Doing yourself justice when entering The UK Social Mobility Awards 2021 (SOMOs)
So, you think you deserve a UK Social Mobility Award? You quite possibly do.
But standing between you and the recognition you undoubtedly deserve is the (not so) small matter of the written submission.
SOMO2021 is a yearlong programme of events and a nationwide leadership initiative focused on advancing social mobility, making it a key part of how organisations are run in this country.
The UK Social Mobility Awards themselves are a unique set of awards that have been specifically established to recognise and encourage action that will promote and increase social mobility within Britain’s companies and institutions. These awards will recognise best practice and innovation and celebrate excellence and achievement. It aims to elevate social mobility as a cause equal to the level of other diversity issues.
How are the entries judged?
Your written entry is your one and only opportunity to get your case across. There is no second-stage, or face-to-face presentation to give you the opportunity to elaborate.
With this in mind, you really do need to ensure it does you justice.
Once you’ve uploaded your written entry to the online portal, and the entries close, applications are judged by leading people from the business, public and the non-profit world. The chair of the judging panel is Sir Ken Olisa OBE.
How do you ensure your written entry does you justice?
So, with the rigorous process and highly proficient judges in mind, what can you do to maximise your chances of winning?
Here are some important pointers from us here at Boost Awards, the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy.
We’ve put our heads together and distilled a huge list of suggestions and top tips into just five vital ingredients, aligned to the entry process and scoring system for these awards.
These are based on our own experience of writing – not to mention winning – a veritable plethora of awards for our clients over the years.
The five vital ingredients
Deserving a UK Social Mobility Award and winning a UK Social Mobility Award are two entirely different things. Being a winner requires five key ingredients:
- A ‘wow’ factor.
- A storyline.
- Business alignment.
- Strong and well-evidenced results.
1) The all-important WOW
You need to remember that this is not just a box-ticking exercise. To win, you need to attempt to induce a ‘wow’ response from the judges.
Sometimes stories are so strong or ground-breaking that this ‘wow factor’ is straight forward. However, while the extraordinary aspects of your achievements may seem obvious to you, you cannot leave it up to the judge to spot the miraculous from the mundane.
For example, a potentially great recruitment programme or development programme, can all too often be so diluted by ordinary good practice – or, worse still, weakened by a lack of evidence – that it simply fails to pack a punch.
If something is unique to your business – or the industry as a whole – spell it out just how unique and how you know it’s unique!
Your job is to ‘find the wow’ and focus your precious word count on emphasising this.
For most companies, especially larger organisations with an abundance of initiatives within your wider people strategy, this is easier said than done. Maybe your approach is more thorough, more engaging, more inclusive, more interactive, more consultative than others – agree the superlative and spell it out, and try and back it up with some research or evidence.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach here sadly, because by definition each ‘wow’ has to be unique. However, if you simply accept that you need this as a vital ingredient to your entry, then that alone has made reading this article worthwhile.
2) Tell a story
Next, tell a story with a dramatic opener and an engaging tone throughout.
While doing all this within the word limit is far from quick or easy, you can guarantee that the winning entry will have done exactly that.
This year, wouldn’t it be great if that entry came from you?
3) Demonstrate business alignment
The judging is very much focused on recognising people strategies which are aligned to business goals and strategies.
So, your story needs to include references to the organisation’s ambition and objectives. This connection shouldn’t be simply implied or tokenistic, you should reference stakeholder engagement, research processes, timescales, findings and important decisions to make it abundantly clear that the strategy you chose was 0% gut instinct, and 100% based on a thorough business alignment process, and that you put in place clear metrics to prove you delivered impact against the ambitions, needs or issues that matter in the boardroom.
Which leads us onto your next challenge…
4) The evidencing challenge
Being ‘well-evidenced’ is the tricky part here – you need to quantify every single assertion you make with suitable data.
Particularly your assertions about the scale of the challenge, and the scale of the impact on business performance.
You don’t have to write your whole entry today but do try and find an hour as soon as humanly possible to map out what you would like to say and where.
I can guarantee that you will find a substantial list of data points that will require a fair amount of searching, analysis or surveying before you find the relevant content.
You must gather a strong body of evidence and clearly link that evidence to the story.
5) Don’t be a flash-in-the-plan
One final piece of advice to end with – don’t let the judges reading your entry worry that your strategy might be a flash-in-the-pan approach.
After reading your entry the judges MUST be left with no doubt that the strategy will be continuously improved far into the future, and that the impact will correspondingly be sustained, and (better still) continuously improved too.
I hope this list inspires you to raise the bar on just how strong you intend your entry to be.
This is a competitive and highly credible award scheme so the winning entry will have all five ingredients in spades.
Just make sure that this is your entry.
Boost Awards is the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy. Boost has helped its clients win over 1,500 awards, including winning entries in the UK Social Mobility Awards. Contact Boost for a free informal chat about awards, sign up to free monthly deadline reminders or visit their popular UK Awards List website to view over 4,000 awards to enter.