Implementation Guidelines and Procedures

September 2015
Implementation Guidelines and Procedures
Purdue University’s Bravo Award Program serves to highlight the excellence that exists in all areas and job
functions across the University. This guide has been designed to assist University departments in implementing
and administering the Bravo Award Program, an after-the-fact discretionary award program designed to provide
recognition for substantial accomplishments achieved by employees that extend well beyond regular work
Section I of this guide defines the purpose for establishing the Bravo Award Program. Section II sets forth the
criteria under which Bravo Awards may be awarded. Section III explains eligibility for receipt of a Bravo Award.
Section IV provides a summary of best practices for administration of the Bravo Award Program within the
1. “Approving Official” – Appointed by the Executive Officer as the individual, or committee, that has the
authority to approve, deny or revise Bravo Award Nominations.
2. “Discretionary Award” – Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, for a payment to be considered
Discretionary, both the decision to make the payment and the determination of the payment amount
must be in the employer's sole discretion. In addition, the University retains discretion regarding the
payment of the award until the end, or near the end, of the period that it covers. Discretionary Awards
are not anticipated or expected by an employee.
3. “Executive Officer” - A University officer reporting directly to the President, the Provost, the Executive
Vice President Finance and Treasurer, Chancellors, Deans, Vice Provosts or a Vice President.
4. “Manager” – Position responsible for integrating pay practices, performance management and career
development processes to maximize an eligible employee’s performance and growth.
5. “Nominator” – An employee of Purdue University who is eligible to submit Bravo nominations; each
College’s/Unit’s Program Summary document will define eligible Nominators by title or classification.
6. “Program Year” – the University’s fiscal year; FY 14-15 will be the second pilot Program Year.
7. “Unit” - An area reporting to the President, the Provost, the Executive Vice President and Treasurer,
Chancellors, Deans, Vice Provosts, or a Vice President.
Bravo Awards can be provided to eligible individuals, teams, or work groups who make significant contributions
to the University's or the College/Unit's mission or goals. Awards should be tied to a specific message of
recognition for a concrete or measurable goal, achievement or contribution.
Award Categories
 Moving the University Forward: Accomplishments or contributions that transform or advance
University objectives (i.e., initiatives that improve graduation rates, developing programs to
measure student academic knowledge, enhancing the academic excellence of the University,
improving student affordability, etc.);
 Operational Excellence: Extraordinary effort during times of critical department need (e.g.,
contribution that clearly and significantly impacts the accomplishment of important and critical
business operational goals and deliverables) or extraordinary performance that far exceeds
expected or required performance. Managers must be able to document specific achievements
and/or measurable contributions to the unit’s business based upon the employee’s exceptional
 Innovation/Creativity: Innovative work or suggestions, well beyond standard job requirements, that
significantly improve operational efficiencies, introduce a new or modified business practice or
improve work process, workflow or customer service;
 Fiscal Stewardship: Significant cost saving or cost avoidance realized beyond normally expected or
established standards.
Award categories should be communicated in advance to all eligible employees in a College/Unit. Bravo Awards
are not a means of providing additional pay for performing normal duties and responsibilities, as described in
the participants’ position description, nor are they meant to be a replacement or substitute for a merit,
promotion or equity increase.
A faculty/ staff member must:
 Have completed at least three months of service;
 Have no outstanding disciplinary actions; and
 Be in active employment status at the time the Bravo Award is paid.
The following classifications are not eligible to participate in the Bravo Award Program:
 Executive Officers
 Upper-level Management positions (i.e., Department Heads, Associate/Assistant Vice Presidents,
Associate/Assistant Provosts and Directors who report to a Vice President)
 Student employees
 Graduate staff
 Temporary staff
 Visiting faculty
 Limited term lecturers
 Postdoctoral, Resident, or Intern appointments
 Employees who have a specific employment contract with the University that links additional
compensation to their performance
The Bravo Award Program is supported by College/Unit operating funds. The maximum dollar amount that can
be awarded over the Program Year is based upon the number of eligible employees1 times 7.5%, multiplied by
the maximum award amount ($1,000). The College’s/Unit’s calculated funding limit will be rounded up to the
nearest $250 to allow for full utilization of funding.
