On-the-Spot Rewards Program

Managers can use the On- the-Spot reward program as a way to recognize excellent performance and valuable contributions in a real-time way. By providing a Spot Reward gift card, managers have the opportunity to provide a meaningful “thank you” and connect the reward to the contribution and/or performance being recognized.


All nonunion, benefits-eligible staff - both full- and part-time - with at least three months' service time at Brandeis, are eligible to receive this award. All managers, including faculty who manage staff, may request a reward for their employees by completing the Spot Reward gift card request and approval form (pdf).


Managers can reward an employee or employees with an Amazon gift card, available in $50 increments, up to $350 maximum per card. 

Managers: When defining the size of the award, please keep in mind that gift card award amounts are considered as gross payments for tax purposes; imputed income will be recorded in employee payroll and taxes will be withheld.


The On-the-Spot program is meant to reward individuals who have displayed extra effort or who have gone above and beyond their day-to-day job responsibilities. The program recognizes employees “in the moment” on a one-time basis for recent exemplary action. Continuous and sustained excellence should be recognized through other institutional means, such as the annual merit program or a promotion, if appropriate.

Following are examples of situations in which an On-The-Spot reward may be given:

  • Improving a process which created substantial department efficiency and overall budget savings.
  • Utilizing creative problem-solving to resolve a particularly complicated and ongoing issue.
  • Working extra assignments outside of the regular pattern of work to be of further assistance to their department.
  • Assisting a colleague in completing a large work assignment or project that took considerable time and effort, and would normally be outside of the employee’s job domain.

It is important that all rewards are distributed in a manner that is fair, equitable and transparent to employees within the overall rewards budget.


Rewards will be funded out of the budget of the approving manager’s department. In extenuating budget circumstances, departments should first seek assistance from the dean or vice president, and potentially from central funds.


Anyone in an employee’s supervisory chain can nominate an employee for an On-the-Spot reward, with the approval of the employee’s manager (second-level supervisor of the employee).

To request an On-the-Spot Reward:

  • Complete a Spot Reward gift card request and approval form (pdf).
  • Forward both to human resources for review and final approval.
  • Supervisors or managers can pick up the gift card from the HR front desk.
  • The employee’s supervisor or manager should notify the employee in person and thank them for the work or behavior that is being rewarded.

Under IRS regulations, gift cards are considered taxable income and will be processed accordingly. Further, managers may not use university funds to purchase gift cards for employees, for any reason, outside of this program.

Frequently Asked Questions