Awards ceremony, how to organize them and the key to success

2022.08.22

When you think of company events, what comes to mind?

There are many types of events, such as initiation ceremonies, kick-offs, and company general meetings. One of the most indispensable events, especially in larger companies, is an “awards ceremony”.

Many companies hold awards ceremonies to honor those who have performed well in sales, new product development, team building, advertising and marketing, and many other areas.

What’s the purpose of an awards ceremony?

“To recognize those who have performed well”, is of course, the correct answer. As the name suggests, the purpose of an awards ceremony is to give out awards.

That is the main purpose, but, organizers need to take it one step further.

“The result of giving out awards” and “what you want employees to feel when giving awards” differ from company to company.

Every event held by a company has a purpose and what it wants to achieve. It is only when the purpose is clear that the event is successful.

In this article, we will discuss the “purpose of an awards ceremony,” how to hold it, and key points for a successful event.

The purpose of an awards ceremony?

Many award ceremonies go to the trouble of renting a large venue, staging the event, and gathering all employees and related parties.

Why do they go to such lengths?

The reason is that the purpose of an awards ceremony is to “shake the hearts of all participants” by presenting awards.

Human beings are emotional creatures, and when their peers receive awards, they are moved emotionally.

An awards ceremony is the perfect place to sway emotions, raise motivation, and motivate people to take the next action.

Specifically, the following objectives and effects can be expected.

1. Recognizing top performers and motivating them for the next term

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “award ceremony” is an award for top sales performance. Since these awards are directly related to the company’s profits, they tend to be given out on a large scale.

Awards for top performers are very much about the “honor of being recognized”. An emotional and stimulating awards event can make people want to ‘be there’ and ‘go up on the stage again,’ and can motivate both the award recipients and others.

2. Show the company’s evaluation strategy and set the course of action

While awards based on sales performance are very straightforward, they may seem a bit unfair in companies where many employees are not involved in sales.

In such companies, awards may be given based on different evaluation criteria for each department. By clarifying “what criteria were used for evaluation” when presenting these awards, it is possible to convey to employees what the company is looking for and to enable activities that reflect the company policy.

3. Spark interest in departments with which you do not normally interact

In larger companies, departments are subdivided and work locations change. As a result, there will be departments with which employees do not normally have much contact. This is unavoidable, but the company would like to have an opportunity to bring all employees together.

In fact, the award ceremony is also an opportunity to learn about other departments that we are usually not very aware of. The awards ceremony, which is watched by many employees in different departments that support each other’s activities and understanding that all departments are essential for the company run, is a chance for employees to understand more about the company and to come together as one.

How to hold an awards ceremony

An awards ceremony is an event where the key points to be considered and the flow of the event are relatively clear. Basically, the following is the basic planning flow.

1. Confirm the number of participants, budget, scale, and production schedule

The first step in planning is to determine the number of participants, budget, and size of the event. Especially in the case of an awards ceremony, time allocation and the number of participants will vary greatly depending on the number of award winners, so it is important to clarify the number of award winners, the number of participants at the venue, the number of participants online, and so on.

The venue, number of participants, budget, and schedule are difficult to change once the event planning is underway, so clarifying this information at this point will allow the planning to proceed smoothly.

2. Determine the concept

Decide on a concept that will carry through the entire event. Awards ceremonies are characterized as “regularly scheduled” and “celebratory”, so it is important to create a concept with this part of the event in mind. A clear concept will help create consistency in specific planning, so be sure to decide on a concept.

3. Develop a specific plan that fits the concept

Once the concept has been decided, the specifics such as decorations and contents are worked out accordingly. The important thing here is to make the event motivating for both the award recipients and the participants. Since the event is directly related to employee motivation, it is vital to make it exciting and lead to a change in behavior afterwards.

The specific points for a successful event are covered in detail in the next section, so please refer to the next sections as well.

Key to a successful awards ceremony

The awards ceremony is a ‘spot light moment’ for the members who work there. Therefore, the people being honored, as well as the participants, have high expectations for the event’s decorations and staging. Companies have a variety of regularly scheduled events, such as induction ceremonies and kick-offs, but awards ceremonies are somewhat unique among these. To ensure success, it is important to keep in mind characteristics unique to awards ceremonies.

