Q. Why are there two parts to the application?
A. In Part 1, applicants provide quantitative data by completing the required elements (e.g. expenditures, delivery methods) of ASTD’s standard data-collection survey used for the State of the Industry Report. In Part 2, applicants provide in-depth information.
By using one standard data-collection tool ASTD can collect more robust information for its annual State of the Industry Report. Data is reported anonymously - and in aggregate for all of the BEST applicants.
When the data from the State of the Industry Report is published in Fall 2013, you'll be able to compare your organization to the BEST winners, ASTD Forum organizations, as well as other organizations participating in ASTD's research.
Q. How will data from BEST applications be used in the State of the Industry Report?
A. Data will only be reported in the aggregate – by BEST winners as a group. Individual organizations will not be identified. For a copy of the 2012 State of the Industry Report, click here.
Q. What are the selection criteria?
A. The ASTD BEST Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success or achievement as a result of employee learning. The specific criteria are contained in the categories of the BEST Awards application:
- evidence that the learning function has an enterprise-wide role: involved in the executive team, creating solutions to business issues, and setting organizational strategy
- evidence that learning has value in the organization's culture: learning opportunities, C-level involvement, learning for growth, and innovation.
- evidence of a link between learning and performance: alignment with the business, measurement, effectiveness, efficiency, and non-learning solutions
- evidence of investment in learning and performance initiatives.
Q. Who is eligible to apply?
A. Because the ASTD BEST Awards recognize enterprise-wide achievement, the information submitted must represent the entire enterprise. By “enterprise,” we mean an entity with officers, employees, and its own learning function. Departments, manufacturing sites, plants, corporate universities, or other subunits should not apply on their own behalf.
If your organization takes a dispersed approach to learning, we suggest that you partner with the other learning areas to complete the application for the entire enterprise.
If you are completing the application for an association, be sure that your responses describe employee learning, not the education program you provide for members.
Q. Why can't suppliers apply for this award?
A. The purpose of the ASTD BEST Awards is to recognize organizations that use learning as a strategic business tool. To be eligible for consideration, an organization's primary line of business may not be the supply of training products or services. We advise training suppliers to encourage their clients to apply.
Q. What advice do you have for completing the application?
A. We've noted a number of "success factors" that are common among winning entries. Also, a longtime reviewer offers his observations in Talking the Walk: An Open Letter to BEST Applicants. Click here to read the letter and Success Factors for Entering.
Q. My organization implemented a great training program this year. Should we apply for the BEST Awards?
A. The BEST Awards cover many aspects of the learning function in addition to effective training programs. If your organization meets the criteria listed above for the entire function (not just one program), then you should consider applying for a BEST Award. Otherwise, your new training program may be better suited for the ASTD Excellence in Practice Awards. Click here to see details of the EIP Awards.
Q. What is the selection process for picking the BEST Award winners?
A. The ASTD BEST Awards Advisory Committee, experts in the profession, and ASTD staff will review the submissions and rank them against the set of criteria. Reviewers will assign numerical ratings for each of the criteria, and winners will be selected on the basis of their scores. The answers to open-ended questions will be analyzed for evidence that the applying organization goes beyond common measures of excellence and uses learning as a strategic business tool. Employers of advisory committee members may not apply for an ASTD BEST Award.
Q. How many companies will be selected this year for the ASTD BEST Awards?
A. There is no set quota of organizations to be selected to win. The ASTD BEST Awards will recognize as many organizations as meet the criteria.
Q. When will you announce the winners?
A. The deadline for submitting the ASTD BEST Award application is March 30, 2013 at midnight EST. Entries will be reviewed April through June, and applicants will be notified of their results in July.
Winners will learn their ranking in early October at the BEST Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC. In addition, they will share experiences at the Learn From the BEST.
The winning organizations will be published in a special feature in the October T+D magazine and in press releases.
Q. I need more space for answering some of the questions. May I attach a file to my response?
A. Most of the open-ended questions in the ASTD BEST Awards application will accept answers of 500 words or less. Judges will not be able to review additional files, so please condense your answers to the essential information.
Q. What timeframe does the ASTD BEST Awards cover?
A. The awards recognize work done in the current and previous calendar years. Many questions specify the time that should be covered in the answer, e.g. calendar year, or in the last 12 months.
Q. Is the information I submit going to be confidential?
A. Data from Part 1 will only be reported in the aggregate—by BEST winners as a group. Individual organizations will not be identified. In Part 2: Sections A-C of the application, entrants should make their answers anonymous so that the organization’s name, brands, employees, and customers are not revealed. The application forms themselves will be confidential and anonymous to the reviewers.
Information about winning organizations will be used in press releases, coverage of the awards in T+D magazine, the State of the Industry Report (as described above), and other places as appropriate. Winning organizations will have the opportunity to review and approve the use of information or data about themselves. Winning organizations will be required to sign a release form giving ASTD the right to use certain information in describing and promoting the award.
Q. How is this award different from ASTD's other award programs, such as the Excellence in Practice Category?
A. The ASTD BEST Awards recognize organizations that have an integrated learning function that is strategic to the business and demonstrates enterprise-wide success as a result of employee learning and development.
Other categories of ASTD awards, such as the Excellence in Practice category, recognize results achieved through the use of specific, targeted practices and learning solutions. ASTD offers awards in a variety of categories. To see complete details, click here to visit the Awards website.
Q. I have a question that isn't answered in the FAQs. How should I contact ASTD?
A. Please send your question to Kristen Fyfe: firstname.lastname@example.org.