Case study

Wave hello to an 81% increase in internal engagement

Annual employee award schemes recognise teamwork, personal achievements, and a job well done. But what happens when only a small number of people in your business engage with the process? How can you make sure that everyone feels involved, is encouraged to take part, and feels comfortable to put themselves and their colleagues forward for recognition?

One of our client’s annual awards scheme works to support the company’s manifesto and recognise and celebrate the work of employees, teams, and partners across the business. In turn, it also helps the organisation to build a better business culture. 

Making the complex simple

In 2019, the purpose of our client’s business was undergoing a significant change and a lot of new thinking and different approaches were being taken by people across the organisation.

In response, our client’s internal communications team wanted to raise awareness of the organisation’s long-running annual awards scheme and increase the number of applications they received. At the same time, they wanted to widen the call for entries to areas of the business that hadn’t traditionally engaged with the scheme.

To try to increase and widen the applications, the team started by asking employees how they felt the scheme could be improved. The resulting feedback revealed that people felt daunted by the complicated application process and by the thought of standing up and presenting their work at the very public annual awards ceremony.

Humanising brands

In response to this feedback, we worked with the internal comms team to simplify the entry process and make the application form more user friendly – replacing the traditional ‘daunting’ presentation with a video submission.

The nature of our client’s business means that many of its people don’t have access to digital formats at work. So, our next challenge was to make sure that the new and refreshed scheme would be fully accessible site-wide and in all areas of the organisation.

To reach all employees, then, we needed to create an engaging campaign that would translate well across both print and digital media.

To amplify the call for entries, we used both print and digital channels with a brochure for internal distribution, an animated ident, and a promotional video for use on the company’s Facebook page.

The campaign showed employees that the whole awards system had changed, that the scheme was open to everyone, and that applications were welcome from the smallest idea through to team-wide innovation.

Delivering the unexpected

The awards scheme’s visual look and feel needed longevity and to feel accessible to everyone in the business, while also feeling prestigious and something that people would be proud to win.

We worked to soften the corporate edges of the existing scheme and refreshed the awards with a new look, feel – and name. The idea for the name coming the client’s coastal location, facing out to sea.

The design concept reflects the company’s logo, as well as the positive connotations associated with the idea of riding the crest of a wave.

The new awards carry a dynamic feeling of change and movement that reflects the company’s evolution over the decades – and its status as a Centre of Excellence.

We promoted the new and refreshed awards scheme across the company’s social media channels, highlighting the ease of online application, and encouraging people to think again about putting themselves forward.

Employees could choose an award category, check the judging criteria, and prepare their video pitch for their chosen category judge, all via the company’s internal email platform.

The launch of the renamed, rebranded, and refreshed awards in 2019 saw an 81% increase in applications across the business.

Then the pandemic struck.

Beyond business as usual

In 2020, and in response to the pandemic, which saw many people working from home, our client invested in the development of a bespoke digital portal to maintain and build on the momentum created around the internal awards scheme during the previous year.

The secure online portal has further simplified and streamlined the awards application process. Now, all submissions, shortlisting, and judging can be done online.

In addition, the traditional in-person presentation to judges has been replaced with a video submission, further encouraging people from previously unrepresented areas of the business to apply.

The resulting virtual awards ceremony revealed a change in mindset around people’s willingness to put themselves forward for recognition, share knowledge, best practice, and achievements – and be open to sharing their success with their peers.


Making the work, work harder

Now, people from previously unrepresented areas of the business are submitting their award entries to the refreshed scheme. Applications are of a higher quality and are raising awareness of the work being done by people in different divisions and lesser-known departments across the business.

“We’re delighted with the support that Forepoint has provided. The Wave Awards are our opportunity to recognise and celebrate the work that our employees, teams, and partners do every day. And it’s not just about winning trophies, these awards help us to share learning and best practice across the business, inspiring others to challenge assumptions, and push boundaries. Forepoint have helped us to bring the awards to life in a way that has inspired more teams than ever before to put their work forward.”

Our client’s Head of Corporate Communications

We completed the awards scheme rebrand on time and to budget with design considerations that have supported the scheme’s transformation to a streamlined digital version.

The Waves can now be held online every year and the whole scheme is self-perpetuating, freeing people and resources to focus on other areas of work.

“The project resulted in an 81% increase in applications to The Wave Awards in 2019 and in 2020, applications were received from previously unrepresented areas of the business.”

Steve Gill, Director

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