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HRNZ Awards!

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The 2024 HRNZ Awards are approaching; but what initiatives and organisations are we celebrating? Read here for a full summary of the themes and initiatives of the Award submissions!

Human Resources New Zealand 2024 Award Submissions


The HRNZ Awards celebrate those within the HR profession who are excelling in their fields. Award submissions in total increased this year by 50% from 2023. In applying for awards, applicants were required to detail what they have achieved that makes them spectacular in their fields, whether it involved integrating specific programmes, learning workshops or more holistic approaches. The biggest interest this year was in the Learning and Development Award with three times the number of applications this year than the last. This was closely followed by the Wellness Programme Award and the Talent Acquisition Award (which acquired double the entries from the previous year).  

Within the Building Sustainability through People Award submissions, there were over double the number of entries than the year before. Through this Sustainability category we had many smaller organisations entering and representing a variety of sectors, such as property services, hospitality, and health.  

Our Mana Tangata applications also were hugely popular this year, with entries again increasing from the previous year, as well as the interest in Te Ao Māori through the Diversity and Inclusion Award. In striving for equality in the workplace, a range of initiatives were implemented by the applicants. These include targeted leadership programs, specialised training sessions, support networks, and policies to create inclusive and diverse work environments. The applications highlight the commitment of different organisations to Te Ao Māori and biculturalism. The initiatives outlined were described as aiming to promote cultural competency, respect, and inclusivity in the workplace. The organisations implementing these initiatives focused on Te Ao Māori span across many industries, including governmental agencies, education and health, telecommunications, and the banking sector. 

Other categories that greatly increased in interest this year were the Emerging Professional category, with over three times the applicants of the previous year; and both the Diversity and Inclusion and Leadership categories, each doubling the number of submissions this year compared to the last. 

The applications for the Learning and Development Award reflect the prioritisation of improving the workforce and achieving organisational goals. Initiatives include mandatory training on appropriate workplace behaviour to foster a culture of respect and zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviours. and leadership programs created to build leadership capability within organisations. These programs have reportedly resulted in increased performance, retention, and engagement among employees involved. 

One organisation provided opportunities for employees to complete recognised qualifications, with reduced entry criteria and increased support levels to enable staff to complete their qualifications sooner. This has led to an increase in the percentage of qualified staff and has bridged skills gaps in their workforce. Coaching programs have been implemented by another organisation to support the development of leaders. These programs have reportedly had a positive impact on employee engagement and performance, as well as the overall satisfaction of employees. 

Many applicants had introduced learning management systems to provide a modern and self-paced learning experience. These systems allow for targeted training and assessments to monitor employee performance and identify areas for improvement. 

Overall, these learning and development initiatives were explained to have had significant benefits for the organisations, including improved employee satisfaction, increased engagement, reduced attrition, and enhanced organisational capability. They have created a culture of continuous learning and development, empowering employees to reach their full potential and contribute to the success of their organisations. 

Within the talent acquisition and retention realm, the number of applications for this award category doubled from last year. Strategies outlined within these submissions include developing compelling employee value propositions, enhancing benefits and employer brand, running social campaigns, and focusing on career development for retention. Diversity and inclusion were also emphasised at the recruitment phase, helping to increase the candidate pool. One organisation described their emphasis on storytelling, ensuring their organisational narrative was attracting the right candidates for the roles they needed filled. These initiatives demonstrate the innovative approaches organisations are taking to acquire and retain top talent in their respective industries.  

There is a clear emphasis on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in organisations. Examples include: 

- A focus on workplace inclusion. 
- Efforts for racial equality and LGBTQ+ rights. 
- A cultural buddy initiative. 
- Commitment to embedding Te ao Māori. 
- Initiatives to recruit and retain women. 

Various organisations have implemented sustainability initiatives to prioritise the well-being of their employees, communities, and the environment in different ways. For example, one organisation has explained that their focus on sustainability is for the sake of the supporting their employees, and the wider community. Another has focused on significantly improving organisational sustainability through diversity, inclusion, well-being, and employee development initiatives. Another has extended its commitment to sustainability by aligning with all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and involving its employees in sustainability efforts. In their own specific ways, these organisations showcase the importance of integrating sustainability into their operations and creating a positive impact on society.  

Spanning out to broader HR initiatives, there have been efforts to address vaccine hesitancy, upskill HR admins and people leaders, review and redesign policies, and implement new technologies. Additionally, organisations have prioritised developing union relationships and improving recruitment processes. These initiatives reflect the organisations’ dedication to continuously improving their HR practices and creating a positive work environment for their employees. 

A range of different types of organisations applied for the HRNZ Awards this year. Most of those who applied came from the private sector; however, government organisations also applied for many categories. Industries included in the award submissions include construction, education and health, entertainment and hospitality, government, and even veterinary services. Due to the span of the categories of the different awards, any organisation or HR professional may apply depending on their level of expertise and the initiatives they have implemented.  

The HRNZ Awards for 2024 highlight the importance of learning and development, wellness programs, and talent acquisition. Organisations have prioritised initiatives such as mandatory training, cultural awareness workshops, leadership programs, and coaching to improve employee satisfaction and engagement. Learning management systems have been introduced for targeted training, while talent acquisition strategies focus on attracting and retaining top talent. Wellness programs were implemented with the aim to create a positive work environment and to support employee wellbeing. The applications highlighted the dedication of these organisations to creating a positive work environment, engaging with Te Ao Māori, and making a difference in their respective industries. 

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