Northumbrian Water scoops employee engagement award


A leading North East utility company has been crowned for making employee engagement a top priority.

Northumbrian Water, which employs more than 2,100 people from Berwick down to North Yorkshire and across to the Pennines, received the CIPD Employee Engagement Award at a glittering awards dinner held at the Gateshead Hilton Hotel.

The event, organised by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development’s North East branch, was attended by more than 400 people, to recognise businesses that value their workforce and those who have gone the extra mile in human resources and development.

The award was in recognition for an exercise led by directors and senior managers at Northumbrian Water, between October to December 2008, where company employees helped to create departmental action plans focussing on how the company could improve in all areas of working life. All employees also contributed to the development of the People Plan, a five year human resources strategy.

Competition was strong with Northumbrian Water, Heighley Gate Nursery & Garden Centre and Northumbria Police shortlisted for the award.

A six-strong judging panel, made up of the chair, vice chair and senior human resource practitioners from the CIPD North East branch, and a representative from award sponsor Nigel Wright Recruitment, voted for the company they thought best deserved the prestigious title.

Diane Morton, director of human resources, said: “We were delighted to win the CIPD Employee Engagement Award. It is a privilege for those of us in the HR profession to see our work recognised by our professional Institute but also for all the people who were involved in this exercise in our business, it is recognition of the hard work and commitment that has gone into achieving greater engagement, involvement and participation.

“The exercise has not only demonstrated to everyone that there is tremendous benefit in involving everyone in improving our business and our working lives, but it also generated some great ideas which will be implemented at a local and national level.”   

As an employer, Northumbrian Water uses a number of means to engage and motivate employees including its Just an Hour scheme, where all employees can spend up to 15 hours a year supporting community and environmental projects, and a Skills Awards evening to celebrate individual achievement of academic and vocational qualifications.

This latest award is the latest in a long line of honours. Northumbrian Water was recently crowned Utility Company of the Year at the Utility Week Awards. It is also ranked the multi-utilities sector national leader in the Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index - the UK’s leading benchmark of responsible business practice – and achieved a platinum rating and Impact on Society Big Tick for work done in the marketplace, workplace, environment and community. The water company’s northern customer centre also recently won North East Customer Centre of the Year (under 200 seats).

For more information contact Leanne Clough on 0191 301 6733.

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