Award Categories

Before entering a submission we recommend reading the Guidelines Page and the criteria points for each category carefully.

The Awards are designed to showcase and celebrate HR talent across the region. We have a range of categories which recognise individuals, teams and companies. It’s completely FREE to nominate and you can submit in multiple categories.

The relevant period for work for the 2024 awards is from January 2023 – July 2024. Following the written submission those who are successfully selected to continue in the process will be invited to attend a judging day taking place in Leeds on Thursday 26th September 2024

Deadline for nominations: Friday 19th July 2024


Rising Talent in HR

This Award is open to HR professionals who have been in their role for 5 years or less and can demonstrate rapid progress and achievement in this time. The Award recognises career potential, their contributions to the organisation, and their innovative practices in the field of Human Resources.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Specific examples highlighting the nominee’s recent achievements that have directly benefited the workforce or the company.
  • Examples of the implementation of new initiatives that have positively impacted their organisation.
  • Exceptional customer service, ensuring a high level of satisfaction, and exceeding staff and/or managers’ expectations.
  • Commitment to ongoing professional development and a keen willingness to acquire new skills.
  • Commitment to the role and an enthusiastic attitude towards the profession.
  • Effective collaboration within the team and examples of emerging leadership skills.

People Leader of the Year


Eligibility: Recognising visionary people leaders who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and have been instrumental in driving innovative and forward-thinking HR strategies within their organisations.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities and has made significant contributions to their organisation.
  • Has implemented innovative HR strategies or practices that have positively impacted the organisation.
  • Their work has led to measurable improvements in areas like employee engagement, talent management, diversity and inclusion, etc.
  • Has at least ten years of experience in the field.


HR Team of the Year Award


Eligibility: This Award recognises HR team’s achievements across multiple facets of HR that aligns with the company’s values and goals.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • The team’s work should have a significant, positive impact on the organisation. This could be measured in terms of improved processes, cost savings, or other key performance indicators.
  • Demonstrating exceptional teamwork, which includes effective communication, collaboration, and mutual respect among team members.
  • Applying innovative approaches to address key business issues or multiple projects as part of the people strategy.
  • Contributing to the overall success of the organisation, demonstrated by measurements such as improved employee satisfaction, reduced turnover, or increased productivity.
  • Explaining how the team’s initiatives helped to develop or transform the organisation’s business and people strategies.
  • Promoting continuous learning and professional development within the organisation, demonstrating how this has resulted in opportunities for advancement and greater job satisfaction.

Excellence in Inclusivity & Diversity Award

Eligibility: Recognising organisations that value diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace and/or have developed a diverse workforce and inclusive culture. Successful organisations will demonstrate the impact this has had on their business in terms of equality and employability.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Implemented creative and forward-thinking approaches to embedding Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) in their workplace culture.
  • DEI work has transformed their culture, where employees have a sense of belonging, represent the customers and communities they serve, and/or are fulfilled and productive.
  • Embraced and embedded an agile and flexible approach to how, where, and when people work, prioritising talent over traditional working practices.
  • Taken action to improve social mobility by including individuals from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds into their workforce.
  • Taken sustainable action that has significantly improved the awareness, wellbeing, and sense of belonging of its employees.
  • Utilising the collection, analysis, and use of data to inform decisions and actions that have driven excellence in workplace DEI practice.

ESG Impact Award

Eligibility: Acknowledging organisations that have incorporated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) into their HR strategies. This Award is open to teams and individuals who can demonstrate their commitment and achievements in the realm of ESG.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Demonstrate commitment to minimising the environmental impact of business operations.
  • Development and implementation of programs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organisation and/or the promotion of social mobility.
  • Implementation and demonstration of robust governance structures that ensure accountability and ethical decision-making.
  • Evidence of employee-driven ESG initiatives or involvement in community projects
  • Clear reporting on ESG performance, goals, and outcomes, providing evidence of the positive impact resulting from ESG initiatives.

Workplace Wellbeing Award

Eligibility: Celebrating companies that have implemented comprehensive programs and initiatives that prioritise and promote employee wellbeing, (whether physical or mental health), such as awareness campaigns and proactive support to address specific health needs.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Having clear policies and practices in place and a culture that support wellbeing. In the case of mental health, this includes promoting work-life balance, encouraging open conversations about mental health, and reducing stigma around mental health issues.
  • Providing training and education such as how to support colleagues with health issues.
  • Encouraging employees to engage in healthy activities that are personally meaningful and increase employee engagement.
  • Maintaining sustainable programmes that encourage and engage ongoing employee involvement.

People Excellence in SMEs

Eligibility: Recognising positive people practices that have delivered results in small businesses with a workforce of 250 people or less. You will be able to demonstrate how people insight has been utilised to benefit your business and/or your employees.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Demonstrating strong financial performance in terms of revenue, market share, profitability, etc.
  • Introducing innovative ways of working, applied to areas such as their products/services, business model, or use of technology.
  • Introducing internal/external service level improvements that resulted in excellent levels of customer satisfaction, reflected in excellent customer reviews, improved loyalty, and an improved company brand.
  • Fostering high levels of employee engagement, with low turnover rates, high morale, and a positive company culture.
  • Making a positive impact on the community, whether through job creation, community service, or social mobility.
  • Demonstrating the ability to adapt and thrive in the face of challenges and changes in the market.

