1. Best Apprenticeship Scheme

This category recognises high-quality apprenticeship programmes that demonstrate clear alignment with the organisation’s business and people strategies. Successful programmes will demonstrate how they are integrated into the organisations’ wider workforce planning, providing great opportunities for learners to progress, and supporting efforts to increase diversity and inclusion. The judges will be looking for:
  • examples of higher-level apprenticeships that provide viable alternatives to university for young people. Entries highlighting 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;
  • evidence of learner engagement and satisfaction;
  • value to the business in terms of retention, innovation, employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
Sponsored by Welsh Government

2. Best Change Management Initiative

This award recognises employers that have successfully delivered a major organisational change programme. As well as making demonstrable contributions to organisational performance, effective change programmes bring positive impacts to employees and/or clearly minimise the potential negative impacts. The judges will be looking for:
  • how the initiative aligned with operational strategy and the desired organisational culture;
  • how you diagnosed the problem and developed your understanding of the necessary change;
  • how you ensured employees were properly informed and consulted, and their interests were taken on board;
  • how you balanced continuing day-to-day operations with the delivery of change;
  • the demonstrable impact on organisational performance and quality of working life;
  • HR’s contribution through all stages of the programme, from informing the business case to measuring the impact.
Sponsored by Reed

3. Outstanding Creativity & Innovation in HR

Once in a while, an idea turns into a ‘game changer’. We want to hear about your game changing ideas, initiatives and projects that have had an impact on your organisation, but with the potential to change the way our industry behaves. In this category, successful submissions will come from organisations that have gained business benefits and achieved strategic objectives through innovation or creativity. The judges will be looking for:
  • the achievement of strategic objectives through innovative and creative solutions;
  • what makes your initiative stand out, including what you’ve done that’s different;
  • evidence of engagement and collaboration with stakeholders and intended users;
  • evidence of the impact of the changes made on the business and individuals, and how this initiative facilitated these changes.
Sponsored by Coastal Housing

4. Best Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

This award recognises employers who are genuinely dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. 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. Becoming a truly inclusive workplace requires openness, transparency and authentic behaviour, driven by a core belief in equality of opportunity. The judges will be looking for:
  • details of the initiative your organisation has undertaken to create a diverse and inclusive workplace;
  • information about why action in this area is so important for your organisation;
  • evidence of how you are breaking ground and overcoming challenges and resistance;
  • proof of what makes your initiative stand out, including what you’ve done that’s innovative;
  • evidence that the changes you have made have brought benefits to your people and the business.
Sponsored by University of South Wales

5. Best Employee Engagement Initiative

An employee engagement programme can deliver a win-win outcome for the business and its people. Employees who are engaged are more likely to be more fulfilled and benefit from improved wellbeing, which can result in higher levels of employee loyalty, performance and retention. This category looks for entries where employee engagement initiatives are having a clear and positive impact on organisational performance. The judges will be looking for employee engagement programmes that:
  • foster an employee relations culture that enhances engagement, wellbeing and the contribution of employees in working towards the success of the business
  • show evidence of strong working relationships and opportunities for dialogue across the organisation;
  • are business-focused and aligned to strategic objectives;
  • demonstrate a clear understanding of data and evaluation (eg through survey results, absence levels and staff turnover rates);
  • generate insight into the value of engagement in driving broad business outcomes, such as leadership and culture, and its relationship with overall performance.
Sponsored by Sitka Recruitment

6. Best Health and Well-being Initiative

This award recognises employers that place employee well-being centre stage within the organisation and have embedded a strong culture of workplace well-being. Investing in people’s health and well-being is good for business but it’s also the right thing to do. Successful programmes will be preventative and proactive in promoting well-being, as well as demonstrating effective rehabilitation and return-to-work practices. The judges will be looking for:
  • a holistic approach that focuses on people’s physical and mental well-being;
  • how your programme is rooted in effective leadership, culture and people management capability;
  • how health and well-being activities are integrated across the organisation’s day-to-day operations;
  • value to the business in terms of reduced stress and sickness absence levels and/or improvements in staff engagement and performance.
Sponsored by RW Learning

7. Best HR/L&D Consultancy

In this category, we’ll be looking for entries from an individual consultant/consultancy who has worked with a client on a specific people-related project to address a strategic issue. The consultancy must include written permission from the client on the entry form. The judges will be looking for evidence of:
  • how you worked collaboratively with the HR/L&D team and wider organisation to undertake a specific people-related project;
  • the clear objectives of the initiative and how this links to the broader people strategy, and the business/organisational strategy;
  • how the project has delivered tangible business benefits to the organisation;
  • evidence of impact on key business metrics or clear verifiable examples of how it has positively impacted the overall employee experience.
Sponsored by Human Resourcing

8. Best In-House Team

This award recognises HR/L&D teams that have demonstrated excellence across the organisation to meet both the needs of the business and its people. The judges will be looking for:
  • an HR/L&D team that can demonstrate innovative and unique approaches to addressing either one key business issue across the year or multiple projects;
  • a strategic approach to all aspects of HR/L&D management;
  • exceptional teamwork and leadership including working across boundaries in a timely and effective way;
  • a quantifiable contribution to commercial or organisational achievements because of exceptional team working;
  • operational excellence in execution.
Sponsored by HR Spectrum

9. Emerging Practitioner of the Year

In any organisation, practitioners, irrespective of the level at which they operation, undertake essential people management roles. This award seeks to identify and recognise those early on in their careers who have shown the potential to make a significant impact within the organisation and the profession, now or in the future. The judges will be looking for:
  • initiative and commitment in progressing the goals of the organisation;
  • evidence of proactively progressing his/her own professional development.
Sponsored by LHH Penna

10. Special Award

The CIPD Wales People Management Special Award is given to an individual in recognition of their outstanding and exceptional leadership in the field of people management in Wales. The judges will be looking for:
  • third party nomination of a senior, exceptional practitioner;
  • evidence of making a significant positive impact on their organisation and the wider sector in Wales.
Sponsored by Hugh James solicitors
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