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ATD Excellence in Practice Awards

The Excellence in Practice Awards recognize individual practices across the full scope of talent development. The 2018 application window is closed. The 2019 window will open June 1, 2019.
Ready to Apply?
The application portal is now open. Deadline for 2018 submissions is September 30, 2018, 11:59 p.m. (ET).


Awards are presented to practices that have demonstrated clear and measurable results of achieving organizational goals, meet a demonstrated need, have appropriate design values, and are clearly aligned with other performance improvement initiatives. These practices have long-term, sustained results.

The 2018 application is now open. Entry deadline is Sept. 30, 2018.

  • Honorable mention citations are no longer given.
  • Practices may only be entered in one category.
  • There is one (1) new category (see below for descriptions of all 16 categories).


  • Earn recognition from your peers.
  • Have your work benchmarked by your peers when you share your award-winning best practices.
  • Be honored at the awards ceremony during the ATD International Conference & Exposition.
  • Be featured in ATD publications.
Excellence in Practice Award Categories
Choose the category that best fits your practice. Each practice may only be entered in one category.
Career Development

Practices designed to align career plans and tracks for optimal organization performance.

Coaching and Mentoring

Using interactive processes to help individuals and teams develop rapidly and produce results. Improving others ability to set goals, take action, make better decisions, and make full use of their natural strengths.

Change Management

Applying structured approaches to shift individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired state.

NEW: Customer Service Training

Programs focused on achieving customer success by training external customers in a company's products or services.

Diversity and Inclusion/Cultural Competence

Practices designed to address challenges and opportunities related to diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence. These interventions may be at the individual behavior level, team level, or organizational level, or all three.

Improving Soft Skills

Practices focused on improving communication, interpersonal, and teamwork competencies and result in positive business outcomes.

Integrated Talent Management

Practices that span the enterprise and result in building culture, engagement, capacity, and capability. A practice which strategically unites multiple human capital functions to maximize organizational effectiveness.

Knowledge Management

Practices that capture, distribute, and archive intellectual capital to encourage knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

Leadership/Management Development

Practices that increase the managerial or leadership ability of an individual, or the managerial/ leadership capacity of an organization.

Learning and Development

Practices that focus on learning and development in the organization; the design and delivery of training.

Learning Technologies

Practices that use technology and learning to develop, connect, and engage the workforce.

Managing the Learning Function

Practices that provide strategic leadership and organizational support in developing talent to execute the organization's strategy; planning, organizing, monitoring, and adjusting activities associated with the administration of learning and talent development solutions. (Formerly called Training Management).


Practices focused helping new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective, contributing members in their organizations.

Performance Consulting/Performance Improvement

Applying a systematic process of discovering and analyzing performance gaps; planning for future improvement in human performance; designing and developing solutions to close performance gaps.

Practices submitted in this category may have many components. Applications are expected to show clear business goals, quantified performance gaps, and a root cause analysis that identifies the cause of the performance gap. Solutions are not limited to learning and development programs.

Any submission that focuses solely on learning and development should be able to demonstrate that the business goal and performance gap are primarily a function of knowledge-skills deficiencies rather than some other factor. There should be a clear line showing the connection and fit from the front-end analysis to the solution and implementation.

**Single training programs, workshops, initiatives should not be submitted in this category.**

Practice examples: - Organizational shift from training to performance improvement - Assessment and development of several interventions to correct a continuing performance deficit - Continuous process improvement partnerships.

Sales Enablement

Practices that foster and enable world-class sales competencies and standards that guide and empower sales leaders and sales training professionals to develop the next generation of sales people.

Succession Planning

Practices focused on identifying key positions, candidates, and employees to meet the challenges that an organization faces in the short and long term.

Congratulations to our 2017 Excellence in Practice Award Winners!
Applying for Excellence in Practice Awards
Familiarize yourself with this important information before applying for ATD's Excellence in Practice Awards
Practices must be fully implemented

To be considered, a practice must be in place for at least two years (including time in pilot phase). Practices that have previously received an Excellence in Practice Award may apply again five years after their award was bestowed.

Organizations may submit multiple entries

While each practice may only be submitted in one category, there is no limit to the number of practices that can be entered.

Entries must be blind

All applications should be anonymous (no mention of company name). Only indicate the company name where asked when you set up your profile. More information about this rule is found on the awards portal.


This awards program is for internal talent development practices and initiatives that organizations use to enhance and develop the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of their employees. Therefore, customer-focused practices or other training efforts that are for those outside the organization are not eligible. Training suppliers should partner with their clients if they are interested in applying.

Applicants do not need to be ATD members to apply.

Entry Fee Must Be Paid by Credit Card

A $100 entry fee is charged as the last step in submitting your application via the online portal. Only credit card payments will be accepted.

Use the online portal to submit your entry

All entries will be submitted via our online awards portal.

More questions?

If you have additional questions, please email Kristen Fyfe-Mills at

Ready to Apply?

It takes time to prepare an excellent entry. Use this practice application to prepare your answers before applying on the online portal.

The 2018 portal is now open. Deadline for 2018 submissions is September 30, 2018, 11:59 p.m. (ET).

What do award winning practices look like? Read about them!

Interested in learning about winners previous to 2015? Email to obtain a PDF of previous awards booklets. For an archive of ATD BEST Award winners, visit the TD magazine archive.