The awards industry has been on a huge journey over the last few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Here are my top 10 business awards and recognition predictions in 2023 and what the future holds for big brands, SMEs, entrepreneurs, and the awards organisers who recognise and celebrate them.
1. Awards that showcase the ‘Employer Brand’ will become a no.1 priority
One trend that I predict will continue to gain popularity is the recognition of businesses for their “employer brand.”
With the cost of hiring and retaining top talent becoming increasingly expensive and competitive, businesses need to clearly demonstrate their values and culture in order to attract and retain the best employees.
Winning awards for their employer brand sends a strong, positive message to potential hires that the company is a great place to work, offers an exceptional employee experience, and invests in learning and development.
We know this to be true because our own clients have reported that winning awards for their employer brand immediately increased job applications by 30% and significantly improved the quality of talent applying.
2. Awards that give access to finance and investment connections will be pivotal to supporting growth and innovation
Another area that will likely become more prominent in awards programmes is the recognition of businesses that have a strong financial model and a considered approach to growth.
While many awards organisers adjusted criteria to be more lenient due to the financial impact of the pandemic and ongoing financial crisis, it’s important now to shift our focus to what has been achieved (even if that is purely survival) and celebrating the successes of today.
Awards programmes that consider a business’s financial performance can be pivotal to helping leaders and teams polish their pitch and will even expedite investment. Awards supported by financial institutions, investors, and industry leaders often provide valuable connections and wider benefits for entrants (even if you don’t win!).
Our clients have reported that being a finalist or winner in these types of awards has led to offers of finance that they were previously unable to obtain.
3. Entrepreneurs will stand out in business awards competitions as they lead a new revolution
Since 2020 we’ve seen an insurgence of new entrepreneurs who took the opportunity to take control of their futures and launch that dream venture. They say there’s nothing like a crisis for sparking a change, and wow, have we seen some changes!
These are the challengers and disruptors whose ideas are changing the world.
So I’m delighted to see that awards categories for entrepreneurs, families and small businesses have grown and grown over the last few years, recognising them as the lifeblood of our economy.
As more and more entrepreneurs realise the significance of growing their profile and taking control of their own reputation, winning awards is becoming increasingly important to their success – and organisers of the biggest awards will continue to ensure they have relevant categories available for them to fairly compete in and recognise their achievements.
4. Awards recognising excellent Customer Experience will continue to drive industry standards
Another trend that is expected to continue is the recognition of businesses for their customer experience.
If there’s one award that every business wants, it’s one that shows new and existing customers that they are the best company to buy from in their industry because they care about their customers.
Winning awards that demonstrate credibility, trustworthiness, and excellent customer service can be especially valuable for relatively new businesses or those in industries where customer experience is a constant challenge, such as telecoms, travel, utilities, communications, and healthcare.
These types of awards are setting the pace, raising customer expectations, and actively driving industry standards by giving the very best businesses a clear platform to stand out from the competition.
5. Awards will provide real proof of impact in Learning & Development
Since the pandemic, we have been thrust into a wave of new learning and development experiences. Businesses had to adapt fast to a new wave of flexible, hybrid working conditions, and their people had to learn to do their jobs in new and very different ways.
These changes have set standards for a new norm, and we’re now seeing the results thanks to a combination of exceptional teams putting new processes into action, often hand-in-hand with a bigger digital transformation of the business.
We have seen more L+D and HR teams from public services embrace business awards and recognise their often extremely difficult work – and we will continue to do so.
Awards that celebrate these changes are helping to prove the commercial success and impact of continuous learning in every sector, which can often be overlooked in favour of the departments that ‘shout louder (like products, sales and marketing). It’s these award-winning teams who will drive continuous innovation in 2023.
6. Awards will promote new workplace standards by recognising the businesses truly putting their people first
A few years ago people shouted about their ‘people culture’ when their business had a popcorn machine, a pool table and paid for the odd boozy day out. Today, we know that one bowl of fruit does not make for a happy culture or a progressive workplace.
