Prizing talent above all else03 May 2013
New awards recognise excellence in employee engagement while helping to attract talent.
Asked why they had entered the National Business Awards in 2012, the majority of finalists said they wanted a high profile, credible endorsement to attract talent, boost morale and instil trust in their customers.
Having identified talent as a cornerstone of their sustainability goals, employers are investing in leadership programmes, diversity initiatives, graduate academies and even venture funds to keep IP in the business. They’re also designing a more dynamic environment to conduct business, investing in ‘Google-style’ workspaces to stimulate creativity, create a more open and integrated environment, prevent silos and present an inclusive culture to clients.
Company values have become a differentiator to lure talent away from competitors, win business, reassure investors and connect with communities. In the ‘ethics’ section of our entry forms we’re seeing more and more examples of organisations investing in some form of community activity to demonstrate these values - while engaging their people in worthwhile learning experiences.
Recognising the importance of talent to UK plc, and demonstrating how employee engagement impacts the bottom line, the National Business Awards has introduced several new agenda-setting accolades.
The Leadership Diversity Award, introduced in 2012, recognises those investing in processes, policies and culture to enable greater diversity at executive level - and demonstrating the positive impact this is having on commercial performance. Last year’s winner, Eversheds, has increased diversity across gender, race and social mobility but, crucially, showed how this has helped it to win business, keep clients and attract talent.
The Corporate Citizenship Award, launching in 2013, will focus on the impact business can have on communities through direct investment, pro bono work or employee led initiatives. This Award also seeks to demonstrate the link between corporate citizenship and commercial success, from staff engagement and development to reputation and brand awareness.
Increasingly, we’ve seen elements of these new accolades demonstrated by finalists for our Croner Employer of the Year award which looks for the best examples of a return on investment in people. Last year, judges chose Baringa Partners above some exceptional finalists because it showed how it’s evolving a culture aligned with its growth plan – described by one judge as a “true meritocracy delivering astounding financial results”.
Linked to all of the key criteria used to score each entry - including growth, leadership, innovation and customer service - employee engagement is set to be a major theme in 2013. We’ll be exploring that theme with media partners including the Daily Telegraph and Sky News by telling the story of past winners and this year’s finalists. We’ll also develop this theme with new strategic partners like Engage for Success – a government backed campaign to promote employee engagement – and award sponsor Croner which produces a wealth of employee-related research.
Once described as the ‘soft stuff’, employee engagement is delivering solid returns for employers. And for those prepared to shout about their achievements through the National Business Awards, it can help them attract their future growth makers as well.