CIPD’s prestigious awards are back bigger and better than ever

One of the North East’s most prestigious awards, showcasing the talents of the region’s businesses, is back – and it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Last year’s CIPD North East of England HR&D Awards were cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But, as CIPD North East co-chair Elouise Leonard-Cross explains, that has only increased clamour for the hugely popular awards – run in association with The Journal – to go ahead as a “virtual” daytime event in 2021.

“One of the key reasons is customer demand,” she explains.

“We have had so many requests from those working in the HR field, wanting to have the opportunity to celebrate what their team or organisation has done to improve the profession and contribute to the region.”



Previous winners of the Excellence in Supporting Armed Forces Talent award

Hardly surprising, as the awards have garnered an enviable reputation as a gold standard for excellence in HR&D since their inception back in 2007.

“The awards have grown in to being a real event in the HR calendar in the North East and we love that we have been able to create something that is synonymous with great business and fun. It is such a privilege to see and review the applications we receive,” says Elouise.

“CIPD is run entirely by volunteers in the region and the awards are a real boost to all of us, to see and hear all the fantastic examples of positive people practices delivered by our members.

“They are an opportunity to celebrate our region by recognising great businesses, those that care for the people working within them and help make sure their employees don’t just have good work to do, they also have good quality working lives.



Co-chair Elouise Leonard-Cross

“It’s been a hard year, a total unknown landscape to navigate with a real focus to care for and keep employees safe. However, there have been huge positives too – the profession has had to be more creative, collaborative and open to other ways of doing things. HR didn’t have the answer but was definitely part of the multiple solutions to meet new and different challenges.”

Co-chair Sarah Carnegie agrees: “It is so important that we have a way to recognise those organisations in our region who excel at delivering better work and working lives for their employees. We are excited that we are able to hold our awards this year as we know it means so much to the HR community in our region.”

This year’s awards certainly promise to be quite the showcase.



Co-chair Sarah Carnegie

There are 10 categories (see below) , including the new Excellence in Leadership.This category will spotlight outstanding leadership in the North East against the backdrop of the challenges of the past year.

“We are really excited about the leadership category – to hear the stories of great leadership in the face of extreme challenge,” says Elouise.

“Across all categories we are looking for nominees who can tell a compelling story of work that has made a positive difference to people and businesses in the region.

“We want to hear about the impact that’s been achieved, what has got better as a result of work, projects and initiatives.”

Of course, this year’s awards will look a little different. Applications will still be judged by an expert panel of professionals, category sponsors and previous winners – through virtual meetings.

But replacing the usual glitz of the celebratory awards night will be the innovative daytime Recognising and Celebrating HR&D 2021.



Elouise explains: “Applications will be done using the same online format and our judging panels will again be made up of members of the CIPD North East Branch committee, category sponsors and a panel of expert judges, all of whom are senior regional professionals.

“Instead of an awards ceremony we will be running a regional learning forum, working with The Journal and focused on the Passionate People, Passionate Places campaign which will include discussion with some great regional thinkers and businesses. Throughout the day we will be announcing award winners, so those attending will hear the outcome before we later share these in the media.

“Of course the fun and energy on the night in previous years was a really happy celebration for a profession that can be known for being more serious in the workplace. We hope that the learning forum will be full of energy, ideas and aspiration for our fabulous region and part of the day of celebration will be the opportunity to connect and share.”

How to enter – and more

  • To enter, a company needs to operate within the CIPD North East of England area which covers postcodes NE, SR and DH.
  • CIPD North East of England Recognising and Celebrating HR&D 2021 virtual reveal ceremony takes place on June 11. CLICK HERE for more information about the awards.
  • Closing date for nominations is Friday May 14 2021.
  • For more about the CIPD CLICK HERE

AWARDS CATEGORIES



HR&D Team of the Year

Reco g ni sing outstanding HR&D teams who have made a positive impact on the organisation

This is your opportunity to show the judging panel and the HR profession how your HR&D team has made a valuable contribution to your organisation. You will be able to show how your HR&D team has identified, managed and delivered an impactful people programme, strategy or initiative that supports the wider business strategy.

Excellence in SME People Practice

Recognising how positive people practice has delivered business results in organisations with less than 250 employees
You will be able to demonstrate how people insight has been utilised to benefit your business or your employees. This can include how positive people practices have contributed to organisation development, change or a one-off project. Your organisation does not have to have a full-time HR&D presence to enter, and it can include the use of consultancy HR&D services.

