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In this category, we will be looking to recognise high-quality apprenticeship programmes that demonstrate clear alignment with the organisation’s business and people strategies. Successful programmes will be at level 3 and above, and result in long-term employment outcomes and great progression routes within the organisation. Examples of higher-level apprenticeships that provide viable alternatives to university for young people and partnerships between employers and education institutions will be welcomed. Evidence of good-quality mentoring, line management and on-the-job learning are crucial, as is high-quality training in the classroom. Successful entries will provide evidence of learner engagement and satisfaction, as well as value to the business in terms retention, innovation, employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

 

Best change management initiative

We’ll be looking for entries from organisations that have improved business performance by implementing a programme of major change. You’ll need to show that your plans aligned with operational strategy and the desired organisational culture, and that they have been executed with HR considerations in mind. Points to provide evidence on include: how did you diagnose the problem and develop your understanding of the necessary change? How have you ensured that employees are properly informed and consulted? How have you balanced the smooth running of day-to-day operations with the delivery of change? You should demonstrate HR’s contribution through all stages of the programme, from making the business case through to measuring the overall impact of the change programme.

 

While there are always new talent-development methods emerging, coaching remains one of the top three approaches that deliver tangible improvement and noticeable results in organisations. And the use of coaching and mentoring programmes is growing, as, alongside established initiatives for senior staff, there is notable growth in their use by line mangers, peers, with younger employees and within communities of practice  - both face-to-face and digitally. In this category we will be looking for entries which link a coaching or mentoring strategy and initiative to clear business goals, improvement or development needs. Successful submissions will need to demonstrate effectiveness in programme design, resourcing, delivery, supervision and outcomes.

 

Best digital initiative in HR/L&D

Technology has become a huge driving force and enabler of successful HR and L&D practice. In this category, we’re looking for submissions from organisations that have gained business benefits and achieved strategic objectives through the innovative use of technology or digital solutions. How has the HR or L&D function exploited and anticipated the opportunities for inventive solutions that new forms of technology bring? What specific changes were made, and how did technology facilitate these changes? How has agility embraced throughout the initiative’s testing and implementation? And how did your workforce embrace these changes? Judges will be looking particularly at the measurable, strategic impact of your project.

 

The employment and development of people demands that all policies, practices and procedures are based on being inclusive and open to diversity, and regularly checked to tackle and remove unfair bias. Driving progress and gaining traction in the ways in which organisations seek to become more diverse and inclusive is a long game.  It demands openness, transparency and authentic behaviour, clear values that engage employee commitment and evidence to show how being both diverse and inclusive improves business performance. Judges will be looking for examples of how organisations are moving the diversity and inclusion agenda forward, how they are breaking ground and overcoming resistance, the changes they have made and how these have benefitted the business.

 

Best employee engagement initiative

There is a growing body of evidence which proves that engaged employees deliver better performance and organisational effectiveness. Have you implemented an employee engagement initiative that has had a demonstrably positive impact on organisational performance?  We’re looking for evidence that initiatives are business-focused, are aligned to strategic objectives and are evidence-based. Initiatives will not only need to demonstrate a clear understanding of data and evaluation (e.g. through survey results, absence levels and staff turnover rates), but also an ability to generate insight and demonstrate the value of engagement in driving broad business outcomes, such as leadership and culture, and its relationship with overall performance.

 

We’ll be looking for entries that demonstrate how a concerted focus on workplace relationships and dialogue have led to improved organisational performance, resolved contractual issues, and/or reduced workplace conflict. Initiatives could focus on dialogue around organisational strategy; improved resolution of individual workplace disputes: addressing broader structural problems in the functioning of ER; or dealing with thorny issues while maintaining a healthy state of ER. Points to provide evidence on include: how you ensured open communication, including effective employee voice, how you fostered employee involvement and joint problem solving; how you demonstrated consistent behaviour and built trust. You should describe HR’s contribution throughout and how it has worked with employees and their representatives, including trade unions if relevant.

 

Best employer supported volunteering programme

This new award directly supports the CIPD’s purpose of championing better work and working lives by recognising employers that offer innovative, outstanding and mutually beneficial volunteering opportunities to their employees. The emphasis is on the double benefit for communities and organisations, by supporting employee development and engagement as well as helping charities to better achieve their strategic objectives.
 
The judges will be looking for how well opportunities are integrated into the organisation’s HR and L&D practices, how engaged staff are in opportunities, the level of take-up, and the outcome for employees' skills and personal development. We will also look at how well opportunities are aligned to the needs of the local community and/or charity. The entry must provide evidence and endorsement from the recipient charity and we strongly recommend the charity/community representative attends the presentation to the panel of judges if you get through to the second stage.

