Australian HR Director of the Year

Winner: Sarah Derry, Accor

  • Played a vital role in navigating Accor through the most difficult and challenging twelve months in Australia’s hospitality history ensuring team members were at the forefront of all decisions. This included the creation of the ALL Heartist Fund as well as the creation of a Pacific Taskforce to support hotels through Covid. Looking to grow the business via the Accor Internship Program, the Work Your Way philosophy, theHeartist culture and Academy.
  • Judges' comments include: 'Sarah's business acumen and outcomes, combined with her strong focus on culture, is highly commendable.'; 'Comprehensive approach taken through COVID-19'; 'Great supporting material and approaches for an exceptional challenging year for covid for the hospitality industry.'

Australian HR Champion (CEO) of the Year

Winner: Mick Frewen, CareFlight

  • A calm, collaborative and open leadership style consistently ensuring teams were connected and supported; online forums and coaching about mental health; leadership programs:- Frontline Leadership and Mini MBA through the Australian Institute of Management; affirmative engagement action plans; 1:1’s reviewing and driving ongoing engagement.
  • Judges' comments include: 'Passion, empowerment and customer focused.'; 'Mick has an excellent career history and approach to leadership. The presentation of the issues, management strategy and outcomes are excellent. Despite the challenges of 2020, Mick has overseen some incredible achievements touching on all elements of HR.'

Australian HR Manager of the Year

Winner: Luke Fleming, ICC

  • Design and delivery of a new HR model and service delivery; business transformation of 12 unique business units; COVID Taskforce operating protocols; TeamSAFE (TM operating guidelines); oversight of Internal Employee Communications (1900 strong team); new HR process model delivery with redesigned, best practice processes.
  • Judges' comments include: 'Very good achievements over the past 12 months'; 'Simply ticked all the boxes for me'

Australian HR Rising Star of the Year

Winner: Emma Quirk, Australia Post

  • A high performer and responsive role model who manages complex situations well and has a mature understanding of how People & Culture supports business strategy
  • Judges' comments include: ‘Responsive, proactive, innovative and creative "go-to" leader to leader’; ‘Emma's transformation in her career is evident from her work and great achievements’


Australian HR Team of the Year (> 1000)

Winner: Deloitte Australia

  • Launched innovative initiatives, including: Cura, a personalised learning platform; Stepping into the Future, designed to help people prepare for and succeed in the future of work; Enboarder, providing employees with their first connection to Deloitte; MyBenefits platform: a one-stop-shop for all Deloitte-exclusive benefits; supported the business to transition a 9,000 strong workforce to remote working overnight, and developed a COVID wellbeing hub; Launched their new Mental Health strategy; Strengthened Inclusion, Diversity and Wellbeing programs, Initiatives included: Lean in Circles, 3rd Return to Work Program, training 2000+ leaders in Inclusive Leadership Activation lab; Achieved AWEI Gold recognition
  • Judges' comments include: ‘Positive results working during a challenging year’; ‘Deloitte team provides strategic direction and can oeprationalise its initiatives well’; ‘You should except a lot from the Deloitte Team and they delivered’

Australian HR Team of the Year (≤ 1000)

Winner: Investa

  • Launched their first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), including a commitment to creating a more inclusive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff; creative approaches across many areas demonstrating a point of difference against competitors in a challenging period for the property industry
  • Judges' comments include: ‘Excellent submission - impressive what this small team has achieved, well rounded from strategy to execution as well as focus areas’; ‘Excellent initiatives with good results shown within 12 months’; ‘Impressive results from a small team, well done!’

