Human Resources and Payroll

Reward and Recognition



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George Mason University values a culture of recognition to appreciate, motivate and retain its faculty and staff. The Human Resources and Payroll Reward and Recognition program creates and implements recognition opportunities that are fun, meaningful and linked to the values and mission of Mason.

Purpose of Recognition

The George Mason University Rewards and Recognition program’s purpose is to recognize individuals and teams for contributions to their department, school or the University as a whole. Mason faculty and staff are encouraged to use the recognition tools and resources available to them to foster an environment of shared success and commitment. The program provides various opportunities to acknowledge other’s contributions from gift cards and non-monetary awards to events that celebrate the achievements of Mason’s faculty and staff.

Types of Awards

Recognition is most effective when it takes place on a regular basis in a variety of different ways. Mason’s Reward and Recognition program provides a continuum of opportunities for recognizing colleagues across the University.

Formal Recognition - this type of recognition occurs on a regular basis and is delivered by HR & Payroll, The Commonwealth of Virginia or in schools or departments.

HR & Payroll Awards

  • Employee of the Month
  • Faculty Staff Book Scholarship
  • Outstanding Achievement Awards
  • University Day Service Awards

Departmental Awards

Commonwealth of Virginia Governor’s Awards for Public Service

Informal Recognition - this type of recognition includes on-the-spot and day-to-day recognition and is typically administered by HR & Payroll but delivered by departments and schools.

eCards - electronic greeting cards that anyone can send to congratulate, encourage or send some cheer.

Monetary Awards

  • Gift Cards - for request for peer-to-peer recognition
  • Impact Awards

Non-Monetary Awards – awards that are material goods, such as non-refundable gift certificates, plaques, trophies, desk items, clothing, tools, electronics or sports equipment.

  • Mason Flare – fun, informal awards for request for peer-to-peer recognition
  • Student Employee Recognition – for request to recognize Mason’s student employees
  • Presidential Citation

Recognition Leave

Do It Yourself (DIY) Recognition

We encourage Mason employees to print and use the meaningful and instant appreciation cards and labels on this page to recognize others. You can also check out our Pinterest page for more inspiration, ideas and free recognition!

Recognition Mini-Notes

Make someone’s day with an encouraging message! Colorful and fun, these small note cards feature messages like, "Fabulous!" and "Consider this a Citation for Excellence” on the front and are blank on the back to give you room to write a note of praise to a colleague. Each pack includes 2 designs of 12 cards for a total of 24 cards with envelopes.

Please email with your request indicating how many packs you would like and to which mail stop your request should be sent.



Praise Pads

These note pads are a creative way to thank your colleagues and give them a pat on the back for their hard work and dedication. Each pad has 50 sheets of the same design.

Please email with your request indicating how many packs you would like and to which mail stop your request should be sent.

Be Kind - Bingo

Play a game of Be Kind - Bingo to show others how much you appreciate them!

Thank you and congratulations cards

Can be printed on 8.5x11 (letter) or on 5x8 index cards in color or black and white. Be sure to choose the appropriate size (after you choose print, click on properties, then click on the paper quality tab and scroll through the menu to pick the correct size).

Instant Employee Appreciation

Just print, cut and share!

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These stickers could be used alone...

But were designed to put on the bottom of Hershey Kisses or Rolos for some really “sweet” recognition. Avery ¾” round labels are recommended.


How many gift cards can a faculty or staff member receive?

Faculty and staff can receive up to two gift cards per fiscal year.

Who is eligible to receive a gift card?

Faculty, staff and non-student wage employees.

How many gift cards can I request at one time?

You can request as many as you like; however, please keep in mind that we will ask your department to cover the cost of requests for more than five gift cards or for frequent, smaller requests.

Are gift cards considered income?

Yes, gift cards are considered income and all employees who receive a gift card will be taxed accordingly. The taxes are imputed on a quarterly basis (every April, July, October and December). Please keep this in mind when you request gift cards. Be sure to distribute them on a timely basis so that the recipient isn’t taxed before they receive their actual gift card.

Can I request a gift card for a colleague in another department?

Absolutely, and you are encouraged to do this since the Reward and Recognition is a peer-to-peer program as well as a tool for managers and supervisors.

Why is there a field for the nominee’s supervisor’s email address on the gift card online award submission form?

It makes the supervisor aware of the great work that their employee is doing.

What happens after I submit my request for a gift card or non-monetary gift? How long does it take to hear back?

Once your request is received, it will be reviewed for eligibility and then processed. The typical turn-around time is a week to ten days for average requests. The Reward and Recognition office receives a large volume of requests at the end of each semester, so it will take a little longer to process requests received in December, April and May.

If you have a large request, please allow at least to two to three weeks for processing.

Can I request gift cards or non-monetary items at the holidays or occasions?

Awards are for job performance and are not to be used as gifts for holidays, birthdays, or other personal occasions.

I’d like to request a gift card for a faculty or staff member who is leaving or retiring from Mason. Can I request a farewell item?

That is not the purpose of this particular program. Gift cards, non-monetary gifts and other recognition is not provided for those soon retiring or leaving the University.

Do you provide awards for volunteers or affiliates?

The Reward and Recognition program is for George Mason University faculty and staff only. The recipient of the reward must be employed by Mason to be eligible.

I know an exemplary faculty or staff member who deserves recognition but I’m not sure how to properly reward them? What should I do?

You are encouraged to review the website and see if anything is of particular interest to you. You can also contact the Reward and Recognition coordinator for ideas and suggestions at 703-993-2739 or via email at

When is the Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony? When are nominations due?

The Outstanding Achievement Awards are held every fall, usually in early November. The call for nominations will be advertised in late summer and early fall. You are welcome to submit a nomination for this ceremony at any point throughout the year and your nomination will be held and added to the pool of nominees when it’s time for the ceremony.

Does the University recognize employees for their years of service?

Yes, employees who have served George Mason University and/or the Commonwealth of Virginia from 5 through 50 years of service are recognized at the annual Green and Gold Day ceremonies in April. All eligible employees receive an email invitation to the ceremony.

I have a great idea for an award, how do I share this?

Please contact the Reward & Recognition Coordinator at or 703-993-2739 to share your ideas.