A resolve to make top awards appealing to stakeholders

BY VICTOR ADAR

More and more individuals stay alert waiting for the right excellence awards to participate in. This has resulted into the formation of tens of competitions by players and stakeholders. A few examples include real estate excellence awards, whose mission is to recognise players in the real estate sector, digital excellence awards, agribusiness excellence awards, Bloggers Association of Kenya awards, quality healthcare Kenyan award and energy management awards. 

Excellence awards are on the rise following a general fact that they aim at improving the customer experience journey while recognizing and encouraging learning and best practices within a particular industry. The most well organised awards will also likely offer a platform for successful networking, and might even end up creating the spirit of competition.

Bagging a prize might boost your performance not only as a company but also as an individual. But are companies that win accolades generally post good results? Is it a corporate marketing solution? How can organisers ensure that it is done in a credible way? Probably you might have a good business, but do you really need to participate in industry competitions? What does brilliance awards mean to companies? 

Swissport Kenya Limited is one provider of ground and air cargo services that won the second edition of the Aviation Business Excellence Awards (ABEA) sponsored by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and managed and moderated by the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) in a partnership arrangement. Feted at an African gala dinner held at the Emara-Ole Sereni Hotel, Swissport also won in the ground handling services category. Trade Winds Aviation Services were first runners up. 

At the same time, the Hilton Garden Inn, which was ABEA 2019 company of the year first runners up emerged top in the hospitality Services – hotels category. The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service won in the government services category followed by the Kenya Revenue Authority. 

Isaac Nyateng (Second from left), senior inspector at The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service receives the government services sector award from Mercy Makau (second from right), founder and president of the Young Aviators Club of Africa (YACA). They are fklanked by Damarie Akello (left) and Elizabeth Wacuka (right) both from KEPHIS.
The ABEA 2019 Company Of The Year winners, Swissport Kenya posing with their trophies at the ABEA 2019 gala dinner held on November 15, 2019. From Left, Edith Githachuri, Racheal Ndegwa the chief operating officer, Swissport Kenya Limited, Alex Gitari, acting managing director and CEO, Kenya Airports Authority, Julia Muriithi, Samia Barasa and Wycliffe Osoro head of human resources, Swissport Kenya Limited.

Other notable winners included DB Schenker in the customs agents category, Maya Duty Free in the retail shops services category and Express Travel Group in the ground transport services category.

Paul Caffe Kenya was victorious in the hospitality services – restaurants category with Kenya Airways claiming the prize for airline services – cargo category. Etihad Airways emerged victorious in the airline services – passenger category.

Even as modern businesses are beginning to embrace excellence awards, standards must be thrown in the mix. Ignorance might be the undoing for those still sceptical about participating in some of these competitions. As the space continues to open up, what matters now is the “so what”. 

For ABEA, participating organisations were rated on a scale of 1-10, according to their performance and competitiveness. The model sets a minimum score that an organisation must attain to remain competitive and the rating is determined following what the organisers term “a rigorous internal and external assessment process”. It also sought to assess participants based on leadership and management, human resource focus as well as customer orientation and marketing. 

Alex Gitari, the acting managing director and chief executive officer at KAA has a plan to make top awards appealing to the stakeholders. Since ABEA started in May 2018, he said, of the 65 companies who submitted entries for the 2019 contest, 32 completed the nomination process with 16 companies coming back for the second time. To Mr Gitari, excellence awards ought not to be thrown under the proverbial bus. He believes that companies, large and small, can benefit from the exposure that comes with winning. But what is creating demand?

“We continue to see a growing interest in participating companies. This is a clear demonstration of the value the industry is starting to derive from the ABEA initiative,” said Gitari. 

People from some quotas are afraid of awards node for the simple reason that it might land them in trouble. For example, cases where business owners, especially start ups, end up being pursued by the tax man after revealing details such as the value of the company and even the market share (it generally fails to auger well with tax returns), has resulted in certain businesses and individuals not trusting the awards, which more often than not would require participants to provide detailed profiles. 

To this non-compliant lot, with an empowered vibrant workforce, achieving the organizations objectives becomes the main focus, not bagging awards. They would rather work hard in silence while. A midst such challenges, experts believe that one cannot go wrong by participating in meaningful competitions. Just by being nominated and moving past selection stage, means that you are on the right path. Your target market can make decisive decisions based on the portfolio that is already out there earning you more credibility, and even enhancing your ability to make actual sales.

Murithi Ndegwa, the executive director and chief executive officer of KIM said the ABEA business self-assessment tool was developed based on the KIM Organizational Performance Index (OPI) framework for the evaluation of the performance of the participating organizations. 

Mr Ndegwa said that each organisation’s processes were assessed and combined with its business results using a weighted formula to determine the scores for a set of global determinants and sectoral indicators.    

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