Employee Recognition Program

The City Council considers the attraction and retention of high quality employees a top priority, and supports a variety of formal and informal recognition programs. This program was initiated in response to Council direction and continues to be an important part of our overall employee development process. Formal awards were first given in 1988. Since then, some rules have been revised to respond to changing needs.


The purpose of the Employee Recognition Program is to motivate City of Modesto employees and reward exemplary employee performance. To support the accomplishment of organizational goals.


Recognition is more than just praise or reward. It is a way of motivating employees by endorsing their high quality performance in highly visible programs and ceremonies.

Recognition supports self-esteem and helps employees learn which skills and behaviors are of value to the organization.

We believe exemplary employees deserve timely and effective recognition by their team members, peers, managers, and the community.

This program outlines our formal recognition procedures. The City of Modesto also encourages employees to use informal recognition on a regular basis to show their appreciation of work done by others.

Recognition Review Teams

Each Department selects members of the "Recognition Review Team" to help coordinate the Employee Recognition Program.

Whenever possible, the team will include both management and non-management employees. Recognition Review Team members serve 2 years with odd/even rotation.

This team works with the City's Human Resources Department to make sure that effective recognition is a regular part of organizational activities.

Program Design

Recognition Awards are given in 3 categories:
  • Individuals
  • Department Teams
  • Inter-Department Teams


Eligibility for recognition is based on generally defined criteria in 5 areas:
  • Leadership
  • Innovation
  • Partnerships
  • Systems
  • Service
Criteria for awards are written to reflect City of Modesto organizational goals and objectives.

The following criteria definitions provide a basic guide for nominators when they develop written nominations, and are used by Review Teams to evaluate nominations:


  • Leads others in creating strategic plans
  • Helps others set goals and be results oriented
  • Encourages participation and collaboration
  • Supports team training and development
  • Communicates effectively with team members
  • Provides recognition to team members


  • Generates new ideas and creative solutions
  • Encourages option-thinking and alternatives
  • Understands and nurtures creativity
  • Gets involved in problem solving processes
  • Sees value in prudent risk-taking
  • Supports and encourages employee suggestions


  • Forms new partnerships with other organizations
  • Seeks innovative community partnerships
  • Promotes quality of life through citizen groups
  • Encourages citizen participation in government
  • Improves community and neighborhood relations
  • Demonstrates stewardship skills and abilities


  • Develops systems that save money
  • Develops ways to use time efficiently
  • Manages resources effectively to achieve results
  • Improves measurement or control systems
  • Applies technology to improve systems
  • Sets policies or procedures that control costs


  • Demonstrates extraordinary customer service
  • Uses continuous improvement techniques
  • Seeks input and feedback on services provided
  • Improves relations with employees and citizens
  • Improves our image in the community
  • Supports our Citizens First service philosophy