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HR Leadership & Management Awards held as live event once again

As the economy re-opened after the pandemic HR leaders have dealt with new dynamics in the profession

The HR Leadership & Management Awards are now in their eighth year and finalists returned to Clontarf Castle Hotel where an impressive range of HR campaigns, projects and innovations were in competition for one of the Awards’ 19 trophies.

Notable winners on the night included Kathryn White, recipient of the HR Leader 2022 Award, who made her way to the stage to a full standing ovation from her peers. Obelisk took the Grand Prix, Overall Excellence in HR for ‘The YODA Programme’.

Sharon Kelly, chief people officer for award-winner Woodie’s said, “I am so happy to see Team Woodie’s win the awards for Best Workplace Diversity Strategy and Best Recruitment & Retention Strategy. This is great recognition for the efforts of our HR team in recent years, as well as the support and buy-in from the wider business.”

Dermot Styles, chief marketing officer at Employee Financial Wellness, an awards sponsor, said, “The Employee Financial Wellness team works with HR and wellness professionals on a daily basis to help employees improve their financial health. As Ireland’s leading evidence-based financial education provider it’s very important for us to support the HR Leadership and Management Awards as they recognise the hard work and dedication of HR and wellness teams across Ireland.”


Another of this year’s sponsors was DeCare Dental, whose managing director, Maureen Walsh, said: “We were delighted to continue our sponsorship of the HR Awards for 2022. Because we work closely within this sector we understand how exceptionally challenging it has been the last two years for everyone in so many ways. It was a night to celebrate all the hard work and dedication of the HR teams in the room. Congratulations to all involved and a special well done to the winners.”

The Department of Transport was also one of the finalists, with Kenn Pratt, secretary general saying: “The Department of Transport is delighted to receive national recognition for our innovative, inclusive and forward-thinking approach to human resources and we are honoured to be amongst the best in Ireland as we continue to strive for excellence.”

Karen Kackett, head of people experience at Permanent TSB said: “At Permanent TSB, with over 52 per cent of the workforce now availing of smart working practices, we are delighted to be shortlisted for the Flexible Workplace award and to showcase all the colleague initiatives underway in making Permanent TSB a great place to work. Well done to the overall winners.”

Another winner was DPD Ireland. Their people development manager, Steven Thacker, said, “Winning this award is a fitting reflection and tribute to the passion and commitment of all of those involved, and the very special place our apprenticeship programme has within our business.”

They were joined by finalist NCBI, whose chief people officer, Maria O’Kelly, said, “We took part in the HR awards for the first time this year. We were delighted to be shortlisted in three categories as it enabled us to showcase our transformational strategic journey that encapsulates sustainable best practice HR initiatives in our sector.”

Speaking at the awards, Kevin O’Driscoll, director partnership programmes, Business River said, “Events like this are made possible through the support of sponsors. We are thankful to our 2022 sponsors which includes DeCare Dental, Employee Financial Wellness, Osborne, and Robert Walters. Their investment in the awards underlines their commitment and support of this key business area.”

The awards were judged by a distinguished panel of HR experts and drawn from across this broad industry.

Judging panel:

1. Professor Edel Conway (judging co-ordinator), Professor in HRM & Organisational Psychology, DCU Business School

2. Dr. Sinéad Brennan, chief people officer, NTMA

3. Karina Browne, HR manager, Football Association of Ireland

4. Joanne Cluxton, group HR director, Mercury

5. Jonny Cooper, people and change manager, KPMG Ireland

6. Síobhra Disdale, senior talent management specialist, Lidl Ireland and Lidl Northern Ireland

7. April Gill, human resources and training manager, The K Club

8. Prof. Noreen Heraty, head, Department of Work and Employment Studies, KBS, University of Limerick

9. Aidan McKee, chief people officer, WaterWipes

10. Dr Muiris O’Ceidigh, chief executive, National Milk Agency

11. Blanaid O’Regan, director of people and culture, SIRO DAC

12. Yvonne O’Sullivan, HR director, Ardmac

13. Breda O’Toole, head of talent transformation and innovation, IDA Ireland


Best Public Sector HR Initiative

Winner: Social Work Graduate Employment - Tusla Child and Family Agency

Most Innovative Use of Technology

Winner: Glantus

Most Effective Use of Internal Communications

Winner: Brown Thomas Arnotts

Graduate Training Programme of the Year

Winner: Apprentice Programme - DPD Ireland

Best Learning and Development Strategy – Sponsored by Employee Financial Wellness

Winner: The YODA Programme - Obelisk

Most Effective Employee Engagement Strategy

Winner: Future of Work Project - Beckman Coulter

Best Use of CSR in HR

Winner: Brown Thomas Arnotts

Best Change Management Programme

Winner: You Said, We Did - Trinity College Dublin

Best Talent Management Strategy

Winner: Talent for Tomorrow - Bank of Ireland

Most Effective Recruitment & Retention Strategy – Sponsored by Osborne

Winner: Woodie’s

Best Flexible Working Strategy

Winner: National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training

Best Health & Wellbeing Strategy – Sponsored by DeCare Dental

Winner: Embedding a Culture of Workplace Wellbeing - Department of Foreign Affairs

Most Effective Rewards & Benefits Strategy – Sponsored by DeCare Dental

Winner: DMI Cares

Best Workplace Diversity Strategy – Sponsored by Robert Walters

Winner: Woodie’s

HR Rising Star of the Year – Sponsored by Robert Walters

Winner: Lesley-Anne Merrigan - FINEOS

HR Manager of the Year

Winner: Ciara Hood - Eli Lilly Kinsale

HR Team of the Year – Sponsored by Employee Financial Wellness

Winner: Trigon Hotels

HR Leader 2022

Recipient: Kathryn Whyte

Overall Excellence in HR

Winner: The YODA Programme - Obelisk