Is there still a Value to Awards?

Winning awards can boost your team's confidence. Picture: TSPL
Winning awards can boost your team's confidence. Picture: TSPL
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Glittering prizes aren’t just good for your ego – they make sense for your company too, writes Claire Ford

Having just celebrated our 25th Anniversary Scottish Awards for Business Excellence with a room of over 300 people, I am still buzzing from the energy that surrounded all our winners. There are at least three reasons they matter to their recipients: they are external validation of their attempts to improve; they encourage excellence, and they give their recipients an extra edge when it comes to winning customers.

Many organisations, particularly in the private sector, question the monetary value of any awards or accreditation process, So what value does an award bring to an organisation, and in particular a European recognition such as ours?

Independent research at the University of Leicester into over 120 European award winning organisations shows that they demonstrated improvements in financial performance just one year after winning the award.

Awards bring discipline and awareness with many of our members valuing the process of entering for the award more than the actual award itself. Yet being able to state that you have achieved a level of recognition recognised across Europe and beyond is no mean feat. Quality Scotland’s awards process is necessarily evidence-based journey. Asking detailed questions of your organisation around what you do, why you do it and how you could do it better is never going to be easy – but you will get out what you put in. What is the value of an award which is easy to enter and easy to win?

Awards tell others that you care: one of the most telling accolades an organisation can have is an award for something that it has done well and can be extremely proud of. There is a real danger that we become too inward-looking, think we have all the answers on our own or perhaps don’t know where to go to truly benchmark ourselves against the best. A business award gives a true picture of how an organisation deals with customers, suppliers and other organisations and also how it values its people.

In our increasingly competitive global market, awards give a business a very real edge. The world has become smaller and more easily accessible. We can source what we need from multiple suppliers, countries and continents. We can deal with people who don’t speak the same language, don’t use the same currency and don’t have the same political frameworks or affiliations as we do.

It is, therefore, increasingly important to be able to give yourself an edge when it comes to persuading people to deal with you rather than someone else who on paper offers the same product or service. Awards can give you that edge, and can also render price less important. They also bestow real strategic advantage. A research study by Hendricks & Singhal of the University of Western Ontario and the Georgia Institute of Technology, revealed that more than 600 quality corporate award winners had 37 per cent more sales growth and 44 per cent higher share price return than their peers.

So what about the small organisations? Surely these kind of corporate awards are just for large businesses? Absolutely not. It is even harder for small organisations to gain credibility in the marketplace and set themselves apart from the rest.

A European accreditation can do just that, with the added bonus that you can involve your entire staff in the process and enable them to better understand your organisation. Research by the British Quality Foundation shows that smaller award-winning companies had a 63 per cent increase in operating income and a 39 per cent growth in sales when compared to non-winners.

The fact that our winners come from all sectors demonstrates the clear applicability of the model to the third and public sectors as well as to the private sector.

Some of our winners will be sharing their stories over the coming months on the benefits of going through the awards process and the difference it has made to them.

There are no better people to showcase the true value of an evidence-based award than those who have lived and breathed it. For more information on how to join us, visit ww.qualityscotland.co.uk.

• Claire Ford is CEO of Quality Scotland