Good luck to all our 2023 finalists!
Excellence in Resourcing & Reward
The Inn Collection Group
To solve the hospitality shortage and help the rapid expansion of the company, The Inn Collection Group has developed various innovative approaches over the last 12 months. Its new applicant tracking system focuses on early communication, speedy hiring and seamless onboarding, with engaging content to attract new employees. Its new in-house Mobile Bar team eradicates the need for agency staff, while the new reward scheme provides recognition for current colleagues. The team also took a focus on early career development with enrichment courses for schools and colleges.
Needing to treble its headcount, marketing group N21 streamlined its recruitment process in order to create an amazing candidate experience which would help the company find the right people while also supporting potential new employees. Aligned with its company values, it identified that everyone has their own story to tell so it put its focus on hiring for behaviours through a profile tool. The team also created an affiliate marketing training programme so that people with no experience could be fully trained in to the role, further expanding its pool of candidates.
Wellburn Care Homes Ltd
Wellburn Care Homes has 14 care homes spanning the region, helping residents live with independence and dignity. It has successfully navigated the care sector’s ever-present staffing issue by undertaking international recruitment to not only bolster its workforce but differentiate the company from other providers as part of a wider progressive recruitment strategy. This was done without losing sight of its person-centred approach, making sure that new starters were inducted to their new roles and the home, as well as providing the accommodation and support needed to acclimatise to the area.
Excellence in Leadership
Based in Northumberland, Bazaar Group sells soft furnishings through multiple channels in the UK and internationally. Following securing a multi-million-pound investment in 2021, last year Bazaar Group supercharged its growth plans by establishing a distribution hub in Hamburg. To support its employees across the UK and Europe, its HR&D team focuses on delivering learning and development provisions, health and well-being programmes and community and employee engagement. It also invites external specialists to offer coaching and mentoring which facilitates leadership development and empowerment to drive business growth.
Bellway Homes Ltd
In 2022, Bellway introduced its new ESG strategy, Better with Bellway. This approach to its business practices isn’t just an add-on, it is a key part of its ethos for putting people and the planet first. It aims to help Bellway to deliver better homes and communities, as well as protect the environment. As well as being part of the 5% club, Bellway is also within the top 100 employers providing places for apprenticeships, showing its commitment to investing in people and providing first-class careers.
Bloom Procurement Services Ltd
Bloom Procurement provides a rapid route for consultancy and professional service suppliers to the public sector market. The Gateshead-based company recently celebrated 10 years in business and hit the 100-employee milestone. Its leadership team have fully embraced a people-centric approach and advocates for employees voicing their views, holding an exceptional commitment to championing a positive approach to workplace happiness. Through motivation, inspiration and the continued development of its people, Bloom has received excellent employee engagement results which demonstrate that people see it as a great place to work.
Excellence in Organisational & People Development
Commercial law firm Muckle LLP currently employs 174 people across Newcastle and Cumbria. In 2022, it was awarded Investors in People Platinum which places it second in the world in the legal services sector and 69th for all sectors globally. Muckle LLP’s values of trust, teamwork, responsibility and care sit at the heart of everything it does. It believes that engaged people drive engaged clients, which in turn drives growth, allowing it to invest back into the things that are important: its people, its clients and the communities in which they live and work.
As the owner and operator of the North East Metro and wider transport services across the region, Nexus employs more than 1,000 people from the local area across more than 300 different roles in various different disciplines. The company is committed to developing colleagues to realise their potential, with its award-winning £9m dedicated learning centre at the heart of this development culture. Nexus supports people throughout their journey with the company, all the way from apprenticeship to the boardroom, by promoting development in leadership capabilities as well as technical skills.
Port of Tyne
Port of Tyne is a vital part of the region’s multi-modal connectivity and a global gateway to the North. Committed to the health, well-being and education of its people, the company rewards its employees, listens to feedback and is developing a workplace ethos that supports flexibility and productivity improvements. This is mirrored by its continuous support of their aspirations, goals and development through graduate and apprenticeship schemes, development programmes and online learning academy.
