About Learning Elite

Since 1991, the 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, the Optimas Awards are given by Workforce magazine to recognize human resources and workforce management initiatives that achieve business results for the organization.


Nominations for the 2019 Optimas Awards are scheduled to open on Friday, April 19 to Friday, May 24, 2019!

About Learning Elite

The Optimas Awards are recognition awards across a range of categories, recognizing workforce management initiatives at organizations worldwide.

Our top award, while not open to general nominations, will be selected by judges and given to the organization whose workforce management initiatives have met the standards established for at least six of the other ten categories.
This award recognizes organizations that designed, developed or implemented innovative benefit programs that achieved organizational goals.
This award recognizes organizations that have developed a program to deliver significant financial impact or forge or maintain a winning edge over the organization’s competition.
This award recognizes organizations whose corporate citizenship programs are demonstrably and successfully linked to its employee recruiting, retention and engagement goals.
This award recognizes organizations that have created a program or strategy to help the organization succeed in the world marketplace.
This award recognizes organizations that have developed an innovative workforce management strategy that addresses a fundamental business issue.
This award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated adaptability and agility in successfully developing a program in response to the changing business environment.
This award recognizes organizations that have developed or implemented a program in partnership with another constituency, either within the organization or outside of it.
This award recognizes organizations that developed and implemented an innovative and effective recruitment initiative that helped the organization source, attract and recruit job candidates.
This award recognizes organizations that developed a targeted training program that addressed a significant corporate priority and delivered measurable results.
This award recognizes organizations that anticipated internal or external trends and responded creatively, effectively and proactively.


Nomination FAQs

Organizations of all kinds are welcome, including private and public companies, educational and government organizations and nonprofits. There are no restriction regarding scope, size and focus of the workforce management initiative. Consultants with clients are eligible to enter and encouraged to work with the client company in preparing and submitting the award submission form.
Yes. More than one application may be submitted from the same organization. Each submitted nomination form will require its own application fee.
No. Each nomination must be specific to one organization initiative.
No. All nominations must be submitted via the online submission portal for judging.
To be considered for judging, nominators must submit a completed nomination form via the online submission portal. Nominations must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. CST on the closing date. Nominators can download the nomination template, which includes instructions and applications, in advance. Completed applications must be submitted via the online submission portal.

Yes. There is a onetime $195 application processing and handling fee per submission. To be considered for judging, payment must be received. Payments will only be processed through the online submission portal.
The 2019 nomination period runs from April 19 through May 24.
Each nomination must include a completed form describing the business challenges, the program and how it addressed those challenges, and the results of the initiative. Please do NOT send supporting documents with your entry. Workforce will request documents as needed.

Award Basics

Workforce magazine’s Optimas Awards were developed to recognize human resources and workforce management initiatives that achieve business results for the organization. Awards are given annually across 10 categories. There’s also the General Excellence award, selected by the judges, which is given to the organization whose workforce management initiatives met the standards established for at least six of the 10 categories.
Workforce management professionals nominate their own workforce management initiatives. While many of the 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. Workforce editors also collect information to identify organizations that have the potential to be winners.
The categories, rules and judging process will remain the same as 2018.

Judging FAQs

Judging is completed by Workforce magazine editors. Each nomination is reviewed by multiple judges to minimize bias.
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.
A panel of judges has been established for each category of awards to ensure the submission can be judged consistently and fairly. Winners will be determined by averaging scores assigned by judges to each entry. In the event of a tie, a select group of judges will review competing entries to determine winners.
The nominations will be judged upon the following criteria:

  • 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 non measurable 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?
The scoring has been set up to be consistent across the award categories and judges will provide numerical scores for each of the following criteria. Each of the nine award criteria is judged on a scale of 1 -7:

7 (Breakthrough and/or Role Model): Initiatives considered “breakthroughs” and/or “role models” for human resources and workforce management initiatives that achieve business results for the organization.

4-6 (Outstanding): Initiatives that did an outstanding job, met or exceeded all of the criteria as described and accomplished all goals. The complexity was significant and significantly impacted business results.

(Meets the criteria): Initiatives that met the criteria, but did not or could not provide clear of reliable evidence to identify initiatives as breakthrough or outstanding.

0-1 (Does not meet the criteria): Did not meet the criteria established or failed to document how the criteria were met.

Winner FAQs

Optimas winners demonstrate 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. 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.
Winners will be announced during the month of October. Finalists will be announced in July and will be posted on the award website.
Award winners will receive a specially designed award, custom press kit and winner logo. They will also be recognized in a special section in the November/December issue of Workforce magazine.
If your organization receives a Workforce Optimas Award, announce your great news. We will provide you with a custom press release and media kit to help you spread your recognition. Winners will receive a custom engraved award shipped directly to their office. The winner’s story will also be featured on Workforce.com and within a special section in the November/December Workforce issue.
Yes. Additional awards are available for purchase. Contact Nina Howard at nhoward@humancapitalmedia.com for more info.
Yes. No-cost logo uses include: press releases, corporate websites and advertising that runs in or on properties run by MediaTec Publishing Inc., Workforce’s parent organization. Reprints, merchandising and logo licensing beyond the uses described above. Contact Keith Williams at keith.williams@parsintl.com for more info.

About Learning Elite