Winner: Ivan Pierce, Youi

  • Lead a review of all incentive schemes ensuring holistic alignment and balance across the organisation; Invested in proactive approach to Health and Mental Wellbeing Programs; Delivered new initiatives; Addressed ad hoc issues such as COVID-19 crisis management; Built capabilities of the team driving initiatives such as; employee lifecycle mapping, building people metrics dashboards and predictive data modelling.
  • Impact on Youi’s metrics over the last 12months includes: business success $700m turnover and >$50m NPAT, employee turnover at lowest levels in Youi’s 12yr history (16.1<%), engagement scores (pulse survey) at historic highs (>82%), Strong 2019 Values survey scores (>77%), leadership 360 survey scores at best ever levels (85%)
  • Judges' comments include: 'Valuable initiatives, strong results in engagement and industry recognition at the Australian HR awards. Improvement in turnover. Balance in initiatives across development and rewards'

Excellence Awardees:

Hannah Bloch, Gold Coast Health

Julie Harris, VetPartners

Zahra Peggs, TSA Group


Winner: Kathryn Agius, Gateway Motorway Services

  • Successfully completed managing one of Australia’s largest pavement re-sheeting programs.
  • Established a business framework providing a secure employment bridge for a mature aged workforce; helped Veterans with disabilities transition to a civilian workforce reinstating a sense of value and confidence through innovation
  • Judges' comments include: 'A business mind, focusing on the business issue first, making tough calls, but with people the people experience influencing execution made the top scoring person stand out'; 'Creative alignment of business goals and purposeful HR activity - really admired the use of mature aged talent'; 'Kathryn has a very structure and methodical approach to her work and wears multiple hats that are complex and high needs'; 'Strong stakeholder engagement and leadership, innovative ideas and approach, strong support from executive team and has developed and embedded many people initiatives in a complex industry'

Excellence Awardees:

Bettina Tracey, Gold Coast Health

Jeanni Watson, PointsBet

Rachael Baack, International HR Development Specialist Consultant

Simon Tufrey, Wyndham Destinations -Asia Pacific


Winner: Ashleigh Pickrell, Allianz Australia

  • Successfully led the team to deliver service continuity through the offshoring and reshoring of Allianz Australia HR as part of the global Allianz HR Transformation Project in 2019
  • A trusted leader and advisor to her team and the wider business; named a finalist for the Donna Walker Award in the 2020 Allianz Aspire Awards
  • Judges' comments include: 'Extensive contributions and achievements'; 'Ashleigh has had a great experience in particular insourcing a service and has a great approach to her work and people'; 'Very well written and compelling submission. Impressed by the breadth of projects worked on, particularly the off shoring and then onshoring! That's a tough one. Great to see an early career managing a team'

Excellence Awardees:

Byron Bateson, Gold Coast Health

Gemma Weaver, PHD

Hannah Young, Town of Mosman Park

Kerri Allen, Employsure


Winner: Annette Kimmitt, MinterEllison

  • Strategic leadership experience in financial and professional services in Australia and globally
  • Lead MinterEllison's Purpose Strategy
  • Judges' comments include: 'Passion, empowerment and customer focused'; 'Fantastic leader in the space of gender equality and LGBTI. Strong partnership with HR and well-regarded over an impressive career, including being awarded Order of Australia'; 'Annette has done an amazng job at Minter Ellison and should be proud of her achivements'

Excellence Awardees:

Hugo Schreuder, Youi Insurance

John Burns (former CEO), VetPartners

Michael Azrak, MSD




Winner: Insight

  • Recruited talented teammates differently by geo - targeting candidates using Facebook and Instagram, reaching 3,156 people in 36 hours; “Hackathons” – a company sponsored weekend away, teammates worked to develop technology solutions to real world problems; InsightX development program (a play on TEDX talks) with teammates presenting sessions on topics of interest to share across the business, which supported public speaking skills
  • Adopted a fresh approach to developing teammates with the Peak Performance Program which focuses on whole intelligence and potential by providing development opportunities for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual being
  • Judges' comments include: 'Comprehensive and innovative across all aspects of the employee life cycle, with a strong focus on making sure that every person always knows they matter, well done!'; 'Getting the simple things right'

