Department of Commerce

Reduce travel for awards ceremonies

My idea is for federal agencies to conduct awards ceremonies at their home facilities, rather than flying employees to the Washington DC area for awards ceremonies.

 

Since I became a federal employee, I have received two awards for which I was invited to fly to Washington DC for a ceremony; the ceremonies were each attended by dozens of other award recipients from around the country as well as a guest for each employee. I was able to interact with the other winners to greet senior agency officials, and the ceremonies themselves were very nice and gratifying.

 

In retrospect, I believe it makes more sense for the ceremonies to be held at the primary duty stations of the recipients rather than in the Washington DC area. That serves two purposes. First, it represents considerable savings by eliminating the costs of airfare, lodging, banquets and so forth, along the carbon footprint of air travel for the employees and their guests. Officials from headquarters could still preside over the ceremonies but could do so by taking advantage of modern videoconferencing technology. Second, by having the awards ceremonies at the local level, the employees get recognized in front of their closest peers (their immediate co-workers), which will make for a warmer and more lasting memory for those involved.

 

(Alternatively, local awards ceremonies could be timed to coincide with annual site visits by senior officials.)

 

This would save individual agencies tens of thousands of dollars each year, and would set the good example of reducing the amount of air travel required to complete a task that is very important (rewarding employees for dedicated service, boosting morale, etc.) but that some outside of government may view as unnecessary.

 

(And yes, in the event that this suggestion wins a SAVE Award, I will decline the trip to Washington DC and instead present my idea to President Obama via videoconference!)

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Idea No. 6180