Performance Excellence Awards

Level 1 Application:  Eligible for “Interest” Recognition

This is the beginning level for organizations interested in adopting and applying performance improvement principles. Submitting a Level 1 application form will help an organization learn about the Baldrige Criteria and the assessment process. In addition, the organization will receive feedback that will help improve processes and propel it toward higher award levels of performance. SWAE offers Level 1 applicants a hands-on, coaching approach during this first step of their performance improvement journey. 

Level 2 Application:  Eligible for “Commitment Award”

Level 2 is the intermediate level of the SWAE Program. It recognizes organizations that are beginning to demonstrate serious commitment to, and implementation of, performance improvement principles. To apply at this level, organizations must submit their Organizational Profile answering all questions described in the Criteria booklet (pages 4-6) and a self-assessment (up to 15 pages long), detailing how they apply the Basic Item Requirements of the seven categories outlined in the Criteria booklet. It is important that applicants at this level clearly note processes that have been systematically improved based on data and assessment.   Level 2 applicants host a 1 – 1.5 day site visit conducted by a team of SWAE examiners.

Level 3 Application:  Eligible for “Achievement Award”

Level 3 is an advanced level of participation. It recognizes organizations that have demonstrated, through their commitment to and practice of performance improvement principles, significant progress and results in building sound processes. Level 3 applicants must submit the Organizational Profile answering all questions described in the Criteria booklet (pages 4-6). The application also includes a self-assessment (up to 35 pages long), detailing how the organization applies the Overall Item Requirements of the seven categories outlined in the Criteria booklet.

The year after receiving the Achievement Award, organizations are expected to provide voluntary assistance to organizations that are new to the SWAE performance excellence process.

Level 4 Application:  Eligible for Excellence Award (Pinnacle, Pioneer or Category)

The highest level of recognition is presented to organizations that have demonstrated, through their practices and achievements, the highest level of performance excellence.  An application at this level requires submission of the Organizational Profile answering all questions described in the Criteria booklet (pages 4-6). The application also includes a self-assessment (up to 50 pages long) detailing how the organization applies the Multiple Item Requirements of the seven categories outlined in the Criteria booklet.

 

The Pinnacle Award for Excellence recognizes organizations that have mature and fully-deployed quality systems within their operations that demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement and have a sustained significant record of performance. Organizational learning, including innovation and sharing of best practices, is a key management tool. Current performance results have been evaluated against relevant comparisons or benchmarks and show areas of favorable performance for most key customer, process and market requirements.

The Pioneer Award for Excellence recognizes organizations that demonstrate effective, systematic approaches that are aligned with the organizational needs. Deployment may vary in some areas. Results show good performance and comparative and trend data are available for some important results areas. Some beneficial trends are evident but sustained excellence has not been achieved.

The Category Award for Excellence recognizes organizations in one or more of the six categories: Leadership; Strategy, Customers; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Workforce; and Operations. In each case, the organization will achieve recognition based on its performance in that category and the results related to that performance.

The year after receiving the Excellence Award, organizations are expected to provide voluntary assistance to organizations that are new to the SWAE performance excellence process. Additionally, Excellence Award recipients are asked to participate in the annual Awards Banquet, and host a Benchmarking Tour/Workshop the year following their achievement.