Excellence & Positive Impact
Karbon Homes builds, manages and looks after over 30,000 affordable homes across the North East and Yorkshire. Its mission is to provide a strong foundation for life and to achieve this it has established the New Start employment framework. The paid-work placement programme provides employment opportunities for Karbon customers to support them in achieving their career aspirations. With no prior experience needed and access to ongoing support from an employment advisor, New Start has enabled residents to explore gateway career roles within a wide range of industries, enhance their CVs and build workplace confidence.
Northumberland County Council
Northumberland County Council incorporates the values of the Northumberland area in all aspects of work: being respectful, putting residents first, keeping the community safe and well, and serving excellence and quality. Wanting residents and communities to know that they are at the heart of the organisation, the Council has invested in providing apprenticeships which have had a positive impact on the whole of Northumberland. Its team dedicated to apprenticeships build on Northumberland County Council’s future workforce from within and increase employability opportunities in the region, further promoting its corporate values.
Marelli Automotive Systems
Marelli is one of the world’s leading global independent suppliers to the automotive sector. Committed to giving back to foster future prosperity in the region, Marelli has three factories in Sunderland and Washington which predominantly manufacture cockpit modules for Nissan. With a strong and established track record in innovation and manufacturing excellence, its mission is to transform the future of mobility by working with customers and partners to create a safer, greener, and better-connected world. With around 54,000 employees worldwide, Marelli’s footprint includes 170 facilities across the world.
Excellence in SME People Practice
Bloom Procurement Services Ltd
Bloom Procurement was named in this year’s Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list, having invested more into its people-focused approach after recently celebrating 10 years in business and hitting the 100-employee milestone. The company has developed its non-negotiable trademark behaviours, introduced Hive to support employee voice, launched a new well-being initiative and created a new talent attraction strategy which includes new employee benefits. Bloom Procurement has also pledged to work with the Armed Forces, committed to being a real living wage employer and achieved Advanced Standard ‘Good Work Pledge’ accreditation.
Mediaworks is now one of the UK’s largest independent digital marketing agencies. Founded 15 years ago by a local graduate, it is now a team of more than 170 colleagues delivering integrated brand, marketing, and digital solutions from four regional offices. Since lockdown it has invested in a programme of cultural excellence to mature the business during a period of rapid growth and to reconnect to its true ‘North’. Weaving purpose and values into the full employee experience, Mediaworks is now further investing in sustainable purpose-driven growth for colleagues, clients and the wider community.
Operating across more than 20 markets with employees in the UK and across the world, SoPost helps brands deliver highly-targeted sampling campaigns online. SoPost’s team have been focusing on building a culture for success, implementing a new global reward framework, a holistic well-being programme and flexible ways of working. An onboarding SoPloma programme, personalised career pathways and performance reviews were also launched, as well as regular internal communications, peer recognition awards and employee feedback channels. This has led to improvement across various KPIs such as work-life balance, employee satisfaction and retention.
Excellence in Apprenticeships
Hays Travel has been an accredited training provider since 2010 with its apprenticeship history going back to the business inception in 1980. Its apprentice programme rewards the company with a pipeline of talented new recruits across its retail network and head office. The company believes that apprentices are vital to the success of the organisation so it invests heavily in their learning and development in order to support each apprentice on their individual journey. With Hays Travel constantly adding more well-trained and committed people to the family, the company becomes more and more successful.
Port of Tyne
Port of Tyne is one of the most sustainable, innovative and progressive deep-sea ports in the UK. Through its ‘Fit for the Future’ Tyne 2050 pledge, the company has promised to develop a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with its values. Part of this involves its apprenticeship scheme which has been part of the company for more than a decade. The apprenticeships bolster its skilled workforce and are ensuring that it is equipped with the right skills, capabilities and career development opportunities to safeguard the Port for the future.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council is committed to supporting young people with employment opportunities, from new apprentices or upskilling its current workforce with higher-level apprenticeships. The Council has pledged to focus on supporting its care leavers so they can access career opportunities and remove barriers to employment. It has fully utilised the apprenticeship levy to fund higher-level apprentices, from Level 2 to 7, assisting with retention and succession planning. Many of its apprentices have successful destinations, with 75% moving into internal employment, further apprenticeships, external employment or higher education.
