02/25/2016 03:59 EST | Updated 02/25/2017 05:12 EST

4 Business Lessons To Take Away From Awards Season

Attractive businesswoman receives applause on stage while holding up an award. Horizontal shot.
Neustockimages via Getty Images
Attractive businesswoman receives applause on stage while holding up an award. Horizontal shot.

Awards season is upon us. If you've avoided the online discussions about red carpet fashion over the past few weeks, consider yourself in the minority. Whether or not you're a fan of the inevitable musical montages, the teary speeches and the awkward presentation banter, there's a lot that businesses can learn from awards season. Here are four:

1. Don't forget to thank the little people.

Awards show acceptance speeches are often the optimal time for viewers to head to the kitchen for a snack or check in on their social media networks, but for those agents, lawyers and high school drama teachers called out and thanked it's a really big deal. According to the The TINYpulse 2015 Employee Engagement & Organizational Culture Report, not even a third of employees surveyed feel strongly valued thanks to managers failing to show appreciation.

While the pace of business can be hectic, take a page from award winners and make sure to thank employees for landing that sale, hitting their numbers, or contributing to a successful project. A personal note can build loyalty, show appreciation and increase engagement. And collaboration tools like Chatter or make it easy to give kudos in a company-facing way so that everyone feels appreciated, and receive a pat on the back or a thank you when it's well-deserved.

2. Taking a risk can pay off.

In movies, TV shows, music, and theatre, some of the most memorable -- and award-winning -- performances are those where artists take a risk. Whether it's playing a challenging character, experimenting in another musical genre or pushing the limits of what audiences expect, these performances can leave a lasting impression. The same can be said for businesses. EY recently released a study titled There's No Reward Without Risk, which points out that there are times to find the opportunity in risk. So whether it's starting a clever and timely conversation on social media or finding a new way to serve your customers, taking the occasional risk can really pay off.

3. It's an honour just to be nominated.

For every nominee, holding that award is the ultimate goal, but for every winner, there are other talented artists that are left sitting in their seats. Strategic nominees take advantage of the lead up to the awards ceremony, getting their name, their face and their work out there as much as possible, so even if they don't take home the gold they're still in the collective consciousness and have a leg up when auditioning for new roles or signing new record deals. Businesses can learn from this marketing strategy. Even if you don't have a new product or new business news, stay in front of your audience and customers by offering thought leadership and relevant touch points using techniques like content marketing. This will place your name in front of potential customers as an expert in your field, without being in-their-face about it, and keep you top of mind for the next time an opportunity comes up.

4. Make engagement a top priority.

Years ago, awards ceremonies were watched on TV screens and read about the next day in newspapers. Today, the events have their own hashtags, live streams and celebrities tweeting from their front row seats (and occasionally taking record-breaking selfies). This kind of engagement makes fans at home feel a part of the action -- an insider. While it might not be as glamorous, workplaces also need to make engagement a top priority when it comes to employees. A few years ago, Gallup released a State of the Global Workplace study that revealed only 13 per cent of employees are engaged at work. With study after study showing that engaged employees are more loyal and productive and yield increased customer satisfaction, financial results and shareholder value, it's imperative to keep them engaged.

Companies like Salesforce have been able to keep engagement levels high by using a combination of a great company culture and technology. By introducing apps that keep employees connected to company-wide calendars, notifications, directories, documents and other collaboration tools, employees feel like they're always a part of the action and connected to their work environment in a way that is relevant to them.

The lights and the cameras will be rolling this awards season, and you as a business owner can take action as well. With a little recognition, some risk and a hint of strategic self-promotion, your business can grab some of the limelight, too.

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