Congratulations to the winners of the HR Excellence Awards 2021

HR Magazine is delighted to announce the winners of the HR Excellence Awards 2021. 

Scroll down to see the full list of the winners.

Best Learning and Development Strategy

Winner: KFC UK & Ireland

KFC UKI had identified a weakness in its ambitious national growth programme: a growing disengagement problem among its restaurant general manager population. It therefore built a digital engagement and education programme, designed to deliver consistent results on a multi-year investment.


Ascot Lloyd
Babcock International Group
Bank of Ireland
Severn Trent Water

Best Talent Management Strategy

Winner: Wolseley UK

Wolseley UK created its Talent Guild management strategy in September 2020. This aimed to improve engagement, maximise collective talents and ambitions and show existing employees and prospective employees that Wolseley was somewhere they could thrive. Overall engagement rose by 5% between September 2020 and March 2021 as a result.


Swiss Reinsurance

Best Transformation Strategy


Winner: Babcock International Group

Babcock has traditionally received resistance to change, but its BAR Raisers strategy impressed judges by changing employee minds, embracing new cultural norms, and embedding change within the current company structure. The results of the strategy have been incredible, raising Babcock’s net promote score by nearly 30 points in just two years.


The Institute of Export & International Trade
Weir Minerals Europe

Best HR Strategy from Overseas

Winner: Doğuş Group

Senior management at Dogus Group reoriented its priorities towards a proactive, agile style of leadership with people as its priority. It’s no surprise therefore that one judge labelled the Turkish company’s effort a “comprehensive and all-encompassing strategy”. It’s an excellent model for how a company culture can be unified and modernised, no matter how large and widely scattered.


Akbank TAS
HRMDO-LGU General Santos City
Kuveyt Turk Participation Bank

Best Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Winner: Product Madness

The games development company Product Madness kept a close eye on data management to spot health and wellbeing issues in the organisation, allowing the HR department to quickly step in to create a solution. Its strategy was described by the judges as a comprehensive health and wellbeing programme with outstanding metrics.


Bank of Ireland
Northumbrian Water Group
North Bristol NHS Trust
RMBI Care Company

Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 

Winner: Amey

Amey’s Embracing Difference strategy was launched in early 2020 to driving engagement and empower employees by helping them bring their whole self to work. It has since worked to better diversify its recruitment efforts, set up degree apprenticeship programmes with 50/50 gender representation and set up a leadership pipeline to target diverse talent at both senior and junior levels.


Coca-Cola Europacific Partners
Travis Perkins Plc
Anglo American

Best Internal Communications Strategy


Winner: Dishoom 

At the heart of its people function, Dishoom has a value called Seva: the belief that we are at our happiest and best when we share all of ourselves and contribute to the world to the best of our abilities. This means the company could create a consistent communications strategy where senior leaders are available, honesty is free flowing and there is transparency across the company.


Met Office - The Link
Weir Minerals Europe

Best Recruitment And Workforce Planning Strategy 

Winner: The Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Newcastle Upon Tyne’s NHS Foundation Trust has found itself sorely tested in these past years. The Trust’s newly created COVID hubs not only joined in the fight against coronavirus, but also ensured there was an inclusive recruitment campaign, used specialist support to help vulnerably people into employment and championed equality throughout.



Best Crisis Management Strategy

Joint Winners: Government of Jersey and Transport for London

The judges found it impossible to choose between these two winners. Transport for London developed new communication methods and a COVID information hub for its employees, while Government of Jersey redeployed its HR leadership team into supporting roles throughout the organisation so they could drive a people-focussed response.


Norfolk County Council
RMBI Care Co

Best HR Technology Strategy

Winner: TATA Consultancy Services

Tata has created a cloud-based career-guidance platform which pulls multiple talent management systems into who main system, allowing employees to find and chase their aspirations. The judges were impressed with the programme’s reach across all colleagues in the organisation.


Ocado Group 

Best Employee Engagement Strategy

Sponsored by the Dorchester Collection

Winner: Air Products 

The global leadership team was restructured in 2019 to build employee engagement and reinvigorate the company culture. It created a new engagement committee, held monthly town halls, and set up new communication methods to encourage employees to speak up.


Folkestone & Hythe District Council
Pitacs and StaffCircle
Product Madness
Pure Planet

Best CSR Strategy

Winners: Nestlé

Nestlé’s Alliance for YOU jobs programme has so far created 450,000 jobs and training opportunities since its creation in 2014, and its allies are now accelerating this programme to reduce the impact of COVID on younger generations.


Cloudreach Europe 

Best HR Team of the Year 2021


Winner: Pollinate International

Pollinate started out with just one HR professional in 2018, and as the company has grown exponentially, so too has its HR department, which has supported the entire process with new wellbeing programmes, training opportunities and employee engagement efforts. 



South Wales Fire and Rescue Service
The Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Weir Minerals Europe
North Bristol NHS Trust
Newlon Housing Trust

Best Flexible Working Strategy


Winner: Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

Not content with winning last year’s HR Excellence Award for workplace design, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme has not rested on its laurels and got stuck into transforming the way it worked. The company overhauled its technology to support flexible working and created a smarter working plan following consultations with employees, group discussions and surveys.


Blood Cancer UK
Reeds Solicitors

HR Future Leader 2021

Winner: Katie Winstanley, Morson Group

Judges were blown away by Winstanley’s achievements, given she was the younger person to achieve FCIPD accreditation at just 27 years-old ads is now studying for an MBA on top of her role at Morson Group, where she has overhauled the company’s HR strategy.  Her measured leadership style means she will be instrumental in guiding the next generation of HR leaders.


Jemma Fernyhough, Mosscare St Vincents Housing
Sophie Spain, Ansa Environmental Services
Aimee Maltby, Access2Funding

Best People-Focused CEO Of The Year 2021

Winner: Milena Mondini de Focatiis, Admiral Group

Milena has at every stage of her leadership sought to champion excellence at Admiral since taking over in 2021. The company’s numerous initiatives are always met with enthusiastic backing and drive from Milena, and her caring company ethos is reflected in its satisfaction metrics.


Andrew Batchelor - The Landmark London
Anna Blackburn - Beaverbrooks
Mark Cowlard - Arcadis UK
Mike Danson - Natilik
Kirstie Donnelly - City & Guilds
Dominic Jordan - Hobbycraft
Milena Mondini de Focatiis - Admiral Group
Richard Moriarty - Civil Aviation Authority
Ian Wilson, DHL Express UK 
Emma Rooney - Childbase Partnership
John Scanlon – SUEZ recycling and Recovery UK

HR Director of the Year 2021

Winner: Ella Bennett, easyJet

Working within the aviation industry over the last few years is a tough job, yet Ella Bennett has consistently worked to make EasyJet a better place to work. She has overseen the multi-year HR Evolution programme to align systems, process, and technology and despite the change and uncertainty in the business, has kept her HR team engaged and focussed.


Hamide Ahmet - Tulchan Communications

Jane Connor - Wolseley UK
Alyson Fadil - N Brown
Tracey Leghorn - SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK
Carolyn Oliver - Hall, Drive
Richard Roberts - Pure Planet
Jeanette Wheeler - MHR