Eligible Faculty and Staff
Rounded to multiple of $250
Unit Maximum Funding Limit
Unit Limit
$ 175
Each College/Unit will have the flexibility to determine number and value of awards distributed up to the
College/Unit maximum limit. For example, the College/Unit illustrated above could distribute seven $1,000
awards along with two $750 awards to eligible faculty and staff; alternatively, this Unit could distribute five
$1,000 awards along with two $750 awards and four $500 awards to eligible faculty and staff.
Bravo Award amounts are $250, $500, $750, and $1,000. A faculty/staff member may not be rewarded twice for
the same achievement. Individual faculty and staff are limited to two Bravo Awards per fiscal year.
Bravo Awards will be processed with the regular payroll and are subject to applicable tax withholdings and W-2
Step 1: Based upon the Bravo Award categories and a measurable outcome, the Nominator decides that a
contribution is worthy of an award.
Step 2: The Nominator prepares a Bravo Award nomination including all required information
If the nominator is someone other than the nominee’s manager, the nominator forwards the nomination
form to the nominee’s manager for review and approval.
Step 3: The employee’s manager forwards all nomination forms to the Business Office. The College’s/Unit’s
Business Manager will verify eligible funding and forward nomination forms to the appropriate Approving
Official. Some units have opted to use a review committee prior to final approval for awards.
Step 4: The Approving Official will return all nomination requests (both approved and denied) to the Business
Manager. The Business Manager will need to validate funding, add employee payroll and costing information,
and sign the nomination form prior to submission to HR/Compensation for payment. The nominator should not
Staffing data is provided as of July 1, 2015. Staffing is calculated based upon the sum of the CULs of eligible employees
divided by 100. Staffing data will be updated on an annual basis each July 1 for subsequent Program Years.
communicate any information pertaining to the Award submission prior to confirmation that the award is
Step 5: Upon College/Unit approval, the Business Manager will forward approved nominations to
HR/Compensation for review and tracking. All approved awards will be forwarded by HR/Compensation to
Payroll Services for processing.
Step 6: Executive Officers (or their designees) communicate to the recognized employee that he or she is the
recipient of a Bravo Award. Colleges/Units can adopt the attached Bravo certificate or develop their own.
Step 7: The recognized employee will receive their Bravo Award in the regular payroll cycle following the Payroll
Service Center’s processing of the Award.
College/Unit Level Program Summary
Each College/Unit must complete a College/Unit Level Program Summary. The program summary establishes
who will determine award amounts and approve the Bravo awards. The Bravo Program Summary must be
submitted to HR/Compensation prior to implementing the Bravo Award Program. Sections requiring completion
are highlighted in yellow:
College/Unit Name;
Designated Approving Official;
Optional Approving Official, if applicable;
Org Unit ID and Name for all participating org units under this program summary.
The following information must be documented for every nomination:
 Nominee’s name/job title/position ID/PERNR
 College/Unit name/organizational unit number
 Description of the accomplishment
 Award amount ($250, $500, $750, or $1,000)
 Name/title of the nominator
 College/Unit approvals :
Manager approval
College/Unit-level designated approval (Approving Official)
Business Manager approval
The Bravo Award nomination form can be obtained at
The Bravo Award Program is not an entitlement. Bravo Awards are made based on extraordinary performance
and the availability of funds. The amount of any Bravo Award is determined at the sole discretion of the
University. Such determinations will not be eligible for grievance under any of the University’s formal grievance
processes for faculty or staff.
