Thrive Award

Your Workplace is accepting nominations for the 2020 Thrive Awards. These awards celebrate thriving organizations that have created a healthy, engaged workplace and a positive work culture. Please review the details below. Then complete the nomination form.


In 2008, Dr. Sandy Cotton wrote “The 10 Principles for a Healthy Workplace.” This article became the benchmark for the Thrive Awards. The following five criteria are based on Dr. Cotton’s article:

1. Collaborative Dialogue

Leaders in thriving organizations engage in serious, candid, and supportive dialogue about critical issues. They know that visions and core values cannot be imposed; they must be discovered and named by the organization that claims them. The emphasis is on community conversation, not direction or manipulation from one individual or a small group.

In a healthy organization, people feel free to express themselves without fear. They have learned to provide their colleagues with supportive feedback regardless of rank. They know how to communicate and how to appropriately request change when necessary.

2. Trust

Without trust, relationships are fragile, fearful and uncertain. When trust is present, we can relate to each other as confident and affirmed members of a workplace community. Trust can be difficult to quantify; its recipe can seem so elusive.

In organizations that thrive, trust is generated by ongoing, honest communication, often modeled by leaders. When words and actions have integrity, relationships become dependable.

3. Clear Outcomes

Too often we get caught up in the weeds of workplace life. We lose sight of the bigger picture — the shared goals of our collective ventures. While we are all accountable for meeting our formal goals — serving clients, producing widgets, or generating sales —thriving organizations also see the quality of the work environment as a significant and enduring goal. Meeting production goals in an environment that corrodes morale and wellness is like strip mining. It works for a while, but in the end, it leaves desolation and despair.

Accurate, user-friendly record keeping is important to ground our perception of goals, but remember that it is sometimes difficult to measure the really important stuff. There’s an old adage: we can’t measure what’s important, so we give importance to what we can measure. Thriving organizations are careful and discerning in the measures they choose and remember to reward and recognize people when outcomes are achieved.

4. Tolerance

Each of us is a unique bundle of gifts and vulnerabilities. Some things come easily to us; others require a great deal of work and discipline. Thriving organizations use any of the many tools available to explore differences in the workplace and incorporate them into professional development. Leaders in engaged organizations model the way by sharing their own gifts and vulnerabilities non-defensively.

5. Teamwork

Teamwork is wonderful in the abstract, but challenging in reality. Thriving organizations know that is absolutely critical for people to learn about their personal approaches to handling conflict; otherwise they are at the mercy of their own vulnerabilities time and again.

In thriving organizations, people don’t just collaborate on work, they form meaningful relationships with one another. Authentic laughter is an essential ingredient in reducing the stresses of the everyday workplace grind. In the best organizations, people feel comfortable enough to laugh at gaffes, hang-ups, and foibles. Additionally, people who enjoy eating together rarely engage in interpersonal cannibalism. When we regularly break bread together, we seem to be less inclined to break each other. Thriving organizations make a point of breaking bread with the workplace community.

Nomination Process

Any organization that demonstrates a clear commitment to the five criteria is eligible to be nominated. You may choose to self-nominate, or a nominator can nominate you. Both are acceptable and equally weighted. The following nomination process has been designed to make the Thrive Awards as fair as possible:

Part One

  1. Fill out the Nomination Form below.
  2. In 1,000 words or less provide reasons why the nominee deserves to win.  

Part Two

You may think an organization is a great place to work but obviously everyone who works there needs to agree. In addition to the subjective materials provided in Part One, Part Two consists of an objective analysis of how nominees measure up against the criteria. This is achieved through an online employee survey. To qualify for the Thrive Awards, nominated organizations must agree to have employees participate in the Employee Opinion Survey.

Employee Opinion Survey: This survey has been designed to determine which of the organizations nominated best exemplifies the five criteria. The survey will be set up online with directions to guide you step-by-step through the process. Further instruction will be provided to nominees closer to the date of survey launch. We have chosen a two-week survey period to maximize your response rate.

To qualify, the minimum response rate required of an organization by size is:

Organization Size Required Response Rate
(Total Completed Surveys)
Up to 49 employees 75%
50-99 employees 60% (30-59)
100-249 employees 45% (45-112)
250-499 employees 30% (75-150)
500 or more employees 25%


We are committed to maintaining the absolute confidentiality of survey participants and we will never release individual survey responses.

To begin the process, complete the nomination form below.


YW Awards

December 1, 2019

Nominations open

April 9, 2020

Nomination forms due

April 16, 2020

Online Employee Opinion Survey opens

April 30, 2020

 Online Employee Opinion Survey closes

May 11, 2020

Shortlisted candidates announced

June 11, 2020

2020 YW Awards Reception