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Division of Human Resources

Recognize and Reward Performance

Through hard work, dedication and innovative ideas, many of our employees exceed expectations.

Favorable evaluations are a wonderful way to validate and encourage your employees, but there are other ways that managers can show gratitude for hard work and strong performance.


Bonuses may be awarded to all permanent and probationary staff, faculty and unclassified administrators in slotted, full-time equivalent positions, provided their base salary is less than $100,000 per year.

Intended to recognize significant accomplishments and unique contributions, you may consider a bonus for: 

  • Increased organizational productivity 
  • Development and/or implementation of improved work processes
  • Exceptional customer service 
  • Realized cost savings 
  • Other specific contributions to the success of the University. 

Employees may receive more than one bonus annually, so long as the total awarded does not exceed $3,000. 

Bonuses may be requested electronically through the PeopleSoft HCM system

More information about bonuses may be found in HR policy 1.77 [pdf].

Colleges and departments are encouraged to create recognition programs in order to recognize individuals or teams of employees.

Departments interested in developing a program should contact the Organizational and Professional Development Office by calling 803-777-6578. Our knowledgeable staff will help you establish program goals, design program structure and plan implementation and monitoring strategies. Once your plans are written, please complete the Request to Establish Employee Recognition Program [pdf] form and submit it to the VP for Human Resources Office, located at 1420 Pendleton Street, Thornwell 220, Columbia S.C. 29208. 

For more information on creating recognition programs, read the Employee Recognition policy [pdf] and guidelines for establishing a recognition program [pdf] or attend one of our training classes. Check the availability on our calendar or class list by subject page.

There are established national and international awards that recognize faculty for research, scholarship and creative activity. From the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows to Fulbright Scholars, Guggenheim Fellows and National Science Foundation Career Awards. For more details about these and other award opportunities, please visit the Office of the Provost site.

For departments who would like to establish a new award for faculty and staff recognition, you must first complete the Faculty and Staff Award Authorization form [pdf] in order to be reviewed by HR to confirm that the award meets the established guidelines, and then approved by the Board of Trustees. After you've completed the form, please submit to either Human Resources or the Board of Trustees.

In an effort to attract, retain and motivate employees, the university supports competitive and equitable pay through compensation programs. The amount of compensation awarded is based on duties and responsibilities, employee backgrounds and work experience, performance and available resources. 

Common pay increases and compensation include bonuses or pay for performance.

Information about other salary increases that are not based on performance can be found in the Policies and Procedures section of our website. 


All classified staff, unclassified administrators and faculty of the University of South Carolina, except those staff serving in a probationary appointment or faculty and staff serving in a temporary appointment, are eligible for consideration for a pay for performance salary increase as long as they meet the criteria outlined in section B of the policy [pdf]

Pay for Performances may be requested electronically through the PeopleSoft HCM system.

For faculty and unclassified administrators, there is no restriction on the amount the pay performance increase may be unless the position is in the Executive Compensation System. In the Executive Compensation System, a salary increase may not place the employee’s salary above the maximum of the pay range for the position.

For classified staff, pay for performance salary increases may be awarded for up to 15% of an employee’s base salary, provided the increase does not place the employee’s salary above the maximum of the pay range for the position.

One of the criteria that classified staff must meet in order to be eligible is to have a rating of "Successful" or above on the most recent performance appraisal. Employees with a current rating of "Successful" by default or who receive an overall "Unsuccessful" evaluation at anytime during the review period are not eligible for performance related pay increases. Supervisors may use the following chart to help determine the appropriate increase based on the employee performance rating.

Rating Numerical Rating Suggested Increase
Successful  1.5-1.9  up to 3%
Successful  2.0-2.4 up to 6%
Exceptional  2.5-2.7 up to 10%
Exceptional  2.8-3.0  up to 15%


Faculty, staff and administrators who are celebrating 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years of cumulative State service are eligible for the State Service Award. Because this award represents cumulative service to the State, an employee is still eligible if he or she left State employment and is later re-employed by the same agency or another State agency. FTE service is recognized without regard to research grant and time-limited.

For more information about the State Service Award Program, please read the State Service Award Program policy [pdf].

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