Awards play an important role in the retail industry’s recognition system. Awards are a beacon of success and a symbol of industry genius in a fast-paced, highly competitive environment that values innovation and achievement. Retailers all over the world compete for retail awards, not only for their merit but also for the transformative impact theyRead more >

The Judging Process in Retail Awards: What You Need to Know

26 April 2024 by Natalie Fresen

Awards play an important role in the retail industry’s recognition system. Awards are a beacon of success and a symbol of industry genius in a fast-paced, highly competitive environment that values innovation and achievement. Retailers all over the world compete for retail awards, not only for their merit but also for the transformative impact they have on organisational culture and employee motivation

These award programmes, such as the prestigious People in Retail Awards (PIRA), honour not just exceptional individuals and institutions but also change drivers. As the pulse of the retail industry, these awards honour aspiration, success, and a relentless desire to provide the perfect setting for consumers. 

Throughout this blog, you will be given exclusive access to a complete guide to retail awards’ secret glory—the judging process. From HR professionals to retail leaders and anyone else seeking continual superiority and acknowledgement, a detailed perspective on the judging process is crucial to be successful. 

Allow us to tug back the curtain a little and provide you with everything you need to know about the PIRA judging process.

Understand how the judging process works in retail awards

This year, judges are meeting on 24th April for a working lunch to get trained on the system and prepare. They will then judge online from 1st June 2024 and meet to discuss and make final decisions on June 5, 2024.

The lifecycle of an award entry in the People in Retail Awards starts with the submission review when all entries are submitted to the Awards team. 

After submission, the award entry goes through a comprehensive review process to assess its eligibility based on set criteria. An award entry embodies the accomplishment and innovation of the retail organisation, summarising their personality and impact in the retail industry. Judges meticulously evaluate each entry, considering any supporting materials submitted alongside the forms, ensuring alignment with the judging criteria. Subsequently, judges convene to discuss the entries and reach a consensus on their evaluation. 

Once you submit the entry, the categorisation and validation process follow to ensure that it correlates with the numerous award categories available in the People in Retail Awards. 

The next phase is the preview. One week prior to the ‘Judging Day’, the qualifying entries are evenly distributed among the Judging Panel to allow for an initial review and to enable the judges to raise any queries they may have with the nominees. The preview offers the judges an opportunity to identify how well the entries connect with the judging criteria.

The final phase is judging day. This is a rigorous evaluation process steered by fairness, transparency, and the pursuit of excellence. Judges score all entry forms during thorough discussions: shortlists are then announced, marking a significant milestone in the awarding process.

The final and most exciting step is the award ceremony, where the award winners will be unveiled during a night of celebration.

Here’s a glimpse of the memorable moments from the People in Retail Awards ceremony, held on September 21, 2023, in London.

Principles that drive the People in Retail Awards judging process

Behind the People in Retail Awards judging process are several core principles. The principles are anchored in ensuring that excellence is celebrated and recognition culture is embraced in the retail industry. 

These principles include:

  • Confidentiality Commitment: The integrity of the process is crucial. Treating all entries with the highest degree of confidentiality will guarantee that each entry is fairly assessed and free from external influence or personal bias.
  • Impartial evaluation: To ensure a fair and impartial evaluation process, there are several key measures in place. The judges base their assessments solely on the information submitted by the award entrants, setting aside any prior knowledge or preconceptions. Judges can’t evaluate categories in which they have a personal entry to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Beyond the judging panel itself, no one within the organisation is involved in the judging process, to maintain complete legitimacy and eliminate potential biases.
  • Finality of Decision: After careful consideration, every judgement from the reputable panel shall be conclusive. The credibility and fairness of the awards are affirmed when the outcomes are accepted and handled with credibility, absolute dignity, integrity, and respect.
  • Success Metric: Combining thorough metrics to measure the entries and the impact and significance of the inputs ensures that each submission is thoroughly evaluated. It guarantees that only the most deserving contenders receive recognition based on achievements. 
  • Nomination Prerogative: Allowing suitable individuals and bodies to be nominated and recognised for their achievements promotes inclusivity and diversity in the retail industry. This form demonstrates that everyone is capable of achieving success and providing well-deserved personal support. 
  • Understanding the Importance of Appreciation: Recognising the importance of appreciation and recognition in boosting employee morale and retention demonstrates the importance of a positive working environment in which people are happy and willing to work hard.

