On the surface entering awards can seem self-aggrandising, but the reality is that all businesses, from small outfits to large well-known brands, build credibility and future work pipelines through recognition.
Useful for setting the benchmarks for excellence, awards nights are also integral to facilitating networking opportunities between potential collaborators and growing the spirit of healthy competition.
Three proponents of awards nights share their insights into why awards matter and provide valuable tips around writing successful entries.
Why they matter
Taking out the Human Resource Management Excellence gong at AIM WA’s 2019/2020 Pinnacle Awards, Brida is an intensely community-focused regional outfit based in Roebourne.
The regional centre’s oldest employer of Aboriginal people, the 100 per cent indigenous-owned organisation prides itself on offering long-term careers to its employees and inspiring them to ensure outstanding services for clients.
“To have our work recognised at a state level gave all our staff an increased sense of pride and achievement and encouraged them to continue working to the best of their ability.”
The Brida team found the spotlight placed upon it in view of the wider business community enabled it to forge relationships beyond its regional circle, by showcasing the organisation’s abilities to sponsors, other businesses and other attendees.
A specialist in crafting award submissions, Shine Communications Principal Ruth Gourley agreed that awards had far-reaching impacts.
“Particularly if you’re a young company, winning awards can really put your business on the map, cement your credibility and increase your profile,” she said.
“For more established corporations, an award win can showcase experience, in addition to highlighting their dynamic, current and innovative business practices and talented employees.”
The benefits of entering
Ms Gourley said winning an award could be a boon for recipients who effectively communicated the honour to their customers, collaborators and prospective employees.
“It demonstrates the pride taken in what the team does and offers a third-party endorsement,” she added.
“Winning or being shortlisted for an award can result in positive media coverage, as well as opportunities to highlight achievements on social media, the company website and even on day-to-day emails.”
For Spacecubed CEO and AIM WA Pinnacle Awards Judge Brodie McCulloch, the opportunity to promote a business award and expound the virtues of working at your business could not be overstated in today’s job market.
“Awards are a way to raise your company's profile and show the sort of innovative, interesting or different things you're doing that highly talented people might want to help with,” he said.
Tips for writing your awards submission
Mr McCulloch’s top recommendation for writing a successful awards entry was to acknowledge and celebrate collaboration.
“If the award is for an individual, then there is a team that’s around that, so you need to see how they’re acknowledging the collaboration and the work they’ve done within their team to deliver results.”
Additionally, Mr McCulloch said judges look for standout pieces of innovation and how an entrant has created a new opportunity.
Speaking on how their organisation had impressed the Pinnacle Awards judges, Brida’s spokesperson said it took careful consideration.
“Read the nomination carefully and make sure it is the best category for you. Make sure you answer the questions specifically and tell your story assuming that the judges know nothing about your business.
“In order for a nomination to stand out, it must include evidence and have clear examples of what makes your nomination so exceptional.”
When writing an awards submission, Ms Gourley said it paid to keep it concise. “The goal is quality not quantity,” she said.
Ms Gourley said individuals should proofread their nominations carefully, as errors could detract heavily from the credibility of a submission.
“Reading the award out loud helps ensure that it is well written and consistent,” she added. “You should also have colleagues review it.”
She also recommended the use of bullet points when listing key points, and including relevant case studies and examples to help solidify a point where possible.
Ruth's eight tips for a successful awards submission
1. Carefully address the criteria
2. Provide specific, relevant examples
3. Echo the words and language used in the questions
4. Write clearly – use bullet points to make answers more readable
5. Make every sentence count – remove unnecessary information
6. Ensure consistency throughout the submission, especially if you have a number of colleagues providing input
7. Proofread the submission carefully
8. Have colleagues review the submission for accuracy prior to submitting it.