Excellence Awardees:

Apiam Animal Health


Pernod Ricard Winemakers

Uber Australia


Winner: Kmart

  • Implemented a digital tool for team members to receive and provide feedback, discussed development areas and career aspirations; employee engagement survey achieved a 9-point increase in participation; Strong D&I results- women holding 56.75% of leadership roles and 2.21% of the workforce being indigenous, up from 1.92% in 2019  
  • Negotiated and implemented a new EBA for 34,000 team members which saw the largest change to terms and conditions in over 20 years; Project managed and successfully implemented a new $6.5M Human Capital Management and payroll system; Ensured the smooth acquisition and integration of a $500M, 400 team member online retail business with business sales increasing by 167%
  • Judges' comments include: 'An excellent demonstration of a P&C team partnering with the business to bring the people focus to life. Results were extremely positive. Hats off given the complexity that sits across a business like KMART. Plus add covid in the mix - well done team'; 'Impressive, well prepared submission. The video was great!  Clear alignment of people plan to K-Mart vision. Fun and innovative!  Great work'

Excellence Awardees:

Coca-Cola Amatil

Coles Group

Serco Asia Pacific



Winner: ghd hair

  • Internally recruited over 18% of the team to new or higher-level roles in the current financial year; last engagement survey showed that ghd scored greater than 90% satisfaction in leadership related areas
  • ghd life is an holistic health, wellbeing and engagement program encompassing four pillars: LIVE, GROW, DRIVE and FEEL and has resulted in high engagement levels. Other employee benefits include discounted electrical tools, sample sales, discounted gym memberships, flu vaccinations and health insurance, retail and experience discounts, paid parental leave, purchase leave schemes and superannuation options
  • Judges' comments include: 'Outstanding in aspects. Strategic, strong L & D, Great WLB, innovative, gets better every year, terrific H & WB platforms. Impressive'; 'they are well on the way to being an employer of choice for a small businessall of there rewards and nonmonetary benefits are get for a small business especially the PPL'; 'Excellent response to COVID-19. This supported by impressive initiatives in all the major areas made for an excellent read and my highest score'

Excellence Awardees:

Edwards Lifesciences

Howden Australia

Total Image Group


Winner: Investa

  • The focus on employee experience in the past 12 months has delivered results: 11% improvement in employee engagement, 9% reduction in turnover and achieving an employee Net Promotor Score of 96%
  • 91% of staff agree the Executive team keep them informed; Senior Leadership positively rated by employees at 83%, up from 70% in 2017; People Management scores increased by 13% over the period; in the last 12 months, 24% of Investa’s workforce were promoted or took on a secondment / new role opportunity; In the past 12 months achieved 47% female appointments, 40% female senior management team and 49.53% female overall workforce composition; Investa’s CEO is a Property Male Champion of Change and a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador. Investa is a WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality 2019/20
  • Judges' comments include: 'Faultless, exceptional - ticked every box possible'; 'Fantastic all round submission with a compact HR team - really engaging and thoughtful offerings for employees'; ' A stand out for me as strong consistent % results for engagement, attrition etc, combined with clear leadership strategy and values with excellent benefits including a valued L&D, Innovation and D&I approach'; 'Outstanding ethical focus'; 'From inclusion and belonging, to learning and promotion, it is clear that this organization understands its workforce and has taken practical steps to create a great place to work and build a dynamic career!'

