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The Savoy hotel London hosted the 20th Anniversary Awards for HR in hospitality in 2015 – a wonderful evening recognising the achievements of all that is excellent in Human Resources within all sectors of the hospitality industry.  It was 20 years ago when the HCPTA as the association was then called held their very first awards for HR, one year longer than the CIPD! Compere for the night was Esther O’Halloran, Chair of HR in Hospitality and Sam Coulstock, Vice Chair.  The President of the association, Jane Sunley, CEO of Purple Cubed, who reflected on the last 20 years since the first awards were held at the very same hotel in 1995, opened the awards. The awards night was sponsored by DLA Piper LLP, Davidson Asset Management,, Fourth, Core Recruitment, ZFL Training limited Umbrella Training & Employment Solutions Ltd and  The event was also supported by the CIPD, Springboard UK Charity and Hospitality Action charity.

Over £4,300 was raised on the night for the HR in hospitality’s chosen charities of Hospitality Action and Springboard UK – two charities that work tirelessly for the industry and its people. 

There were 10 awards on the night given to individuals and teams in recognition of the excellent work they do. Amongst the Judges for the awards were; Dr Jill Miller – CIPD, Ian Burke – Totaljobs, Emma Jayne – HRD Savoy, Krishnan Doyle – Core Recruitment, Carl Smith – Sodexo and Manda Crowder – AndSoMe.

The HR Rising Star award went this year to Natasha Wiggins, Training and HR Officer, Red Carnation Hotels. Natasha was awarded a £2000 scholarship generously donated by as part of her award. The judges felt that this professional has HR running through their veins. They seriously impressed the judges with the breadth of their impact on the business. They are confidently working at a senior level, driving change and constantly wanting to improve. Not just working across internal departments, this person brings creative ideas for new practice from external networks. This HR professional is definitely “one to watch” over the next few years! For the first time a Highly Commended was also awarded in this category to Kerry Richards, Recruitment Manager, Delaware North.

The Special Recognition Award was presented to Stephen Moss, MBE and CBE, Chairman for Springboard, for his services to HR in hospitality. For 25 years, he has made a difference to people’s lives and made a difference to business through his work with Springboard. His amazing efforts to inspire and educate people about careers in hospitality and raise the profile make him a well-deserved winner of this award.

HR Team of the Year was warded to Jumeirah where it was clear to see that in this organisation people are truly a key focus. The HR Strategy encompasses all of the businesses KPI’s and the results that this HR Team have achieved this year through aligning their goals with their business strategy. They encompassed all areas of HR and measured their success and milestones through a balanced scorecard. They managed to align culture and values with some great results. Highly Commended was given to St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London.

Innovative Recruitment was a new category this year and was awarded to The Dorchester Collection. They demonstrated a fantastic approach to recruitment that works well with current employees. The turnover of new recruits has dropped significantly and Guest satisfaction scores have yielded great results for not only sales but also retention has improved. They use Benchmarking to get the best, and included a lot of evidence to support their claims. Overall the judges felt it was well thought through plan and clearly linked to the business strategy. Highly Commended was also awarded to the London Edition Hotel.

Employee Engagement was awarded to Central Working, Central Working was first set up in Bloomsbury in 2011 by serial entrepreneur James Layfield and is a membership-based club for start ups. Central Working is NOT a co-working space but rather an environment that encourages small business owners and start ups to collaborate and interact with each other in order to build real world synergies. The judges felt that this entry was innovative, quirky, and not afraid of trying new things. They used gameification for getting employees to get to know all areas of the businesses, low cost and fun, simple ideas. It demonstrated a very open, honest and 360 approach to employee engagement. Engagement starts within the recruitment process and never really ends. It’s an entrepreneurial   approach that focuses on people not process.

A second new category for the awards was Embedding Company Culture, this was awarded to Jumeirah, their second award for the evening. This organisation used a really simple tool that aligned culture to colleagues. There were 4 clear parts to the employee lifecycle with a clear starting point, they provided loads of evidence of some great ideas on how they get to know their people. Good statistics were evident on starters and they demonstrated some pretty impressive results on reducing staff turnover. They are constantly Capturing employees at different stages of their career to make them feel part of the culture. Highly Commended was awarded to Sodexo.

Building Capability focuses on the learning and development that happens in an organisation and this year was awarded to PPHE (Park Plaza Hotel Group). The judges were impressed with the sustainability and longevity of the approach, addressing every stage of the employee life cycle, having already shown some great results within the business. Close alignment between individual needs and company culture, which enables teams to see a future within the organisation and acknowledge their contribution. They have demonstrated improved performance and capability and exciting times seem to be ahead as this way of working roles out into Europe.

The final new category for the awards was Corporate Social Responsibility and this was awarded to Firmdale Hotels.  At this company CSR is a key part of the business strategy, with engagement driven right from the very top of the organisation, through to line level operatives. This company has a diverse menu of CSR Initiatives that include, caring for the environment, sourcing responsibly, supporting charities and events, employee engagement, energy saving, minimising waste and recycling – they work with 9 local CSR partners to achieve this. CSR is also embedded in the HR Culture which can clearly be seen from their Employee Survey results where they achieved 90% of employees saying they were proud to work for this hotel.

In partnership with Springboard, one of our charities we recognise an award for Promoting Careers in the industry, and this year it was awarded to Premier Inns. This organisation provided fantastic results, a very broad approach that included working in partnership with the Clink charity, local schools and colleges, in particular targeting NEETS, they delivered some impressive results. They dipped into a lot of different pools to attract people and promote careers in the industry. They set out a clear target to recruit and managed to get double their target, they have a “Keep them Coming” attitude, which is all about engaging people from an early age and inspiring them into the industry.

During the evening an award is also given to a line manager who is not necessarily in HR and this is the Tom Crowley Award. A beautiful bronze statue is given to the winner of this individual award as chosen by all the judges and committee members The award this year was given to Leanne Findley, Account Manager, Sodexo Prestige. This person always has time for her team, a passion for this business and her potential is enormous. She makes her own decisions about what she does and when she does it, she is a perfect manager with the passion and drive you would like all your team to have. She puts recognition at the top of everyday working life including on the spot reward cards and celebrates success with her team, her business results are amazing too.

It was a truly inspirational evening to celebrate 20 years of recognising excellence in HR in the industry. The HR in hospitality committee would like to extend its congratulations to all its worthy winners, highly commended and shortlisted organisations, thanks to everyone who attended the evening and a huge gratitude of thanks too, to all our sponsors and supporters. 

If you require further information please contact Esther O’Halloran on 07957 313477 or email