Guest Post – 2012 AACE Awards

Since the deadline for the 2012 AACE (Annual Awards for Communications Excellence) Awards has been set (Thursday, March 1, 2012), we thought it would be a good time to invite Paul Horn, volunteer coordinator for the AACE Awards Program, to talk about why the AACE Awards are important and why your company should enter.

 You can download a copy of the 2012 AACE Awards brochure here and more information can be found on the Association’s website here. Please take a close look as several categories have been updated for this year.

AACE is a great way to document your ESOP communications program and see how your company compares with other ESOP companies.

Are there ways to help your AACE submission stand out?  We discussed some ideas in a session at The ESOP Association’s 2011 Annual Conference held in Washington, DC and I thought I’d share a few key points.

1. Be creative and think “outside the box.”  The AACE judges review numerous entries in a variety of categories.  Think of something different that will grab the judge’s attention.  For example, last year a company designed shirts that said “I Am a Repurchase Liability.”  Another company had children draw pictures of their parents or relatives as employee owners.

2. Highlight your employees.  Active employee ownership is best evidenced with articles by and pictures of employees in action.  Last year’s internet winner had highly effective videos of employees talking about the value of employee ownership.

3. Homegrown education.  ESOP education and open book materials you develop yourself carry greater impact.  The more color you use, the more it will catch the eye.

4. Events.  Pictures and descriptions of company meetings and events are a great way to showcase your ownership spirit.  For example, meetings with elected officials, themed events, and community activities help make your submission memorable.  Make sure to document when the events occurred.

5. Fun.  Games, food, more games, and more food are always ESOP company favorites. The stranger the game, the more exotic the menu, and the greater the employee participation, the more likely your submission will stand out.

6. Organization.  Clearly document your category submissions in a notebook. A display board and other company paraphernalia also will help draw attention to your materials.

Good luck and we look forward to receiving your 2012 AACE submissions.

Paul Horn is president of WorkPlace Consultants, LLC located in Bethesda, MD. He is a member of The ESOP Association’s Advisory Committee on Ownership Culture and a Chapter Officer of the Association’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter.

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