Winners crowned at Wales HR Awards

Top Welsh employers and HR professionals were recognised at the third annual Wales HR Awards on Friday 22 March.

Hosted by Sian Lloyd, the awards – launched in 2017 by leading recruitment agency Acorn and commercial law firm Darwin Gray in partnership with the Wales HR Network – saw individuals and teams from across the country attend a black-tie event at the Exchange Hotel in Cardiff.

Celebrating outstanding people and businesses for their contribution to HR and showcasing the best examples of learning and people management practice over the past twelve months, the evening featured inspirational keynote speaker, Bafta and multi-award-winning television presenter Lowri Morgan.

Firstsource Solutions Ltd, Gower College Swansea and Companies House were among the event’s success stories, with winners announced in 13 categories, including the Best HR Initiative award which has been introduced for 2019 to recognise outstanding innovation and thought leadership across the sector.

HR Team of the Year was awarded to Firstsource Solutions Ltd for how its PeopleFirst plan raised employee engagement, increased governance and promoted a culture centred on employee wellbeing. Gower College Swansea scooped three awards in total, Sarah King was awarded the coveted HR Star Award along with HR Director of the Year for a second year running thanks to her demonstrable impact on her team, organisation and local community, and the team were also awarded Best Use of the Welsh Language.

Companies House took home Employer of the Year for its ‘Flourish’ initiative which has increased diversity, inclusion and community feeling within the organisation through supportive coaching and mentoring.

A new category – created by the judges in light of this year’s exceptional young talent – HR Rising Star was awarded to Emma Beth Smart of Monmouthshire Building Society.

Acorn’s Director of Operations for South Wales, Maria Larcombe, said:

“People development is front and centre to how businesses operate and It’s been fantastic to see so many excellent HR professionals come together to showcase the talent driving the future of HR in Wales forward. The standard of entries has been superb and all of our shortlisted individuals and teams have shown the highest commitment to maximising employee potential.

Once again, it’s been a pleasure to host the awards alongside Darwin Gray as partners of the Wales HR Network and I’m looking forward to seeing what our winners and the profession as a whole can achieve in Wales over the coming months.”

Darwin Gray’s Head of Employment Law and HR, Fflur Jones added:

“It has once again been a fantastic year to celebrate HR in Wales. It is a privilege, as partners of the Wales HR Network, to bring together such incredible talent in one room to shine a light on the hard work and dedication of an often underacknowledged profession. We are looking forward to what the rest of 2019 has in store!

2019 Wales HR Awards winners

Best HR Initiative (Sponsored by Human Resourcing Specialist Recruitment)

Conduit Global

HR Team of the Year (Sponsored by Bowen Eldridge)
Firstsource Solutions UK Ltd

Best Use of the Welsh Language in HR
Gower College Swansea

Independent HR Consultant of the Year (Sponsored by Orchard)
Julie Grabham, JG HR Solutions Limited

HR Director of the Year (Sponsored by Quantum Advisory)
Sarah King, Gower College Swansea

HR Apprentice/Trainee/Assistant of the Year  (Sponsored by ILS Training)
Emma Beth Smart, Monmouthshire Building Society

Best HR Professional – Financial/Professional Services (Sponsored by Sweetmans and Partners)
Sophie Grant, Target Group

Best HR Professional – Public/Third Sector (Sponsored by als)
Carolyn Oliver-Hall, International Baccalaureate

Best HR Professional – IT/Technology (Sponsored by Activ People HR)
Emily Webb, Liberty Marketing

Best HR Professional – Construction/Manufacturing/Engineering
Mags Kerns, Calbee

Employer of the Year (Sponsored by Capital Law)
Companies House

HR Star Award
Sarah King

 HR Rising Star

Emma Beth Smart