 

Best health and wellbeing initiative

We will recognise organisations that have demonstrated a clear link between initiatives to support employee health and wellbeing, and business objectives. Successful entries will demonstrate an understanding of the holistic nature of employee health and wellbeing. For example, ensuring that leadership, culture and people management capability support employees' physical and mental wellbeing, and complement initiatives such as the introduction of new programmes and benefits. As well as describing the work the organisation has undertaken to support health and wellbeing, and explaining the rationale for the approaches adopted, entrants need to provide clear evidence of impact, such as a reduction in absence levels and work-related stress, and/or improvements in staff engagement and performance.

 

 In this category we’ll be looking for entries from individual consultants or consultancies who have worked with a client on a specific project to address a strategic issue. The entry will demonstrate how they’ve worked collaboratively with the HR/L&D team and wider organisation to undertake a specific people-related project. They also need to demonstrate that both consultants and employees of the organisation were involved and engaged. The entry needs to show how the project has delivered tangible business benefits to the organisation. The consultant must have permission from the client and we strongly recommend the client attends the presentation to the panel of judges if you get through to the second stage.

 

In this category we’ll be looking for entries from HR or L&D suppliers who have worked with a client on a specific project to address a strategic issue. The entry will demonstrate how they’ve worked collaboratively with the HR/L&D team and wider organisation to undertake a specific people-related project. They also need to demonstrate that both supplier and employees of the organisation were involved and engaged. The entry needs to show how the project has delivered tangible business benefits to the organisation. The supplier must have permission from the client and we strongly recommend the client attends the presentation to the panel judges if you get through to the second stage.

 

Here, the judges will be looking for entries that demonstrate a strong link between L&D initiatives and key business goals. Successful submissions should demonstrate an organisational culture that promotes learning, focuses on talent and performance, uses innovative delivery approaches and encourages openness among employees about their development needs. You should give a clear description of the business objectives that prompted your learning culture, drove your approach, and you should explain how you measured their effectiveness. You should also indicate the context for your activities, such as a change management programme.

 

How creative and effective is your talent attraction and management strategy? Are you actively building an organisation-wide talent pipeline that takes into account current and future needs? Have you built in diversity and inclusion considerations? Have you collaborated widely on your talent attraction and management strategy, and is it owned by the business? The judges want to see evidence of how your initiative has benefited the business and met current business objectives; how it has supported organisational agility; and the impact it will have on future business objectives.

 

We want to know how you create value for your organisation by designing and implementing programmes that reward and recognise crucial skills, behaviours and performances. Successful entries will need to demonstrate what objectives the initiative is trying to meet and how success is being measured and assessed in terms of sustainable HR and business outcomes. Successful entries will also need to show that their programmes are evidence based, competitive, cost effective and designed to meet the needs and preferences of a diverse workforce.

 

We’re looking for small or medium-sized businesses (fewer than 250 employees) that have transformed the way they manage and develop their people in support of business objectives. The judges will be looking for evidence of the impact of the new approach on business success, such as the benefits for employees, customers, suppliers and overall organisation performance. As well as describing how your people management approach has changed, and the reasons for this transformation, successful submissions should also clearly demonstrate the transition journey, including how any barriers or challenges were overcome. Judges would also like to understand how your new people management initiative fits with your wider people management approach and the way the organisation operates. 

 

HR/L&D team of the year - private sector

This award recognises HR/L&D teams that have demonstrated excellence across the organisation to achieve business success. Judges will be looking for a team which can demonstrate innovative and unique approaches to addressing either one key business issue across the year or multiple projects; exceptional teamwork; a strategic approach to all aspects of HR/L&D management and implementation; a quantifiable contribution to commercial or organisational achievements; working across boundaries in a timely and effective way; operational excellence in execution; consistent high quality and innovation.

 

This award recognises HR/L&D teams that have demonstrated excellence across the organisation to achieve business success. Judges will be looking for a team which can demonstrate innovative and unique approaches to addressing either one key business issue across the year or multiple projects; exceptional teamwork; a strategic approach to all aspects of HR/L&D management and implementation; a quantifiable contribution to commercial or organisational achievements; working across boundaries in a timely and effective way; operational excellence in execution; consistent high quality and innovation.

 

Studying is not just about acquiring relevant knowledge – successful students apply what they have learnt to bring about real business benefits. We’re looking for an exceptional individual who is currently studying or has recently completed a recognised CIPD postgraduate level qualification.  Successful applications will demonstrate how their studies have enabled them to initiate and implement business improvements, either within their own organisation or organisations they work for. Open to students that are currently studying or have successfully completed (since 1 January 2015) a recognised CIPD qualification at Postgraduate (Advanced) level.

 

Studying is not just about acquiring relevant knowledge – successful students apply what they have learned to bring about real business benefits. We’re looking for an exceptional individual who is currently studying or has recently completed a recognised CIPD intermediate and foundation level qualification. Successful applications will demonstrate how their studies have enabled them to initiate and implement business improvements, either within their own organisation or organisations they work for. Open to students that are currently studying or have successfully completed (since 1 January 2015) a recognised CIPD qualification at Intermediate or Foundation level.

 

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