Excellence in Supporting Armed Forces Talent

Sponsored by Defence Relationship Management

Recognising organisations that engage with and support the Armed Forces community and their families, through employment opportunities, development, volunteering or fundraising.
This category looks for organisations to demonstrate initiatives that have engaged with or supported members of the Armed Forces including veterans, reservists, cadets and their families. Submissions should provide evidence of how and where the organisation has engaged with, and delivered support to, the Armed Forces communities, such as work experience placements for service leavers, service charities, supporting cadets into apprenticeships, advertising vacancies with Career Transition Partnership, HR supportive policy for reservists, jobs fairs for spouses.

The sponsors say:

“Defence recognises the valuable contribution of the North East to supporting the men and women of the Armed Forces both in regular and reserve service. It is a pleasure to sponsor the category for Excellence in Supporting Armed Forces Talent. In previous years, the award has showcased some exceptional organisations across the region and recognised their advocacy for the Armed Forces community. This year will be no exception.

Many of the region’s employers have veterans, reservists, cadets or cadet instructors within their organisations and this award offers local recognition for the great things they do, explains the reasons they continue to support and hopefully encourages others to follow.”

Defence Relationship Management

Excellence in Organisational & People Development

Sponsored by People Spark Solutions

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. Critically you will be able to evidence two aspects:

How you have partnered with the organisation to clarify what they are trying to achieve and diagnose the underlying issues, challenges and opportunities.

How you have used innovative engagement and learning approaches to develop and involve people across the organisation in the project.

What the sponsors say:

“People Spark Solutions are delighted to be sponsoring this category at a time where people have been most impacted. Now more than ever development programmes ranging from enhanced online learning facilitation to leadership and rapid change management can be the spark to drive recovery and organisational success.”

Scott Smith, founder and managing director of People Spark Solutions

Excellence in Health & Wellness

Recognising activity that has positively impacted on health and wellness in the organisation.
You will be able to show how you have developed outstanding strategies aimed at ensuring the health and wellness – whether mental, physical, emotional or financial. Evidence of how and where you have used input from health and wellness specialist sources and providers to inform or support a successful initiative, showing how you have used external thinking to shape your activity.

Excellence in Resourcing & Reward

Sponsored by Sullivan Brown Resourcing Partners

Recognising organisations that have demonstrated effective and innovative strategies in resourcing and rewarding talent.
Submissions for this category can focus on any or all of the following: attraction and resourcing, employer brand, talent identification and management, candidate experience and on-boarding strategy, rewards & benefits

You will be able to demonstrate how you have attracted, developed the skills and talents needed by your organisation. You will be able to provide tangible evidence showing the impact your approach has had on the business performance and/or engagement and strategy.

The sponsor says:

We support the North East of England CIPD Awards every year and we are especially pleased to be able to do so this year when HR professionals have gone above and beyond to deliver for people and organisations in exceptional times. It’s an absolute honour to be involved and we are looking forward to celebrating the achievements of our amazing North East HR community.

Maureen Brown, managing director of Sullivan Brown Resourcing Partners

Excellence in Inclusivity & Diversity

Sponsored by NRG

Recognising organisations that value equity and equality and/or have developed a diverse workforce and inclusive culture.
You will be able to demonstrate how you have developed a diverse and inclusive workforce and/or culture. The impact this has had on your business in terms of equality and employability. This could be through initiatives that address an identified gap or inequality in the workforce, demonstrating how you assisted an under- represented population. This could be attracting and retaining talent through pre-employment programmes, apprenticeships, traineeships, internships or specific development programmes for particular minority/under-represented groups. Other initiatives include strategies relating to flexibility, eldercare, gender, race, age, sexual and disability equality.

The sponsor says:

“At NRG we absolutely support the North East of England CIPD award for Excellence in Inclusivity & Diversity as we understand that diversity of thinking enhances innovation, boosts productivity, and fosters business growth. Our commitment towards conscious inclusion and culture add ensures our practice engages with talent from disparate and under-represented backgrounds to present clients with the finest talent in the market, matched against skills, experience, values, and behaviours”

James Carss, director of executive search, NRG

Excellence & Positive Impact [NEW]

Recognising where the profession has achieved a positive impact .
This category recognises organisational activities driven by or supported by the people function that makes a broader positive impact. This could be within the organisation or the broader community and include community engagement, supporting charities, sustainability or any other programmes achieving a positive impact.

Excellence in People Innovation through Technology [NEW]

Recognising the positive impact of technology on people.
This award recognises the innovative use of technology by the people function to improve synergies, deliver insight and increase efficiency to the wider organisation.

Excellence in Leadership [NEW]

Recognising organisations that have demonstrated high quality, inclusive leadership
High quality and inclusive leadership has been shown to significantly impact on the success of an organisation. This category aims to spotlight outstanding leadership particularly against the backdrop of adversity and the challenges that this last year has created.

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