Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Cash Awards for Suggestions that Help

Portland Community College has an Employee Suggestion Award program to recognize and reward employees for their outstanding ideas and actions. An employee or group of employees who develops an innovative, implementable way to improve a college process or service, or takes significant actions above and beyond the call of duty, may be eligible for an award.


All full and part-time permanent Academic Professional, Classified, Confidential, Faculty and Management except the President and those who report directly to the President.

How it Works

An employee (or group of employees) presents an idea via Employee Suggestion Awards Application to the supervisor of the division/department directly impacted by the change. (The employee does not have to work for that division/department.) The supervisor assesses the idea and gets back to the employee/group within 10 days. If it takes longer than that to assess the idea, the supervisor lets the employee/group know, and provides the results of the assessment as soon as possible.

If the change is approved, the supervisor identifies an award amount and submits this information to the appropriate Executive Officer for written approval. Once the Executive Officer approves, the description and award amount are sent to payroll, and a check is issued within 5 working days. Payroll sends the check to the employee’s supervisor who presents the award to the employee. The employee may receive 50% of the award amount at the time of approval and the remaining 50% after 12 months verification of savings. Award amounts are taxable income. If the change is not approved, the supervisor of the impacted division/department provides a written explanation of their decision.

Supervisors may initiate an award for an employee who takes significant action above and beyond the call of duty. The award is reviewed and processed in the same way.

Anonymous Application

If an employee wishes to suggest a change anonymously, or doesn’t know which supervisor should receive it, the application may be submitted to the Compensation Team at HRComp-group@pcc.edu. They will pass it on to the appropriate division/department supervisor. If the supervisor believes the change should be implemented, they will set an award amount and communicate the information to Jennifer, who will identify the employee.

Award Amount

When the change or action results in a measurable financial benefit to the College, the award is based on projected annual savings or revenue. The award may equal 10% of the savings or revenue, with a minimum award of $100 and a maximum of $5,000. If a change results in ongoing savings or revenue, the award may be continued for 2 years at a maximum of $5,000 per year.

When a change results in improved customer service or another significant benefit that is difficult to measure, the supervisor of the department impacted may determine the amount of the award, ranging from $100 to $1,000.

If an award goes to a team, the team may choose how to allocate the award among team members, or it may be divided equally among team members.

When the change or action results in a measurable financial benefit to the College, the award is funded from that savings or revenue. When the change or action does not result in a financial benefit, the department impacted may access a separate fund for quality enhancements. PCC’s executive officers approve awards from and monitor this separate pool of funds.


An employee suggests a change to improve how records are kept in Division/Department A. The supervisor of Division/Department A approves this change and calculates an annual savings of $40,000, which will continue indefinitely. The employee receives $4,000 during the first year (10% of the savings estimated to accrue over the next 12 months). A year later, the employee receives an additional $4,000. An employee may receive awards for other suggestions that are approved.

Award Disputes

Michaelyn Seals is the Award Facilitator and will resolve disputes over awards. The supervisor of the department impacted makes the decision to approve a change and submit it for executive officer approval. The decision of the supervisor is not grievable.

If an employee feels that they should have received an award, and did not, the employee must submit the facts of the situation, in writing, to the Award Facilitator. The Award Facilitator will review this written submission, ask questions, as needed, and present a fact finding report to the supervisor for consideration.

If you have questions about the Awards program, contact the Compensation Team.

Policy Revisions

This policy is reviewed periodically and changed as needed to ensure that the intended purposes of the policy are being met. Changes to this policy must be approved by the President.