Employer Brand Awards That Matter

We’re sure you’ve seen the logos and LinkedIn posts. From Great Place to Work to your favorite workplace review site, securing a spot on a employer recognition list is a huge accomplishment that comes with a whole host of benefits.

It can help you:

  • Benchmark your company’s performance and see how you stack up against other organizations
  • Boost your company’s reputation by serving as great social proof of how you’re supporting your employees
  • Gain a competitive edge when attracting and hiring talent (as the best people want to work for the best companies)
  • Retain your employees by reinforcing all the benefits they get from working for you, beyond compensation
  • Increase engagement and pride across your company
  • Strengthen your Employer Brand, as an award validates the important work you’re doing

Still, being recognized as an employer of choice is no easy feat. Hundreds of companies vie for these awards every year, and the competition can be fierce. Plus, it can take a lot of time and effort to complete an application. When you’ve already got a lot of other tasks on your plate, you may wonder if it’s even worth it to apply.

While we can’t make that call for you, we have put together this handy rundown of some of the most popular workplace recognition lists in the HR/Employer Branding space. In addition, we’ve looked at factors like the evaluation process, potential brand lift, and overall pros and cons to help you better understand what it takes to earn one of these awards and the possible ROI.

1. ​​Great Place to Work

Great Place to Work is one of the most well-known “Best Employer” lists out there. The rankings recognize companies in many different categories based on geography, industry, and demography (e.g., best workplaces for today’s youth, best workplaces for giving back, etc.). This recognition program also has a global reach, giving organizations the chance to rank on their Best Places To Work In The World list and multi-national companies the opportunity to see how different departments compare to local competitors.

Evaluation Process

Companies don’t have to apply for any of the Best Workplaces lists, but you do need to get a Great Place to Work Certification. Once you are certified, you are automatically considered for all relevant Best Workplaces lists for 12 months starting from when you got certified.

The certification process involves an employee self-survey and culture audit, which is a huge draw for this award, as it’s one of the few that heavily prioritize employee input in the criteria. The Best Workplaces are then determined from the pool of certified organizations. Qualifying organizations meet the highest levels of the specific criteria for the different lists.


The base certification package starts at $995 for an organization with 10-99 employees. After that, the prices increase according to organization size and package complexity.

Potential Brand Lift

Considering the history, rich research, and rigorous certification process of the Best Workplaces list, we’d consider the potential brand lift to be very high. Multiple Best Workplaces lists are published throughout the year on an annual basis, meaning eligible companies have an increased chance of being recognized in at least one of the various list categories. These lists are also published or distributed by market-leading news media worldwide to an audience of more than 25 million readers.

Plus, even if you don’t make a list, every Great Place to Work-Certified company earns a Certification badge which they can include on social profiles, marketing materials, or job postings. Becoming Great Place to Work-Certified can also make you eligible for the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list and PEOPLE’s Companies That Care list. Every Certified company also gets a profile page on the Great Place to Work website, where they can share company details and any other recognition earned on Best Workplaces lists.

Pros and Cons

While the potential PR opportunities are certainly a plus, our external research with job seekers also found that Great Places to Work generally ranked higher and mattered more to candidates than other awards. The process of responding to the employer questions, both in the Culture Brief and Audit, can also help you better understand what’s working – and what’s not – within your organization.

Still, the application process can be pretty time-consuming. Companies need to provide details and examples of a wide range of programs, events, traditions, and policies. Also, many sections of the Culture Audit have up to 4,000-word limits, which can give you an idea of how long it might take to complete an application. The certification cost could also be a prohibitive factor.

2. Inc. Best Workplaces

Inc.’s Best Workplaces list honours companies winning at employee engagement and creating a great culture for their employees.

Evaluation Process

To be eligible for an Inc. Best Workplaces award, companies must submit an application, complete an employee survey, and meet each of the following qualifications:

  • Be independent (not a subsidiary or division of another company)
  • Be based in the United States
  • Have at least ten permanent employees
  • Have been in business for at least two years
  • Have total annual revenue of less than $1 billion


The application fee is $245 (if you apply by the early-rate deadline).

Potential Brand Lift

The potential brand lift is pretty high. Companies that make the list are featured in an issue of Inc. magazine, get a dedicated company profile on Inc.com, and receive national and local coverage from publications like Yahoo! Finance and Businesswire.

Pros and Cons

While this award is one of the newer ones on this list (established in 2015), Inc. is a well-known media company with an international reach. Plus, all applicants receive a one-year subscription to Inc. magazine.

3. Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards

Each year, the CandE Awards, run by Talent Board, recognize companies with the highest positive candidate ratings in their benchmark research.

