The surprising myth about workplace culture awards

January 19, 2023

Organizations earn workplace awards for their great cultures. These organizations know that it helps with recruiting new talent, keeping their great employees, and reducing turnover.

This may surprise you. When it comes to earning an award for your workplace culture, It’s really not about the award. You may think that sounds bizarre coming from an advisor who helps organizations achieve award-winning workplace status for great workplace cultures with engaged employees. 

What it is really about is employee engagement. Learning what your employees think, feel and understand about working for your organization is the ultimate goal you are trying to achieve.

When I talk with organizations who want to become a Best Place to Work, or a Top Workplace, the first item we discuss is why they want to do it.  

I hear comments such as:

“I hear it’s a good idea to be on these lists, but I don’t have time.”

“I see other organizations are on these lists, but I don’t understand all that’s involved.”

“Candidates tell me they go to these lists to see who is hiring.”

What they are really saying is they are looking to reap the rewards that other companies get from being on these lists.  Keep in mind, that is the end result, the trophy at the end of the race, but it’s not the full bonus.


Let’s start at the beginning 

You are considering going on the journey to become an award-winning workplace, to get recognized publicly and to have the accolades associated with the award status.  When you do this, you are beginning with the end in mind. The award. That is the vehicle to getting you to what you ultimately want for your organization.  


Let’s consider the WHY

You may want more candidates to consider your organization as their next place for employment. Bingo – Helping you to recruit talent!

You may be searching for a solution to why you are struggling to keep people at your workplace. Or worse yet, they are ‘just there’ but not fully engaged. Here you go – Retention and Engagement!

You may be looking to grow your company and seeing opportunities pass you by because you lack credentials your future partners are seeking. This is becoming more and more recognized as a challenge for companies. People want to work with organizations who invest in their employees. When they hear an organization has a great workplace culture and is recognized for it, this increases their likelihood of choosing you as a business partner. You guessed it – Credibility in the marketplace!


Let’s talk about the how

Employee engagement is not just a buzzword. It’s your pulse into finding out what your employees think about working for you. It’s an opportunity for them to have an anonymous avenue to share their concerns and ideas. Most employees have no problem with sharing what they like. 

Employee’s sharing feedback that is not as positive (think constructive feedback) is where it gets a little tricky. Your employees don’t want to be shunned or looked negatively because they opened up about their concerns. It may be feelings they have about your benefit package, your policies, or how they feel about their manager.

Conducting an employee engagement survey creates a safe place where your employees can voice these opinions. Many of the survey administrators have gone to great lengths to ensure anonymity for your employees to share their feedback.  


Let’s see what you get

When you conduct employee engagement surveys, you will get a tremendous amount of information. Different survey administrators will package the reports in different ways but overall, you will get a high-level executive summary, along with detailed reports by department, and tenure, for example. There are specialized reports that may address DE&I as this is a feature many organizations are asking these administrators to provide.  

What I feel is the most beneficial report is the report containing the open-ended comments. Some business leaders skim over these without digging deep. Why? It is time consuming. There may be hundreds of open-ended comments, depending on the number of employees.  The open-ended comments can help provide clarity over data submitted in your overall reports.  If, for example, employees ranked one of your benefit plans with a low score, they may go into more detail in the open-ended comments about why and what they are wanting out of that benefit.


Here’s your bonus

Consider your employees giving you this feedback as a gift. You may not like everything you receive, but it will position you in a better place to understand what your employees are seeking, what makes them stay (HINT:  This is a huge resource for you with recruiting!) and ideas that they may have.  


Let’s circle back to that award

The engagement survey findings will be ranked by the survey administrator to see how you compare to others who are applying for the same award. If you applied for a Top Workplaces award for example, you may be compared to others in your geographic region. Those who scored the highest will earn the distinction of a Top Workplace. Another program determines 80% of your score based solely on your employee feedback. 

Do you see how at this point you have already received that valuable information about your employees? If you get recognized as one of the top organizations for the award which you applied to receive, that’s great! If not, look at all the data you have about your employees. There is so much value there!

That’s why it’s not about the award. Yes, earning the award is great, and after all that hard work, it may be what you are hoping for. Simply look at what you learned about your employees on this journey. This process is setting you up to listen to your employees, learn their feedback, and act through responding and goal setting. 


THIS is your WHY

When participating in employee engagement surveys as part of the award application process you learn about how you are doing as an employer and where you can get better.

What does this help you do…Recruit, retain and learn ways you can improve. It’s about continuous improvement.

Being honored as a winner is valuable. Getting feedback from your employees takes it to the next level.



Now that you know becoming an award-winning workplace is so much more than earning the award, if you would like to learn more about why you should consider becoming an award-winning workplace, check out 6 Perks to Becoming an Award-Winning Workplace. Additionally, if you want to learn more about what happened in 2006 pop culture, you can check out this article to gain more knowledge.

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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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Getting recognized as an award-winning workplace is what you have been striving for.

You simply need to know where to start.

What if the journey of applying for the award brought more positives to your organization than simply earning the trophy?

Sign up now to learn the perks you will get on your way to becoming an award-winning workplace!