HR Administration

Optimas Awards


Apr. 30, 2012

Since 1991, the annual Optimas Awards have been a source of ideas, direction and inspiration for human resources professionals. The Optimas Awards celebrate HR’s success at solving some of the biggest business challenges of our time.

Each year, 10 Optimas Awards are given by Workforce Management to recognize human resources and workforce management initiatives that achieve business results for the organization. The award is given in the following categories: Financial Impact, Global Outlook, Innovation, Managing Change, Partnership, Corporate Citizenship, Service, Vision, Competitive Advantage, and General Excellence.


Demonstrated Business Results

Optimas Award winners have helped open new markets around the world, reinvented city government, slashed bureaucracy in the federal government, established Mexico’s first HMO, taken health care to rural America, revitalized failing business units and improved the acquisition process.

Not surprisingly, Optimas Award winners have pushed their organizations to record profits, greater market share, higher stock value and better corporate reputations. In short, they have produced tangible, measurable business results.

Results-Oriented HR Is Practiced Everywhere

The Optimas Award winners prove that HR at its best can be practiced anywhere: in family businesses and the public sector, in the Fortune 500 and in small organizations, in big cities and on the farm, in industries of every sort.

The Optimas Award winners are “among the best” (which is what “optimas” means in Latin) and reflect the leadership, vision and energy that define human resources management.


How does Workforce Management choose Optimas Award winners? Judges look for organizations whose initiatives have a strong human resources component and an emphasis on bottom-line business results. Winners achieve tangible business results.

All of the winning organizations share some characteristics. In each organization:

  • Workforce management strategies help the organization achieve its business goals.
  • Workforce management leadership understands the business issues surrounding the organization and respond accordingly.

Workforce Management’s goal is to show how leaders in the profession are guiding their companies to greater success through the astute management of an organization’s most valuable corporate asset—its employees. The Optimas Award winners are workforce management leaders who have identified critical business issues in their organizations and responded with initiatives that are key to the company’s success.

How Optimas Award Candidates Are Identified

First, workforce management professionals nominate their own programs and initiatives. The online nomination form must be submitted to be considered for an Optimas Award. While many of these initiatives begin with the leaders in human resources, eligible entries can begin elsewhere in the company, provided that they involve significant participation by the organization’s workforce management leadership (and that can include the CEO, chief financial officer or chief operating officer).

In addition, Workforce Management editors collect information to identify organizations that have the potential to be winners. The data come from numerous sources: newspapers, business magazines, books, conferences and other events, broadcast media, previous winners, consultants and academics.

How Optimas Award Winners Are Chosen

Workforce Management’s editorial staff meets to determine the finalists. They use the following criteria to determine the winners:

  • Is there a clearly identified business issue?
  • Are there quantifiable data that help clarify this business issue?
  • Is there a strong HR component to the solution of the business issue?
  • What is the HR program and how does it address the business issue?
  • What are the quantifiable business results of the HR program?
  • What are the nonmeasurable results that have a payoff to the organization?
  • Does this initiative serve as a model for other organizations?
  • Does this program demonstrate how HR has an impact on the business results of the organization?
  • How long has the program been in place?

Once the candidates have been reviewed, the editors narrow the field to finalists in each category. Then the review starts anew. Through telephone interviews with key participants in the organization, a review of additional materials and other research, the editors learn as much as they can about the finalists. In the end, they reconvene to select the 10 winners.


Complete the Online Nomination Form. The application deadline for the 2012 Optimas Awards is July 31, 2012.

If you have questions about the awards, selection process or the nomination forum, contact Rick Bell, managing editor, at

Winners will be informed in September and announced in the November issue of Workforce Management magazine and on


Financial Impact

The organization has designed a program to effect a change that results in cost savings or increased revenue.

Global Outlook

HR has created a program or strategy to help the organization succeed in the world marketplace.


The organization has developed an innovative workforce-management strategy that addresses a fundamental business issue. The innovation marks a departure for the winning company and often for the field of workforce management.

Managing Change

The organization has successfully developed a program in response to the changing business environment.


The workforce management leadership has developed or implemented a program in partnership with another constituency, either within the organization or outside of it.

Corporate Citizenship

Award is given to the organization whose corporate citizenship programs are demonstrably and successfully linked to its employee recruiting, retention and engagement goals.


Workforce management leaders have developed a program to help another constituency within the organization meet its business goals.


The organization has anticipated internal and/or external trends that will affect the organization and it has responded proactively.

Competitive Advantage
The organization has developed a program to help forge or maintain a winning edge over the organization’s competitors.

General Excellence

The General Excellence award is given to the organization whose workforce management initiatives have met the standards established for at least six of the other nine categories.


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