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Recognizing Outstanding Performers

April 2009 -- During my undergraduate years at the University of Toledo, one of my professors would constantly remind his students that, "Good work should be acknowledged, and good workers should be rewarded." 

When subordinates start to drift the wrong way, management has an obligation to correct
the situation. There are several reasons why this needs to occur. Safety might be an issue. Producing bad products or creating a negative environment in the work area may be another. For whatever the reason, changes need to happen. 

There are several steps that can occur to assist the individuals to get back on track. Counseling, a letter of reprimand, or maybe even a demotion may be administered. 

There are rules for guidance for supervisors that assist them when dealing with negative
behavior. However, what about the outstanding workers that distinguish themselves above the rest? What are we doing for them? There are no rules or regulations that require supervisors to acknowledge this type of behavior. It is up to each individual supervisor to identify these actions and choose to reward or not. 

There are several ways to reward individuals for outstanding performance. During the Operational Readiness Inspections and the Unit Compliance Inspections, inspectors will observe who the outstanding performers are and add those names to the final report. Usually, a certificate is given to the individual. When 180th members assist other bases as Exercise Evaluation Team Members, the Commander of the base assisted may send a letter of appreciation to the members' base. Locally, we have the Airman, NCO, and Senior NCO of the year awards. These awards are limited and not everyone recommended for these awards will be awarded them. There are ways to ensure that your outstanding performers can be rewarded. Team Player certificates endorsed by the Commander, letters of appreciation, letters of recommendation, and identifying individuals for superior performance at roll call are a few. Another way to recognize these individuals is to submit them for a decoration. Some people might say that writing decorations is time-consuming and the format it needs to be submitted in is very tedious. 

However, times have changed and there are now new procedures for this process. No longer do you have to have a Décor 6 requested and endorsed. All ribbons are now funneled through the Virtual Personnel Center-Guard-Reserve (VPC-GR ) on the Air Force Portal. There is no longer a requirement to submit two or three outstanding performance items for Air Force Achievement medals or Air Force Commendation
medals. If the supervisor believes that the individual's performance is worthy of one of
these awards, a statement of justification with the positive effects this performance achieved is all that is necessary. The Meritorious Service Medal is the exception to the rule. This still requires at least four outstanding performance actions with the results they achieved. Once the justification is completed, the request is electronically sent to the 180th Military Personnel Flight for review and approval. They will make any corrections if needed, if they can, and send it on to the Wing Commander for final approval. If they are unable to make the corrections, they will send it back to the requestor with annotations as to how to make it right. 

In the Logistics Readiness Squadron, the Commander has appointed an awards monitor to assist supervisors when rewarding outstanding performers. I have made a recommendation that the names of those that receive decorations be published in the Stinger or in a quarterly report from Personnel Flight. I have never met a military member who was not proud of their ribbons. Just about every resume that I have looked at, whether it was for a technician job announcement or a military promotion board, had a
copy of ribbons that were awarded to the applicant in it. I am not saying that every action deserves to be rewarded, but consistent, exceptional actions should be acknowledged and rewarded. Awarding our outstanding performers is important in achieving a more positive effect on workplace attitude and could increase retention. 

If you have any questions or if you need assistance when nominating someone for a decoration you can consult AFI 36-2803 or call the Military Personnel Flight at extension 4015.

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