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How to write a winning entry for the HR Excellence Awards

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The HR Excellence Awards is the time for the people profession to shine. To make sure your team and strategies get the recognition they deserve, here are HR magazine's top ten tips for writing a winning entry.

Already written your entry? Enter now here.

  1. Describe the issue clearly. Was this a ‘nice to do’ or was there a genuine problem or area for improvement? Make sure you show how the piece of work fits into the overall business strategy. Think of your reader; tell the story in a lively, compelling way to bring it to life.

  2. Be commercial. Show there is a business benefit. Innovation doesn’t have to be big and expensive, but it should make a difference. Remember to include the budget. It’s hard for our judges to assess a strategy fully without knowing how much money was available. Entries without a cited budget often fail to be shortlisted for this reason alone.

  3. Provide all the information requested. If you miss any out it’s hard for the judges to compare your entry to others. Judges often report suspecting there was a more compelling, impressive strategy lurking just out of reach. But they can only judge what’s been described – even where they know the strategy is in reality more impressive and the submission doesn’t do it justice. Don’t rely on your success story being widely known within HR circles. Judges can only judge what they’ve been given.

    Check out what you need to supply under each of the different categories here: HR Excellence Awards categories

  4. Describe the results and impact with data. Include business metrics and softer benefits. Be clear on the measurable outcomes but remember this doesn’t mean throwing numbers around – just relevant ones.

  5. Read the criteria on which the award will be judged and make sure your entry covers all of them. You could include subheadings listing the criteria to make it easier for the judges to get the full picture.

  6. Show involvement right across the business. A real indicator of an impactful strategy is when a CEO or other business leader comments on the value of the work you’ve done. And of course, comments from those employees whose working lives have been impacted by your work are always a strong indicator of excellence.

  7. Check spelling and grammar - excellence includes attention to detail. Judges won’t be inclined to look favourably on sloppy work. Think about fonts and presentation too; don’t let an unprofessional, difficult to read submission detract from some great content. The judges spend hours reading and discussing the submissions and it never goes down well when it looks like an entrant hasn’t bothered to complete the forms properly.

  8. Don’t be afraid to enter something that may not appear innovative. Even if it’s not overly innovative on the surface, is it something you did in a creative way? Context is everything.

  9. Make sure the entry comes from the HR team. We understand you might want to get help writing your entry, but ones that are submitted by suppliers or PR agencies don’t tend to do as well as those that come from the HR team themselves. Getting to the heart of the story and the impact the strategy had will only come to life if submitted by the people who made it happen. Agencies may polish your entry but be sure it comes from the team who implemented it.

  10. Make sure the entry itself contains all the relevant material. Supporting material should be just that: to support your entry, but not crucial to judges’ understanding of it.

The entry deadline for the 2022 HR Excellence Awards is 5pm Friday 29 July. Submit your entry now.