Minnesota Department of Transportation

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MnDOT Policies

Achievement Award Procedures

For Achievement Award Policy #WF001

Revised: January 23, 2024

Print Procedures (pdf)


This document is the technical companion to the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Achievement Award Policy.


Achievement Award

Monetary award granted to eligible employees who demonstrate outstanding job performance.

Eligible Employees

Employees in the Managerial Plan, Commissioner’s Plan, and collective bargaining agreements of American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Minnesota Management Association (MMA), and Minnesota Government Engineer’s Council (MGEC).


Allocate funds for monetary achievement awards

Each district/office determines the budget for monetary achievement awards as part of the fiscal year planning. End of year allocations for Achievement Awards are not permitted. Any Achievement Awards approved as a step or percentage increase rather than a lump sum payment shall be calculated at twice the value of a lump sum award to account for pro-rated future costs associated with the employee’s upcoming step or percentage increase.

Nomination submittal

Any MnDOT employee may nominate an individual for an achievement award to recognize outstanding performance. Nominations may be submitted year-round using the MnDOT Achievement Award Nomination Form and should be made close to the time of outstanding performance for which the employee is being recognized. Types of outstanding performance considered in the nomination process include:

Types of outstanding performance
  • Team Recognition - Team of employees who have demonstrated outstanding teamwork on a special project or overcome a particular and unusual challenge in carrying out the goals of the office or district.
  • Project Recognition - Employee has done exceptional work on a project that supports agency-wide goals and is outside of normal job parameters.
  • Sustained Performance - Employee has demonstrated consistent, exceptional performance throughout the appraisal period in regard.
  • Individual Performance - Employee has delivered outstanding individual performance; has developed and implemented innovative ideas or creative solutions that result in cost savings, operational efficiency, and/or improvements in service, processes, or productivity.
Eligibility Criteria
  • Awards may be given for outstanding performance by an employee as described above.
  • Awards must conform to requirements contained in statute, collective bargaining agreements, compensation plans, and Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB)’s HR/LR Policy #1420 – Employee Recognition and Achievement Awards.
    • Step increase awards are only available to employees represented by AFSCME, MAPE, MMA, or MGEC who are not at the top step of their pay range.
    • Percentage increases are only available to employee in the Commissioner’s Plan or Managerial Plan who are not at the top of their pay range.
  • An employee’s appointment type or employment condition (full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, PRO, etc.) does not limit the employee’s eligibility for an achievement award.
  • The employee must have a current performance evaluation on file in the Human Resources Office with a minimum overall rating of satisfactory/meets expectations.
  • An employee who is a supervisor or manager must have completed all performance reviews for direct reports within the preceding twelve months.
  • The employee must not have been disciplined within the preceding twelve months.

Nomination review

At any point in the process, the individual conducting the review may change the award type and/or request additional information before approving or denying the nomination.

  • Supervisor reviews nomination to ensure that employee has a current performance evaluation on file and has not received discipline within the preceding twelve months.
  • Supervisor approves or denies the nomination and recommends the award type (lump sum payment or step/percentage increase). Denial of a nomination must be based on a documentable reason. Supervisors should be mindful of personal bias (whether positive or negative) and not allow that bias to influence their approval or denial of any award.
    • When recommending the award type, the supervisor should consider whether the employee has previously received a step or percentage increase while in the same job classification. Internal equity within job classifications must be considered.
  • Office Director/District Engineer reviews and approves or denies the nomination and award type.
  • District or CO Human Resources (HR) reviews nomination to ensure that the employee has a current performance evaluation on file in the Human Resources Office with a minimum overall ratting of satisfactory/meets expectations and that supervisors who are nominated have no direct reports with a past due performance evaluations. Additionally, HR verifies the employee’s eligibility for a step or percentage increase, as applicable.
  • Division Business Manager reviews the nomination for completeness and approves the nomination and award type.
  • The Assistant Commissioner/Chief for the nominator’s area of work reviews and approves the nomination and award type. Note: Lump sum payments are funded from the budget of the nominating office/district.
  • Division Business Manager distributes the approved nomination form to payroll, human resources, and the nominee’s Office Director/District Engineer.
  • Once the award is approved, the Office Director/District Engineer notifies the employee of the award.
  • Payroll coordinates lump sum payments; Human Resources processes step and percentage increases. Step and percentage increase awards are effective the first day of the pay period after final approval is received.  Step and percentage increases will not be granted on a retroactive basis.