So you have implemented a people strategy or initiative that has improved your employee experience and you think you deserve recognition for all the hard work and the results you have achieved. It may well be that your project is deserving of an Employee Experience Award. However, deserving an award and receiving an award are two very different things, and standing between you and the joy of receiving the award in front of your peers are two all-important stages.

Firstly, there is the matter of the 2,000-word submission. Secondly, if you make the shortlist, you then have the face-to-face presentation.

The judges of both the written entry and the face-to-face presentation look for the same qualities in a story: some explicitly stated in the scoring system, some are simply qualities that either relate to great employee experience, or great award entry writing.

So here are the top ten qualities, as cited by Chris Robinson, MD of the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy (with over 700 award wins to its name):

  1. There is a clear business case: Your story needs to be strategic. Now I know “strategic” is one of the most overused and badly used words in management speak, but here it is absolutely the right use of the word. It is not enough that your story was a good idea, it must relate to an issue that mattered in the boardroom. Your work submission should therefore also include evidence that you aligned your initiative to this bigger picture.
  2. You quantified the impact: While you’re telling your story, avoid the pitfall of including unsubstantiated assertions like “feedback was excellent” or “it created a real buzz in the office”. Judges mark down entries when key statements lack evidence. They award 100 marks for entries that prove impact on employee experience and another 100 marks if you prove impact on business performance. Employee surveys are the norm here, so do include them, but try and find more original and empirical performance data within the business.
  3. You listened: The marking scheme specifically requires that you included research that delivered “clear employee insight”. By this they mean that basically you did not make assumptions, you learned what to do by listening to the collective and/or individual voices of your employees.
  4. You were clearly original: This is where judges have the greatest trouble allocating marks, so help them out. Was your initiative creative, clever, innovative or original? If the judge reads your entry and cannot decide to what extent you were original and to what extent you copied generic best practice, then you will lose marks. So tell them, and be honest – if you say something was innovative but they’ve seen it before, you will lose credibility.
  5. The implementation was exemplary: There are also marks for a well-executed initiative. There is no specific best practice that judges will be looking for, but there are certainly specific qualities – for example, it should have been thorough, careful, well managed, inclusive and well evaluated.

So those are the qualities required by the scoring; here are a few other qualities that reflect best practice in writing your award entry:

  1. It tells a story: Make your submission a compelling read. The judges will not absorb as much if your entry is just a dry presentation of the facts.
  2. It answers the questions: We all do a lot of judging here at Boost as part of our professional development and I can tell you that not answering the questions is one of the most damaging qualities of far too many entries. It also happens in face-to-face presentations.
  3. It was a good fit with the category: This might seem an obvious point, but ensure you read the category guidelines and judging criteria carefully and that your story is a good fit with the criteria. In many debates about who should win, judges often re-read the category criteria and use this as a basis for decision making.
  4. It is well, but not overly illustrated: It’s true that a picture tells a thousand words, but badly used graphs, diagrams and photos can actually do more harm than good. Images can work well, but only if they make sense at a glance, add value and have a clear purpose.
  5. The story would inspire others: These awards are all about celebrating best practice, and inspiring others with the stories. So if your story could indeed inspire other businesses to do likewise and see similar improvements, then this is the sort of story that you should shout about, and winning these awards will then help to shout about it even more.

Chris RobinsonChris Robinson

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