Excellence in Learning & Development

Eligibility: Focusing on the organisation’s efforts to enhance employee skills, foster a learning culture, and drive outcomes through effective learning and development (L&D) strategies.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Fostering a culture of continuous learning and talent development.
  • Implemented innovative L&D strategies or skills development practices that have positively impacted the organisation.
  • Implementing L&D initiatives that align with the organisation’s strategy and people strategies.
  • L&D initiatives have led to measurable improvements in areas such as employee performance, engagement, retention, etc.
  • L&D initiatives support efforts to increase inclusion and diversity.

Talent Acquisition Innovation Award

Eligibility:Celebrating companies that have implemented ground-breaking strategies and practices to attract and retain top talent, including innovative recruitment strategies, employer branding campaigns, or creative talent sourcing techniques.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Approaches taken to market a strong employer brand, effectively communicating the organisational values and employee value proposition, resulting in a positive impact on candidate perception and attraction.
  • Recognises innovative and effective candidate assessment solution that meets the needs of the organisation’s talent strategy and leads to improved hiring results.
  • Recognises the commercial and cultural impact of initiatives to promote greater diversity in attracting, hiring, and integrating people from different cultures, whether residing in the UK or overseas.
  • Providing excellent candidate experiences throughout the recruitment process, including clear communication, respectful treatment, and timely feedback.
  • Outstanding delivery of a high-quality onboarding experience to help new hires to quickly become productive members of the team.
  • Demonstrate improved employee retention rates, indicating abilities to attract top talent and provide an environment where employees want to stay.

Excellence in Organisational & People Development

Eligibility: Recognising successful development programmes that have positively impacted on organisational or people performance, or culture. You will be able to demonstrate how the programme has used research, data and insight to help the organisation to achieve its goals.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Demonstrating how people and processes are strategically aligned with the organisation’s goals.
  • Having robust programs for employee development such as training, mentorship programs, career progression, and initiatives to help employees develop new skills.
  • Showing evidence of effective organisational development practices and successful change management initiatives. Demonstrate the ability to adapt to changing internal and external circumstances.
  • Applying performance measurement, analysis, and reporting to improve decision making and track the success of people development initiatives.
  • Demonstrating how people development strategies have led to improved business outcomes such as increased productivity, improved retention rates, or financial performance.

Transformational Change Award

Eligibility: Transformational business change involves radical shifts in strategy, structure, operations, or culture to improve performance and achieve long-term growth. It’s a fundamental, systemic, and lasting change.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Demonstrating how their people transformation strategies have led to improved business outcomes. This could include increased productivity, higher employee retention rates, or improved financial performance.
  • Demonstrating effective change management practices that could include how well the company communicates changes, involves employees in the change process, and supports them during periods of change.
  • Fostering a culture that encourages continuous learning and development. This could be reflected in the availability of professional development opportunities, encouragement of skill development, and support for ongoing education.
  • Having high levels of employee engagement, analysed with measures such as employee satisfaction surveys, turnover rates, and levels of employee participation in company initiatives.
  • Having effective performance management systems in place with clear performance expectations, regular feedback, and recognising and rewarding good performance.
  • Encouraging innovation and creativity among employees, reflected in the company’s policies, work environment, and the value placed on new ideas and innovative thinking.

Purpose Beyond Profit Award

Eligibility: Recognising organisations that excel in fostering a sense of purpose among their employees. This Award celebrates companies that not only articulate their mission and values but also translate them into meaningful work. The Award underscores the importance of employee satisfaction, productivity, and performance as key indicators of successful HR practices.

Judges will require evidence of as much of the following:

  • Having a clear, well-articulated purpose that goes beyond profit, and this purpose should be integrated into all aspects of the business.
  • Innovating in approaches to addressing social or environmental issues and demonstrating a commitment to sustainability in its operations.
  • Being transparent about its impact and holding itself accountable to stakeholders, such as including regular impact reporting and stakeholder engagement.
  • Articulating how these practices have led to improved productivity levels and/or strong performance outcomes.
  • Demonstrating how innovative people-practices have been implemented to promote and create a stronger sense of purpose.

Reasons to get involved!

There’s no better feeling than walking up on stage and collecting that award. Knowing all your hard work, enthusiasm and diligence has been recognised, not only by your company but by the whole region.

But there’s more to our awards than that, the journey starts long before the night of the awards and is a fantastic way of putting your company in the spotlight. Finalists are announced months before the awards through the press, social media and industry bodies as well as the awards website and email marketing. Promo banners are sent to display on your email signature and website offering valuable promotional activity for you and your company.

Our awards are much more than one evening, they’re a year long process which offers our finalists and partners unique exposure that can’t be gained through traditional advertising.

We look forward to receiving your nomination and good luck!