One of the frustrations of working in the intranet and digital workplace space is that some of the best work carried out by teams is hidden from view.
Thankfully there are now plenty of mechanisms for teams to share their good work including conferences, case studies, blogs and articles, networking groups (both formal and more informal) and, of course, awards and competitions.
It’s that time of year when some of the intranet and digital workplace awards come into the spotlight. The Step Two Intranet & Digital Awards, which I manage, recently opened for entries as did the Digital Workplace of the Year Awards, run by CMSWire and the Digital Workplace Group.
Awards Create Value, for Organizers and Wider Digital Workplace Community
Awards are not everybody’s cup of tea, but they can offer real value for entrants and the wider community.
Of course, Awards exist for commercial reasons. They give organizers a possible increase in brand awareness, material for content marketing purposes and opportunities to engage with the broader community. Vendors and agencies get an opportunity to gain credentials and publicity.
But many of these competitions are driven by a genuine passion and curiosity for what digital workplace teams are doing.
Who's going to be the first to deploy chatbots and get value? Who's got an innovative twist on a dashboard or doing amazing stuff with digital signage?
Awards can deliver wider value in a number of different ways:
Help Define the Global Intranet and Digital Workplace Community
Working in the world of intranets and digital workplaces is not always easy. For many of us, it can be a solitary and often misunderstood role. I’ve always found this can be a factor which drives a common bond of experience between different intranet teams across different organizations.
However, working with intranets is not a profession like accountancy, or even internal communications or software development. Professionals who work with intranets share genuinely multi-disciplinary backgrounds.
Elements such as awards and conferences have an extra resonance with intranet teams, as they can provide a formal reference point and some sense of common identity for the intranet and digital workplace community.
Drive Much-Needed Internal Recognition
Sometimes gaining internal recognition within your company is a challenge.
You know the scenario where you’ve worked, head down, for months and the big “ta-dah” moment doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. Sometimes it needs an external badge of recognition for your stakeholders to realize they’ve got something good.
In turn, internal recognition can really help with a variety of things such as internal career advancement, arguing for more investment and also driving adoption and trust in the platform itself.
There’s an obvious benefit in recognizing the achievement of individual teams.
We all know digital workplace projects can be long and difficult. Even if you don’t get much internal recognition, receiving an award can be a very engaging experience for digital workplace teams. Winning awards can help keep team spirits up, and what leader doesn't want to see team members get happy?
Provide Examples for Information and Inspiration
Awards bring to light examples of great intranet and digital workplace practices, approaches and designs which have had an impact.
While no organization can wholly lift an approach or design from another and meet with success, they can provide both a reference point and show what is possible.
Strong examples that encompass a more holistic view of workplace technology are scarce in the broader digital workplace. Competitions which encourage entries about the “digital workplace” should be welcomed, if only to surface these best practices.
Encourage Self-Reflection, Focus on the Bigger Picture
Some intranet and digital workplace teams are forever stuck in the day-to-day operations, which can often feel like firefighting. Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and think about the bigger picture, the sort of thinking which is needed to develop strategy, best practices and standard approaches.
Writing out an award submission is a great opportunity to reflect and articulate on what your team has done and achieved. The process of describing what you do is a surprisingly good way of sparking ideas, working out high-level strategies and developing insights.
Go On, Enter That Competition
Intranet and digital workplace competitions are a great place to showcase your work.
It’s time to take an afternoon out to write your entry, document your journey, celebrate your achievements and make that submission. Entering is not only good for your team and your organization, but it also benefits the wider digital workplace community. Good luck!
Editor's note: The Digital Workplace of the Year Awards are open and accepting nominations until midnight ET on May 15. Winners will be announced at the Digital Workplace Experience in Chicago, June 19-21.
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