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Pinnacle Award Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What is the SHRM Pinnacle Awards Program?
The SHRM Pinnacle Awards Program is an annual recognition program honoring the highest achievements in affiliate development and contributions that enhance the development of effective human resource management. Affiliates enter the competition by submitting an innovative project created and implemented by the chapter or state council, and special consideration is given to successful programs that are readily transferable to other affiliates.  

Who is eligible to apply?
All SHRM-affiliated chapters and state councils in good standing are eligible to submit ONE nomination for consideration.

 How many are awarded?
Up to nine $1,000 Pinnacle Awards will be given to chapters and up to three $1,000 Pinnacle Awards will be awarded to state councils in each of the following award levels/categories: 



Small Chapters

(10 to 100 members)


  • Serving HR Professionals
  • Advancing the HR Profession
  • Enhancing the SHRM Community

Medium & Large Chapters

(101 to 500 members)

  • Serving HR Professionals
  • Advancing the HR Profession
  • Enhancing the SHRM Community

Mega & Super Mega Chapters

(500+ members)

  • Serving HR Professionals
  • Advancing the HR Profession
  • Enhancing the SHRM Community



  • Serving HR Professionals
  • Advancing the HR Profession
  • Enhancing the SHRM Community

NOTE:  SHRM reserves the right to withhold granting an award in a particular award level/category if, upon its sole discretion, submissions fail to meet the required eligibility and program requirements or desired level of excellence.

How are the Awards Categories defined?

The categories are defined as follows:
Serving HR Professionals - Excellence in activities that support and promote professionals with   HR responsibility to be successful business leaders. Activities may be related to certification, professional learning, or skills development.

Advancing the HR Profession - Excellence in advancing the HR Profession by creating awareness with or supporting key constituents including workplace, government and regulatory    representatives, employers, schools, media and the community at large.  Activities may be outreach and awareness programs, government or public affairs, or focused on key issues such as inclusion, diversity, or workforce readiness.

Enhancing the SHRM Community - Excellence in providing programs and services that support   SHRM, meet members’ needs, or further the Chapter or State Council efforts. Activities may include efforts to foster member engagement, retention and acquisition, volunteer development and recognition, or supporting The SHRM Foundation.

Can an affiliate submit more than one entry?
Nominations are limited to one per affiliate per year.  In the event multiple entries are submitted, the earliest complete submission will be used. 

What does SHRM use to evaluate and judge Pinnacle Award nominations?
The Pinnacle Awards reflect the best that the field of human resources has to offer and recognize programs and initiatives of the highest quality. Your application serves as the sole basis for evaluating and judging by the Selection Committee utilizing the following Standards of Excellence:

  • An outstanding accomplishment that experts or peers in the human resource field would agree deserves special recognition.
  • Significant technical or professional impact on the human resource profession.
  • High levels of originalityor inventiveness that clearly identify your affiliate as creating an innovative enhancement or solution to a significant issue or problem.
  •  Outstanding leadership and coordination of extremely effective activities. 
  • A program that produced significant results above and beyond expectations and enable your affiliate chapter to meet key benchmarks and schedules that otherwise would not have been completed.
  • Improved program, service and product quality or member satisfaction to a degree that significantly increased membership and revenue and/or reduced costs.
  • Cohesive and innovative utilization of social media to engage members and/or increase participation at the chapter or state council level in alignment with short- and long-term goal strategies.
  • An important addition or amendment to the SHRM portfolio of programs, products and services.  

(NOTE: It is unlikely that any one program will satisfy every standard of excellence mentioned, and some achievements may reflect qualities other than those listed here. The Selection Committee reserves the right to adopt additional criteria agreed upon by all of its members.)

What type of programs might qualify for Pinnacle Award consideration?
The Selection Committee looks for innovative projects created and implemented by the chapter. Special consideration is given to those successful programs that are readily transferable to other chapters. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • A program designed to assist in the transition from welfare/workfare to productive, full-time employment or workforce readiness initiative. 
  • A program to improve community relations, education, diversity, and work and family issues.
  • A program designed to facilitate the advancement of entry-level practitioners into the profession.
  • A program to meet the needs of senior-level human resource professionals.
  • An effort to provide innovative support and guidance to a local SHRM student chapter.
  • A creative program designed to meet the professional development needs of individual members.
  • An outstanding contribution to the strategic direction and programs of SHRM.
  • A new program to foster the quality process or competitiveness of your affiliate.
  • A professional analysis, input and impact on state and federal legislation.

Your response MUST designate the Standard of Excellence your submission reflects and why (see above).  It must also include answers to the following six questions :

  •  Why was the program created?
  • Who participated in the implementation of your program? How was the program implemented?
  • What were the program's goals? Were they met?
  • Was the program effective? Based upon what criteria?
  • Who benefited from your program? How so?
  • What makes your program deserving of a Pinnacle Award?


How does an affiliate obtain a Pinnacle Awards Program Application Package?
The Pinnacle Awards Program Application Package is available in PDF in the VLRC by April 1st each year.  The Web-based application is also available in the VLRC. Only electronic submissions are accepted and considered.

What is the submission deadline?
All entries must be received by the due date indicated in the application information package.  

Can two affiliates, for example two chapters, work on a program together and submit an application together?
Yes, more than one affiliate can work together and submit a single application/entry.

What do Pinnacle Award-winning entries receive?
Each winning entry receives a $1,000 monetary grant, a diamond Pinnacle Award pin and national recognition for outstanding achievement through SHRM publications such as HR Magazine®. 

If a winning entry is submitted by multiple affiliates working together, the affiliates would share the $1,000.  Each of the affiliates would receive a diamond Pinnacle Award pin.

When are winners announced?
Winners are announced at the SHRM Leadership Conference in November and featured in various SHRM publications including SHRM Online.

 For more information regarding the SHRM Pinnacle Award, contact your Regional Team.

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