CIPD HR Leadership & Innovation Awards 2012


Opening Address (Monday 26 March 2012)

Michael McDonnell, Managing Director, CIPD Ireland

It is a pleasure to welcome you all to the HR Leadership & Innovation Awards dinner.

We are delighted and honoured to have Joan Burton TD., Minister for Social Protection as our Guest of Honour; we look forward to hearing from the Minister shortly.

We are particularly appreciative of the organisations that submitted entries, 76 in total.  Taken together they clearly reflect the strategic and operational robustness of HR at this time of great change in our country. 

A special welcome to the representatives of the 18 organisations who survived a gruelling selection process and will be recognised this evening.

Dr. Phillip Matthews, President, National College of Ireland and Chair of our distinguished panel of independent judges will explain the process later..

Events like this only happen because of the very generous support and encouragement of our partners.  Our headline sponsors, Vhi Healthcare and Towers Watson have long been great supporters of CIPD and the wider HR community throughout the country.  In addition to being awards sponsor CPL also very generously sponsored the pre-dinner reception.  Our Awards sponsors have been unstinting in their support

  • Accenture

  • Arthur Cox

  • CPL

  • ESB

  • National College of Ireland

  • People in Mind

Also a special thank you to One4All who sponsored the Rewarding Engagement Conference earlier today. Finally, to Gillian Brant and her colleagues in  The Sunday Times our media partner who consistently devote editorial resources to highlighting and reporting on new and emerging trends in HR.  To each and every one of you our sincerest thanks.

Speaking at the launch of the NSAI Excellence Through People scheme recently I noted that unlike in previous recessions - where you just cut headcount until the books balanced – a new three dimensional approach to workforce planning appears to be emerging.  It generally comprises of redundancies in one part of the business, new people with different skills being recruited into other parts and the survivors often left to cope in the middle.

It calls for a more sophisticated approach to managing people. In short, the need to align organisational objectives and HR strategy has never been more relevant or urgent.

This trend is also reflected in the excellent LRC publication: Human Resources in the Recession: Managing and Representing People at Work in Ireland by Professor Bill Roche, Ann Coughlan and Majella Fahy of UCD, along with Paul Teague of QUB. CIPD together with IBEC and ICTU was delighted to collaborate in the project.  Freda Nolan from the LRC is with us this evening and we compliment you and your colleagues on this fine publication.

Taken together all these strands indicate how HR is responding to the new competitive reality across all sectors - public, private and not-for-profit.  For HR practitioners it means having the leadership, vision and professional capability to align talent with corporate goals.  Such individuals and teams are the true heroes of our profession and we shall be recognising their achievements this evening.

CIPD celebrates 75 years in Ireland this year.  And next year 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of CIPD which was founded in York in 1913 by Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree and an Irishman Charles E. Jacob, of Jacobs Biscuit fame.  Perhaps it’s worth noting that while Charles E. was in England inventing CIPD, his brother William was busy in the Jabobs factory in Dublin inventing the cream cracker.

The jury is still out as to which of these two inventors will have the greatest impact on humanity – CIPD or the cream cracker.

Our 75th anniversary affords us the opportunity to make two special recognition awards to organisations that were not in the competition as such.  They serve to illustrate the powerful impact that innovative and constructive people management and development practices can have even in what might traditionally be termed a-typical employments.  The two recipients of the special recognition awards - while they are very different organisations - are united in their absolute commitment to achieving and sustaining high performance and engagement through the quality of their people.

May I call Minister Burton to the stage to present the 2 special awards.

The first award goes to Dublin Simon Community
(Yvonne Maher & Jeremy O’Reilly)

The second special awards goes to the Irish Naval Service
(Captain Hugh Tully)

It’s now my pleasure to introduce our key note speaker Joan Burton TD., Minister for Social Protection.  Minister Burton had earned a commendable reputation for straight talking and for achieving results. 

Minister, as you continue to roll-out programmes such as Pathway aimed at stimulating job creation you can rely on the support and assistance of CIPD.  Already we are in the final stages of a drafting code of good practice on internships and helping to bridge the gap between those seeking employment or training and employers through the WorkLink initiative.

Our 5,000 members offer an unrivalled network of HR professionals across all sectors and in cooperation with the Department of Social Protection can play a constructive role in helping to translate your initiatives into tangible results in the workplace.

Now it is my great pleasure to call on Minister Burton to address us.