Nothing in the Bravo Award Program shall confer upon any employee any right to continued employment or
service with Purdue University for any specific duration or otherwise restrict in any way the rights of Purdue or
any employee to terminate an eligible employee's employment at any time, for any reason, with or without
1.10 NOTES
Any award under this program will not be used in calculating any applicable benefits (i.e., retirement, health, life
insurance, disability, etc.). The award is to be considered a one-time Discretionary cash award and is not to be
added to the base pay of the individual, or, if applicable, be credited toward overtime compensation. All award
earnings are considered taxable income in the year in which they are paid. Appropriate federal and state income
taxes will be withheld at the rates in effect at the time of the payout. Participants are responsible for
determining the tax consequences of any award payment and arranging for appropriate withholding. The
University will not be responsible for payments, interest, penalties, costs or expenses incurred as a result of an
employee's failure to arrange for sufficient withholding of deductions from award payments. A faculty or staff
member must be considered active on the date the award nomination is paid to receive any award under this
program. At any point in time, Purdue University reserves the right to unilaterally change, modify, and/or
terminate any aspect of this program.
In order to comply with federal cost principles in OMB 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance), it is important that the
cost to external sponsors remain unchanged as a result of any incentive pay or recognition plan. In general,
federal funds do not allow extra compensation to be directly charged. Thus, it is unallowable to directly charge
incentive or special recognition pay to a federal grant.
Payments under this program may not relate in any way to student enrollments or awarding financial aid.
Section 487(a)(20) of the Higher Education Act (HEA) prohibits the University from providing any commission,
bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on success in securing enrollments or financial aid
to any person or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission activities or in making decisions
regarding the award of student financial assistance. These rules prohibit the University from providing incentive
compensation for two specific activities:
1. Recruiting or admissions activities related to success in securing student enrollments, and,
2. Making decisions regarding the awarding of Title IV HEA program funds in the awarding financial aid.
These rules apply to all positions performing the restricted activities. Certain University departments will have a
number of employees subject to this ban since these departments typically perform covered activities. However,
these rules do not exclude employees in these departments from eligibility under the Bravo Award Program. The
U.S. Department of Education has acknowledged qualitative factors may be considered in compensation actions
applicable to covered employees so long as they are not related to an employee’s success in securing
enrollments or awarding of financial aid.
College/Unit communications should describe the process for selecting employees for nomination and clearly
define the objective criteria upon which award decisions will be made. All Colleges/Units must apply extreme
care in administration of the Bravo Award Program, inasmuch as these awards may give rise to perceptions of
favoritism and inequity.
Bravo Awards are discretionary cash awards that are intended to recognize and reward excellence in University
service, significant achievements and contributions, and outstanding individual and team performance. The
amount of the award is determined by the Approving Official at his or her discretion, subject to College/Unit
It is important to note that a formal recognition program does not take the place of informally appreciating or
recognizing employees on a daily basis. A formal recognition program serves to supplement informal, day-to-day
recognition of employees.
All award amounts should be one of the following: $250, $500, $750, and $1,000.
Each Executive Officer is responsible for the nomination and award process within their College(s)/Unit(s).
Award eligibility should promote performance that helps the College/Unit meet strategic goals, business needs,
or both. As a general guideline, Bravo Awards will be awarded for extraordinary performance which produces a
measurable outcome.
The process used by each College/Unit should ensure consistency in the selection process and in the application
of the selection criteria within the College/Unit.
A departmental recognition program such as Bravo should be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis to
assess its effectiveness and to obtain feedback and suggestions from employees for enhancements to the
program. HR/Compensation will ensure that periodic auditing and monitoring will occur, as appropriate
throughout the fiscal year.
As a complement to HR/Compensation’s monitoring, each College/Unit should establish a process to evaluate
the effectiveness of the program and ensure fairness and achievement of program objectives. Examples of
performance measures include:
 Correlation of awards to employee performance and organizational goal achievement;
 Ease of administration;
 Adequate documentation provided to HR/Compensation; and
 Employee satisfaction.
The Vice President for Human Resources will announce the continuation of the Bravo Award Pilot Program
available for College/Unit-level deployment. The Executive Officer, or their designee, will then follow up with
specific information pertaining to their College/Unit’s adoption. To assist Colleges/Units in marketing the
program, HR/Compensation has developed a sample communication kit.
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