Organisations can learn lessons in best practice from our award winners

Two weeks ago we sought to provoke a reaction.

Our issue HR: The Naked Truth – which included strong words and nudity –
prompted a lively reaction for our readers.

We wanted to raise the stakes in the productivity and equality debate, and
examine HR’s performance on key goals. We do not apologise for that – it is
important to ask searching questions, even if we do not always like the

In this week’s issue, we seek to celebrate the best examples of HR practice
through our coverage of the Personnel Today Awards 2002 (see special awards

The HR profession turned out in force for a glittering night at the
Grovesnor Hotel, in London, and were entertained by comedian Ricky Gervais –
who, as David Brent, in The Office, is the antithesis of a good people manager.

But it was more than just a great party – it was a celebration of what HR
can achieve and the central role it can play in any organisation.

Global healthcare provider Bupa is the overall winner of the Personnel Today
Awards 2002. Its HR team has driven a change management project that has helped
turn a £1m a week loss, into a doubling in profitability since 1999.

After external consultancies had failed to address its problems, the HR team
developed a broad and intensive change programme that was driven by business
performance issues. They harnessed the skills of their staff to understand and
address their problems, improving customer and employee satisfaction and adding
to the bottom line.

This is HR at its best – involved in key decision making, aligned to
business need and translating strategy into action.

It should be what the profession is aspiring to (see page 19 to find out how
to take steps towards delivering HR strategy).

And if employers can learn from the best practice demonstrated by the 11
awards category winners – and shortlisted organisations, for that matter – then
there will be a lot less soul-searching going on, and a lot more celebration.

Mike broad is the assistant editor of Personnel Today

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