To ensure further transparency and fairness in the assessment, a few enhancements have been introduced to the judging process this year. Entry forms now feature specific questions for even, like-for-like assessment and evaluation. Criteria requirements are meticulously outlined to make the submission and evaluation processes as straightforward as possible for entrees and judges.

In addition, a rubric system enables granular feedback for entrants, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. This structured approach reinforces credibility and integrity.

Ultimately, at its core, The People in Retail Awards embody the general mission of honouring outstanding and innovative people in retail. The awards aim to make a statement on the national stage and inspire positive change across the retail industry. This is achieved by promoting a new sense of retail company culture that encourages inclusivity and empowerment where people are placed first.

Cracking the code: leveraging judge nomination insights for award entries

Consider the nomination and composition of the judges to gain valuable insight into what it takes to create an award-winning entry. The People in Retail Awards use a meticulous judge nomination process to ensure that panel members have a combination of industry expertise and a strong commitment to a people-focused approach. 

The selection process captures the essence and goals of the People in Retail Awards. Judge recommendations come from industry peers or those who share a similar vision and values. Nominations also include prioritising industry experts and people with leadership experience, particularly those transitioning from the shop floor to executive positions.

This move is intended to increase credibility and understanding of the retail landscape. The nominee selection criteria take into account empathy and understanding of the importance of people in the survival of any business within the retail system. 

Award judges for People in Retail Awards are chosen based not only on their managerial abilities but also on their understanding of retail professionals’ experiences and goals. Understanding the judge nomination process essentially gives entrants a competitive advantage by allowing them to tailor their submissions to the judges’ minds and expectations.

These insights can be critical in increasing submission opportunities in an appealing manner in the stiff retail awards competition base.

Top tips to ace the judging process in retail awards

When striving for success in retail award contests, it is important for applicants to keep in mind that they have to rely on strategy and knowledge of the judging process. For that reason, it is essential to consider the following ideas in order to maximise your probability of success:

  • Be honest and authentic: It may be beneficial to be honest and authentic, as these feelings often resonate with the judges.
  • Tell a compelling story: tell a story that highlights your achievements and showcases your unique value.
  • Provide concrete evidence: To back up your claims, include tangible results and supporting materials.
  • Understand the criteria: Make sure you understand the judging criteria and tailor your entry for retail awards accordingly.
  • Get to know the judges: To make your approach more effective, research judges’ backgrounds and preferences.

For further insights and tips from our esteemed judges, check out our blog featuring tips for entering the People in Retail Awards from the judges of the previous year.

Reasons you might fall short in the judging process

Based on the judges’ feedback from previous People in Retail Awards, some entries could have been stronger. Some of the issues raised when looking into the overall score include a lack of measurable results, insufficient evidence or detailed explanations, and a lack of specificity in the entry. 

Entries that fail to back up their claims with numbers, return on investment (ROI), and references will be perceived as weak. To determine whether an individual or organisation made a distinction, the impact must be tangible and detectable.

Final thoughts

Retail awards are essential for industry recognition and talent celebration. The People in Retail Awards, in particular, recognise outstanding individuals and organisations that are making a significant difference.

With this blog, we hope we’ve helped you gain a better understanding of how the judging process works for retail awards. When you understand the decision-making process and the topics that knowledgeable judges nominate you for, you can increase your chances of success and celebrate your achievement. 

Now that you understand how retail awards are judged, there is only one thing left to do: participate!

The People in Retail Awards are still accepting entries. But hurry up! The deadline is 1st May 2024. Order your entry pack or contact us with any additional questions.

Good luck in your quest to become a retail star!