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Nominations for the 2002 OPM Director’s PILLAR Award

Friday, April 12, 2002
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
Kay Coles James, Director
Nominations for the 2002 OPM Director’s PILLAR Award

An effective performance culture is a central tenet of the President's Management Agenda and a key dimension of OPM's Human Capital Scorecard. To showcase and highlight effective performance management programs and practices, I will award the OPM Director's PILLAR Award to agencies that use performance management as a 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.

OPM is inviting nominations for the 2002 OPM Director's PILLAR Award. The attached material provides detailed information on Award criteria and nomination and selection procedures. I encourage you to share this information in your agency. Nominations are due by May 17, 2002. I plan to honor the PILLAR Award recipients at our upcoming Strategic Compensation Conference 2002 in late August in Alexandria, Virginia.

You may read about past PILLAR Award recipients on our 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

Given the Executive Scorecard's inclusion of performance management issues in its Standards for Success, we especially look forward to reviewing this year's nominations. Your agency's efforts to improve, refine, and administer effective performance management programs can be a beacon to other agencies in their efforts to "go for green" on their Scorecards.

The OPM Director's PILLAR Award
Nomination Form

cc: Directors of Human Resources

The OPM Directors PILLAR Award

What is the OPM Directors PILLAR Award?

The OPM Directors PILLAR Award is an honorary award. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) grants this Award to recognize and publicize an organizations effective performance management practices. These practices should support the Presidents Management Agenda initiative to create a Government that is citizen-centered, results-oriented, and market-based, and they should align employee performance with organizational strategic goals. PILLAR stands for Performance, Incentives, and Leadership Linked to Achieve Results. The pillar represents effective performance management as the foundation that supports a structure, because performance management is the foundation that supports good management. Effective performance management is essential for organizational success. This Award recognizes organizations (department, agency, bureau, installation, etc.) not the individual employee(s) who contributed to the success of the practice.

What is a performance management practice?

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 performance management practices include a wide variety of programs and processes, not only establishing elements and standards and assigning a rating of record. Examples of practices include:

  • 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

  • A process for cascading organizational goals and customer service standards to managers and employees

  • An effective program for using balanced measures to determine awards

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 nominating organization certify that the headquarters human resources office is aware of the nomination.

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 addressing the additional factors is optional. 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, and/or support a results-oriented or citizen-centered approach to managing employee performance;

  • use effective measurement and/or communication to improve performance; and

  • have credibility and acceptance within the organization.

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

  • supports the agencys efforts to attain success on OPMs Human Capital Scorecard;

  • demonstrates innovation and creativity in its design and implementation;

  • uses effective methods for communicating the organizations 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; and/or

  • 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 Directors PILLAR Award
Performance Management and Incentive Awards Division
1900 E Street, NW. Room 7412
Washington, DC 20415-8340

What must the nomination package include?

The nomination package must contain the original nomination form (copy attached) with all supporting materials. Nominators also must submit four additional copies of the complete nomination package (including supporting materials) if the nomination is more than 20 pages.

When are nominations due?

We must receive nominations by the close of business on May 17, 2002.

Who will select the Award recipients?

A panel of judges will review the nominations and recommend Award recipients to the OPM Director, who will make the final selections.

When will the Award be given?

OPM will recognize the Award recipients at the 2002 Strategic Compensation Conference in Alexandria, VA, on August 27, 2002.

Where can I get more information about the OPM Directors 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


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 17, 2002.

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:

I certify that the headquarters human resources office is aware of this nomination.





Email Address:

Signature of Servicing Human Resources Officer:


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

  • The OPM 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.

  • Due to problems receiving mail, please send your nomination to us by express carrier service (e.g., Fed-Ex, UPS). Also, please notify our office by phone or email to alert us that you have sent us a nomination.

  • 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 past Award recipient's nomination 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 4 copies.