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HR Excellence Awards 2021: The winners

Last night's (1 December) glittering HR Excellence Awards 2021 ceremony, back as an in-person event after 2020’s virtual ceremony, was a roaring success with the UK's HR professionals.

Guests were invited to the London Hilton Park Lane for a ceremony presented by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, preceded by a formal dinner marking the 26th year of HR Magazine’s awards.

This year’s winners were chosen from a diverse group of nominees, across both public and private sectors.

The difficult task of appraising these nominees was left to HR Magazine’s panel of expert judges, who volunteered their time to recognise the brilliance on display within their field.

Each entry was discussed by the panel, before being graded in secret and assessed via aggregate score.

Paul Turner, head of HR Services for the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which won Best Recruitment Strategy, told HR magazine: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be recognised by HR magazine – it’s a prestigious magazine, these awards are fantastic and I am thrilled on behalf of the team to accept this award. It’s great to be recognised for the hard work we’ve done.”

Ella Bennett, group people director at Easyjet and winner of HR Director of the Year, said: “It’s amazing to win. 

“This really is about the people team, who I’m so proud of for all their hard work this year and for the last couple of years.

“It really has been quite an incredible effort on behalf of the whole team.”

Mark Grimley, group director for people and corporate services at the Government of Jersey, co-winner of Best Crisis Management Strategy, said it was an amazing result for the team.

“They worked so hard, and nobody knows what goes on behind the scenes.

“This is really important for this team because very often – we’re a small island – we don’t have a lot of resilience, so for our team to pull off what they did, without the national infrastructure that the UK has, has been phenomenal.

“I am so proud of them.”

HR magazine would like to congratulate the winners of each award, and give special thanks to the event’s sponsors, the Dorchester Collection, LHH, HireRight, and LumApps.

Many thanks are of course also due to all those who attended, some of whom travelled some distance to join us. 

We look forward to seeing you next year, for #HREX22.


Here are the winners in full:

Crisis Management Strategy

(joint winners)

Government of Jersey

Transport for London


Best CSR Strategy



Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy



Best Employee Engagement Strategy

Air Products


Best Flexible Working Strategy

Financial Services Compensation Scheme


Best Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Product Madness


Best HR Strategy from Overseas

Doğuş Holding


Best HR Technology Strategy

Tata Consultancy Services


Best Internal Communications Strategy



Best Learning and Development Strategy

KFC UK & Ireland


Best Recruitment Strategy

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 


Best Talent Management Strategy 

Wolseley UK


Best Transformation Strategy 

 Babcock International


HR Future Leader of the Year 

Katie Winstanley, Morson Group


HR Team of the Year 

Pollinate International


Best people-focused CEO 

Milena Mondini de Focatiis, Admiral Group


HR Director of the Year 

Ella Bennett, Easyjet


Visit the HR Excellence Awards website for more information on shortlisted attendees and categories.