Excellence Awardees:

AbbVie Australia



Queensland Treasury Corporation


Winner: Deloitte Australia

  • Employee Engagement programs include: Talkin – an enhanced firm-wide performance experience; ShoutOut! - elevating the employee experience through recognition; WorldClass - a global ambition to impact 50 million people by 2030 through access to education, skills and opportunities. Employee Benefits enhancements include: 18 weeks paid parental leave, supportive return to work program, surrogacy and permanent placement foster care. Supporting employees through:
  • Career Milestone Programs - fast-tracking a Leader’s progress when they step into a new role; Leadership programs - including Executive Coaching and Development Labs" Since 2019, Deloitte Australia has positively impacted over 91,000 people and contributed $13.83 million worth of pro-bono (+18% FY18). Community support examples include Australian Bushfires, matched employee donations dollar for dollar, Annual Impact Day; 5,000+ of our people volunteered at one of 500 charities in 2019     
  • Judges' comments include: 'Amazing, the suit of offerings to all staff is incredibly broad but very inclusive'; 'Detailed review indicating their care for all team members and the wonderful programs in place to support their people'

Excellence Awardees:

Mader Group


Publicis Groupe



Winner: The Disability Trust

  • Organisational tenure above-average, with an average turnover rate of 2% in the past 18-months. Security and career opportunity associated with permanent jobs as an outcome of a project to move away from the ‘casual employment’ associated with the sector. At the end of 1st quarter 2020, 86% of hours worked were by permanent workers. Learning and Development team managed a dual-stream training calendar, and in the 12-month period to end of 1st quarter 2020, the workforce has participated in excess of 28,000 hours of internal training. Reward and Recognition program includes ‘Years of Service’ recognition; birthday celebrations; 5-weeks of leave provided to all permanent workers; and free on-site personal training.
  • Employ many people with a disability and a significant number of persons on visas, a workforce speaking more than 40 languages. A strategic agenda including indigenous Australians into Successfully partnered with local councils to develop and implement the Illawarra Yes program, the Eurobodalla Shire Council Partnership as well as ACT Reach Training Program.          
  • Judges' comments include: 'Strategic, strong on all aspects, business aligned, purposeful, values driven, H W & B excellent - outstanding'; 'What a great submission. SO much fantastic HR led initiatives for the benefit of your people. Particularly good to see The DT showcasing and celebrating so many people stories, employees, the HR team and success in the community. Would like to see an executive summary in next years submission of top 5 greatest achievements to demonstrate DT is an employer of choice and the metrics that indicate why these factors have led to improved business and people success. Keep it up!'; 'Great purpose - strong people and client focus'

Excellence Awardees:

Cancer Council Queensland

Community Enterprise Queensland

Penrith City Council


Winner: Hume Community Housing

  • Secured the largest social housing transfer in NSW under the Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) program where the NSW Government awarded to them the transfer of more than 2,200 homes and 4,000 customers across the Maitland and Port Stephens local government areas; Designed and developed a Social Housing Outcome Framework and Customer Support Service Model; Designed and implemented a change management framework now utilised across Hume for all change initiatives
  • The Project Highway team established close local partnerships with government agencies including the Department of Communities and Justice,Housing NSW, other community housing providers, and many new community business partners
  • Judges' comments include: 'Succinct, well linked to the external customer, good engagement and clear results'; 'Outstanding engagement in the strategy and change in such an important sector. Congratulations. Amazing contribution to our society. Keep leading!'; 'Clear alignment between business problem to be solved, change program and outcome'; 'Impressed by the professional approach for a small organisation. Understood clearly the need for the change program - addressing a business challenge. Innovative, multi dimensional. Great work!'