Best Graduate Development Program

Winner: Marsden State High School

  • The Queensland University of Technology's Mentor training program uses Marsden's program as an exemplar of best practice; All programs have been created in collaboration with UQ, QUT, USQ and Griffith Uni and maintain strong connection and collaboration with Universities. Head of all the Teacher Support Programs Mr. Michael Smith in 2020 presented his work to the Australian Curriculum Studies Association across their national platform; Graduate program curriculum audited by Queensland's Teacher jurisdictional authority whose feedback was it was the 'Gold Standard' in support programs
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Great to see a grad program with an integrated pathway from school into the workplace. Showcase graduates from diverse / disadvantaged backgrounds and addressing a societal issue stood out from traditional 'corporate' grad programs’; ‘Well crafted and truly immersive graduate experience which delivers great results over time. Impressive!’; ‘Evidence was thorough and well placed to justify particular points.’; ‘Very impressive multi layer program with excellent participation and retention’

Best Health & Wellbeing Program

Winner: Charter Hall

  • Evidence-based and holistic approach, partnering with Black Dog Institute, Chelsea Pottinger EQ minds and Banksia Project to deliver comprehensive initiatives. One of the first organisations globally to achieve a WELL Portfolio Score from the International WELL Building Institute for leadership and innovation in advancing health and wellness in offices
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Excellent holistic program. Zero list time injuries and covered a huge amount of initiatives with great engagement scores’; ‘A strategic, connected program across all aspects of wellbeing and flexibility, with deep roots in family’; ‘Innovation around the approach to COVID, range of focus areas; clear targets, leadership sponsorship, learning for managers and leaders - clear focus and achievements’

Best Leadership Development Program

Winner: Johnson & Johnson

  • Accelerated leadership development program; introduced a ‘People Leader Rhythm’ (PLR) and in 2020 all elements of the PLR were deployed successfully: Held three Forums, in-sector check-ins, established learning circles; 2020 engagement survey showed extremely high favourability in leadership.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Good investment and clear return on investment’; ‘Clever, strategic, business aligned, strong link to culture. Effective, innovative, evidence-based great methodology’

Best Learning & Development Program

Winner: Investa Property Group – Innovation Institute

  • Investa’s Innovation team launched its Innovation Institute to build internal innovation capability across Investa’s business, empowering employees to look at problems and opportunities differently, to be data driven and to question and challenge the status quo
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Well presented, strategic approach across a range of L&D’; ‘Strong Learning program with sharp focus on current employment skillsets, Data learning programs’; ‘Complete investment in learning. Shown through budget allocation. Proven completion rates with high numbers. Simple leadership program that’s easy to follow.’; ‘This was a very good application. It was detailed and thorough highlighting the main aims and objectives, outcomes and impact of the L and D program.’

Best Recruitment Campaign

Winner: Youi

  • Innovative recruitment campaign - Risk Transformation Program focussing on Sourcing/Attraction, speed, cost control, centralised view, alignment and education, and a fluid approach that netted strong results.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Solid program well aligned to delivering the business requirement’; ‘Recognition of culture performance and HR's value’; ‘Great submission! Innovative solution with limited budget’; ‘Great use of in house team and tracking of candidates’; ‘This was a well developed and evidence rich application’

Best Remote Work Strategy

Winner: Vix Technology

  • Launched a set of principles shaping a remote working framework co-designed by the team including:- MyFlex portal; “Restyled” leadership; remote e-learning skills development; reimagining and redesigning roles; HR practices reshaped to be delivered at home.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Strategy and innovation underpinned the approach’; ‘Thorough, Technology supported connectiveness, data supported decisions with employee centricity in mind’; ‘Demonstrated innovation and impact on employee engagement’; ‘Great initiatives and your Guidelines developed with/by your people. Excellent’; ‘Positive that your people co-designed the remote working strategy’

Best Reward & Recognition Program

Winner: Youi

  • High engagement in the ''YourGame'' platform as a central lobby for inclusive and diverse r&r initiatives; increase in staff engaging in pro-active learning, health and wellbeing programs, ideas contribution and peer-to-peer recognition.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Innovative program, with strong visibility, user goal oriented and customised’; ‘The gold standard for inhouse recognition’; ‘Always solid in the recognition space and good to see a healthy budget’; ‘Amazing! The gamification is next level’

