We speak to Liz Brookes, managing director at Grapevine Event Management
We Brits love awards and when it comes to business, it seems we can’t quite get enough of them. No matter what sector, product or service there is an award to celebrate the great and the good of all who work in it. And recruitment is no different.
From the Recruiter, The Global Recruiter and OnRec awards to the UK Recruiter Blog of the Year, Recruitment International and the National Online Recruitment Awards (NORAs), and many more in between, the sector is strongly represented.
But what do businesses entering these awards actually get out of them? Are they worth the time and energy of entering in the first place?
We take a look at why winning and even missing out on the top prize can change the way your recruitment business is viewed by your clients, prospects, clients and the media.
- They get you seen and heard above the noise
There are an estimated 30,000 recruitment businesses in the UK and one of the easiest and least expensive ways of building your brand and standing out is by entering industry awards.
Liz Brookes, said: “Peer recognition helps distinguish your recruitment business from the rest of the pack. It elevates you to an enviable position as an agency that sets the benchmark that inspires and shapes the sector in which you operate.
“Even if you don’t win, to be recognised as a finalist and one of the top three or four agencies in your category has significant kudos.”
- They boost your agency’s credibility
Existing clients will be glad that their agency of choice is an award-winning one as it reaffirms they made the right decision to use you in the first place. Prospective clients probably care even more.
“If you are up against other agencies for a clients pitch, having an award on your agency CV could tip the balance in your favour,” says Brookes. “Let’s be honest, recruitment doesn’t always have the best reputation, so being able to show off your award-winning work will provide added value to what you are offering a potential new client.”
- They boost your clients’ profile too
It is all too easy to bang on about how much awards can benefit your agency, but they also shine the spotlight on the clients you already work with.
According to Brookes, “When submitting your entry, most awards will require you to use examples of work you have done for certain clients.
The temptation is always there to talk about the work ‘we’ did and the results that ‘we’ achieved, but this is a missed PR opportunity for you.
“By turning the focus onto the client and highlighting the challenges they faced and the positive outcome achieved as a result of their partnership with you, the employer’s profile both internally and externally is also raised.”
For example, one of the clients that Clearly PR & Marketing Communications works with recently placed the CEO of a leading hospitality organisation. A joint press release was issued announcing the new appointment. This served two major purposes:
Firstly, the employer wanted to demonstrate the extent to which they search and secure the best talent for that business’s most important role; thereby raising their profile as an employer of choice externally and internally.
Secondly, for Clearly’s client it was an opportunity to highlight the type of clients they work with and the roles they place in a bid to position themselves as a search firm of choice for new prospects.
This is the type of assignment you may look to include in an award entry, and by switching to the focus away from ‘we’ to ‘the client’ you then become perceived as an agency that is exceptionally customer-focused.
- They boost team morale
“We’ve run a number of awards ceremonies over the last two years,” says Brookes. “And there are two things that every single winner says when asked ‘What does winning an award mean to you?’ The first is increased reputation, and the second is the positive impact on their teams.”
People want to work for winning teams and to be surrounded by colleagues who are part of a winning team.
This spurs them to want to be better and to achieve more both personally and for the business. This by default leads to better staff retention, reduced absenteeism and workplace stress, improved performance and a positive impact on the bottom line.
- They are great for attracting new consultants to work for you
Recruitment is an ultra-competitive environment and having an award tagged onto what you are already offering could be the incentive needed to persuade a top consultant to want to work for you over your competition.
To be an employer of choice in your own right means showing your agency off as something different to what is already out there. Employees will naturally gravitate to the agencies that are seen to be successful because they want to share their success and add it to their own CVs.
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, editor of Recruiter imPRint and managing director at Clearly PR & Marketing Communications, said: “In my advertising sales days I remember joining Monster after spending four years at Yell, because Monster in those days was the Number 1 job board in the world with countless awards to their credit.”
- They help you win clients!
Your consultants want to offer clients another reason why they should partner with your agency – that’s what awards can do. Imagine how much more compelling ‘We’re ZXY Recruitment, winners of the XXX of the Year Award’ is over ‘We’re ZXY Recruitment, we do…’!
Winning an award is a stamp of approval from an unbiased source. Too many recruiters describe themselves as ‘the leading’ or ‘the best’ – it’s twaddle, but boasting an award adds credence to what you say.
Liz Brookes said: “Speak to most industry award winners and they will agree that awards can often lead to calls from clients they have never dealt with before.
“You only have to take a look at the businesses entering these awards to see the value they place on them; after all, no one would invest the time they need to complete the award entries in the first place if they didn’t generate some form of ROI from them!”