two uc davis employees talking and laughing with one another

Employee Recognition and Rewards Programs

Recognizing the best in our employees

Units within FOA offer department-wide programs to celebrate the contributions of UC Davis employees and recognize excellence. Some staff members work directly with the campus and others more indirectly, but regardless of position, each person has an opportunity to make an impact.

Read more below about the different employee recognition and rewards programs offered.

Customer Service Champion Award

The Customer Service Champion (CSC) Award program is hosted by Administrative Services and is proud to recognize employees of Finance, Operations and Administration who have gone “above and beyond” in serving their customers.

Award Highlights:
  • Personalized certificate 
  • Spot Award
  • Anyone can nominate an employee from FOA for this award

Nominate an employee for a Customer Service Champion Award today!

On The Spot Award

On The Spot Awards allow FOA departments to recognize FOA employees who have demonstrated above and beyond service excellence and employee engagement for a particular task, issue or customer.

Awards Highlights:

  • Frequency: As appropriate
  • Gift and Recognition: $25, $50 or $75 gift card (annual maximum $75 per employee)
  • Eligibility: All FOA Employees


  • Departmental staff can purchase awards through AggieBuy or use a Purchasing Card to purchase an award.

Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) Award

STAR Awards provide recognition for employee or teams who have demonstrated exceptional performance.

  • Description:
  • The STAR Award is administered by FOA HR and provides recognition for employee or teams that have demonstrated one or more of the following performance standards:

    • Exceptional performance: Demonstrated and sustained exceptional performance that consistently exceeds goals and work expectations in quantity and/or quality.
    • Creativity: One-time innovation that results in time/dollar savings, revenue enhancement, and productivity improvement; and/or ongoing innovative / creative activities that benefit organizational systems, protocols, and/or procedures.
    • Organizational abilities: Exhibits extraordinary skills in leadership resulting in the accomplishment of significant departmental or divisional goals and objectives; effective project management, which could include developing a project and/or implementing a project with substantial success; and/or demonstrating organizational capability leading to a greater level of effectiveness.
    • Work success: Significantly exceeding productivity, customer service, or similar goals, including demonstrating superior interactions with managers, peers, supervisors, subordinates, the University community, and/or clients and customers served.
    • Teamwork: Acting as an exceptionally effective and cooperative team member or team leader for a team that has significantly exceeded the goals/objectives of the department/unit.


    • On request


    • Career and casual restricted PSS employees and MSP employees
    • Clerical Unit (CX) employees
    Gift and Recognition
    • Cash award, taxes will apply.
    • No single STAR Plan cash award may exceed 10% of the employee’s base salary or $10,000, whichever amount is lower.
    • Cumulative STAR Plan cash awards paid to an employee in a Plan year may not exceed 10% of the employee’s base salary or $10,000, whichever amount is lower.
  • Nomination and selection guidelines:
  • The STAR Award Nomination Form (see instructions in the section below) must be submitted for every nomination for consideration:

    • Individual Award Nominations: Individual employees may be nominated based on one or more of the performance standards in the STAR Plan. Input will be required from the employee’s manager/supervisor if someone other than the employee’s manager/supervisor is nominating.
    • Team Award Nominations: Team Awards may be granted to teams of employees who meet one or more of the performance standards set forth in the STAR Plan for work on a project within the same department or for work on the development and/or implementation of inter-departmental projects. Input will be required from the team leader and each employee’s supervisor/manager if someone other than the manager/supervisor is nominating the team.
    • The process for all STAR Plan cash awards require endorsement of the employee’s immediate supervisor and approval of the next level manager. STAR Plan cash awards over $500 also require department head approval. STAR Plan cash awards over $500 and up to $4,999 also require deans or vice chancellor office approval. STAR Plan cash awards above $5,000 require the approval of the Chancellor.
    • All STAR award nominations must be sent directly to FOA HR Director Nancy Hernandez for review and coordination of approvals. Once approved, the FOA HR team submits the award directly to the HR Shared Services Organization (SSO) for processing. Awards are typically paid within 1-2 payroll cycles following the date of submission to the SSO.
    Guidelines and more information about the STAR Award plan.



  •  Step-by-step instructions for DocuSign process:
  •  The STAR award nomination form has been moved into DocuSign and given certain smart features to facilitate routing more easily as well as provide greater transparency into role responsibilities.

    Completing and routing a STAR Award for approval

    • Click the blue “USE" button on the right-hand side (image 2).
      STAR Award screenshot
      Image 2
    Initiator Role:
    • Fill in your name and email in the designated fields (these may auto-populate if you've used them before).
    • Enter the name and email of the nominating supervisor in the appropriate fields below. If the supervisor is the same person, you can enter their information again.
    • Finally, provide the appropriate department head. (See image 3.)
    STAR Award screenshot
    Image 3
    • If Using PowerForm, follow the instructions in image 4.
    STAR Award screenshot
    Image 4
    • Click the "Send" button (image 5).
    • Recipients added to the form will receive email notifications as shown in the screenshot (image 6).
    STAR Award screenshot
    Image 5
    STAR Award screenshot
    Image 6

    Filling out the form

    Initiator Responsibility:
    • Select whether it is an Individual or Team Award.
    • Enter the name of the nominee.
    • Provide their department and payroll title.
    • Specify their supervisor.
    • Write a description explaining why the award is deserved (maximum 4000 characters). Be as specific as possible.
    • Enter your phone number and provide your signature. Refer to the screenshot (image 7).
    STAR Award screenshot
    Image 7
    Supervisor Responsibility:
    • Select one of the three radio buttons below to enable the award amount text field further down the page.
      • The radio buttons* represent different award amount ranges. Hover over them to view the tooltip showing the ranges:
        From Left to Right Left -Below $500 | Center -Between $500 & $4999 | Right -$5000 and up (image 8).
        STAR Award screenshot
        Image 8
    • Provide the most recent performance rating (1-5).
    • Indicate if the nominee is exempt or non-exempt and provide their annual rate.
    • Enter the amount of the award or the percentage of the nominee's salary as the award.
    • Specify the date of hire (available in both UC PATH under direct reports and Cognos 272).
    • Select the appointment type and provide your signature.
    • List the funding account(s) if multiple, including the percentage splits.
    • Check the box for approval in the Part Three section. See the screenshot (image 9).
    STAR Award screenshot
    Image 9

    *The Supervisor role will need to select 1 of 3 different radio buttons in order to enable the text field associated with the award amount lower on the page.

    ​​If the award is based on a percentage of the total salary, enter the percentage first and calculate the dollar value before selecting the appropriate radio button. Then proceed to complete the award amount field.

    • Click the "Finish" button at the bottom of the page or in the top menu bar.
    Department Head Responsibility:
    • Review and verify all information.
    • Provide any additional commentary.
    • Sign and date the form. See the screenshot (image 10).
    STAR Award screenshot
    Image 10

    Other Required Approvals:

    The form will automatically route to the FOA HR Supervisor/Blair Stevenson based on the dollar amount. Once completed, it will send a finalized copy to the FOA HR Supervisor (directly routing to Nancy Hernandez), as well as any other users in the routing list.

    Congratulations! You have completed the process.


Begin the STAR Award submission process on DocuSign