Sarah El-Rasoul from the ERA (Executive Research Association) talks about its member award programme that is just entering its second year.
About the ERA
The ERA is the membership body for those carrying executive research to support the senior recruitment process. It is a fairly niche organisation and it lead by a volunteer committee of members.
Why did the ERA introduce an award?
As a profession executive research can be left in the shadows by the more high profile role of headhunting. This is despite the fact executive researchers often work alongside headhunters. One of the remits of the ERA is to raise the profile of the profession and we knew from member feedback that an award would be a good way to recognise excellence in our sector.
Sadly one of our committee members, Stephanie Pratt, a young and promising executive researcher died in 2011 from cancer. So it felt it was fitting to create an award in her memory. Her employer, NBI kindly agreed to sponsor the awards to honour Stephanie.
How did the ERA design the award process?
We decided that the ‘ERA Researcher Of The Year Award 2013’ would be presented at our annual conference which takes place each April. The Managing Committee then worked on an application form. We decided to ask for 3 examples of assignments (which are anonomised) that the award applicant had carried out. The form was offered online on the ERA website.
The judging of the applications was carried out by 3 high profile researchers, covering in-house, agency and somebody from the committee.
How was the award received by members when you promoted it?
Very well. We promoted the award via our social media channels and our website. We were pleased with the take up, c20% of members took part in the first year. It definitely created a buzz. It also gave an additional focus to our annual conference, which is our largest event of the year.
We get the sense that members appreciate the award as it highlights what is great about our industry.
What did the award mean to the winner?
The winner of the ERA inaugural award was Sheana Dudley she said:
“I was so pleased to receive the award. I know a number of people took part so there was lots of competition. It was great to have external endorsement of the work I do.
The executive research industry needs greater recognition and this award is a great way to achieve that. The announcement about my Award has attracted interest from people who perhaps had not heard of the ERA before this was launched”.
Will you be changing anything for this year’s award?
We are making a few tweaks to the process to help make it even easier for applicants. We are expecting even more people taking part this time. It has been a great activity for our organisation, I would encourage other members organisations to think about offering an award.
To find out more about the ERA’s Researcher Of The Year Award please see here.