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Awards And Recognition

Brigham Young University has various types of awards, prizes, and recognition available for exceptional employee performance, expression of gratitude, and specific situations.

Types of Awards and Recognition
SAERA Awards
Department Awards
Student Employee of the Year
Gift Cards
Incentive Bonus Plans
Image of the SAERA Awards.

The President's Council has adopted a set of values for all BYU staff and administrative employees. The Staff and Administrative Employee Recognition Awards recognize the demonstration of these values for all BYU staff and administrative employees.

Throughout the year employees (including part time Category I and II) can be nominated by co-workers in their own or other departments, supervisors, or faculty members. This can be done by accessing the nomination form at the SAERA Online Nomination page.

Annual department awards for non-faculty recognize outstanding achievements of employees at the department or division level. Department award programs must be based on consistent, objective criteria. The decision-making panel should consist of at least two members of the department or college/division administration.

Annual department award amounts may not exceed $2500 per person per year. Department awards may not mimic other university program criteria such as those for service awards and retirement recognition.

The initiation of a Department Award program must be approved by the respective Vice President. Payment requests must be preapproved by the respective Department Dean/Director and Human Resource Services (HRS) well before notifying the award recipient. The award payment request is to be submitted to HRS and processed by Payroll. Department awards are subject to usual and regular payroll taxes and deductions.

Departments fund these awards.

Each year colleges and universities across the country recognize the importance of the student work experience during National Student Employment Week. It is recommended that departments recognize the student employees in their area during that week with activities, awards or other recognition. For more information on Student Appreciation week, click here.

Questions? Contact Assistant Director, Compensation (2-7534)

Departments may provide gift cards as a “thank you” or for small, infrequent recognition awards to employees. These are discretionary awards given to an employee without the employee expecting it. These awards are used to thank employees as a spur-of-the-moment recognition for performance and exemplary behavior as opposed to other more formal University award programs.

Gifts cards are not to be used in lieu of payment for work performed (work as a research subject excluded). Promising or setting the expectation that a gift card will be given in return for services (quid pro quo) is not allowable. A gift card to an employee is only to be used as an unexpected “thank you” or recognition of (extraordinary) performance.

Departments should issue gift cards to employees on an infrequent and irregular basis. The award should be limited to one individual or only a few individuals at a time. Gift cards should not be awarded to a majority or all individuals within a department at the same time. Gift cards may not be used as presents for birthdays, Christmas, weddings, graduations, etc.  It is typically not appropriate to provide more than two gift cards to the same employee within the same calendar year.   

Typical award amounts range from $10 to $250. Up to $500 may be awarded for truly significant, above-and-beyond contributions.  Departments will use their own funds for gift cards.

All Gifts cards will need to be obtained, distributed, and accounted for following the guidelines found at

Prizes represent payments to students, employees, and others for participation in contests which are generally open to a wide variety of individuals and are not related to duties performed or as direct support for academic pursuits.

A prize is not an award nor is it compensation for work performed; therefore, it should not be processed through Human Resource Services or the Payroll office. Prize payments to employees can be made through the Fasttrack system using code: PRZ6012. If the prize amount is under $200, the W-9/W-8BEN form is not required. BYU student academic-related payments should be referred to Financial Aid (2-2650).


Assignment Bonus:

Encourage employees to commit to covering special or extra shifts in areas with staffing shortages during critical times.

Example: Dining services employees working Concessions for home football games

Seasonal Retention Bonus:

Encourage employees to work through the end of the season or return for the following season. This applies to seasonally affected areas and programs where intensive training for a short amount of time is needed and operations would be significantly disrupted by midseason departures.

Examples:  Catering Christmas season and Aspen Grove summer programs

Parameters to Administer Incentive Bonus:

  • Assignment and Seasonal Retention bonuses are typically between $50 to $100. Limit of $1,000. 
  • Requires Staff Compensation review in advance of any bonus announcement or commitment to ensure requests fall within plan parameters and that departments submit payments properly. 
  • Vice President approval when an area initially sets up a plan. 
  • Departments are responsible for funding all bonuses. 
  • Both of the above plans are non-discretionary bonuses, therefore they must be submitted using the correct processes for overtime calculation purposes.