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Inaugural Young HR Practitioner Award winner

Media release
For immediate release

23 February 2007

Inaugural Young HR Practitioner Award winner announced

The first recipient of a new award created to acknowledge emerging New Zealand HR talent says the win will have an invaluable impact on her career.

Connie Nicholson, Christchurch City Council’s HR Manager of Shared Services, was presented with the 2006 Young HR Practitioner of the Year Award by the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand at a sell-out gala dinner last night (subs: Thurs 22 Feb) at the Wellington Town Hall.

The prize formed part of the 2006 Workplace Awards, incorporating the annual HRINZ HR Awards and Unlimited/JRA Best Places to Work Awards. Over 500 people attended the ceremony and dinner, which was hosted by Suzy Clarkson of Prime TV.

Ms Nicholson was one of three finalists vying for the Young HR title (practitioners aged 35 and under) and on presentation of the award said the win had generated a huge confidence boost.

“I’m really delighted to have won this new award, which I hope inspires others to look into HR as a great career and benefit as I have done.”

Judges said Ms Nicholson presented as an outstanding young HR practitioner and fully understood the impact of HR from an organisational operational perspective: “she has a thorough approach and leadership credibility no doubt enhanced by the relationship building she values so highly.”

Ms Nicholson is a key member of the Council’s senior HR team and in the past two years has been heavily involved in change process.

The 2006 HRINZ HR Initiative and HR Person of the Year Awards were also presented last night to category winners Toll New Zealand and Mr Teva Loos of Auckland.

Early in 2004 Toll, which employs 3000 people across four stand-alone business units, established an internal recruitment centre. The centre was not mandated, which meant it had to compete against manager’s historical recruitment practices.

The success of the Recruitment Centre, measured in both ROI and lower staff turnover rates, has been highly successful and judges were impressed with the way the programme was linked to the business and its culture. In fact, the recruitment centre initiative was so successful, it is now being exported to Toll’s Australian parent company.

In the past five years Teva Loos, HR Manager at Auckland-based Frucor Beverages, has raised the profile of the organisation’s people management practices to new levels.

Judges said Mr Loos had embraced Frucor’s trailblazing philosophy to the point that a business decision was rarely made now that did not have the influence of the firm’s HR team.

“Teva uses his financial experience to drive HR metrics within the company and the measures show improving results. His CEO believes he has been instrumental in raising the profile of HR and the contribution that it makes to the business performance of the company.”

The HRINZ HR Awards, established in 1999, were sponsored by Hudson, the Melbourne Business School and Rogen Si.

Flight Centre was announced overall winner of the seventh annual unlimited/JRA Best Places to Work in New Zealand Award, presented in association with the HR Awards.

This prestigious award is presented as the climax to the largest survey of employee engagement undertaken in Australasia which identifies New Zealand’s best workplaces.

Organisations are surveyed by leading workplace survey and analysis specialists, John Robertson and Associates (JRA), in partnership with unlimited magazine.

JRA Director, John Robertson, says it is a remarkable win because Flight Centre has around 800 employees located across the country in more than 110 locations. Flight Centre also won the large workplace category (companies with more than 400 employees).

Other winners on the night were: Waikato District Council – medium to large workplace category (150-399 staff); Auckland advertising agency TBWA\Whybin received the award for small-medium workplaces (50 – 149 staff) and the Securities Commission, with its 41 employees based in Wellington, won the small workplace category. The inaugural award for most improved performance was presented to Otago Museum.


About the HRINZ HR Awards

Young HR Practitioner of the Year - in association with Hudson
The introduction of this award was the result of a desire to acknowledge those achieving highly within the HR industry whilst demonstrating a commitment to the future of HR.
It recognises potential and helps to foster this talent throughout a practitioner’s career. This award is presented to an HR Practitioner aged 35 years and younger.

HR Person of the Year – in association with the Melbourne Business School
The HRINZ HR Person of the Year Award was introduced in 2002 to profile and acknowledge individual achievement in people management and leadership demonstrated within the New Zealand business community. The overall winner will be presented with a leadership course at Melbourne Business School.

Human Resource Initiative of the Year – in association with Rogen Si
The HRINZ HR Initiative of the Year was created to acknowledge the good work being done by HR teams who introduce innovation into HR Practices. It is not about ‘business as usual’ but rather about quality initiatives that have been created by thinking and acting outside the square.

About the unlimited/JRA Best Places to Work Survey/Awards

The annual Unlimited/JRA Best Places to Work Survey is New Zealand's largest annual workplace climate-employee engagement survey.

The organisations that achieve the best survey results are celebrated as the “Best Places to Work” in New Zealand - as judged by their own employees. The survey is New Zealand's most authoritative measure of employment best practices.


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