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ATD Excellence in Practice Awards

The Excellence in Practice Awards recognize individual practices across the full scope of talent development.


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.

  • Honorable mention citations are no longer given.
  • Practices may only be entered in one category.
  • Please see below for descriptions of all 13 categories (note there have been changes to this since last year).
  • Download a Word version of the application to help you prepare. (All entries must be submitted via the online entry form.)
  • Watch our recent webcast to get tips for your application and to ask questions.


  • 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.

The application for 2021 is closed. The application for 2022 will open in June 2021.

Congratulations to the 2021 Excellence in Practice Award Winners!
Excellence in Practice Award Categories
Choose the category that best fits your practice. Each practice may be entered in only one category.
Career Development
Practices designed to align career plans and tracks for optimal organization performances.
Coaching and Mentoring
Using interactive process 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.
Customer Service Training
This category has two focuses: programs designed to improve the skills and competencies of internal customer service teams; or programs designed to help an organization’s customers/clients successfully use or implement a specific product or service.
Diversity and Inclusion (including 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, organizational level, or all three.
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.
Leadership/Management Development
Practices focused specifically on developing the competencies of leaders and managers, including a focus on “human” skills associated with EQ, communication, and critical thinking skills.
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.
Practices focused on helping new employees be successful in their roles and understand an organizational culture, process, and procedures.
Performance Improvement/Performance Consulting
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 will have many components. Be sure to delineate them clearly. **Single training programs, workshops, initiatives should not be submitted in this category.**
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.
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, except for the Customer Service Training category, 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 $125 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 Erin Strider at [email protected]

The 2021 application is now closed. The application window for 2022 recognition will open in June 2021.

Download a Word version of the application. All entries must be submitted via the online entry form. Access the online portal here.

Watch our Recent Webcast
Have questions on the process? Or are you looking for suggestions to ensure your applications is a strong one? Watch a recoreding of our recent webcast Tips for Applying for an Excellence in Practice Award.
Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Award Winners!

Join us in this virtual celebration of the ATD Excellence in Practice and Advancing Talent Development Award winners.

See a list of 2019-2020 Excellence in Practice winners.

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

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