2018 UHR Awards Shortlist HR Excellence



University of Liverpool: GiveGetGo

Winner in the Exceptional HR category




The University of Liverpool is one of the major employers in a city where unemployment is higher than the national average. Working with local social enterprise Transform Lives Company, it launched the GiveGetGo initiative in 2016 to help those who are furthest from the labour market.

The University offers volunteering roles on campus one or two days a week, while staff have been trained as mentors. Participants receive support with interview practice, job searches, one-to-one coaching and access to other health and personal development opportunities.

The University has since helped 39 long-term unemployed locals, who had previously found their route to a job blocked by criminal records, health conditions, outdated work skills and histories of addiction. 18 are now working as a direct result, while eight are in further training. The wider GiveGetGo project has assisted 75 people in the city, with 32 going on to find work.

GiveGetGo has been rolled out into 22 different departments including HR, finance, music and student support.


Canterbury Christ Church University: StaffSpace

Runner Up in the Exceptional HR category

In 2017, Canterbury Christ Church University delivered the first phase of an ambitious project to integrate HR, Staff & Organisational Development, Payroll and Finance data into a single digital platform and offer all staff and managers simple, efficient, technology-enabled processes which maximise self-service where possible.

Led by the HR Project Team, ‘StaffSpace’ was delivered collaboratively by teams in HR, Finance, Payroll, and Staff Development with significant engagement with the workforce.

For the University, StaffSpace offers a single source of staff data, better intelligence and valuable people analytics. For employees, it offers simple and intuitive self-service and enables them to take control of their own development and data. 

In preparation for the first phase going live, the project team collected data on the working patterns of every employee so that attendance could be personalised. StaffSpace allows all people data to be managed online, moving away from paper-based methods, saving time, preventing duplication and improving data authenticity.

Phase two of the project (2018 to 2020) will see the addition of recruitment, contract changes, appraisal, talent and succession come online. StaffSpace is a key enabler of the University’s ambitious People Strategy.


University of Exeter: Integrating Apprenticeships

Shortlisted in the Exceptional HRcategory

Apprentices are employed in 11 of the University of Exeter’s colleges and professional services, across three campuses and two counties. Prior to the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in May 2017, the People Services department has been working on integrating them into the wider workforce.

Apprentices gain valuable on-the-job training and develop technical knowledge and transferable skills that will help them in their career. They also provide benefits for universities, who can draw on their enthusiasm to improve productivity, and provide staff with professional development opportunities.

Exeter has assigned mentors to apprentices, and given them access to staff benefits such as in-house training, library services, and the employee recognition scheme. A dedicated website, blog and social media have been set up, while competitive apprenticeship salary scales have been integrated into the University’s pay scales.

The number of apprentices at the University has increased over 200% from 13 in 2016/17 to 43 in 2017/18. They are employed across many different fields, from engineering to administration, IT, leadership, management and digital marketing. The new approach is more holistic, open to new and existing staff, and offers greater support to both apprentices and recruiting managers at all stages of the process.


Leeds Trinity University: A Focus on Well-being

Shortlisted in the Exceptional HR category

A 2014 survey of Leeds Trinity staff clearly stated that people wanted well-being to be high on the University’s agenda. The University’s response started with the launch of a centralised portal, and expanded into a range of community events and initiatives.

Leeds Trinity was one of the first Universities to implement the “Juice” platform, an employee-driven “hub” for well-being activities launched by Sheffield University and co-founded by Leeds Trinity alumnus Gary Butterfield. Since the launch, a range of activities have followed, including a series of “Learning Lunches” on topics such as nutrition and mental health, regular health checks, and fitness centre sessions on Tai Chi and mindfulness. These activities are free to employees, and can be done in work time.

In December 2017, employees, students and community members collected more than 130 presents as part of “Mission Christmas”, helping disadvantaged children in West Yorkshire. In April this year, 16 employees climbed the Three Peaks in Yorkshire to raise funds for the Inspiring Futures charity.

The October 2017 staff survey produced a 13% increase (from 56% to 69%) of staff who believed the University was effective in supporting well-being. The University has managed to achieve these results on an “extremely limited budget” by engaging with internal experts, alumni and external partnerships.


For information on our other awards categories visit:

Business Effectiveness and Organisational Performance

Organisation Development and Culture Change

Equality and Diversity



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