Tips for success: HPMA overall award winner

Overall winners of the 2015 HPMA award and winners of the HR Team of the year award, Karen Mead and Tom Simons from East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust explain how winning an award has helped develop the team’s work further and offers top tips for success for other trusts.
Winning the award has cemented our reputation within the organisation as experts in our field. Over the last two years we’ve worked hard to develop much stronger working relationships with the wider organisation and we’re now viewed as an integral part of the process when it comes to finding solutions – we’re no longer seen as part of the problem.
Within the team there is a great feeling of pride in winning the award – everyone has worked so hard to get to where we are today and it’s been a huge boost to team morale for that to have been recognised.
It has also meant that we are now able to attract exceptional candidates to join our team, as we are increasingly seen as an employer of choice for those working in HR, and as a place that welcomes and encourages innovation. 
Tips for success
  • From the outset we engaged with and involved the organisation – we sought their views on what the problems were and what they needed and wanted from our service. We also worked closely throughout with our Staffside colleagues.
  • We developed a comprehensive range of workforce KPIs, reported at Board level, with robust, credible data so we could be clear about our performance and our progress. 
  • We built a strong, cohesive and inspirational leadership team within the HR function, with a clear sense of vision.
  • Most importantly we involved everyone in the HR team – we were honest with them about what we were setting out to achieve and the reasons why, and asked for their ideas for how we could improve. We also made sure that there were regular updates on performance and progress, and that their efforts and achievements, no matter how large or small, were acknowledged and recognised.
The future
As a team we will continue to build on our reputation, and to look for new ways to raise our profile and improve our service. This summer we launched our new Trust Leadership & Talent Management and Culture Change strategies, the delivery of which will be driven from within the HR team. We also want to be seen as a point of reference for excellence for other organisations, both within and outside the NHS.
In the longer term our plans include world domination, followed by declaring ourselves global workforce royalty… although, in reality, we are quite happy to settle for our awards!!

If you would like to find out more, please contact Karen at or Tom at

In 2015 the Overall Winner category was sponsored by NHS Professionals, and the HR Team of the Year category was jointly sponsored by NHS England, The Scottish Government and The Welsh Government.

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