Excellence in Inclusivity & Diversity
Bellway Homes Ltd
As a responsible employer, Bellway is committed to being an inclusive organisation that strives to create a working environment that is open, diverse and free from all forms of prejudice and discrimination. Everyone at Bellway is treated with dignity and respect and it actively ensures its opportunities are available to the widest possible pool of people to reflect the diverse communities in which it operates. By 2025, it aims to have a 50/50 direct gender split in its employed workforce, a 75/25 gender split in senior leadership, and an increase in its ethnic minority split.
CPI connects the dots within the innovation ecosystem to make great ideas and inventions a reality. A pioneering social enterprise and a trusted partner of industry, academia, government and the investment community, CPI is the catalyst that delivers sustainability and healthcare innovations to benefit people, places and our planet. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of what CPI does as diversity fuels innovation. It is an integral part of the brand, its identity and its values, with CPI committed to sharing and learning best practices and driving inclusivity in everything it does.
As the owner and operator of the North East Metro and wider transport services across the region, Nexus employs more than 1,000 people from the local area across more than 300 different roles in various different disciplines. Its customers and colleagues are what make Nexus a diverse organisation. Whether it is working for the company or travelling on its services, it wants everyone to feel respected and included. Every day it takes action to generate a culture of empowerment and inclusion by recognising different backgrounds, mindsets and diversity in every part of its organisation.
Excellence in Health & Wellness
Karbon Homes’ mission is to provide a strong foundation for life. Employee well-being is a big part of Karbon life and is integrated throughout the organisation and embedded deep in its culture, leadership and people management. Its positive well-being programme enables its 1,000+ colleagues to perform at their best and feel engaged. The initiative helps to support colleagues during their employment journey so that they can enjoy a good work-life balance, feel equipped to successfully navigate different personal and work transitions, and be well informed about health and well-being issues.
N21’s People Agenda is “help me be the best me” which is about people bringing themselves to work for N21 to give them the support and tools they need to be themselves. One way of doing this is by focusing on health and well-being. It works on lots of initiatives such as monthly 1-2-1s with managers about mental health, ensuring flexible and hybrid working is available, reducing working hours and creating unlimited leave. It has also introduced training on resilience and ensures that employees are able to give continual feedback.
PD Ports and Recovery Connections
PD Ports is one of the UK’s major port groups and is the largest private employer in the Tees Valley. It is working with a non-profit substance use recovery organisation which has employees with lived experiences of substance issues, Recovery Connections, to provide specialist addiction and recovery support for PD Ports employees and families. Working together, they are building capacity in the workforce to identify, support and seek to prevent addiction, creating a safe environment and a compassionate and supportive culture within the workplace for employees to speak up about issues.
HR&D Team of the Year
The Inn Collection Group
The Inn Collection Group has a people team of seven professionals who have made a significant impact on the business. They have assisted in the change of management of eight acquisitions, nine temporary closures and one office move, all while still supporting the rest of the workforce which has increased by more than 400 colleagues. The company has invested in learning with coaching, leadership and mental health awareness programmes, its Chef Academy and e-learning. It has also launched a reward scheme including a community-led charity project which raised more than £60,000.
Opencast is a fast-growing, independent technology consultancy that exists to make life better through the power of people and technology. Founded in Byker in 2012, the company employs close to 500 people, more than doubling in size in the past year. Opencast works hard to put people at the centre of its growth and be a place where people can thrive. It has invested heavily in its people team of 32 which recruits talent, allocates consultants to projects, is a champion and voice for colleagues, and supports learning and career development.
ScS is a retail business founded in 1894 in Sunderland. ScS has just over 1,700 colleagues across the business and the people team are at the heart of helping and supporting everyone to be the best they can be. The team is made up of central HR, talent, internal communications, culture and engagement, HRBPs, learning and development and payroll. Over the past two years the team has doubled in size and the new skills and capabilities have enabled them to design, deliver and revolutionise the people strategy.