Productivity Board Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Who is my agency's coordinator?

To find who is facilitating suggestion applications for your agency, check our agency coordinator list.

If your agency or coordinator isn't listed, contact the Productivity Board at 360-725-0381 or [email protected].

What is an eligible suggestion?

An eligible Employee Suggestion Program suggestion is intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state government through one or more of the following: 

  • Savings in dollars; 

  • Generation of revenue;

  • Elimination of waste or duplication; 

  • Improved service or product;

  • Energy conservation;

  • Improved working conditions, such as employee safety or morale. 

Ideas that save money/generate revenue are considered for a cash award of up to 10% of the first year's dollar savings. Suggestions that are intangible in nature -- such as improved safety or morale -- may be eligible for a one-time award up to $200.

  • The employee suggestion must be submitted before the idea is implemented. 

  • The suggester must research the impact and/or benefits of the suggestion. 

Ineligible Suggestions

  • Personal complaint; 

  • Changing salary, position, classification, employee benefits, state holidays, leave benefits, retirement compensation, or any other compensation to an employee; 

  • Enforcement of laws, policies, procedures, regulations, rules, etc. 

  • Outside purview of state government. 

You can find tips on filling out an Employee Suggestion Program application here.


A Teamwork Incentive Program project is intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state government by proposing process improvements by reducing costs and/or generating revenue.

If a team proposes improvements that save money or generate revenue, any intangible benefits -- such as the improvement of safety or morale -- can be included in the goals and accomplishments of the project. 

For applications to be considered by the board, teams interested in participating in the Teamwork Incentive Program meet these eligibility criteria:

The team’s application must identify the baseline against which savings will be evaluated at the end of the project period.

Teams must demonstrate that it has operated during the period of participation at a lower cost or with an increase in revenue with no decrease in the level of services rendered.

If your suggestion is eligible based on the above information, please fill out an Employee Suggestion Program or Teamwork Incentive Program application.

For more information about suggestion eligibility, reach out to your agency coordinator or contact the Productivity Board at 360-725-0381 or [email protected].

May I make a suggestion about an agency other than my own?

Yes. In the agency section of the Employee Suggestion Program and Teamwork Incentive Program application, write the specific agency -- and its department(s) if known -- for which your idea is suggested. In your description tell how your idea will benefit the agency, and detail how you came to identify the agency's need for your suggestion.   

Reach out to your agency coordinator if you have questions or need assistance, or contact the Productivity Board staff at 360-725-0381 and [email protected].

Where does the suggestion award money come from?

The agency that benefits from the suggestion pays the award.

Cash awards are taken from funds that have already been budgeted, and as a result of the suggestion will not be expended. The suggester receives a percentage of the savings as a cash award and the effect for the agency is that they now have more funds available for other needs. 

The statute that created the Productivity Board provides agencies with the ability to recognize employees. Not all suggestions will result in cost savings. They may result in intangible, but important benefits including better customer service, saving staff time, and improving safety. These suggestions could receive a recognition award. Awards can be for anything with a cash value not to exceed $200.   

Reach out to your agency coordinator if you have questions or need assistance, or contact the Productivity Board staff at 360-725-0381 and [email protected].

Is there a limit on how many suggestions employees can make in a year?

There is no limit, but each Employee Suggestion Program idea or Teamwork Incentive Program project must go through the application process separately (i.e., multiple ideas or projects can't be submitted on the same form).

What happens if my suggestion is adopted?

If your suggestion is adopted by the board, your agency head and/or evaluator will work with you to plan the implementation of your idea. This may include planning timelines, forecasting project outputs and outcomes, and estimating the expected cost savings over a one-year period. Our board and staff will support these processes as needed on an ongoing basis.

At the conclusion of one year -- or some other agreed-upon time frame -- your agency and the board will determine the amount of your award based on your suggestion's cost savings and any other factors that benefitted the state.

Award amounts will be taxed as income, and awards will not be used in computing a retirement allowance under any public retirement system of Washington state.

Reach out to your agency coordinator if you have questions or need assistance, or contact the Productivity Board staff at 360-725-0381 and [email protected].

What happens if my suggestion isn't adopted?

When your suggestion is reviewed by the evaluator and/or the board, you may be asked to provide additional information, or attend a board meeting to discuss your idea. If the board chooses not to adopt your suggestion, based on the evaluator's input and/or other reasons that will be shared with you, you can appeal the decision once and give more information telling why you feel it should be adopted. If the appeal is denied we will close the suggestion file.

Some reasons for non-adoption may include:

  • Not a new idea (e.g., is already in place, in development when the suggestion was submitted, or has been suggested/implemented in the past);

  • The cost of implementing the suggestion outweighs the projected savings brought by the suggestion;

  • The idea is impractical 

Reach out to your agency coordinator if you have questions or need assistance, or contact the Productivity Board staff at 360-725-0381 and [email protected].


What is the timeframe for adoption/denial? When will I hear back from the Productivity Board?

When your suggestion is sent to the Productivity Board, we will make sure it meets the eligibility requirements and contact you within two business days confirming receipt. We then send it to your agency. Your agency will send your suggestion to an evaluator and reply to you within 45 days about the results of the evaluation. The board will review and vote on the suggestion. Suggestions are reviewed and decided on in the order they are received.  

I made a suggestion that wasn't adopted, but it was implemented later. Am I eligible for an award?

If your idea isn't adopted, you can file one appeal to have the decision reconsidered. You must provide new information about your suggestion to the board. If your appeal isn't accepted, we close the suggestion file.

If your suggestion is implemented within two years of your appeal, you can file another appeal showing that your idea was used and that you should be reconsidered for an award, based on a measurement of savings and timeframe.