Want To Earn A Great Place To Work Award? Start Here.

July 10, 2024

As internal communicators, you’re likely familiar with workplace awards. You may have applied for some, talked to leaders about them, or worked at an organization that received an award or two. Chances are you also recognize Great Places To Work, especially its hard-to-miss red banner often seen on companies’ websites.

Great Places to Work runs a bunch of different workplace awards, including Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For®. These awards can be an effective way to gain external validation that your company is well…a great place to work!

But there’s a lot to do and keep in mind when it comes to putting your best foot forward while applying for a workplace award. This blog post is your go-to guide for learning how to create a strong application.

Let's dive in.

What Are The Great Places To Work Awards?

In addition to the Fortune list, Great Places To Work runs other workplace awards as well. Here are a few:

  • Best Workplaces in [city name]
  • Best Workplaces for Parents
  • Best Workplaces in BioPharma

They’re also known for their Great Place to Work certification program, which “recognizes employers who create an outstanding employee experience.”

What Does It Take To Be A Great Place to Work Certified Organization?

To apply for Fortune’s 100 Best list or any of their other awards, an organization needs to first be Great Place To Work certified. It’s a two-step process that includes distributing Great Places to Work’s proprietary survey (the Trust Index™) to a certain number of your employees, along with filling out a short questionnaire, called the culture brief, about your workforce.

The culture brief asks about information like…

✅ When the company was founded
✅ The company’s global reach (or not)
✅ Revenue
✅ Number of employees
✅ Employee demographics
✅ Employee and workplace programs or benefits affecting key lists
✅ Available employee resources, and more.  

Ultimately, certification is determined by your employees’ feedback and the Great Places to Work analysis.

What If I Want To Apply For One of the Great Places To Work Awards?

That means you’ll need to get certified, complete the culture brief, and provide long-form responses to around five or six questions. For example, the Fortune’s 100 Best application requires the completion of five or six questions that each have 5,000-word limits.

What Will Make My Workplace Awards Entry Stand Out?

With hundreds of companies vying for these awards, standing out is essential. These are some best practices.

Be Specific

When we’ve worked with clients on award-winning entries, our guiding principle was to be specific. Your entry isn’t a place for platitudes.

Are you stating that your workplace is equitable? Back it up with examples of employee programs, data, and employee quotes.

Does your company support mental health awareness? List and describe your various offerings, as well as how you communicate/promote them among employees, and share employee participation rates.

Specifics and statistics go a long way in painting a picture of your workplace, which can help set you apart from other organizations. And MAKE SURE you are answering the actual question!

Ruthlessly Prioritize

In a similar vein, you need to be ruthless with your content. The 5,000-word limit might SOUND like a lot of space to delve into the ins and outs of programs but trust us – it’s easy to hit that limit quickly. Make sure involved stakeholders know that prioritization is going to be critical. Not everyone’s content will make the final cut.

You should make the most out of the space you have – so focus on programs and examples that have a wide reach versus highlighting those that may only be relevant to a very small segment of your employee audience. Great Places to Work is deeply focused on a “For All” approach – keep this in mind!

“A great workplace is one where employees trust the people they work for, have pride in the work they do, and enjoy the people they work with. To be truly great, that experience must be consistent for every employee, no matter who they are, what they do, or where they work. This consistent experience is what we call ‘For All.”

Do Workplace Awards Really Matter?

Workplace awards aren’t everything. There are a lot of terrific workplaces out there that don’t apply for them or haven’t won them. But they can signal to your current people, potential candidates, and even competitors that your organization prioritizes its employee experience. It can bolster your employer brand and set your organization apart.

Understand The Great Places To Work Application Process & Requirements

Here’s the thing: These applications are time-consuming – whether it’s to become certified and/or to submit for an award.

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re working efficiently:

  1. Make sure you’re familiar with the certification and application deadlines – these can be two different dates! If in doubt, reach out to Great Place to Work and they can provide more information.

  2. Determine which stakeholders should provide input for your application and who needs to review and/or approve it before it’s submitted. Build your project plan accordingly and account for rounds of edits. When we partner with clients on their applications, we typically carve out at least a few months.
  3. Host a kick-off call with all key stakeholders to educate them about the award, judging criteria, and general best practices for the entry (see above!). This helps get everyone aligned so you’re not fielding logistical or content questions at the eleventh hour.
  4. Use a shared folder to store working drafts to avoid version control issues.

Get Excited: Crafting a Submission Takes Work, But It’s Worth It!  

Whether you win an award, become certified, or need to keep trying, working on a submission is such a good way to learn more about your organization, its programs and people, and other stakeholders.

Looking for other award ideas? Explore Quantum Workplace’s Best Places to Work™ lists and Energage’s Top Workplaces, too.

💡Remember: You don’t have to do it alone! Brilliant Ink partners with clients to develop entries and manage the process from start to finish.

Reach out and let’s chat!

Becky Sennett

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