Posted By:
The Irish News Ltd

7th Apr 2022

Businesses and organisations have just over a fortnight remaining to submit their entries for the new-look The Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards, which is returning this year after two-year hiatus.

Friday April 22 is the closing date to submit an application for the awards, which take place in Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 30, when top Irish comedian Neil Delamere will front the gala dinner, which will be attended by more than 500 people.

There are nine key categories this year, each of which be split into small/medium or medium/large sub-sectors.

The main categories are:

  • Team of the Year
  • Next Generation Initiative
  • Employer for the Future
  • Innovation and Leadership
  • Best Employee Development Programme
  • Best Wellbeing in the Workplace Strategy
  • Best Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
  • Best Company Connection
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Programme of the Year

The Workplace & Employment Awards, the single most important business awards initiative in the north, rewards exceptional people-focused companies and organisations by recognising excellence in the workplace.

In common with virtually every live business event of the time, the 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled due to the pandemic.

But the return of the awards is seen as representing a major vote of confidence for the north’s economic and employment prospects after such a difficult period.

This year’s key business partners are Options Technology, Carson McDowell, Queen’s University, Ulster University Business School, First Derivative and Titanic Belfast.

The Irish News group marketing and communications manager Annette Small said: “This year the format makes it easier to enter, with each category including a two-part entry form, requesting background information and a 1,000-word submission standardised across all categories.

“We have also launched three new award categories as below, full details of which can be found on the special WEA section of the Irish News website.”

Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

It will recognise the significant efforts of organisations that excel in their commitment to equality and inclusion across all strands of diversity. Organisations will need to show how they work hard to create a culture where people are respected, appreciated and feel included, with the winning organisation demonstrating how it is harnessing a truly diverse workforce. Diversity – the range of people in the workforce will be diverse. There will be a good mix of genders, ages, religions, sexual preferences, cultures and disabilities. These differences will be valued, not discriminated against. Equality – all people will be treated fairly, irrespective of differences. Inclusion – everyone feels valued. They will feel free to express personal opinions and ideas, discussing any problem areas with management and removing the presence of bullying, harassment and discrimination. 

Best Company Connection Award

It will be presented to the organisation which best demonstrates how it has adapted its workplace wellbeing strategy to the challenges of remote working influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The winner will demonstrate its commitment to providing excellent support to its staff throughout, by maintaining contact and connection with workers during periods of uncertainty and isolation.

CSR Programme of the Year

It will honour organisations passionate about making a difference to communities in which they operate. This award recognises businesses with a stand-out CSR agenda which could include: Covid-19 response, reducing carbon footprint, charitable efforts, and developing your local community.

Ms Small added: “We’re thrilled to relaunch these awards, which since their inception in 2006 have recognised the importance of focusing organisational strategy on businesses’ key asset, their people.

“Our 2022 awards will be another celebration of the exceptional standards they demonstrate in different aspects of economy, and everyone who enters is recognising the importance of working closely with their staff at all levels, regardless of the size of the organisation, and how vital it is to have proper strategies in place for developing the huge talents which are out there in the field of employment.”

For more information and details on entering the awards by the April 22 deadline, go to