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Employee Rewards & Recognition

The Rewards and Recognition programs honor both individuals and teams who go the extra mile to service their departments and the Caltech Campus.

These individuals and teams, who give so much of themselves, help support Caltech’s research and teaching mission. This collaboration fosters an environment that is rewarding, challenging, and fun.

Human Resources, with financial support from the office of the Vice President of Business and Finance, would like to encourage and assist managers and supervisors to reward and recognize their employees, whether through everyday recognition and rewards, the Spot Awards program, or the Team Achievement Award.

Everyday Rewards and Recognition

Employee recognition has always been an important part of Caltech. By creating a culture of recognition, employees become more engaged. Engaged employees are happy, loyal, and productive. Everyday there is an opportunity to recognize someone for their service to the Campus without spending a lot of money. Informal rewards are the icing on the cake that keep employees motivated, engaged, and coming back for more.

Low or No Cost Recognition Ideas

  • present certificate of appreciation for a job well done at a staff meeting
  • nominate department employee of the month
  • allow staff to take classes and improve skills
  • send a handwritten note of thanks for the completion of a challenging task
  • send flowers to an employee’s family thanking them for sharing their loved one with Caltech during the preparation of an important project
  • make time to stop and chat with your staff
  • bring treats for the office
  • encourage participation in campus activities
  • send an employee to a conference
  • participate in a flexible work schedule

Spot Awards

The Spot Award Program recognizes individuals on an impromptu basis for their special effort to their department or Campus. This award can be presented on the spot when a manager notices an employee doing something worthy. For a larger impact, present the Spot Award at a staff meeting so the employee can be applauded by their peers. The experience of the recognition will last much longer than the money.

Recipients will receive a $100 American Express Gift Check (funded by Business and Finance) and a Certificate of Excellence.  The gift check can be redeemed wherever American Express is accepted.

The administration of this program is intended to be as simple and user friendly as possible. Human Resources will keep track of how many awards are presented on campus, so you don’t have to. At this time, there are no limits to the number of Spot Awards allotted to each department. Also, obtaining certificates to award your employees is only a phone call or email away. Because this award does not have to go through a nomination process with the office of the Vice President for Business and Finance, it is the perfect award to present on the spot when you want to say thank you for a job well done.

Spot Award recipients will be taxed for this $100 on their paycheck as imputed income.

To request a Spot Award, please contact:

Michelle Case
Human Resources 
(626) 395-8383

Team Achievement Award

The Team Achievement Award recognizes teams within or across departments who meet the following criteria:

  • complete an important project or milestone
  • provide significant positive impact on a new or existing activity, program, or project
  • promote and demonstrate successful team collaborative behaviors
  • demonstrate sustained effort

Business and Finance Team Achievement Plaques are located throughout campus. With each new award, an engraved plate is added to all of the plaques to commemorate the achievement. Also, each team member receives a Certificate at a reception in their honor.

To nominate a team for this award you can call or email Michelle Case in Human Resources. The Vice President for Business and Finance, along with his direct reports, will review the nomination for approval.

For more information, please contact:

Michelle Case
Human Resources
(626) 395-8383