Know your WHY: A guide to applying for workplace culture awards

February 21, 2023

Organizations are constantly working to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to finding and keeping great talent. You may have heard of some of these companies who consistently stay on the lists of organizations that are considered a ‘best workplace’, a ‘top workplace’ or a ‘best company’, but you aren’t sure what they did to get there. Although you may be curious as to how they do it, you may wonder even more, WHY they do it.  Do they really see a benefit?  How much time do they devote to achieving that status? Do they effortlessly end up on these lists and sit back and enjoy the perks?     Chances are you already work for an organization that has a great corporate culture. You want to recognize your employees and organization for achieving such a great accomplishment, while for health and safety in the organization, and there are organizations that help with this, and you can learn more here. The next step for you may be getting your organization listed on one of these ‘best’ or ‘top’ lists. Figuring out how to make that happen may have you stumped.    Let’s face it, most business leaders and HR professionals have plenty to do. Days are filled with more work than hours to get it all done. Adding one more thing to your plate, such as applying for one of these awards, may overload an already full to-do list.  Unless….you see a purpose Unless….you see value  Unless….you have a WHY

WHY become an award-winning workplace?

The WHY is what an organization wants to improve, or what they want to be recognized for through becoming an award-winning workplace. As you identify your why, there may be more than one area you are focusing on, and that’s ok. There are many benefits to becoming an award-winning workplace. Although each organization may have their own specific reason, or reasons, for going on the journey to get recognized, many find this process helps them to:

  • Get direction on ways to make improvements for your workplace culture. This ultimately helps improve employee engagement by providing an avenue for employees to share their ideas and opinions.
  • Identify why employees stay with your company. Employees can share their voice for what they do like about working for your company, and what keeps them working for you. This information can be utilized to give you a proactive edge for what to look for when recruiting new talent.
  • Learn valuable insights into how your employees feel about your organization.  This process opens the door for employees to share their opinions on your benefits, compensation, leadership, development opportunities, to name a few.  They may even share great ideas you hadn’t yet thought of. 


How to uncover your WHY

The main reason why some companies have not applied or earned a workplace award is that they haven’t uncovered their WHY. They have not discovered the benefits of becoming an award-winning workplace. What does defining your WHY have to do with becoming an award-winning workplace?  I’m so glad you asked!  As already mentioned, an organization’s WHY is what needs to be improved, or what they want to be recognized for by becoming an award-winning workplace. Many organizations right now are looking to improve on:

    • Finding and keeping top talent
  • Aligning employee connection with their contributions to the success of the organization
  • Increasing market awareness and credibility

A great place to start in uncovering your WHY is to determine what are your pain points?  What is causing challenges for the organization that need to be addressed? What goals has your organization set that they are struggling to meet? 

How to get answers to your WHY

Once organizations identify their WHY (what they want to improve or get recognized for), they get their answers through employee engagement surveys.  They focus on asking the right questions, getting feedback and acting on the data they uncover through these survey findings.  By conducting employee engagement surveys, you can identify not only problems or issues that may be occurring, but also identify what you are doing well.  You may be wondering what employee engagement surveys have to do with workplace culture awards? Let’s discuss the process.  When your organization applies for a workplace award, there may be several components, such as:

  • Employer Application
  • Employer Assessment or Questionnaire
  • Employee Engagement Survey

That last item is key as most survey administrators give this the highest weight when determining who gets recognized as a ‘winner’ and included in on the ‘best’ list. The employee engagement survey will address topics such as benefits, compensation, leadership, training, development, and more. You may even have the option to customize questions so that you can dive deeper into specific topics.

Connect your WHY to gain buy-in 

What do you do if you are not the decision maker for your organization, but you do know there are benefits of getting recognized for your workplace culture?     Prepare for your conversation with your leadership team by defining your WHY: 👉 Why do you feel your company should be recognized?  👉 What benefits will you gain by applying? 👉 What do you hope to achieve by earning this award?    Next, tie your WHY to pain points the organization is currently feeling. For example, is recruiting a challenge for your company right now?  In the engagement survey your employees will complete, they provide feedback that will help you learn more about what your employees like about working for your organization, possibly what they do not like, and what makes them want to stay (retention focus!).   Uncovering this information helps you develop a recruitment marketing strategy focused on what to look for when hiring. When you learn why they stay, you can target your hiring strategies to attract candidates looking for those same areas of focus.  When you can show your leadership team that conducting an employee engagement survey through the process of applying for a workplace award, and the benefits it brings to decreasing recruitment expenses, decreasing turnover and increasing your retention rate, you have then demonstrated the value and secured buy-in. 

Now that you know your WHY, here’s what’s next

After you determine your WHY, and gain buy-in, you are ready to get started on the next steps.  Make focusing on improvement part of your strategic plan. Becoming an award-winning workplace is not an overnight process.  You will often want to refer back to your WHY so that you can stay the course to achieving your strategic goals.  When you decide retaining top talent, improving your corporate culture and seeing the impact that they have on your bottom line, you will make time to address your employee concerns, even with everything you have on that full plate of yours.  Every organization I have talked with that has earned an award-winning workplace distinction has shared with me the positive impact it has had on their recruiting and retention. This can happen for you, too! Candidates are going to lists such as Best Places to Work and Top Workplaces to see what companies are included there.  Those are the organizations candidates often go to first when looking for opportunities.  If you make even one significant improvement as a result of what you learn from conducting an employee engagement survey, your organization can become a place that makes people say, “I want to work THERE!”.

What if we don’t win the award

If you apply and your organization does not get named on one of these lists, it’s ok. Go back to your WHY and remember why you applied in the first place.  Did you get answers to your WHY? Did you gather data that will help your organization with continuous improvement? Did you get feedback to connect to your strategic goals? You can make improvements and apply again.

Benefits of finding your WHY

By focusing on connecting the data you receive through employee engagement surveys, applying the feedback to strategic goal setting and measuring results, you will find you are well on your way to addressing your WHY. You may even get recognized as an award-winning workplace!  If you want to learn more about the benefits of uncovering your why, becoming an award-winning workplace, and focusing on employee engagement, check out my free resources 6 Perks to Becoming an Award-Winning Workplace.       I help business leaders and HR professionals navigate the path to getting their organization recognized as an award-winning workplace.  Let’s schedule time to talk if you would like to learn more. 

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Hello, I’m Angie

I help business leaders and HR professionals improve their workplace culture and increase employee engagement so that they can focus on running their organization.

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