1. Best HR student 

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We’re looking for an exceptional student who is either currently studying or has completed a recognised CIPD qualification at any level over the past 12 months. Successful applicants will clearly demonstrate how they have applied their studies, and how they have made an impactful contribution to an HRM or HRD initiative or project which is significantly important to their employer.

Please note the format of the entry form for this category is different to the rest of the categories to reflect the unique nature of the award.

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Prioritising health and wellbeing benefits individuals and organisations alike. This award celebrates organisations which have placed employee wellbeing centre stage, fostering a robust culture of workplace wellbeing.  Successful entries will showcase a holistic approach to employee health and wellbeing, exemplified by leadership teams which actively role model wellbeing practices. The impact of a diverse range of initiatives aimed at addressing the needs of different employee groups will be a key criteria for success.

nvesting in health and wellbeing is good for people and good for business. This award will recognise an organisation which has placed employee wellbeing centre stage and has embedded a strong culture of workplace wellbeing.  

 Successful entries will demonstrate an understanding of the holistic nature of employee health and wellbeing, how wellbeing is being role modelled by the leadership team, and the impact of different initiatives undertaken to address the needs of different groups.  


3. Best apprenticeship scheme

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Are you committed to fostering talent and creating meaningful opportunities for apprentices? This category recognises outstanding apprenticeship programmes that align with your business and people strategies. Successful entrants will showcase high-quality programmes that are integrated into their wider workforce planning strategy, actively promoting inclusion and diversity. We’ll also be looking for evidence of opportunities for apprentices to progress in the organisation.


4. Best employee experience programme

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Creating a culture where employees are actively involved in decision-making is a great way of empowering your employees and making them feel valued. This award celebrates organisations that have implemented impactful, effective and sustainable programmes to promote employee participation in shaping the company’s future. Successful entrants will demonstrate how their programmes have positively impacted engagement levels, enhanced labour relations and deepened insight and understanding of your employees and their working lives.


5. Best resourcing and talent strategy

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In today’s competitive labour market, with increasing skills shortages, having robust strategies in place to attract and retain a diverse pool of employees is more important than ever. This award recognises employers who can showcase creative and impactful recruitment and talent management strategies and programmes to address their current and future resourcing and talent needs. 


6. Best learning and development initiative

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This award celebrates organisations that have developed a culture which promotes continuous development, coaching, performance management and innovative approaches to change and work design. Entrants will encourage feedback and openness on development needs and should demonstrate the impact of their culture on employee development and performance, and the positive impact on the organisation overall.


7. Best digital and technology initiative in HR/L&D

In an era where technology has become a driving force and enabler of successful HR and L&D practice, this award celebrates organisations that have harnessed digital solutions to drive business benefits. Entrants will demonstrate a deep understanding of end users’ needs, resulting in innovative solutions that align with business objectives.


8. Best equality, diversity and inclusion initiative (EDI)

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This award celebrates employers that are genuinely committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Successful entrants will showcase how they have champion equality, address under-representation and create fair opportunities for all. We’ll be looking for evidence fairness in reward systems, flexibility, access to promotion and learning and development opportunities. Entrants will be able to demonstrate policies, practices and procedures based on principles of fairness and inclusion, regular bias checks and measurable outcomes.


9. Best HR/L&D and OD consultant/consultancy

This award recognises individual consultants or consultancies that have partnered a client on a people-related project to address a strategic issue. The entry will demonstrate how you worked collaboratively with the HR/L&D or OD team, and how both the consultants and employees of the organisation were involved and engaged. 

Entrants must include written permission from the client on the entry form and for an impactful presentation, we recommend that the client attends the meeting with the judges if you get through to the second stage.


10. Best SME people management initiative

This award celebrates small or medium-sized businesses (with fewer than 250 employees) that have transformed the way they manage and develop their people in support of the workforce and wider business objectives. The judges will be looking for evidence of the impact of the new approach on business success, including benefits for employees, customers, suppliers and overall organisation performance. Entrants should demonstrate how people management initiative fits with the wider people management approach and the organisation’s broader strategy.  


11. Rising star of the people profession

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This award is for early to mid-career people professionals with three to five years’ experience in the profession. Our winner will embody a passion for the profession and will have already made a significant impact in their workplace. Nominations can come from the individual themselves, or from anyone who has experienced the impact of their work, whether it’s a line manager, colleague or mentor. Entries will showcase creative and innovative approaches to designing, delivering and evaluating work. Nominees should also demonstrate a commitment to continued professional development, and how they apply their learning in their role.


12. Best HR/OD/L&D team

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We’re looking for an exceptional HR, OD or L&D team that has made a significant impact across the organisation. The judges will be looking for a team that has played a pivotal role in helping their organisation to achieve business objectives and positively impacted their people. Judges will be looking for strategic alignment, measurable outcomes a people-centric approach, and evidence of organisational transformation.

13. Outstanding contribution in the field of people development in Northern Ireland

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This prestigious award is presented to a senior professional who has made an outstanding contribution to the people profession within Northern Ireland. They will be exceptional in their ability, commitment, knowledge and experience, and their impact will extend beyond their organisation, benefitting the wider business community and people profession.

Nominations can come from the individuals themselves, or be submitted by colleagues, senior management or by someone outside their organisation who wants to recognise their contribution. If you are nominating someone for this award, you should make them aware of the nomination.

The winner will be chosen by the judges based on the nomination forms without interviews.