Employee Recognition and Rewards Programs

two uc davis employees talking and laughing with one another

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.


The 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:

  • Occurs monthly
  • Personalized certificate awarded
  • Spot Award (optional)
  • Anyone can nominate an employee from FOA for this award
  • Recipients chosen to attend monthly event with Vice Chancellor

Nominate an employee for a Customer Service Champion Award today!

On The Spot Award

The On The Sport Award is administered by FOA HR and gives recognition for UC Davis employees who have demonstrated above and beyond service excellence and employee engagement for a particular task, issue or customer.

Awards Highlights:

  • Frequency: On request
  • Gift and Recognition: $25, $50 or $75 gift card (annual maximum $75)
  • Eligibility: All FOA Employees

To nominate an employee for an award, please email foa-hr@ucdavis.edu.


The STRIVE award program is administered by Strategic Solutions and seeks to honor and recognize the contributions of employees who have gone above and beyond the status quo. These individuals have identified, initiated and successfully executed projects that create efficiency, improve quality, and/or reduce costs, in support of the university's mission.

STRIVE stands for Sustainable, Transformative, Return-on-investment, Interconnected, Voluntary and Entrepreneurial. 

To be considered for the STRIVE Award, projects must have met one of the following criteria:

  • Minimum of 200 hours per year of employee time saved, or
  • Minimum of $25,000+ in hard savings (re-investible), or
  • A substantive improvement in quality or employee/customer satisfaction.

To nominate employees and their initiatives for a STRIVE award, please email STRIVE@ucdavis.edu.

Learn more about the STRIVE award program.

Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) Award

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

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.


  • Career and casual restricted PSS employees and MSP employees
  • Clerical Unit (CX) employees

Nomination and Selection

The STAR Award Nomination Form (PDF) must be used for every nomination: 

  • 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.

Guidelines and more information about the STAR Award plan.