001. OPM will honor the Director's PILLAR Award winners at our upcoming Strategic Compensation Conference 2001 in August, here in the Washington, DC area.

You can read about the Director's PILLAR Award recipients for 2000 on the OPM web site at If you have any questions, you may contact the staff of our Performance Management and Incentive Awards Division at 202-606-2720 or via email at

We look forward to seeing this year's nominations and their testament to your agency's successes in using effective performance management to achieve your results.


cc: Directors of Human Resources


The OPM Director's PILLAR Award

Please enter all information requested and attach a full description of the nominated practice. The description must address each of the mandatory criteria for the award and should include information about any additional qualifying factors.

Nominations are due May 18, 2001.

1. What are the name and address of the submitting agency, department, or organization? Name:
2. What is the performance management practice you are nominating? Name or type of practice:

Brief description (Note: Please be very brief here. Attach your complete description to this form.):

3. What are the name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the person we should contact if we need further information (i.e., an informal contact)? Name:




Email Address:

4. What are the name, title, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the appropriate agency official to whom we may send formal correspondence? Name:





Email Address:

5. Servicing Human Resources Office Endorsement: Signature of Servicing Human Resources Officer:


Based on our previous experience with the Director's PILLAR Award, we offer these practical suggestions to anyone submitting a nomination:

  • The Director's PILLAR Award recognizes programs, not individuals. Do not nominate individual supervisors or managers who are doing a good job in performance management. (You might want to recognize such employees in other ways.)
  • Be sure your nomination addresses each of the award criteria specifically.
  • While nominations must show the alignment of the nominated program with strategic goals and objectives, this award recognizes effective employee performance management. Nominations that focus only on organizational performance measurement and fail to show a substantial link to the appraisal or recognition of employees will fail to meet the award criteria.
  • Please consider carefully the volume of attachments to your nomination. Voluminous material can be a distraction to the panel of reviewers. Examples of extraneous materials might be long department or agencywide strategic plans, extensive organization charts, etc. Do include attachments that will focus reviewers on the key award criteria. (Note: one of the winning 2000 Director's PILLAR Award nominations was only three pages long.)
  • Although voluminous material can be distracting, be sure to include enough information to permit reviewers to assess the nominations. It is not enough to complete only the nomination form.
  • If your nomination, along with attachments, is more than 20 pages long, please submit 6 copies.

The OPM Director's PILLAR Award

"Performance, Incentives, and Leadership Linked to Achieve Results"

What is the Director's PILLAR Award?

The Director's PILLAR Award is an honorary award granted by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to recognize and publicize effective employee performance management practices that support alignment of employee performance with organizational strategic goals as well as results-oriented and customer-focused performance. PILLAR stands for Performance, Incentives, and Leadership Linked to Achieve Results. The pillar represents effective performance management because it is the foundation that supports a structure, just as performance management is the foundation that supports good management. Effective employee performance management is essential for organizational success.

What is an employee performance management practice?

Employee performance management comprises the day-to-day, formal and informal actions by executives, managers, supervisors, team leaders, and employees to:

  • plan work and set expectations,
  • measure and monitor performance,
  • provide feedback to employees and teams on their performance,
  • coach and develop employees and teams,
  • summarize performance over an appraisal period,
  • recognize and reward good performance, and
  • address poor performance.

Effective employee performance management practices include a wide variety of programs and processes and are not limited merely to establishing elements and standards and assigning a rating of record. Examples of practices include:

  • A process for cascading organizational goals and customer service standards to managers and employees
  • An effective program for using balanced measures to determine awards
  • A group incentive program based on achieving organizational goals
  • A practice of using results-oriented measures that focus on accomplishments rather than on activities
  • A 360-degree assessment process that gathers subordinate feedback about supervisors
  • A practice of thoroughly training managers and supervisors in performance management skills
  • A practice of involving team members in developing their performance plans

(See for descriptions of the 2000 award-winning nominations.)

Who is eligible for the award and who can make the nomination?

Any Federal organization with an effective performance management practice that meets the criteria for this award (as listed below) may submit a nomination. Anyone may submit the nomination, but we request that the servicing human resources office endorse it. Please note that this award is not for individuals who are doing a good job in performance management, but rather for programs or practices that are effective.

What are the criteria for the award?

To be considered for the award, a practice must meet each of the mandatory criteria. Because the additional qualifying factors expand upon the mandatory criteria, providing information relevant to those additional factors counts significantly for consideration, but is not required. The written nomination must describe clearly how the performance management practice meets each of the mandatory criteria, and include information relevant to any additional qualifying factors, as applicable.

Mandatory Criteria. The performance management practice must:

  • align employee performance with strategic goals and objectives throughout the organization, support a results-oriented approach, and/or support a customer-focused approach to managing employee performance;
  • use effective communication and/or measurement to improve performance; and
  • have credibility and acceptance within the organization.

Additional Qualifying Factors. Evaluators will also consider evidence of how the nominated practice:

  • demonstrates innovation and creativity in its design and implementation
  • uses effective methods for communicating the organization's goals and purposes to employees
  • uses a balanced set of measures for appraising managerial and supervisory performance (i.e., organizational goal achievement, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction with the work environment)
  • improves organizational or team performance
  • has proven to be successful, as demonstrated by a recent formal evaluation
  • supports organizational change management
  • involved employees (and their representatives, if applicable) in its design and implementation

How can Federal organizations submit nominations?

Complete the nomination form (available with this attachment or as a downloadable file available at You should include a narrative addressing the mandatory criteria and additional qualifying factors. You may also submit other supporting materials that you believe will assist in the review of the nomination. (Such materials could include policy statements, brochures, illustrations, awards, and newspaper and periodical articles, etc. Please see attached sheet of "Practical Suggestions" about supplemental materials.)

Mail the nomination package to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
The Director's PILLAR Award
Performance Management and Incentive Awards Division
1900 E Street, NW. - Room 7412
Washington, DC 20415-8340

When are nominations due?

We must receive nominations by the close of business on May 18, 2001.

Who will select the award winners?

A panel of judges will review the nominations and recommend award winners to the OPM Director, who will make the final selections for the awards.

When will the award be given?

OPM will recognize the winning organizations at the Strategic Compensation Conference 2001 to be held in late August in the Washington, DC area. Note: 2001 winners may be invited to make a presentation describing their award-winning practice during a breakout session at the conference.

Where can I get more information about the Director's PILLAR Award?

You may contact a staff member of the Performance Management and Incentive Awards Division by phone at 202-606-2720 or by email at