1. Decorate as a place of celebration.

Although simple staging and stage decorations are preferred these days, an awards ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. As an occasion for celebration, it is necessary to pay close attention to the decorations. Especially if you hold an awards ceremony every year, recipients will unconsciously compare the decorations of previous years’ ceremonies with those of this year’s ceremony. There is a need to decorate the event so that everybody feels honored and special every single year.

2. Prepare for an award winner’s speech

The awards ceremony is a place to honor the award winners, but it is also a place where the words of the award winners can be delivered directly to the participants.

In other words, it is a place where award winners can share their successful experience and mindset with the participants. By setting aside time for speeches by award winners, creating a corner to introduce award winners’ efforts, and so on, you can improve the skills of the entire company.

3. Include content that will make participants think, “I want to be awarded, too!”

Basically, an award ceremony is an event held on a regular basis. If members who participate in the awards ceremony think, “I want to receive an award next year, and I will work hard for it,” this will become a goal and lead to increased motivation. By preparing commemorative gifts and privileges that participants would like to have themselves, and by making the event such that they would want to stand on the stage next time, the entire company will be motivated to perform better.

Award Ceremony Case Studies

Here are some examples of real award ceremonies that GP has worked on. Please take a look at the scale and characteristics of these events for reference.

Award ceremony under the theme of “Kyoto” (insurance company)

Venue

Hotel Banquet in Kyoto

Schedule

Set up the day before the event – 1:00 p.m. start time for the main event on the day of the event

Features

In order to give the guests a sense of Kyoto, the decoration was thoroughly unified in Japanese style. The center runway in the middle of the venue was decorated with lanterns. In addition, in order to enjoy the door-opening time, an ema (votive tablet) hanging corner was set up in the foyer, where participants could write their future goals and so on.

The stage was decorated with Japanese motifs, with cherry blossoms on the sleeves. Japanese umbrellas were also scattered on the stage to create a Kyoto-like effect.

Wild and fast award ceremony (human resources company)

Venue

Tokyo Event Hall

Schedule

Load-in from 0:00 a.m. the day before to prepare the whole day, and start from 1:00 p.m. on the day of the event.

Features

This time, we used an exhibition hall. Since the exhibition hall does not have a hanging base, we started by building one. Therefore, a long construction time was needed for preparing for the event.

Since the theme was “Axel,” we designed the overall atmosphere to have a frontier feel of running through the American wilderness. The center runway was a road-like gray punch carpet with road markings printed on it, and the stage was hung with a wide screen to ensure visibility in the large venue.

We also created an opening movie that took advantage of the widescreen, and developed a fast-paced program run-down that made the entire company step on the gas pedal at once the moment the show began.

“the more people coming in, the more exciting it gets” with a large number of award winners (IT company)

Venue

Tokyo Hotel Banquet

Schedule

Load-in from 10:00 p.m. Event started at 1:00 pm.

Features

Because of the large number of award recipients, side runways and an entrance gate with an opening in the center were arranged.

As a special effect, we prepared the “CO2 gas emanating from the gate upon entrance,” similar to those used in the entrance of boxing matches or football games. Because the awards ceremony was long, the stage was designed in such a way that there are many variations in the appearance scenes of the awards so as not to bore the audience.

The main purpose of the awards ceremony is to get the entire company on a growth trend.

The awards ceremony is also an event “For the Future”

This shows that an awards ceremony is not only a place to praise this year’s success, but also a place to prepare for next year’s success stories.

The reason why a company goes to the expense of holding a large awards ceremony is because it’s an important event that relates to the next fiscal year’s performance.

As you can see, the specifics of “what the purpose of the awards ceremony is” and “what the company wants the employees to achieve as a result of the ceremony” vary from client to client.

GP will continue to conduct award ceremonies by carefully listening to the client’s needs, and will continue to carefully investigate the “purpose” of the event.