You have likely noticed the increasing number of “Best of” award stickers on business’ doors and windows, and on their websites too. There are plenty of competitions out there, some general and some industry, even project, specific. If you haven’t entered a competition this year, you may want to reconsider that.
If you are already submitting, perhaps you can put that hard work of the application process to better use. Whether you actually win the coveted accolade, here are a few positive reasons to step into the competition.
- It forces you to gather data you might ignore. Most companies have decided what their Key Indictors and metrics are, and they track those. What the judges are looking for may be totally different, opening up new areas of exploration for you. For example, you may track turnover but not number of postings filled from within (an indicator of how you develop people for promotion). You may not consider the positive impact on the neighbourhood where your office is located. Perhaps your senior management hasn’t shown an interest in some indicators that are important to you – but if you need them for the application, their interest may increase.
- It can give added impetus to internal projects. There may be something you’ve wanted to do to improve your internal culture or infrastructure, but the project is underfunded or trumped by product and customer initiatives. If it is something that carries weight in final judging, you may have found the lever you need to get it moving. For example, some competitions require an employee survey.
- It helps to build your internal brand, and the integrated story you could be telling employees. Once you research all the information for the application, you will need to put it together in a comprehensive way. There aren’t many companies that are good at integration, as not surprisingly, managers are focussed on delivering their own accountabilities. Suddenly you can see the linkages that they might miss – how this small initiative here has borne fruit somewhere else. You may know that your company has a recycle program but not realize that a certain department has become experts at trash-free lunches in their fundraiser for the United Way campaign. It may be that there is a theme that emerges as a powerful description of your culture. You can see specific links to your stated Values. Now you have a way to express what you are best at. Use the application submission when recruiting, at orientation and perhaps to seed a new recognition program.
- It creates a feeling of optimism, pride and celebration. Even if you don’t win the competition you are applying for, the very intervention of asking people in the organization to gather information that shows your company in a good light is powerful. If this becomes an annual endeavor, it can build an appreciative culture as people store up the good news for the next application process. Of course, if you DO win the award, you have even more to celebrate.