Federal Manager's Daily Report

OMB has expanded a federal employee recognition awards program started by the Obama administration, incorporating what had been the Federal Customer Service Awards into a new Gears of Government Award. The new program will include two categories for recognition in addition customer service—mission accomplishment and stewardship—to align it with those three themes of the President’s Management Agenda.

The awards will “recognize that contributions may tie directly to these outcome areas or may support them through the three key drivers of change: IT modernization; data, accountability, and transparency; and developing the workforce of the future,” OMB memo M-17-18 says. “The awards also help recognize and identify effective practices that can be replicated within and across federal agencies.”


The 24 Cabinet departments and large independent agencies covered by the CFO Act “are expected to participate,” as are cross-agency councils such as the CIO Council; participation is optional for other agencies. The memo includes guidance on procedures and timing, anticipating that the first awards will be presented next May.

There will be two types of awards, individual awards for “specific accomplishments, professionalism, and commitment to mission, service, or stewardship outcomes” and initiative awards for either individuals or teams that “have directly improved mission, service, or stewardship outcomes.”

Like its predecessor, the program also will have two levels of awards. Each agency may recognize from two to 25 employees annually, and from among them President’s Awards will go to between 10 and 20 government-wide. Agencies are “encouraged to highlight award recipients through communications mechanisms such as internal agency forums, public events, newsletters, and blog posts” while the President’s Award winners “will receive recognition for their accomplishments during a ceremony at the White House” and on a government-wide website.

OMB added: “The Gears of Government Awards Program provides recognition, but not monetary awards. Agencies and councils have discretion within their legal and regulatory policies to offer monetary awards as an enhancement to this program … The President’s Award is non-monetary.” The predecessor program had similar policies.