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Innovative award program shakes up and celebrates staff creativity

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 The winning team from the 2014 Beauty Shaker Awards earned a $10,000 cheque and recognition for its clever “Ultimate Essie Candy Bar” project, which boosted product sales among major retailers. supplied

The winning team from the 2014 Beauty Shaker Awards earned a $10,000 cheque and recognition for its clever “Ultimate Essie Candy Bar” project, which boosted product sales among major retailers. supplied

If the employees at L’Oréal Canada seem a little more intense than usual in recent weeks, blame it on the Beauty Shaker Awards.  

Judging for the second-annual employee competition is underway, and employee teams are motivated to not just win the prize money, but also some well-deserved bragging rights.
“The Beauty Shaker Awards are an innovative and original way to highlight the creativity and originality of our teams,” says Eva Azoulay, vice president of human resources at L’Oréal Canada. “We have some amazing, smart and hard-working people at the company, and this is a way of recognizing and rewarding their commitment and imaginative minds.”

The Beauty Shaker Awards are an innovative and original way to highlight the creativity and originality of our teams. We have some amazing, smart and hard-working people at the company, and this is a way of recognizing and rewarding their commitment and imaginative minds.
— Eva Azoulay is vice president of human resources at L’Oréal Canada

The Beauty Shaker Awards include three categories this year: the Excellence Award, for successful projects launched within L’Oréal Canada; the Innovation Award, for new ideas that in some way change how the company does business; and the Sustainability Award, for initiatives developed to reduce waste and emissions alongside L’Oréal’s global “Sharing Beauty With All” corporate social responsibility program. Each team includes three to 10 employees from across different divisions, from head office to the factory floor.

Competition for the awards is stiff. There were 132 entries last year, including a handful of projects to save time and money and to reduce waste across the company. The winning team receives a $10,000 prize, followed by $5,000 for first runner-up, $2,500 for the second runner-up and $1,000 for finalists. Winners are announced in January, and their work is celebrated at a gala in Montreal.

Some of the projects are then shared as best practices with other L’Oréal subsidiaries. One example is the Essie brand’s “ultimate candy bar,” the winner in the excellence category last year, which is an in-store display of nail polish colours that has helped to boost sales of the product across a wide range of retailers such as Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs, a large western Canadian chain. Another is the Kiehl’s smart display, the 2nd place winner in last year’s sustainability category, which is a digital display that reduces the need for paper products to promote products in store windows.

“It’s exciting to watch an idea born in Canada and then used as inspiration by teams in other countries,” says Ms. Azoulay.

Keon Zhang, group product manager for the Garnier Haircolour brand at L’Oréal Canada, submitted a project in the excellence category this year with his team. It was a campaign that helped to significantly boost consumer feedback and customer loyalty for the Garnier Nutrisse product.

His team is already working on its submission for next year, which Mr. Zhang says he’s keeping under wraps for now.

“We are challenging ourselves to become leaders in our own segments,” says Mr. Zhang of the friendly competition. “That is where the competition really becomes interesting and fun for everybody. It also represents the spirit of L’Oréal.

“These awards are a great platform for us to find and share best practices – and to shine,” he says.

Visit L’Oréal Canada’s website at www.loreal.com