HR’s best and brightest on display at the 2016 AHRI Awards

AHRI Awards
Rachael Brown, HRM Online


written on December 2, 2016

The 2016 AHRI Awards were certainly a night to remember – not just for the calibre of finalists and winners, but for the chance it gives this growing and changing industry a chance to answer that vital question: What does good HR look like?

The 2016 AHRI Awards brought together the HR industry’s best to celebrate the hard work and dedication of practitioners everywhere. Held along Melbourne’s beautiful Docklands’ waterfront, a perfect backdrop to herald the stars of HR.

There were the usual elements that give AHRI hosted events such a good reputation: fine food, fun, a few drinks and dancing. But beyond that, the atmosphere was one of celebration and an affirmation that HR keeps setting the bar higher and higher for organisations and individuals.

The evening was divided into three parts: organisational awards, inclusion and diversity awards, and individual practitioner awards.

Some organisations were returning this year for another nomination, while new faces graced the stage for the first time. Nominees were scattered across every sector, size and location. Regardless of the specifics, the 2016 AHRI Awards acknowledges those at the top of their game.

The winner of Sir Ken Robinson Award for Flexible Work, Enabled Employment’s efforts to make sure those with a disability have equal access to employment opportunities by working with employers to provide flexible work arrangements.

Or there was the AHRI Inclusive Workplace Award winner Aurecon, who, as they stated in their acceptance speech, are glad to be an organisation that supports and embraces differences.

Then came the Michael Kirby AC LGBTIQ Inclusion Award winners EY, who reminded audience members that companies have the power to send a message to individual employees and the public that things can get better.

Individual award winners included Jessica Kaaden, HR manager with the Victorian Public Sector Commission and the first winner of AHRI’s annual Ram Charan Award. The award carries a cash prize of $5000, and is part of a generous scholarship established by Ram Charan, the world-renowned business advisor. Not only that, she also won the Dave Ulrich HR Rising Star award. She is certainly someone to keep an eye on in the future.

“It was such an honour to be recognised on one hand for my academic achievements, and on the other hand for my workplace accomplishments,” she says. “I think it is so important that those of us in HR take the time to come together as a community and to celebrate achievements. It really fosters a community spirit and makes us feel like we’re connected. It is also fantastic to hear about what others are doing in the industry and what we can aspire to. ”

The deputy director-general of state schools in the Queensland Department of Education and Training, Patrea Walton, won the 2016 AHRI CEO Diversity Champion Award against a strong field of short-listed finalists. And Clare Murphy, director of people and strategy at St Michael’s Grammar, took home the Dave Ulrich HR Leader Award.

These are just some of the 24 award-winners at the 2016 AHRI Awards. No doubt the judging panels had a hard time of it, and as testament to the calibre of this year’s nominees, honourable mentions were also awarded in several categories.

MC and comedian Lawrence Mooney held this all together and kept things at a cracking pace. 

AHRI CEO Lyn Goodear’s closing statements echoed those given by award winners throughout the night. HR has never been more exciting, but also never more challenging. Standing in front of a crowd of more than 600, Goodear also unveiled the Australian HR Institute’s new branding and touched on the new post-nominals for certified practitioners.

What a time it is to be in HR, she says, and no one represents the possibilities of this industry better than those who stand for the best in  HR.

Read profiles of the 2016 AHRI Awards winners and finalists here

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