Excellence Awardees:

Affinity Education Group

Nous Group


Singleton Council


Winner: VetPartners

  • The VetPartners Graduate program is a 12-month rotational program across 3 different clinical environments in 4-month blocks allowing graduates to broaden their skill range and to understand what clinical environments they are best suited to; Graduates have continual support from the Early Talent Manager dedicated to ensuring their wellness and clinical needs are met and access to strong clinical mentors in each of their rotational blocks.
  • $35,000 in Continuing Education for Graduates in first 2 years of employment; training includes orientation and induction program, training and development, overseas training and charity work
  • Judges' comments include: 'Exceptional Graduate Program with a strong blended development approach and seamlessly links technical, practical and behavioural capabilities. Great OTJ structured rotations with clear sign-off points to builds the knowledge learnt at University with professional skills required to be a successful Vet'; 'Great engaging and well rounded program with investment in learning balanced with focused practical work in challenging environments'; 'Retention is high due to the professionalism of the program - fantastic!'

Excellence Awardees:

Allianz Australia


Kraft Heinza



Winner: Johnson & Johnson

  • HealthForce2020, is supported by three integrated pillars: healthy eating, movement and minds
  • Educated employees about the importance of health and wellbeing via Energy for Performance® program, a science based energy management program focusing on physical and mental wellbeing and nutrition; digital health app, Castlight, also supports employees to stay physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and fully engaged
  • Judges' comments include: 'comprehensive program. The $600 pa allowance per employee demonstrates tangible committment'; 'Survey consult, strategic with clear results and growth each year'

Excellence Awardees:

NSW Ambulance

QBE Insurance Australia


Singleton Council


Winner: EY

  • An innovative, two-year leadership development program to accelerate the next generation of future female leaders. Participants have access to targeted development experiences and sponsorship from senior leaders within the firm, with the intention of building a pipeline of robust and empowered female senior managers. Launched across the Oceania practice in 2016 and has already seen four cohorts of participants and sponsors complete the program.
  • Provides participants with development opportunities in the areas of Storytelling, Presence, Networking, Purpose, Influence, Agility and Teaming. Contains a series of virtual webinars, email nudges, progress calls, residential workshops and one-on-one virtual meetings between Protégé and Sponsor to maintain engagement, whilst also promoting an environment of self-driven experiences and development.
  • Judges' comments include: '$1K per participant, good results in terms of promotion of female talent'

Excellence Awardees:

La Trobe University

McDonald's Australia


Serco Asia Pacific


Winner: McDonald's Australia

  • The six months LEAD program is designed to give a group of 24 high-performing restaurant Crew and Managers nationwide the opportunity to help the business solve business-critical briefs. Since the launch of the program, the LEAD program has received over 360 applications, with 46 restaurant employees graduating and 38% have subsequently been promoted. LEAD affords positive media sentiment nationally receiving over 15 pieces of unique coverage
  • From the LEAD program, McDonald’s has implemented ideas improving the safety teams in restaurants, gamifying the digital capability of our learning programs and simplifying the way communications are received in the restaurants
  • Judges' comments include: 'Complete investment in learning. Shown through budget allocation. Proven completion rates with high numbers. Simple leadership program that easy to follow'; 'Great base structure for L&D focusing across all levels of development from crew to senior leadership. Good investment approach for young generations coming into the workplace'; 'McDonalds really offers the gold standard in L&D programs'; 'McDonalds has always been well known in the industry for their great learning programs and you can see why, they invest heavily in this space and reap the benefits from it'

Excellence Awardees:

Deloitte Australia


Kraft Heinz

Level Crossing


Winner: Serco Asia Pacific

  • The Recruitment Campaign for Clarence Correctional Centre showcases the depth of planning, collaboration and strategic focus Serco invests into setting up and resourcing a new contract. The campaign was multi-faceted with key strategies being put in place for an integrated marketing strategy, engaging communities, championing inclusion through diversity, and structured operational readiness plans.
  • Successfully delivered a staffing model in line with the commitment to delivering to a project plan, clear allocated budget and values within a regional area. Resulted in 466 new employees hired within 12 months, which makes up 10% of total hires over the same period. To-date 7,268 applications have been received, diversity targets met and 80% of roles filled as selection continues in the final weeks.
  • Judges' comments include: 'Huge focus on Diversity and Inclusion. Using technology to be efficient in recruitment strategies. Huge return on investment with right candidates been chosen'; 'Really solid initiative that showed significant focus on community engagement and diversity in selection'

