UHR Awards - how to apply


We provide the information below to help members considering entering for next year to understand our processes and likely timescales.

It’s great to be able to launch the UHR Awards 2022. As you know, a key UHR aim is to enable HR innovation and learning from each other, and to build our professional skills base: these awards give a great opportunity to do this, and to highlight creativity and success. We want to show the sector and the HR professionals beyond HE that our HR practitioners introduce cutting edge practices that have real impact, and which enhance organisational culture and performance within UK universities. The UHR Awards are a great opportunity to encourage and motivate the HR team, even in preparing an entry – and even more so if you win. Make sure your team gets the recognition you deserve.

After another extraordinary year we’d love the hard work of your teams to be reflected in your nominations. We’ll be announcing the winners during UHR Conference 2022: its theme is Everyone Onboard! During a year when we’ve all been thinking about Covid, and hybrid working, how will you make sure your entry stands out? How did you work with the specific challenges and constraints your team faces, and what can other university HR teams learn from the thinking, practice and process your nomination describes?

The nominations form can be downloaded online and you have until noon on Friday 11 March to return your nomination. We look forward to hearing from you!

Winners will be announced

The winners of the UHR Awards 2022 will be announced at the UHR Conference 2022 - thankyou to all involved in making our conference a success each year, including this year's premium partners, Alumni and Workday.


Awards categories and criteria

There are four UHR Awards – here are the categories and criteria.

  • Business effectiveness and organisational performance: for an initiative that has driven and demonstrably enhanced organisational performance and competitive advantage, demonstrating new ways of working.
  • Organisational development and culture change: for an initiative that achieved transformational culture change or greater staff engagement, or involved collaborative work with another organisation, enabling the university effectively to meet future challenges and uncertainty.
  • Equality and diversity: for an initiative that improved equality or diversity in the organisation, and brought demonstrable improvements to performance or engagement.
  • Exceptional HR: for exceptional achievement by an HR team - our "Team of the Year" category.

Why should you enter?

At a recent Showcasing Good Practice event, an illustrious panel of former winners gave us their top ten reasons to enter for a UHR Award.

  1. HR teams need to be seen as credible within our institutions and public recognition of our work from our peers helps us to be trusted to do difficult things
  2. Public awareness of awards helps to promote careers in higher education HR. Some think of us as a backwater when we are often at a cutting edge. The awards help us highlight that
  3. The awards promote projects and approaches that you can use or adapt in your own institution. They are a great source of ideas for all of us
  4. There’s a genuine internal team morale boost associated with winning a UHR Award
  5. We can’t always talk publicly about the work that we do so this gives a way for meaningful recognition to be gained
  6. The UHR Awards will give you a platform on a subject that you are knowledgeable and passionate about: that’s good for your own network and collaboration. There is real value here for those willing to share ideas
  7. That platform might help you influence the sector more widely. Some of the best UHR Award winners have gone on to influence via UUK, EHRC and others
  8. Winning an award is good for your team’s reputation within your university, and indeed for the wider university too
  9. An entry will help you focus on the data you have that demonstrates impact – that discipline will help you on other projects
  10. An awards entry will give you space to reflect on the nature of the achievement. It’s fine and it’s valid to be proud of good work.


The deadline for entries is noon on Friday 11 March 2022.

Winners will be announced during the UHR Conference 2022.

How can I enter?

Entries are made by downloading the entry form and completing all sections. As the form is a simple Word document you can save it, come back to it after conferring with colleagues, and we often find the best entries are those that pull in several viewpoints to describe the achievement. That makes entering for an award both a constructive and an easy process.

What information should you include in your entry?

Evidence of measurable achievement and impact should be clearly demonstrated, as the purpose of the awards is to be able to spread good practice that actually produces results. It’s important that your entry is a project, initiative or combination of activities that has already been implemented and had a real effect, rather than a good idea with potential that hasn’t yet made a demonstrable difference. Any UHR member HEI, regardless of size or type can enter, but it’s vital to provide evidence of your activity being cutting edge or innovative in the way it’s been implemented, and of its impact.

Who will judge the entries?

A range of people with experience and knowledge of good people management practice within and beyond higher education.

Previous winners

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