Evaluation Process

Companies need to register and complete an employer self-assessment survey to be eligible for the awards. Talent Board will then provide a candidate survey for the company to distribute to their candidates.


There is a $500 registration fee.

Potential Brand Lift

The potential brand lift is relatively low. While the CandE Awards are very well-established (founded in 2011), they receive less media coverage and are less known among candidates than other awards on this list.

Pros and Cons

Any company looking to improve its candidate experience will benefit from the CandE Awards research program. Even if you don’t receive an award, you will get access to valuable data and insights that will help you understand perception gaps and overall business impact, as well as see how your company’s candidate experience stacks up against industry peers. However, if you’re looking for an award that will raise your company’s overall brand visibility, the CandE Awards may not be the one.

4. The New Era: Comparably, LinkedIn and Indeed/Glassdoor Awards

Did you know that there are employer awards that you don’t have to apply to? Here’s a quick rundown of some that you should have on your radar. We love that these awards are based on employee data, but as they grow in popularity, we’d also like to see more transparency in their selection processes. And of course, there’s no substitute for real-world reviews that you can see yourself.

Comparably Awards: Every year, the Comparably Awards celebrates the companies and leaders deemed the most exceptional in 16 categories by those who know best – employees. There is no self-nomination or costs involved – winners are determined based entirely on employee feedback. Four different awards are released each quarter, culminating in the biggest awards given at the end of the year: Best Places to Work, Best CEOs, Best Companies for Women, and Best Companies for Diversity.

LinkedIn Talent Awards: The LinkedIn Talent Awards recognize companies and people across the globe who have excelled at engaging with talent, creating inclusive workplaces, building strong employer brands, encouraging learning and development, and focusing on employee retention. All LinkedIn customers with existing Talent Solutions products are automatically enrolled, and finalists are chosen based on data analysis run by LinkedIn’s Insights team.

Indeed/Glassdoor Awards & Lists: Each year, Glassdoor offers two marquee awards celebrating outstanding employers and leaders worldwide. Based entirely on employee feedback, the Employees’ Choice Awards recognize the Best Places to Work and Top CEOs. Like the Comparably awards, award winners are determined using feedback employees have shared on Glassdoor over the past year.

5. Most Admired Corporate Cultures

This national program annually recognizes best-in-class Canadian organizations for having cultures that have helped them enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage.

Evaluation Process

Companies can either self-nominate or be nominated by others for an award. All nominated organizations must fit within one of these qualifying categories:

  • Emerging (revenues must be over $5 million to under $25 million and over 25 employees)
  • Growth (revenues must be over $25 million to under $100 million)
  • Mid-Market (revenues of $100 million to less than $500 million)
  • Enterprise (revenues of $500 million and above), and
  • Broader Public Sector (not-for-profit, government, charitable organizations, and crown corporations)

​​Once nominated, organizations need to make a detailed written submission to the program. Ten winners in each category are chosen annually, for a total of 50 winners. Winners of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures Awards must be present at the Awards Gala to accept their award.


There is no cost to participate in Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures nomination or submission process.

Potential Brand Lift

Award winners can use the logo and trademarks for up to three years as a mark of excellence in culture and performance. The organization also sends out an annual press release announcing the winners. However, this award is not as well-known and doesn’t receive as much mainstream coverage as others on this list, so the potential brand lift is lower.

Pros and Cons

This award has a very rigorous and fair evaluation process. For budget-conscious organizations, the lack of application fees is likely a plus. Plus, the application has a maximum of 500 words per section, which could be a pro or a con depending on how concise you can be. However, employee feedback is not mandatory to apply. Plus, the lower potential brand lift may not offer enough ROI to justify the time and effort required to apply.

Workplace Recognition Awards – Are They Worth It?

Earning a coveted spot on one of these lists is undoubtedly exciting. But you should also keep in mind that completing the application process can be valuable all on its own. Answering the application questions can help your company better understand what creates a great workplace and what areas of your own may need improvement. They can also help you get valuable feedback from your employees and candidates. Lastly, they’re a great benchmarking tool – receiving clear metrics and scores can help you set actionable goals for the future.

So when deciding whether an award is worth it or not, ask yourself – How does this award align with my candidates’ and employees’ objectives and what we want to accomplish as an organization? The motivation to apply should always be internal. You should apply for a workplace award because you want to help build a better culture in your organization, not just because it’s trending or you think it would look good on your website.

A shiny badge is great, and the application process can be insightful, but you’ll get much more bang for your buck if you invest time and energy into an award that highlights the qualities that your top candidates are looking for in an employer.

About Us

Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands, and high-performance cultures.   

From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.

For inquiries, please contact sparker@bluivygroup.com.

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