‘Why we cherish integrity of HR awards’
Dapo Saheed, is a Human Resources (HR) expert and publisher of HR People Magazine. Five years ago, he introduced HR People Magazine Awards to promote best practices in the engagement of human resources. He spoke on the forthcoming fifth edition of the awards and the challenges facing HR professionals. He spoke with ENO BASSEY.
What are the main objectives of HR People Magazine Awards?
HR People Magazine Awards was created to acknowledge, recognise and appreciate the good work being done by HR professionals in Nigeria. We have come a long way and truly leading in Africa. We do have a long way to go compared to developed countries. We should commend those that can work at par with other climes. Also, we have individuals that have done very well and are demonstrating the best HR practices in Nigeria. The main objective of the awards is to celebrate HR best practices, preserve the knowledge of best practices and raise the standard of HR practices in Nigeria.
In what way is HR People Magazine different from other competitors?
HR Awards is very unique because of its process and organisation. Our winners are revealed on the day of the awards. The organisers are not aware of the winners till the day of the event, the same time results are revealed per category. The award has its own website where submissions are made. You do not have any other awards doing that in West Africa. We have judges from five different countries of the world. The entry is free and we have done very well since the last five years. Judges recuse themselves from companies they have worked for or are associated with. They do not have any association with the organisers when the process begins. Their job is to assess the submissions and turn in their results.
What are the challenges you face in organising this yearly event?
Every job comes with its own challenges. We have a few but the good thing is we have set controls against those challenges. One of the challenges is the fact that everyone believes they should win. Unfortunately, some companies do not understand that participating in an award is also revealing and gives their organisation the opportunity to assess what they have done. It’s an opportunity to research the impact of what you have done to develop the business and put them into writing and create a story line. Not all organisations have the people and the capacity to even do this. Believe me, even those who wish to win have failed to make a winning submission. I know this because I speak with the judges and ask for their feedback. I am proud to say that when it comes to transparency, integrity and credibility, HR People Magazine Awards is second to none. As long as we do not compromise, will celebrate the next 10 years and 50 years.
The other one is the financial support, which I have personally made sure does not affect the awards’ integrity. We give opportunity for every organisation to participate, but as you know we will still ask some of these organisations to support the event. In this part of the world it is difficult to marry the two but in the world of professional awards you normally would ask companies to support you but put in place a control that does not compromise the integrity of the awards. I am proud to say that I have maintained that we do not say thank you with an award. We do not conduct an aggressive fundraising for the awards. In fact, I have been queried for not even doing this. But it will not happen because this is one area that I have control over, the little we get we use to organise the event and that’s it. We always appreciate the little we get. And hope that more companies will support the awards. You can’t buy HR People Magazine Awards because it does not have a price tag and I know that if you want your project and awards to celebrate many years of existence you must never lose the integrity that has sustained the awards.
What’s the plan for the fifth edition?
The 2020 awards have 11 categories. We have created more opportunities for companies with less than 1000 employees to participate. The deadline for submission is May 4, 2020 and the event is scheduled for June 4, 2020 in Lagos. Companies can participate free of charge.
Where does HR People Magazine Awards stand as regards participation and acceptability?
We have done very well in the area of participation and acceptance. We work with international partners so we are always updating our process and making sure we are in tune with international best practices. We have had tremendous participation and winners from the leading companies in Nigeria. We have the likes of BAT, Nestlé, NB PLC, Coca-Cola, Chevron, StanbicIBTC, NBC, MTN, Airtel, Access Bank, UBA, Shclumberger , Lafarge, Nivea, Friedslandcampina, Reckitt and Benkiser, AIICO Insuance, Leadway Assurance, Tenaris, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Procter and Gamble and more.
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