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HR Excellence Awards 2012 – Gold Award: AmicusHorizon

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When you think about it, the world has not changed very much over the last four years.

Like 2012, in 2008 the UK was on the brink of recession, 2008 like 2012 was a leap year and although sports people were preparing for an Olympic Games in Beijing, all talk was on London 2012.

In the HR sphere, recruitment was uncertain, talent management and employee engagement were hot topics and headlines in HR magazine were about under-preparedness for pensions and a lack of skills.

But for one organisation - and the winner of HR magazine's Gold Award for HR Excellence - AmicusHorizon, 2008 is a world away from the present day.

Through a 'kick-ass' HR strategy and an HR team working in partnership with a people focused chief executive, AmicusHorizon has morphed from an organisation on the brink of meltdown with dire customer service records, disengaged and unmotivated staff and poor results, to a dynamic and forward thinking place to work with inspired staff, an exciting vision for the future and a passion for helping its customers, local communities and the wider world.

Even since 2010, AmicusHorizon has moved from a self-confessed 'mediocre' state to one that is the top performer among its peers.

Everything the HR department does focuses on the business. It acts as the organisation's change agent, embedding new ideas and new ways of working while at the same time inspiring confidence among staff.

This led to the organisation scooping an unprecedented number of HR Excellence Awards this year - more than any organisation in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors has ever won before.

In addition to the Gold Award, five others include Most People-Focused CEO in the Public and Voluntary Sector (Steve Walker), Best HR Team: Not-for-Profit/Third Sector, Outstanding Employee Engagement Strategy, Most Effective Use of Internal Communications and Best Use of CSR in HR. The organisation was also a finalist in the change management category.

The HR Excellence Awards judges loved the strategy AmicusHorizon had taken, with a real sense of passion coming across in all its winning entries, leading the organisation to mix its business plans with a sense of fun, including employees in its self titled 'big hairy goals'.

The HR strategy boils down to innovative employment practices, encouraging people to love their jobs and boost profits.

Staff have received transparent, honest and inclusive communication, first rate training from expert Mary Gober, consistent motivation and ongoing encouragement to achieve the seemingly-impossible success the business is now enjoying. They have smashed through their psychological obstacles in the physical form of planks of wood; they have danced in public to Blame it on the Boogie; and they have raised £500,000 annually in local charity projects.

The award winning people strategy, which is auctioned by a business savvy HR team, has been championed by a CEO dedicated to the belief that engaged staff make happier customers and bigger better profits.

The organisation believes its promising business results in 2012 have come from winning the hearts and minds of employees: nearly every manager (bar 3%) in the business believes the HR department is 'good' or 'excellent' and our panel of judges agreed, deeming AmicusHorizon 'top drawer HR'.

For a list of all the winners and highly commended entries in the HR Excellence Awards 2012, click here