We’re pleased to have been named an “Elite Winner” in the annual “Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®” by the National Association for Business Resources for the second year in a row.
Over the years, we’ve won many awards. Not just in recognition of our technical capabilities, but for our success, client service, being an outstanding workplace (voted by our employees!) and contributions to our community. But winning awards is about more than bragging rights and displaying shiny trophies in our office.
Applying for awards helps us delve into our company, our culture and gives us progress reports on how we are doing.
The most obvious advantage to winning awards is the satisfaction that we know we are on the right path, and validation among our peers in the industry. More importantly, awards show potential clients that your company is respected, trustworthy and successful and ensures existing ones they made they made the right choice.
Award applications ask very specific questions. For example, one we recently filled out asked what made us different and why we deserve to win. Another asked about our leadership and vision for the future while another about what makes us a great place to work.
Can you and your teams easily and clearly answer these types of questions? Writing this information down forces us to review and analyze our work as well as our mission and culture. It’s laid out for us in black and white.
This helps us to identify our strengths, weaknesses and areas in which we can improve.
Many award programs evaluate entrants using independent consultants and auditors.
They interview or survey our employees, allowing them to answer truthfully and anonymously. These results are often shared, giving us insight into exactly what our employees think and gives us ideas and areas in which we can do better. We can get out of our own heads and see things from an outside perspective.
We’re not referring to vacation time or savings programs, but the satisfaction our entire team receives from being recognized for their hard work. And happy employees are more engaged, productive and provide better client service.
Want to start earning recognition for your company? Here are a few tips:
- Waste time applying for awards that are not a good fit.
- Apply just to collect awards.
- Respond to award trolls.
Some companies create faux awards for the sole purpose of generating revenue. They search for posts of your company news and then send mass produced emails. These are easy to spot. The subject line will read something like: Congratulations, you’ve been selected as a finalist in the ACME 100 Best awards!
The body of the email will then explain how you can capitalize on this “extraordinary opportunity” by paying thousands of dollars (and we mean thousands) for them to promote this “prestigious” award. These may look real, but the truly prestigious and legitimate awards programs don’t solicit money for ones for which you have not applied or been nominated.
Note, however, that it is not unusual nor inappropriate for an award host or sponsor organization to ask for money for the actual trophy or plaque, especially if it is from an industry association. These are legit to offset the cost of production.
- Apply to awards offered by associations to which you are members.
- Research awards and previous winners to determine if the award is a good fit and that you meet ALL eligibility requirements.
- Take advantage of the free marketing and promotion materials offered by the awards company.
- Tell the world! Post links on your web site, on all your social platforms and announce it to your customers in all your company’s communications touch points.
- Go to the awards ceremony to pick up your award in person and have a good time!
- Improve your company based on the results.
Awards can be a valuable for company, not just as a marketing tool but for a way to assess internal operations, company culture and overall success. Do your research and good luck! Be sure to let us know when you win.