All the categories and their criteria can be found in the Entry Kit or separately in the Category section on the website.

It’s best to carefully read the category criteria in the entry kit to determine which one is most relevant for your project. If you are still unsure, you can contact the awards team on, who can help you identify which category might be the best for you.

You can enter any category but If you are supplier or consultancy entering a ‘best initiative category’ on behalf of a client then we recommend you work with the client to submit the entry under their name. If you showcase work with a client, then you must include a testimonial supporting the work and be prepared to bring along your client if you get through to the panel stage.

Yes, you can enter any of the categories if you are not a CIPD member (except the Michael Kelly outstanding student categories). This will not make a difference in how your entry is judged.

The early bird deadline is Thursday 25 March 2021 and the final deadline is Thursday 29 April 2021.

You can, but each entry must be tailored to the specific category. We do not accept copy and paste entries.

Yes, all categories are open to overseas companies.

The eligibility period for submissions should relate to the period January 2018 – April 2021. If your project ran outside these dates, please only discuss the activity that took place between them.

Your written entry must be no more than two single sheets of A4 paper when printed (10 point type, single line spacing), which you will need to save as a PDF and upload from your desktop. At the beginning of your submission, please state the following information on a title page (this will not count towards your two page entry):
-Entering organisation name
-Project title - max 30 characters (please state your name for the Michael Kelly categories
-Size of organisation
-Client, if applicable (mandatory for supplier and consultancy categories)
-Company website

The student has to enter themselves for the award but they can include testimonials as part of their application.

You can submit on behalf of a client however you must get a testimonial supporting the work and be prepared to bring along your client if you get through to the panel stage.

You may illustrate your submission with up to three single sided A4 pages of supporting material, either via PDF with thumbnail images or upload, but these should be kept to a minimum (up to 5 MB). As part of your entry you must upload at least one key image and also upload a company logo. The file limit on the entry portal is 50 MB. If you get through to the panel stage you will be asked to produce a presentation bringing your entry to life.

Yes you can still enter without your purchase order number. Please put TBC in this field and we can add it to your invoice at a later stage.

The judges always look at the context of the initiative so make sure you tell us a little bit about the environment you are operating in. Also don’t forget to let us know your organisation size by completing the box on the entry form.

You can find out more about becoming a CIPD member by clicking the link here.

The awards ceremony fee is not included in the price of the entry fee. You will have to buy tickets to the ceremony separately.

Until 25 March
Member rate: £320 + VAT
Non – member rate: £385 + VAT
SME rate (companies of 250 employees or less): £195 + VAT
CIPD outstanding student awards – free

From 25 March
Member rate: £445 + VAT
Non – member rate: £510 + VAT
SME rate (companies of 250 employees or less): £330 + VAT
CIPD outstanding student awards: Free entry but will be subject to a late fee of £100 + VAT from 25 March

You can pay via the entry portal by selecting either invoice or credit card.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 28 September 2021 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, 86-90 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 7TN.

There are two stages to the judging.
First is the filter stage where all valid entries are marked by usually 3 judges and their scores are combined. Judges mark each entry against the criteria listed in the entry kit and score using the following system:
- The why (up to 15 marks)
- The how (up to 15 marks)
- The success (up to 20 marks)

The highest scoring entries make the shortlist which is announced in June. The second stage is the panel stage where shortlisted organisations are invited to expand and present their entry to a judging panel in a live format. Following a successful digital event in 2020, we have decided to continue using an online platform to host the panel judging. This will take place on Tuesday 13 July - Wednesday 14 July and full instructions will be sent to entrants when they are informed of their shortlisting. (Please note these dates are category dependent and cannot be changed).

All shortlisted entries will receive written feedback from the judging panel after the winners have been announced on 29 September 2020. Unfortunately due to the volume of entries we are unable to provide feedback on your written submission.

Each category has a judging panel of usually 3 judges comprised of a CIPD expert, a HR, L&D or OD practitioner and either an external expert or another practitioner. If you are interested in being considered as judge for future years email

If you would like to sponsor the CIPD People Management awards please get in touch with Jade,

You can view all the rules of entering here or by downloading the entry kit.