And the Winner Is…

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Posted At: November 20, 2013 2:10 p.m.
by Jacquie McMahon

Most public relations practitioners agree on the importance of applying for awards.

When the deadline for the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil rolls around, agency offices are filled with white binders and people waiting in line for the color printers. Winning a prestigious award like the Silver Anvil rewards the team and the client for hard work throughout a campaign.

But what about internal awards?

Even in my fairly short public relations career thus far, I’ve seen the significance of internal awards that recognize a select few for exceptional work. It’s not about playing favorites or one person receiving all the glory; internal awards serve as a morale booster for the team member who consistently stayed in the office well past six o’clock.

Recognition gives people a reason to keep going. It proves that their hard work is being noticed, that it’s making a difference. It also motivates their peers to work harder, in hopes that maybe they’ll be acknowledged next time.

Last April, our student-run communications firm at The University of Alabama, Capstone Agency, started the tradition of rewarding students for going above the call of duty. In fact, many of our award winners were so grateful for the recognition that they worked even harder to earn director positions and continue their outstanding work on behalf of the agency. This was one way to stand out among 65 members and earn both recognition and leadership.

Several of the leading public relations firms also use this strategy. For example, Edelman honors individuals with the Charles E. Fremes Q Hero Award as part of its global Quality program. This award recognizes “Q Heroes” who represent quality and Edelman’s core values in all aspects of their work. These employees are truly heroes, providing an example for others to follow suit.

Any firm, corporation or organization should follow suit and implement internal awards programs. This recognition is a simple way to encourage a positive environment and continued success. In the public relations industry, we often complete the tough behind-the-scenes work and receive little credit. The feeling of hearing one’s name announced, receiving a decorative plaque and taking a picture in a room full of people – that makes a few late nights at the office well worth it.

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