May 10, 2017 BestCompaniesAZ

Best Workplace Awards: You Won! Now What?

You’ve probably considered how the best workplace awards can boost your employer brand efforts. Here’s some good news – it may be easier than you think. Maybe you already have an award or two. Or, maybe you haven’t jumped into the nomination process yet but are thinking about it.

We’d like to share a simple but valuable pro tip to help you maximize the value of workplace awards: don’t let rankings become an obstacle to your efforts.

How To Approach Striving For & Earning Best Workplace Awards

There are dozens of workplace awards designed to recognize excellence in various areas, such as culture, growth, ethics, and innovation. Specific industries may be spotlighted, such as healthcare, banking or advertising. General workplace culture awards may be local or national in scope, typically categorized according to size.

Enter the black fly in the chardonnay: rankings. Rankings are common in award programs, with the winner of the coveted #1 spot enjoying much prestige. In the minds of many, achieving anything other than the #1 ranking diminishes the value of the award. When can you say, “We won”? Is it when you make the top 10? Top five? Or is only the #1 spot truly worthy of publicity and pride?

Look at the numbers. There are millions of businesses in the United States; about 5,000 hospitals, 7000 banks, 100,000 software companies and more than 120,000 marketing agencies. Some estimates put the number of smaller businesses in Arizona alone at 500,000. Some of those do not qualify to apply for the best workplace awards, but many do. If your company was recognized, for example, as one of the 50 best advertising agencies in the U.S. or one of the top 10 tech companies in Arizona, would that not be a prestigious recognition, regardless of the ranking?

If employer branding is the goal of your workplace awards strategy, once you’ve been recognized by a legitimate workplace award, you can confidently say, “We won!” You’re fully legit. And before you start worrying about rankings, take a look at this list and see if you can remember which one of these hit songs was not ranked #1:

Material Girl (Madonna)

Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera)

Bad Romance (Lady Gaga)

Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)

Firework (Katy Perry)

Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)

Little Red Corvette (Prince)

YMCA (Village People)

That was a trick question — not one of these hit songs made it to #1. But they were hits nonetheless and virtually no one knows or cares where they placed on the charts, except the artists themselves.

Too often, business leaders view these “best workplace awards” as a high-stakes competition — like the Academy Awards — in which there are clear winners and losers among the nominees, and great actors like Brad Pitt, Glenn Close, and Johnny Depp may never win an Oscar. But most workplace awards are not like the Oscars; there are multiple recipients. All too often, business leaders complain about rankings, while at the same time obsessing over them. Don’t waste the branding value of your company’s culture by falling into that trap.

You worked hard for the workplace recognition you achieve. Be proud! Don’t be ashamed of your spot on a list. The people you want to hire don’t care if you’re company is ranked #1 or #100 — they just want to know you’ve created a great place for them to build a purposeful career. So, promote your award like you mean it. Hang the banners, write the press releases, air the videos, celebrate with your teams, and brag about your award – whatever it is. You won!

One award you may qualify for: Arizona’s Most Admired Companies. For this prestigious statewide competition, be prepared to create essays describing your company’s efforts in Innovation, Customer Opinion, Leadership, Social Responsibility, and Workplace Culture. Nominations for Arizona’s Most Admired are open now, so don’t wait to get started. The deadline is June 16, 2017. Not sure where to start? BestCompaniesAZ can help, and we’d love to hear from you.