New awards recognising holistic, tech-enabled, flexible workplace cultures, and celebrating true diversity and inclusion, ingenious workplace design, improved human and organisational performance, widely supported mental, financial and personal health and well-being will set the standards and promote the continued improvement of workplaces across the world.
7. Awards recognising ‘good’ social and environmental behaviours will continue to improve sustainability goals
Once upon a time it was expected that only large businesses needed to do something ‘good’ out there in the world (to offset all that big money they were making). This expectation has changed for the better and now applies to all.
The majority of awards now recognise and celebrate social responsibility and altruism at every stage and level of business (whether it’s in the criteria or not).
From the smallest startups who are following their purpose by donating their time, expertise or a percentage of profits to those less fortunate, to the largest global organisations that have a fully developed Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and are making huge strides towards Net Zero – responsible business behaviours stand out.
No matter the size or sector of the business, living and breathing a sustainable vision and demonstrating its impact will be paramount to both awards and business success in 2023.
8. International awards programmes will drive international business performance
Another trend that is not going away is the celebration of businesses across global regions.
As more businesses than ever import and export, expand in size, shape and territory, and buy and sell their wares in the global marketplace, so too will they be celebrated by global awards programmes.
Thanks to the pandemic, many global awards programmes adopted hybrid processes so that international entrants could be welcomed without the time and cost or potential health restrictions of travelling. The most popular format today for these events is a combination of online entry, video-based presentations and in-person or hybrid ceremonies, we predict this will continue to grow in 2023, delivering all the awards benefits to all the entrants, no matter where they are in the world.
9. Awards will celebrate the true human impact of new digital technologies
There’s no getting away from digital and technological development. Just as we think we’ve seen the ‘next best thing’ come along, it’s swiftly usurped by the next ‘next best thing’.
Over the last few years, this has been reflected in new tech-based awards and categories, which I predict will continue to grow in 2023. We now have awards for every type of tech you can imagine – fintech, greentech, edutech, proptech, insuretech, martech, entech, meditech, and the list goes on.
From AI to Apps, to the proprietary platforms that ‘do it all’, the data they provide and the cyber-security they deliver, we will celebrate their success with awards. But the pathway to the winning podium just gets tougher – so the secret to winning will not just be in how they work or the value they have delivered, but how they define the true impact of their technology.
10. Awards ceremonies will deliver even bigger business value in 2023
Over the past few years, awards organisers have had the challenge of their lives.
In 2020, they developed new pandemic-proof online ceremonies.
In 2021, some of these programmes tentatively came back to a live event (depending on lockdowns) and naturally caution was exercised at every level, from health and safety to costs and bookings. People who attended the ceremonies in person took them seriously and safely, but were so happy to see each other and just to be ‘out’ that just being present in the room was celebration enough – we chatted and laughed and enjoyed being sociable once more.
In 2022, people were really ready to party! Many awards ceremonies had their biggest presence ever, the champagne flowed as finalists joined together in the biggest business award celebrations of their lifetime.
So what’s in store for 2023 award events? I know all of the best awards organisers continually evaluate what entrants want and strive to offer a hugely valuable event, so I can’t wait to see new ideas at events, more emerging talent, greater diversity, wider impact for winners, and more individuality celebrated, and I’m certain we are in for some unforgettable surprises.
Winning Awards in 2023
All in all, there is no doubt that awards will continue to play a vital role in the success of businesses of all sizes in 2023. Why?
Because research shows that employees recognised with awards are more engaged and stay longer.
Brands recognised with current awards gain more customers than the brands without.
And overall, award-winning businesses have a higher turnover than their competitors even five years after winning (references all in my book).
So, even whilst we live through what feels like a perma-crisis, there are many ways to create a positive impact on your business, team and project by recognising and celebrating excellence in areas such as employer brand, financial performance, innovation, customer experience, diversity and inclusion, technology and more.
And our industry awards programmes are ready to provide another valuable year of opportunities for you to differentiate and stand out in a crowded global marketplace, so that you can accelerate your success in 2023.
To start your winning journey join my next FREE Awards Strategy workshop here.