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This order was canceled on June 25, 2010.

FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 9 Awards and Employee Recognition, Section 1, Attachment: Chart 2
Classification Code Date
M3000.1C February 10, 2006  

Chart 2

Honor Awards

Who is Eligible? Purpose of Award Type of Recognition Criteria Nomination Procedures

Superior Achievement

All employees

To recognize superior service which has been an inspiration to others, or the exceptional accomplishment of a specific DOT or FHWA program.

Plaque, medal and lapel rosette

This is the highest honor award given by the Federal Highway Administrator and nominations should reflect significant contributions in advancing FHWA's Performance Objectives including the Vital Few and the Corporate Management Strategies. If necessary, a panel will be convened to select the best candidates.

Nominations for this award are based on a degree of performance which is less than the requirement for the Secretary's Award for Meritorious Achievement, but which far exceeds normal job requirements, such as:

  1. performance of assigned duties in a superior manner, setting a record of performance goal achievements which has inspired others employees to improve the quality and/or quantity of their work;

  2. demonstration of unusual initiative or creative ability in the development and improvement of work methods and procedures or the conception of inventions that will result in substantial savings in staff power, time, space, materials, or other items of expense, or the improved safety or health of the workforce and the traveling public;

  3. highly distinguished authorship;

  4. exceptional accomplishment of a specific DOT or FHWA strategic or performance plan goal and objective;
  5. significant achievements in support of the EEO program;

  6. exceptional customer service;

  7. improved quality of efficiency of information gathering or improved data analysis and performance measurement; and

  8. exemplary efforts demonstrating extraordinary commitment for sharing knowledge such as creating, facilitating, or growing one or more communities of practice that expand the knowledge base of FHWA and/or raise the competencies of staff.

Each spring the Office of Human Resources will solicit nominations.

Special instructions will be included in this memorandum.

Nominations should be prepared on Form FHWA-1156

Quality Journey Awards

FHWA Organizations

To recognize organizational efforts in working toward a total quality environment.


Nominations for this award are evaluated based on the organization's demonstrated use of quality management practices in leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, information and analysis, human resource development and management, process management, and results.

LEADERSHIP. This item addresses senior management's role in providing leadership and direction in building and improving organizational performance and capabilities. (130 points)

  1. Provide a description of senior management's role in the quality effort. Include examples of visible and personal involvement in creating and reinforcing values throughout the organization, setting directions and performance excellence goals through strategic and business planning, and reviewing overall organization performance including customer related and operational performance.

  2. Describe how the organization's customer focus and performance expectations are integrated into the organization's leadership system and structure; how the organization communicates and reinforces its values, expectations and directions throughout the unit; and how the overall organization performance is reviewed and how the reviews are used to improve performance.

  3. Describe how the organization addresses its responsibilities to the public in its planning and operations. Describe what the organization does to proactively address possible environmental, health, and safety impacts on society of its products, services, and operations. Discuss efforts to promote legal and ethical conduct in the organization's operations.

  4. Describe efforts of the organization and its employees to be effective and contributing members of their key communities.


  1. Describe the organization's business planning process for short and long-term overall performance and leadership. Describe how this process ensures the deployment of the FHWA Strategic Plan throughout the organization, including the use of performance measures. Describe how the process relates the FHWA Strategic Plan to the work of individual employees. Describe how your organization has developed strategies and business plans to strengthen its customer related performance.

  2. Describe the processes by which long term plans are translated into short term actions, including the allocation of resources to support achievement of FHWA goals.

  3. Describe how the organization evaluates and improves its quality planning and plan deployment process.

  4. Describe the process by which the organization plans for its human resource requirements to maintain alignment with the organization's strategic direction.

CUSTOMER FOCUS. This factor addresses the effectiveness of the organization's system to determine customer requirements. (80 points)

  1. Describe how the organization determines short and long term expectations of customers.

  2. Describe how the organization provides easy access for customers seeking information, assistance, and/or a way to communicate comments and concerns. Describe how the organization builds and maintains its relationships with its customers.

  3. Describe the means by which your organization measures the satisfaction of your major customer segments. Describe how the organization analyzes customer feedback and complaints, and takes corrective action as appropriate.

INFORMATION AND ANALYSIS. This factor addresses the organization's management of data and information for quality improvement and planning. (80 points)

  1. Describe the measures used by the organization to track and improve operational and program performance. Describe the organization's sources of data and information, and the scope and types of data contained on customers, suppliers, internal operations, products, or services.

  2. Describe the organization's processes and uses of comparative information and data to support improvement. Analyze how the needs and priorities are determined, and describe the criteria for seeking appropriate information and data from within and outside the organization.

  3. Describe how the organization relates customer data, improvements in product/service quality, and improvements in operational performance to changes in overall indicators of performance. Describe how this information is reviewed and analyzed to identify, prioritize, and carry out improvement actions.

HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT. This factor examines how the workforce is enabled to develop and utilize its full potential, as a part of the organization's total quality strategy. (110 points)

  1. Describe key strategies for increasing the empowerment, involvement, effectiveness, and productivity of all types of employees. Provide information related to current employee involvement efforts, such as participation in quality improvement teams.

  2. Describe the organization's approach for identifying and meeting its critical training and development needs. Describe the types of quality training provided for management and employees.

  3. Describe how contributions of employees are evaluated and recognized. Indicate whether and how team and peer recognition are used.

  4. Describe the services, facilities, activities, and opportunities that the organization makes available to employees to support their overall well being and satisfaction and/or to enhance their work experience and developmental potential.

  5. Describe how the organization obtains feedback from employees about their level of satisfaction and how the feedback is used to identify improvement priorities.

PROCESS MANAGEMENT. This element is the focal point within the criteria for all key work processes. Included in this category are the central requirements for efficient and effective process management: effective design, prevention orientation, evaluation and continuous improvement, linkage to suppliers, and overall high performance. (120 points)

  1. Describe how products, services, and processes are developed and improved. Describe how customer requirements are translated into product and service design requirements and how the product and service design requirements are translated into efficient and effective processes including an appropriate measurement plan.

  2. Describe how the organization's key support services are designed and managed so that current requirements are met and that operational performance is continuously improved. Include how key requirements are determined or set and how these requirements are translated into efficient and effective processes, including operational requirements and appropriate measurement plans.

  3. Describe how the organization assures that materials, components, and services furnished by other organizations meet performance requirements. Explain how the organization determines whether or not its requirements are met and how performance information is fed back to suppliers/partners. Describe how the organization evaluates and improves its management of supplier/partner relationships and performance, including actions and plans to improve suppliers'/partners' abilities to meet requirements.

BUSINESS RESULTS. This factor provides a results focus for all processes and process improvement activities. This element has a dual purpose: superior value of offerings as viewed by customers, and superior organization performance reflected in productivity and effectiveness indicators. (400 points)

  1. Address current levels and trends in satisfaction of major customer segments.

  2. Address the operational and financial performance of the organization. Focus on the most critical requirements from the point of view of the organization.

  3. Address current levels and trends in human resource results, including indicators such as employee satisfaction, safety, absenteeism, and turnover.

  4. Address current levels and trends in key measures and/or indicators of supplier/partner performance.

  5. Address current levels and trends in product and service quality using key measures and/or indicators of quality such as resource utilization, cycle time, and productivity. The measures and/or indicators selected should relate to requirements that matter to the customer.

Each spring the Office of Human Resources will solicit nominations.

Special instructions will be included in the solicitation memorandum.

Nominations should be prepared on white bond paper and bear the signature of the organization's head official.

Quality Excellence Large Crystal Award
Quality Breakthrough Wooden Plaque
Quality Commitment Framed Certificate

Heartland Award

All employees

The Heartland Award was established in 1995 to honor the memories of those lives lost in the blast at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and to recognize the dedication of the survivors.

Large Crystal Award

The Administrator may grant this award to an individual employee or to a team whose exceptional service to the public reflects the high level of dedication and determination exemplified by the Oklahoma Division employees.





Strive for Excellence Awards:
a. Customer Service
Teams, groups, or individuals Salutes a commitment to customer service and products that exemplifies FHWA’s vision, mission, values, and goals.

National: Crystal Award

Local: Crystal Paperweights

Customer Satisfaction. (120 points)

  1. Describe customer and customer's needs;

  2. Describe organization's mission as it relates to the customer;

  3. Describe tools used to determine customers needs and/or problems; and

  4. Provide discussion of conclusions drawn from the data.

Quality Improvement Efforts. (240 points)

  1. Describe special considerations made in order to ensure quality customer service;

  2. Describe any output or results and accomplishments; and

  3. Provide evidence of customer satisfaction.

Employee Commitment to Customer Service. (60 points)

Describe proactive efforts to anticipate or prevent future problems.

The Office of Human Resources will issue a memo soliciting nominations for these awards. The memo will contain in-depth information concerning nominating procedures. Nominations should be submitted on FHWA Form -1156.

b. Team

Teams, groups or individuals

Honors the spirit of partnership and teamwork between FHWA and its partners to accomplish the organization's goals.

Same as above

Team Organization. (125 points)

  1. Describe the type of team, the reason for the team's formation, the team's purpose, the team's parent organization, how the team's objective aligns with organizational goals, and the team composition and selection criteria.

  2. Describe the role and responsibility of team sponsors and team members; applicable methodology used to assure adequate interpersonal and team skills; team's operating agreement and management processes for self managing budget, schedules and decision making; and methodology for measuring team performance and accountability.

