Australian HR Awards 2020: Judges praise ‘phenomenal’ strength of entries after challenging year

The bar has been raised for this year’s Australian HR Awards

Australian HR Awards 2020: Judges praise ‘phenomenal’ strength of entries after challenging year

Judges of this year’s Australian HR Awards have praised the outstanding calibre of entries after a challenging 12 months.

The finalists for all 20 categories have been announced ahead of the virtual award ceremony on December 3.

This year, HR professionals faced unprecedented challenges as the global pandemic sparked job losses and forced offices to close.

Natalie Britt, director of human resources for the International Convention Centre, described the standard of entries as ‘absolutely phenomenal’. 

She told HRD: ‘In my mind one of the most critical roles in this period has been utilisation of HR professionals.

‘The fact that they have been absolutely kicking goals in that space has been hugely important during this period.’

Read more: Australian HR Awards go virtual for 2020

Britt said she was especially impressed by HR teams that have maintained their drive towards improving diversity in recruitment despite the overwhelming number of applicants.

She said the entries also highlighted many cutting-edge initiatives being implemented from the top level down, particularly in terms of change management.

‘There were really great entries coming through in that space,” she said.

“For me, it’s about how to do you reengage people that have been out of the business for so long, whether they have been working from home or they’ve been stood down?

“How do you recreate that culture of it being safe to come back to work?”

For Britt, innovative use of tech and consistent internal communication has been particularly impressive among this year’s entries.

As employees found their face-to-face interactions replaced with screens, HR leaders had to be both reactive and proactive to bring staff together.

Similarly, fellow judge Nadine Castle, director at The Culture Group, said a stand-out among the submissions was the genuine focus on connectiveness demonstrated by many HR strategies.

‘What I saw among entries was that the human capital part of the organisation really was the defining factor,’ she told HRD.

‘Making sure culture is a shining light, that actually came through in a lot of the submissions which is wonderful.

‘We’re also seeing really innovative ways of dealing with that, using technology, strategy but also integrating HR into the business.’

Read more: Australian HR Awards finalists announced

Castle said it was encouraging to see senior leadership and CEOs ‘in it together’ with HR teams when it came to finding solutions during the pandemic.

She also praised the role of strategic communications in several award categories, a factor that has been uniquely important for HR teams this year.

“The breadth and sophistication of communication really took a step up this year versus previous years,” she said.

“That’s a gift that comes from the challenging times we’ve had.”

Click here to sign up for the virtual awards ceremony on December 3.

Recent articles & video

New updates on paid FDV leave: Here's what HR needs to know

What should I do if I suspect an employee of fraud?

Employers budget for wage increases as inflation bites

New research highlights the looming ESG skills shortage in APAC

Most Read Articles

'HR is not your friend'

CEO takes leave amid claims of bullying and workplace intimidation

Superannuation and HR: Your legal responsibilities as an employer