From the “Most Innovative Companies” to “Best Companies to Work for in Austin,” company culture awards can boost your company’s reputation, setting you and your employer brand apart from your competitors. If you’re a young company or startup, awards like these can signal that you’re on solid ground as an employer and give you credibility. For established companies, awards can showcase your brand history, but also that your company is culture-first and innovative.
Which Best Company Awards Are Best to Promote Your Employment Brand?
There are awards in nearly every category of every industry. For example, there are industry-specific awards; local, regional, national, and international awards; green company awards; awards for innovators and entrepreneurs, for large businesses and small businesses, as well as business and company growth. When considering what awards to throw your company’s hat in the ring for, you’ll want to consider your primary objective. Do you want to get recognition for your company’s growth in hiring? In profit? For your company’s work in your local community and social impact? Innovation? Company culture? Or all of the above?
Ask yourself what is the goal of applying for this award? How will it impact your employer brand and employment brand?
There are so many awards out there, the lists are almost endless, so it’s best to begin with your strategy. For most companies, the hitch is recruiting and employer brand awareness, so “best companies to work for” lists are a great start.
Local awards can position your company as a leader in your community, especially when your recruiting team is focusing on brand visibility and hiring campaigns. They can also be good for networking with local customers or clients, but you’re primarily going to see traction in the area of candidate interest.
Once you’ve narrowed your list of awards you’d like to apply for, you’ll need to begin the work of applying, which may involve an entry fee, lengthy application, internal or external blind surveys, and other additional effort on your company’s part. It might seem like a lot, but if you focus on two or three coveted awards in your industry and specifically tied to company culture, the payoff can be tenfold in candidate traffic, employer branding and a boost to your recruitment marketing efforts.
Which Award Should Employers Apply For?
It’s a good idea to narrow your list down to a mix of local (city or state) and national awards. Each has its own set of application requirements, and smaller companies may want to focus on local recognition before expanding to the better-known national awards from magazines like Forbes and Fast Company – plus you already know if you’re on the Fortune Top 100 or Fortune 50 list.
With your company culture in mind, are you prepared to outline in detail what makes your company different from your competitors? You may want to do an internal analysis as part of your preparation, like a survey from your HR team to employees that allows them to anonymously define what they like the most about your company culture, and what they like the least. Have you recently developed an innovative program that focuses on company culture? Programs like these are a great opportunity to survey your workforce on what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better, but they also give you information you can use to narrow down your selection based on what your company is really good at when it comes to employee engagement.
List of Employer and Company Culture & Recognition Award Programs
Here’s a (short) list of “best employers” awards to take a look at. Each has its own criteria and application process, and a quick look at the requirements should give you enough information to decide which are “gettable.” For example, some of the requirements relate to company size (50, 100 or more employees, etc.) and others focus on your workplace and its perks, still others on diversity and inclusivity, like “best companies for women,” which has subcategories like “best companies for multicultural women,” as well as a diversity and inclusion annual awards list.
How to Vet Which Top Employer Awards to Apply For
There are hundreds of other awards, including state and local “best of” company awards. For lesser-known awards, you’ll want to do your research before you enter. Some awards are money-making exercises for the organizers; others could be considered scams. Before you enter, make sure that the awards are credible, well-established, and recognized by your industry. Take a look at their previous years’ lists. Are there reputable companies on their lists from past years? If the application process is short but the entry fee is steep, it could be a red flag.
Target awards that are specific to your region; these will mean more to your local audience (specifically, candidates). Research the awards for your city and your state. For example, if your business is based in the San Francisco area, you might want to enter the San Francisco Business Times’ fastest-growing private companies in the San Francisco Bay Area contest .
For state-specific awards, here’s a great resource to find the “best of” award for your state. And another for “best places to work” by industry, which is great for your employer brand and will cement your reputation with industry-specific candidates. While some of these awards may seem like small wins, they’re actually a great start for local and industry recognition. If the Fast Company “Most Innovative Companies” award seems intimidating, consider getting a few local or industry-specific “best of” awards on your company’s trophy shelf before diving into a larger pool.
Finally, you’ve sent in your entry fee and application – and the good news has arrived. It’s up to you to celebrate and create a robust employer branding campaign to share and celebrate your success.