If only there were 25 hours in a day. Faced with competing priorities and with resources often stretched, applying for an award is rarely at the top of any business owner’s agenda – too often we simply don’t have enough time. Yet while there are obvious benefits to receiving an award, the process of applying in itself has several advantages for your business that make carving out the time worthwhile, no matter the
As a relatively new cyber security consultancy in a very competitive industry, awards have played a central part in MWR InfoSecurity’s growth from a start-up in 2003, to the sector leader it is today. Like all businesses, both new and well-established, we are constantly reviewing how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Entering awards to celebrate particular elements of our business and how we work has been of significant value to us in terms of our reputation.
Let’s take the City & Guilds Group Princess Royal Training Award, which we were thrilled to receive last year in acknowledgement of our annual ‘HackFu’ training event. This is an award to honour employers who have created outstanding training and skills development programmes which have resulted in exceptional commercial benefits. Applying for this was a no brainer – we felt we were doing something quite unique in this area and wanted to benchmark this in the wider business world.
‘HackFu’ is an immersive training experience, filled with challenges designed around hacking, scripting, lock-picking, crypto and generally thinking outside the box. The event places participants in a live storyline where they work in teams, challenging their own knowledge and skill sets, and sharing tips and tricks to complete as many challenges as they can.
This kind of collaborative approach to training, which we also open up to a number of our sector competitors, is vital in an industry where staying on top of change matters. We know that in cyber security, everything goes out of date so quickly that a traditional course format would simply not be effective.
However, outcomes of this training are difficult to measure and to convey. The results vary for different participants and are a lot about feeling, so having the validation of an accreditation like this is a big thing for a company doing something a bit different.
We have found it really useful to have someone effectively saying not just to us, but to our industry more widely, ‘we know training, and we think what MWR is doing is right’. In an industry where there is a significant recruitment shortage and competition for skilled workers is strong, this message is really quite powerful.
Beyond this, the actual process of applying for the award was extremely valuable for us. It gave us an opportunity to take stock and properly appraise what we are doing and why it works, as well as look at what could be improved. So often, business owners and HR professionals are so heavily occupied with the day-to-day running of their organisation that we don’t get a chance to step back and think about the strengths and weaknesses of our approach. Yet this is not simply a nice-to-have.
The award submission process has actually served to help us develop our programme. We are now in a position to talk more confidently and comprehensively about our training offer, which has become renowned within the sector and increasingly helps us to attract and retain our talent. It has also helped us to develop our business offer; through being able to speak to our clients about the training event, we have subsequently received requests to provide similar offers for our clients and their own teams.
Today, 25 per cent of MWR’s new revenues come from international divisions led by individuals who have participated in HackFu events. It is for this reason that we view ‘HackFu’ as central to the success of our company more broadly.
The City & Guilds Group’s recognition of our company’s commitment to improving industry performance as well as our own, along with increasing the relevance of cyber security today, will play a central part in how we continue to position our offer and attract new talent. Awards matter – and it really is the taking part that counts.