Team Process and Actions. (125 points)

Describe the methods and tools used to determine the current level of customer satisfaction; methods and tools used to identify and prioritize improvement, changes, and/or processes; actions taken to gain cooperation and support of customers, suppliers, stakeholders, and/or process owners; process actions deployed and their effectiveness, feasibility and cost benefits, plus any modeling, and/or benchmarking; and action plan or action register development, and implementation and deployment process and results.

Team Results. (125 points)

Provide evidence of measured output or outcome results and accomplishments, value added and quality improvement, and within budget and schedule; customer satisfaction that team's activity and performance led to improved results; and that results met/achieved organization's goals and/or objectives.

Team Follow-up and Corrective Actions. (125 points)

Provide evidence of team actions to integrate, communicate and monitor the deployment or outcomes and outputs; methods and actions to ensure process, systems, or products continue to meet or accomplish the continuous improvement objectives; identification of additional deficiencies and opportunities for improvement or productivity outputs; measured team assessment and performance and evidence that team process and the results were compared and found superior over more traditional business processes; and actions taken to disseminate/share information and results for purposes of learning and understanding, and any evidence that other teams and organizations benefited from the shared information.

Same as above
c. Innovation Teams, groups or individuals Recognizes a suggestion, special act or initiative that has substantially impacted quality and productivity in the FHWA. Same as above

Identity of Improvement Opportunity. (125 points)

Describe the organization's role and mission; the problem in terms of waste, inefficiency, rework, and costs using the former method of implementation or of the gap between current performance and desired performance; methods and tools used to identify improvement opportunity; and methods and tools used to identify current level of customer satisfaction.

Process Action. (90 points)

Describe the actions taken to accomplish the improvement; explain what makes the improvement or accomplishment unique; and describe methods and tools used to insure the improvement or accomplishment is aligned with organizational goals and objectives.

Results. (180 points)

Describe results; explain how the innovation rectified the problem; provide evidence that innovation led to savings of time, money, and person power; and describe how results met the organization's mission, goals, and objectives.

Follow-up (Extra Credit). (100 Points)

Describe the efforts to ensure that improvements are integrated and communicated to other concerned or interested organizations; efforts to integrate improvements into daily activities; and efforts to disseminate success story.

Same as above
Partnership in Excellence Award

Groups or teams comprised of FHWA employees and employees from other DOT modes or State DOT's.

This award recognizes grassroots activities and contributions toward achieving DOT's Strategic Goals. This award can be the first tier of a two-tiered recognition effort. Groups honored with this award can be later considered for the Strive for Excellence Award.


The groups or teams should be comprised of no less than 3 people and at least one of the members of the team must be an employee of another DOT mode. The team's accomplishments must be directly related to one of DOT's Strategic Goals: Safety, Mobility, Economic Growth and Trade, Human and Natural Environment, and National Security.

The FHWA-1156 can be submitted by the team's leader or by the manager for whom the team is working. The nomination can be approved at the local level. Copies of approved nominations should be forwarded to the Washington Headquarters Office of Human Resources for record keeping purposes and to servicing human resource offices for inclusion in the Employee Performance Folder.

Excellence in Leadership Awards All employees Leadership is at the very core of the FHWA's future. These awards are designed to honor the contributions that employees are making to the FHWA Mission of "Enhancing Mobility Through Innovation, Leadership and Public Service." An engraved marble statue
  1. Describe the nominee's approach to leadership; show how the nominee has led by example.

  2. Discuss the leadership role the employee has played in advancing FHWA goals and mission. Describe the employee's personal commitment and efforts (beyond his/her current job) that exemplify leadership.

  3. Describe how the nominee uses his/her individual leadership competencies (for example: customer service, interpersonal skills, flexibility, decisiveness, integrity/honesty, partnering, problem solving, etc.) in his/her interaction with coworkers, partners, and team members. .

  4. Discover the special communication tools that the nominee employed to generate enthusiasm and support for goals and plans and to influence the behavior and performance of others. Describe efforts to facilitate open exchange of ideas and efforts to foster open communication, provide examples of how the nominee obtains input, and describe the nominee's responses to input.

The FHWA Leadership Award Individual FHWA Employees Leadership can be found throughout all levels of the organization. This is consistent with FHWA's philosophy that "leadership is everyone's business." The FHWA Leadership Award honors those employees in all grade levels who have taken leadership roles in advancing FHWA's goals and mission. Same as above    
The Richard D. Morgan Leadership Development Award FHWA managers and supervisors This award is designed to honor those team leaders, managers and supervisors who, as leaders, are nurturing and supporting the development of their employees to ensure a future cadre of FHWA organizational leaders. An engraved marble clock There will be no solicitation for this award. The Administrator will select the recipient.  

PMM Part 1, Chapter 9, Section 1   |   Chart 1   | Chart 3   | Chart 4

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