Learning and Development Awards to Apply For in 2023 - Senior Executive

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Learning and Development (L&D) Resources 15 min

Learning and Development Awards to Apply for in 2023 and 2024

Each year, organizations recognize learning and development leaders, teams, and programs that are making strides in employee training and workplace development.

by Kimberly Valentine on October 19, 2023

We compiled a list of learning and development awards for 2023 and 2024, and encourage you to apply to the ones you qualify for — or nominate someone you know to recognize their accomplishments in this space. 

Industry awards in L&D recognize innovative employee training programs and the inspiring leaders behind them. Receiving outside recognition for the L&D programs you’ve developed and led has wide-ranging benefits, from building your professional credibility to earning positive media coverage for your organization.

“This is a low-risk, high-reward way to propel your career forward,” says Melissa Janis, a New York City-based learning leader and leadership consultant who provides personal training for new managers in critical roles. “If you can make a good case for one of your initiatives, invest the time to submit.”

This year’s awards for learning and development are listed below. Click on the column headers to sort the list in different ways and quickly find the awards for which you and your team are eligible.

L&D Leadership Awards

Why should you consider applying to learning and development awards? 

Deciding to apply should be intentional, given the time it takes to complete an awards application, explains Steve Lange, director of consulting for Explorance’s Metrics That Matter, a solutions platform for L&D measurement and effectiveness. “I believe that leadership needs to have a goal or a return on expectations for why they want to apply for an award.”

One objective for applying: Receiving an award for your L&D accomplishments results in positive visibility for yourself. Former VP of leadership and organizational development at McGraw Hill, Janis received several Gold Learning in Practice Awards, Chief Learning Officer magazine’s annual awards recognizing excellence in employee development. She explains an award helps validate your work. Especially when highlighted on your LinkedIn profile and resume, it positions you competitively for new career opportunities and internally at your current workplace.

“The announcement boosts your visibility within the organization and reinforces both your brand and the investment in L&D,” Janis says.

She also notes two key benefits for an organization that gains press coverage for receiving an award: 

  • Assisting in talent acquisition by showcasing the organization’s L&D programs 
  • Engaging employees by publicly celebrating a colleague’s award

Beyond recognition, Lange says an even more valuable reason to apply for an L&D award is that it’s an opportunity to learn more about your program. “The process of applying by itself can uncover many areas where an organization or a training program might have opportunity for improvement,” he explains. “When trying to answer certain questions on awards, a group might discover, for example, that their goals and measures do not align, or that they are missing critical pieces.”

The only downside to applying for L&D awards, according to Janis, is the investment of time and money. “Don’t let either deter you,” she notes. “Make a case for the benefits to your organization and get approval to expense it. Consider your time to draft the application as an investment in your development.”  

The time commitment necessary varies greatly and can be difficult to gauge as an L&D leader. It depends on the award, the programs you’re nominating, and whether you’re working with an external partner to write your application, Lange explains, noting that you may dedicate anywhere from eight to 30 hours or more on an awards application. For example, his team recently spent 200 hours on nine Brandon Hall Group awards applications for his clients. 

Even if you don’t come away a winner, the time and effort may be well worth it. The process of applying for awards can highlight both your initiative’s strengths and weaknesses. It can also “improve your ability to make the case for your programs,” Janis says. “At the very least, you’ll gain some clarity about your efforts, and some practice in writing submissions.”

Are you ready to apply for these learning and development awards? 

Before getting started and throughout your writing, closely review the awarding organization’s guidelines, rubric, and evaluation process, Janis recommends. Understanding what they’re looking for will help you align your efforts accordingly. 

“To stand out, awards [applications] should try to tell a story,” Lange says, noting the importance of good, concise writing that adheres to word counts. “There should be strong connections between each question or section of the award, with good transitions and summary statements.”

For example, through your well-organized writing, Janis says readers should easily understand the following for L&D program awards: 

  • The program’s design
  • The approach to implementation 
  • The why behind your choices

A successful awards application boils down to the impact you can show through various metrics. “You need to talk the talk and walk the walk,” says Lange. “Having strong evidence, data, examples of how the program achieved success, demonstrated impact, or how the organization is connected to and shows business impact is most critical.” 

If your organization has awards for learning and development programs and leaders, or we’re missing an award on our list, tell us at editor@seniorexecutive.com

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