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Recognizing Exceptional Workplaces

For over a decade, the Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award (formerly the Gallup Great Workplace Award) has been a prestigious achievement for organizations that meet the rigorous standards set by the most comprehensive workplace study ever conducted.

By connecting employee engagement to every aspect of workplace culture, these organizations fuel the motivation and innovation that drive business results far beyond the competition and give people what they really want from their careers and lives.

View the 2021 Criteria Start Your Application

The 2021 Gallup Exceptional workplace award

What makes a workplace exceptional?

The bottom line? People make the workplace exceptional.

By centering business strategy on people and creating a workplace culture to match, organizations see returns in retention, engagement, increased productivity, improved wellbeing and organizational citizenship, better customer experiences, true organic growth, and higher revenue.

When leaders support the employee experience, focus on strengths and coach talent to its full potential, they unleash human motivation, creativity and innovation -- even in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Gallup Award trophy

Recognize an exceptional manager with the Manager of the Year Award.

Extraordinary managers are the foundation for an exceptional workplace and play a key part in navigating disruption. To recognize their essential role, we ask each organization that applies for the Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award to nominate one manager who consistently affects the overall employee experience and achieves high performance levels, high employee retention and consistent engagement scores from their team.

Learn more about the Manager of the Year Award.

Learn more about other Gallup workplace awards.

Important Dates

Nov. 4, 2020: Application Period Opens

Jan. 4-27, 2021: Video Conference Applications

Jan. 29, 2021: Application Deadline

March 10, 2021: Winners Notified

March 18, 2021: Winners Announced on

June 7-9, 2021: Winners Celebrated at the Gallup at Work Summit

Criteria to Apply for the 2021 Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award

Each year, Gallup determines which organizations meet the award criteria and invites them to apply for the Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award.

Please review the 2021 criteria below that correspond with the size of your organization. A panel of judges will review all applications and select winners.

Minimum Criteria for Organizations With Less Than 5,000 Employees

The 2021 awards are based on Q12 administrations conducted between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • total of at least 50 respondents representing a census of the organization
  • overall GrandMean (GM) of 4.40+
  • participation rate of 80% or higher
  • ability to link engagement with business outcomes
  • local-level engagement data (if available)

Minimum Criteria for Organizations With More Than 5,000 Employees

The 2021 awards are based on Q12 administrations conducted between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • total of at least 50 respondents representing a census of the organization
  • percentage of workgroups at specified GrandMean (GM)
    • 5K<20K employees: 60% GM at 4.20 or higher
    • 20K<100K employees: 55% GM at 4.20 or higher
    • 100K+ employees: 50% GM at 4.20 or higher
  • participation rate of 80% or higher
  • ability to link engagement with business outcomes

Manager of the Year Criteria

In 2021, Gallup will select 10 finalists for the Manager of the Year Award, and the judging panel of workplace experts will select one winner. Please nominate one manager from your organization for this prestigious award as part of your application.

The nominated manager does not need to be a rollup manager. The judging panel's primary consideration is the impact the nominated manager has on their direct team. The nomination should include metrics that are used to gauge manager performance.

Great managers engage and inspire their employees.

The best managers help their employees see a future at your company and get on board with the company mission. Consider managers whose teams are consistently in the 90th percentile or above in overall engagement, show high performance levels and attain high employee retention.

Great managers focus on achieving business outcomes.

The best managers act as a driving force for ongoing performance growth and build workplaces that are engines of productivity and profitability. Nominate managers whose teams achieve outstanding business results and generate best practices within your organization.

Great managers support each employee's development.

The best managers individualize their leadership approaches, understanding that each employee has unique goals, needs and motivations. They emphasize employee well-being, deepen employees' strengths and coach employees to greatness.

Great managers help build a culture of excellence.

The best managers align their teams with their leaders' vision for their company culture. Consider managers who clearly and consistently support your culture, inspiring high commitment and helping employees believe in and live out the organization's purpose in their daily work.

Application Details and Process

The online application will be available Nov. 4, 2020. All applications must be submitted by Jan. 29, 2021.

To apply, please follow these steps:

  1. Fill out the online application.
  2. Upload supporting documents through application platform:
    • PowerPoint presentation (up to 10 slides) detailing how your organization has linked engagement to business outcomes
      • Analysis can focus on trends at the organizational or workgroup level. If available, applicants can showcase individual-level analysis, as provided by Gallup.
      • Organizations with fewer employees should include slides detailing local-level workgroup engagement data.
    • Company 2020 Q12 Engagement Report (PDF)
    • Company 2019 Q12 Engagement Report (PDF) (if applicable)
    • An official company logo in .eps or .ai file format
    • Nomination for the Gallup Manager of the Year Award, including:
      • engagement trend as manager (3-5 years if available)
      • retention trend as manager (3-5 years if available)
      • direct report
      • rollup report (if available)
      • balanced scorecard (if available)
      • manager photo/ headshot

Gallup encourages applicants who have won the award three or more consecutive times to participate in a one-hour video conference with the judging panel instead of submitting a written application. This option can be selected on the online application form. All video conferences will need to be completed by Jan. 27, 2021.

Application Tips

Please be thorough in your responses and provide examples to support your answers.

Winners of the 2020 Gallup Great Workplace Award should focus their application responses on what is new or different from last year. Gallup retains the previous year's application and refers to it for your overall strategic goals and initiatives as needed.

If you have questions about your application, please email

What happens next if your company wins?

Winners of the 2021 Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award will be notified by March 10, 2021. Winners will be celebrated at the virtual Gallup at Work Summit, scheduled for June 7-9, 2021.

Gallup will feature winning organizations and managers on Gallup will provide a media kit and materials to support winners in publicizing their achievement.

Additional Workplace Award Categories

Gallup has studied what it takes to be exceptional at work and in school, to transform culture and to put strengths first.

In 2020, we introduced three new award categories to further recognize the excellence achieved by our clients.

  • The Don Clifton Strengths-Based Culture Award recognizes organizations with workplace cultures that put the strengths of leaders, managers and employees at the heart of how they work every day.
  • Winners of the Gallup Culture Transformation Award have transformed a core element of the way they work to create a shared and sustainable vision for success with measurable impacts for their people and business.
  • The Don Clifton Strengths for Students Award recognizes colleges, universities and districts that enable students to learn what they naturally do best and apply their strengths to thrive in school and all areas of their lives.

Though the Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award requires an invitation to apply, these new awards will be awarded based on nominations by Gallup account teams.

Contact your account team to learn more.