The best ways to maximise your awards program efficiency

by | Jun 8, 2020 | How-to-guides

As we like to say, time is our most valuable possession, which is why it’s now more important than ever before to cut down on the clutter and maximise the efficiency of your awards program. 

We know, as an awards program manager, you have a lot on your plate. And it’s easy to get caught up in repetitive or administrative tasks. 

Here’s how you can easily maximise the efficiency of your awards program and effectively save time (and money) to spend on more important tasks. 

Cut down on clutter 

Your program’s success is highly dependent on how you manage the entries you receive. No doubt about it – entries are the bread and butter of your awards program. But it can be an information onslaught. And it’s your job to sift through it.

To cut down on the noise, simplify what you and your awards team see or are exposed to. If you manage your program manually, you could populate a whiteboard with key information and update it daily. If you use excel or spreadsheets to manage your entries, leverage hidden columns or rows to create specific table views with only the necessary data visible. And if you use awards software to manage your program, create a dashboard that enables you to see the data you need, at any given time. There are hundreds of ways to cut down on the clutter. If you invest in this strategy it has a massive pay off later on in your program lifecycle.

 In Award Force: Program managers can easily show and hide columns for the entry and judging views so you and your judges can see exactly what you need, as soon as you sign in. Or customise a view and share it with your awards team to ensure they aren’t being distracted by unnecessary information. 

Take advantage of bulk actions 

Managing an awards program often means you need to take a hard stance on quality. No one wants to deal with poor entries or to waste judging time with poor submissions. So it is always encouraged to sanitise your entries before moving them forward. Unless you have a small amount of entries, this can take a long time and it’s why we think bulk actions are an absolute necessity if you want to make your program efficient. 

Focus on specific aspects of entries and, where possible, remove the ones that do not conform to your program standards. If you have access to your entry data, use a spreadsheet to highlight empty fields, check spelling mistakes and check to make sure entries are not duplicated. 

In Award Force: You can: scan entries for duplicates to ensure you aren’t dealing with multiple entries from the same person (it happens!), check entries are original content by using our handy plagiarism detection feature, moderate entries before they get to judges, and perform a range of actions like copy, delete, tag and more in bulk to help you further organise entries as you see fit. Learn more.

Automate repetitive tasks

Automation is a powerful strategy for building efficiency into your processes. Just think about the manual tasks you often complete that could be set up for automations. Chores like: 

  • Sending emails and notifications to your participants at specific points
  • Passing along entries for review in a nomination process
  • Assigning entries to specific judges/judge panels

Being realistic, if you want to automate tedious tasks, you’ll need one of two things, awards software with built-in automation functionality or an external automation tool like Zapier or Integromat.

In Award Force: It is easy to set up automations and let the platform perform actions for you. Move entries through a multi-stage review or nomination process, automatically assign entries to judges, make use of our nifty automatic notifications and so much more. If you’d like to learn more, read our recent blog on some of our most used automations.

Streamline your judging process

Your judges are critical components of your awards program. And often, they have finite amounts of time to spend judging before they need to get on with other tasks and activities. Ensuring their time is well spent, on track and timeous is crucial and it’s vital you provide them with a pleasant, easy and fast experience. 

But it’s easy for judging to get complicated, and fast. Especially if you’re using a paper or forms system, where entries can get lost or attachments switched. And it’s also possible to overwhelm judges with too much information. This is where an awards management system pays dividends. Not only can you organise and plan your judging process down to the “T”, you can also clean up the clutter and provide your judges with a simplified process, only judging the best quality entries quickly and seamlessly. 

If you don’t have an awards management software or only use software to accept entries, try these tips to stay efficient:

  1. Save judging time by having your team review each entry before it gets put forward to judges. If you do it this way, you can ensure their expertise is only spent on quality entries, saving both time and money. 
  2. Focus on simplifying the judging process and procedure for your judges. Only inform them of their specific tasks and responsibilities. They don’t need to know every step. Keep them focused.  
  3. Try to only put one entry in front of a judge at a time. Consider creating a  file folder for each entry and attaching a scorecard on the outside of each file in an envelope. 
  4. Document your judging procedure and ensure judges have a copy. They are only human and you can expect them to forget one or two things along the way.

In Award Force: Create an enjoyable judging experience by providing judges a one-stop shop where they can log in, see immediately which entries need attention, easily view and click through each entry form, view any attachments, and judge – all in one place. Keep it simple for them by creating rounds, judging panels and the option of four powerful judging modes. Use moderation to filter entries before sending them to your judges. Create a smooth experience for your judges so they see only which entries and fields they need to judge. 

Organise your data

With so much data and content coming in, it can be difficult to keep it organised. It’s likely you’ll need to access it again in the future – to create reports, as a content bank for social media and website content, and to help market your program in the future.

It’s time to “KonMarie” your program data. If you’re dealing with offline content, create a well-marked documentation system. Label and organise by seasons/chapters and be consistent. Keep your records up-to-date on your entrants, judges and other program participants. Make sure your program data is safe and accessible for you in the future.

In Award Force: You can organise your data however you please. Use our tagging functionality to Tags entries individually or in bulk, arrange information to easily access the data you need, quickly and easily scan collated results and much more. If you have to export your data into reports, you can choose the data you need to share.

And forget about having to store paper files ever again. With Award Force archiving functionality you can safely house data from previous awards right in the system. Even better – it is easily available at the click of a button. 

An efficient program equals success

Putting the time into creating efficiencies now will pay dividends in the future for your awards program. You’ll simplify your processes, save time for you, your team and your participants and mould your program into a well-oiled machine to recognise excellence.

Want to see how Award Force can maximise the efficiency of your program? Take a self-guided product tour

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