Excellence Awardees:

Coles Group

Gateway Motorway Services

Mercy Health

NSW Ambulance


Winner: Employsure

  • A ‘Be Better’ culture provides exceptional development opportunities through best-in-class onboarding programs, structured leadership development, career pathways, and opportunities for promotion. 35% of employees were promoted this year
  • Monetary reward/recognition including bonuses, commissions and other generous reward packages such as scholarships; Non-monetary recognition including a peer recognition program, multiple recognition platforms and channels, merchandise, experiences, trips and additional leave; Ambassadors’ Club with additional benefits for long tenured staff
  • Judges' comments include: 'great diversity in reward and recogntiion value proposition, ranging from monetary to non monetary, online and offline'; 'Good blend of monetary and non-monetary awards, very honest submission - warts and all that linked clearly to the objectives being sought. Fairly generous monetary rewards, which is typical of a sales-focused/commission-based workforce'

Excellence Awardees:

Edwards Lifesciences


National Disability Insurance Agency


Winner: Youi

  • Designed and built (entirely in-house) gamification platform for all staff -branded ‘YourGame' - an online program that speaks to every aspect of a career journey with Youi and helps people track their personal achievements and celebrate career milestones in a fun, interactive and engaging manner
  • In the past 12 months, YourGame has been visited over 51,000 times and there's been overall increase in engagement, increase in staff completing e-learnings, increase in staff engaging in pro-active learning, increased engagement in our health and wellbeing program, increase in staff providing feedback and contributing ideas, increase in peer-to-peer recognition, increase in the variety of people recognised and rewarded
  • Judges' comments include: 'combination of new office 365 project adapted to improve employee experience combined with internally developed gamification tool very innovative'; 'Great use of gamification to enhance the employee experience'; 'A well aligned program of technology with a depth of activity across all facets from business alignment, Talent and measures of success'; 'a lot of effort and complex thinking has gone into their solution'

Excellence Awardees:

Deloitte Australia

UQ Recruitment



Winner: QBE Insurance Australia 

  • Share the Care was launched in March 2019 bringing bold changes to parental leave policy and seeing QBE lead the way as the first general insurer in Australia to launch a gender-neutral policy. Twelve months later, Share the Care has exceeded expectations in normalising caring and flexibility for all families, sending a strong message that we can only achieve gender equality in the workplace when both men and women have equal opportunities to thrive in their career, and at home.
  • key highlights include: 300+ % uplift in the number of men taking paid parental leave, male representation of employees taking paid parental leave has increased significantly from 10% to 27%, the number of men accessing the 12-weeks paid parental leave in a full-time block has doubled, the game changer has been the ability to access paid parental leave flexibly, which has seen male participation thrive
  • Judges' comments include: 'Great initiatives with substantial results, embedded focus on diversity and inclusion across a range of areas, understanding the value diversity brings and a genuine commitment to making a difference in the community as well. Very comprehensive, well done'; 'Impressive results (especially on the Share the Care) and great addressing the cultural change and systematic barriers for Diversity (role clarity for Managers etc). Keep going!'

Excellence Awardees:

Deloitte Australia

Hollard Insurance

La Trobe University



Winner: Deloitte Australia

  • In 2019 launched DeloitteFlex- a refreshed framework rethinking flexibility outside the more traditional flexible work arrangements, empowering the workforce with choice of when and how they work
  • DeloitteFlex, together with an enhanced Parental leave policy and Deloitte Dads initiative, are removing barriers and creating equal access and opportunities
  • Judges' comments include: 'Great structure and well implemented with senior leader buy-in'; 'Clearly an amazingly flexible place to work'; 'A comprehensive program by a clearly seasoned professional outfit. Well Done'

Excellence Awardees:





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