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The Benefits of Hosting Virtual Awards Ceremonies

Virtual Awards Traditionally, organisations host their award ceremonies around this time of the year. Rather than cancelling or postponing an event, why not decide to host it virtually?  As they say, ‘The show must go on!’ and there are lots of positives for doing so. While planning an online event may sound formidable, so did the whole move online back in March 2020. Working from home and Zoom calls are now the new normal. So, it shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine a virtual awards gathering, to celebrate your top achievers in your company or across an industry. At Gift Innovations, we put together what we think are some of the benefits (and a few downsides) to the move online. No doubt you can add more.

Normality: The Show Must Go On

Life still goes on. We shop, we cook, we clean our homes. Likewise, in business, it is vital that we continue to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our colleagues, in our company and industry-wide. It is good for our health and wellbeing to be recognised for our hard work and our contributions. It helps us to stay positive, engaged, and motivated, all of which help to bring a measure of normality to lockdown. We also help our people to move forwards rather than to stand still at this time. Put simply, a dose of normality supports our colleagues within our business, across our industry, and then washes into the domestic environment. It’s a win, win, win.

A Virtual Awards Ceremony to Boost Team Spirit

Many spend their working day in front of a laptop perched on the kitchen counter, sat at the dining table, or slumped on the couch. With so many works parties as well as award events being cancelled, a boost to team spirit is sorely required. To provide an opportunity to dress up and toast a colleague’s achievements is a great idea. That’s what a virtual awards ceremony can do for staff. It is a simple way to bring ‘working-at-home’ teams back together to share a social event. We can all do with some fun right now: celebrating our peers’ achievements across our organisation and industry is a wonderful opportunity not to be passed up.

Something to Look Forward To

You may have already decided to postpone an awards ceremony once even twice this year. The reason? You want to guarantee the absolute safety of all participants. You also need to consider that continually postponing your event only multiplies disappointment. As we continue to face ongoing cancellations of sporting events, gigs, even dinner with family, giving employees an event to look forward to will make it even more memorable, meaningful, and motivating. In addition, a virtual award ceremony allows you to record the event. When edited it can be shared within the company and across your industry. It can also serve as something to motivate staff over the coming months while building anticipation of the next awards ceremony.

Recognition is Still Important

Recognising employees is a vital task. We all know that recognition boosts engagement and supports retention. It will continue to play an important role as we welcome in 2021. Virtual awards allow you to make your recognition public and specific. They also support transparency as all virtual attendees will know who wins an award and why they are the winner. It encourages others to see clearly how they might be winners in the future.

Affordability and Inclusivity

Let’s be honest, a big gala event is a wonderful thing to look forward to. The black-tie, the gúna, the glamour! But these events come at a cost to the company and individual attendees. Many of these can be reduced considerably when you move your awards online and make it a virtual event. This can have benefits not yet considered. For instance, it may increase participation from individuals, corporate participants, and sponsors. Guest speakers or professional presenters may find it easier to accept your gala invitation. For them, the inconveniences of travel and accommodation now disappear. Professional MCs may be glad of the work. The event can be streamed to everyone in the company. In this way, it is not only those who have been nominated for an award who are invited to turn up. Everyone can be included, especially those who can never attend due, for example, to carer responsibilities.

Awards Ceremonies: Hints and Tips

Award ceremonies remain important events even if they are moved online. Here are a few hints and tips to help organise your event:
  • While it is not possible to present an actual award, awards can be sent directly to the winners’ homes. Gift Innovations can help you to to create awards for your awards ceremony. Starting from our standard ranges of glass awards and crystal awards to our unique wooden awards.  We also provide a commissioning service, working with Irish designers and craftspeople to create truly unique awards. The awards can be delivered after the event if you would like to keep an element of surprise during the ceremony!
  • When presenting winners with their awards speak clearly to them about why they are the winner, about their notable achievements, and what winning means to their organisation and industry. They will be delighted to know that their accomplishments, together with those of all of the finalists, were noteworthy during this unprecedented year.
  • Engage with sponsors as they are eager to promote their brand in innovative ways. They may have sponsored other events and can bring their experience to the table. There may be more opportunity to include them in the agenda and this will only encourage their continued support.
  • Consider sending an appreciation pack to all participants. Packs can include wine, biscuits, chocolates, champagne glasses with a bottle of champagne (to encourage a group toast). This is a fun element that will bring cheer and goodwill to your virtual ceremony.
  • Ensure that there is lots of digital content to share on social media. Make it available for finalists and winners to share and put it out on all of the company media channels. This lets other companies and their employees know how much you care for the wellbeing of your people.

Virtual Ceremonies: Limitations

There will be pros and cons to choosing a virtual award ceremony. Here’s a brief run through some of the less positives:

No Personal Networking

One of the main reasons to attend any award ceremony is the opportunity to network. This is one of the greatest limitations of a virtual event – the lack of an opportunity to have discussions with colleagues in your area of business.


We have all been on those Zoom or Team calls when a colleague’s child has wandered into the room or the family dog starts barking. It’s funny the first time but a pain when you’re trying to concentrate. Equally, it sounds great that colleagues can attend an award ceremony from the comfort of a cozy chair. However, those same pets – and children, are only a room away.

Unproductive Sponsorship

While the costs associated with running an virtual awards ceremony are fewer, continuing to nurture relationships with valued sponsors is important as they help endorse your brand and the awards. Neglected sponsors may be hard to replace the following year.

Less Excitement

A virtual awards event is attended by your peers by opening a browser on their laptop. The growing excitement, the glamour, the face-to-face camaraderie are missing.

A Final Word

There are many benefits to moving online. It allows you to reach out to all of your teams, giving them a boost and a dose of normality. You transparently identify and celebrate your real movers and shakers who have excelled during 2020. The virtual ceremony is inclusive of all staff, not just those shortlisted for an award or available to travel. A virtual awards ceremony will be different and will be temporary. But doing things differently is good and positively disruptive. Contact us to order your tailored Appreciation Packs or Awards to accompany your Virtual Award Ceremony. Please ring 061 306 006 or email info@giftinnovations.ie
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