Best Use of Technology

Winner: Ausgrid

  • Established a HR-led project team to develop a technology-based solution that successfully launched within 6 weeks to over 3200 users across 32 sites in two states. Strong early adoption achieved with daily use sustained throughout the year resulting in enhanced efficiencies.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘very innovative solution rapid deployment’; ‘seemingly simple yet effective tech project’

Best Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Program

Winner: Allianz Australia Insurance

  • Accessibility Inclusion Plan (AIP) developed with the Australian Network on Disability; Gender Affirmation Leave Policy, launched in December; Developed Trans Inclusion Toolkits in collaboration with their Pride Employee Network Group; One of 11 inaugural certification recipients from FlexCareers for embedding flexible work options.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Excellent initiatives & brilliant results! Will lead others in industry to make more change for the better’: ‘A well articulated link between business strategy and outcomes to Diversity & Inclusion programs’; ‘great corporate D&I initiatives’

Best Workplace Flexibility Program

Winner: Telstra

  • Flexible Working Policy to support a true hybrid working model; a focus on Healthy Hybrid Habits; launched MyHomeToolkit etc.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘A comprehensive program that is clearly part of the DNA of Telstra and is strategic linked to the future of work roadmap’; ‘Solid programs underway’; ‘very innovative solution rapid deployment’

Employer of Choice (> 1000 employees)

Winner: PepsiCo Australia & New Zealand

  • Increased automation & digitalisation of HR processes; revamped approach to flexible work and to the Diversity & Inclusion agenda; strengthened key leadership and technical capabilities to enable future growth; recognised as a Top Employer by the Top Employer Institute; recognised as an Employer of Choice by the WGEA; 99% pay equality and CEO is a Pay Equity Ambassador; Awarded the FlexReady Certificate in 2021 - one of only 11 organisations to be certified
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘A comprehensive approach to being a stand out employer of choice with proven results, including such low employee turnover’; ‘Positive initiatives for supporting work-life balance’; ‘Impressive initiatives & improvement in these times, your measurement of behaviours too’; ‘Flextime, Flexplace and Flexday - A great approach’

Employer of Choice (1 - 99 Employees)

Winner: Bendelta

  • Formed Pods, the Bendelta Impact Framework and Bendelta Coaching Reflections as the three legs of a human potential organisation ‘stool’. The Pods provide an opportunity to democratise and empower leadership at all levels and increase consistency of the Bendelta experience. The framework ensures there is a mechanism to recognise areas of strengths and weakness; Named #4 in the AFR 100 Best Places to Work (PS Category)
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Impressive on all criteria. Great place to work. Strategic and business aligned’; ‘EVP at the heart of the organisation and demonstrated through market leading engagement results’

Employer of Choice (100 - 999 Employees)

Winner: Adobe

  • Regular, transparent communication; proactive crisis remediation planning; flexible; ongoing risk asessments; COVID-19 Work From Home Expense Fund; expansion of the existing Wellness Reimbursement program etc.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Clear results 4.9% turnover, clear examples of benefits - day off every 3 weeks etc, with CEO/Leadership comms and messaging and D&I /community support’; ‘Strong all round - impressive engagement levels’; ‘Great investment in employees and initiatives such as Global Day off & Share purchase opportunities to drive engagement’; ‘A good submission, well done on the work they are doing’

Employer of Choice (Public Sector & NFP)

Winner: Export Finance Australia

  • Inclusive culture promoting growth and nurtures belonging via Innovate RAP, Women’s Leadership Program and Lean In Circles; strong diversity and inclusion throughout; high engagement levels etc.
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Strategic, great approach to diversity, strong achievements, focus on Employee H& W B, innovative – impressive’; ‘Great EX, evidence of high engagement, focus on wellbeing enhancing performance’; ‘great submission, extensive

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