Using Business Awards Programs to Attract Job Seekers

In March 2019, BC had Canada’s lowest provincial unemployment rate at 4.6% and, within BC, Victoria had the lowest unemployment at 3.0%.  These very low rates are great for job seekers but are creating significant recruitment challenges for many employers. One way that employers can respond to these challenges and entice workers is to raise awareness of their organization by participating in business and/or employer awards programs.

In the current job market, jobseekers are increasingly evaluating potential employers by researching whether a company’s values, culture and strategic direction align with their own.  They are also interested in working for organizations that have a positive profile and are well-thought of in the community or sector in which they operate.  As such, employers who are having trouble recruiting staff and/or or want to better position themselves as an ‘Employer of Choice’ should consider pursuing initiatives that will help them enhance their brand. 

One effective way that an organization can enhance their brand is to participate in Provincial, National, Sectoral or Local business awards programs such as those profiled below.  Although participating in these programs involves some time and effort, they can be a great way to share your company’s successes and enhance its exposure to jobseekers.  

Provincial / National Employer Awards Programs

The main employer awards program in BC is ‘BC’s Top 100 Employers’.  As part of participating in this province-wide program nominees are required to submit a range of information related to: Physical Workplace; Work Atmosphere & Social; Health, Financial & Family Benefits; Vacation & Time Off; Employee Communications; Performance Management; Training & Skills Development; and Community Involvement. Evaluators compare organizations within a particular field based on the information provided in order to determine the organizations that offer the best and most progressive working environment.   

Winning or finalist organizations can promote their placement as a top employer to entice jobseekers to consider available job opportunities with their organization. As the winner and finalist submissions are made public, this information is also useful to jobseekers trying to gain insight into the working environment of an organization.  For example, the 2019 winners were recently announced with a press release and special magazine in the Vancouver Sun (

The evaluation factors associated with ‘BC’s Top 100 Employers’ program are similar to those used for ‘Canada’s Top 100 Employers’ program. As such, it is relatively easy for employers who chose to participate in one of these programs to also participate in the other without creating a lot of extra work.  Other national level awards programs that employers could consider participating in include, for example, ‘Canada’s Greenest Employers’ and ‘Canada’s Best Diversity Employers’.

Sectoral / Local Employer Awards Programs

In addition to provincial and national level business / employer awards programs, an employer can also use sectoral or local level programs to elevate their organization and employer brand.  Following are examples of a few of the awards programs that associations administer for their members and which include elements that demonstrate a strong commitment to employees:

  • BC Tourism Industry Association “Employees First Award” 
  • Victoria Chamber of Commerce Business Awards which involve a number of categories including, for example, “Outstanding Workplace Award”
  • VIATEC “Employer of the Year” Award


Regardless of the awards program in which your organization opts to participate, winner and finalist organizations can promote their awards program standing to elevate the profile of their organization both with job seekers specifically and with target customer groups more generally.  Even when an organization participates in an awards program but isn’t a winner or finalist, the results can be used to the organization’s benefit as management can review the award nomination information of their competitors to see, for example, what other employers are offering in the way of vacation time, benefits and a variety of other perks.  In turn, this information can be used to determine if the packages offered by their organization are appealing to jobseekers or if adjustments are needed to improve their position as an “Employer of Choice”. 

Given current low unemployment rates and strong competition for good workers, participating in relevant awards programs is one way that an employer can demonstrate that they provide a good working environment and create a positive public profile for their organization that appeals to job seekers.  Employers should not hesitate to publicize their position as an award finalist or winner to raise their profile as a great place to work.  In this instance, there’s nothing wrong with an employer ‘tooting their own horn’.

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