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Culture Pioneers

2021 Culture Pioneers Awards winners revealed!


Following a spectacular evening of celebration and learning at our Culture Pioneers Virtual Awards Show on 18th November, we can now reveal the winners for 2021!

22nd Nov 2021
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Having recently announced this year’s winners at our inaugural awards ceremony, we are delighted to reveal them here on HRZone and share with you their stand out achievements.

Across our four categories – Wellbeing, Inclusion, Innovation and Learning – we received over 100 entries from individuals and teams committed to culture change. Entries were submitted from organisations of all sizes – from start-ups through to large enterprises – across a wide range of industries, including technology, consumer goods and health, as well as the public and charity sectors.

Our expert judges were incredibly impressed with the calibre of 2021 entrants, and found it hard enough to select our shortlist of 18 impressive finalists. But when it came to the crunch of deciding on winners for each category, what stood out among those selected was their ingenuity, grit and data-led approach in shaping a better culture. 

Without further ado, here's our 2021 Culture Pioneers winners...

Inclusion Award Winner

Lewes Football Club


Lewes Football Club is a fantastic model of inclusion for their peers to follow. Karen Dobres and her fellow board of directors have helped tackle the gender pay gap, and have introduced a number of new ideas and schemes to help achieve their goal of making women’s match-days inclusive for everyone.  Their tireless efforts really impressed our judges, and saw them crowned the winner of the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Inclusion. Shakil Butt, Culture Pioneers Judge and Founder of HR Hero for Hire, noted:

Lewes Football Club is a worthy winner of the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Inclusion Award. The board of directors tackled inclusion head on, making it a real game changer not just for the players but for the whole industry, by role modelling what is possible when willing to challenge the established order and mindsets.

Learning Award Winner

iungo Solutions Ltd

This new kid on the block really wowed our judges with their innovative and cutting-edge approach to learning and development. iungo Solutions Ltd nurtured a workplace learning environment and encouraged their employees to invest in themselves through their ‘Everyone is an Apprentice’ and ‘Portfolio Career’ programmes. Taking such novel approaches, founders Jessica Leigh-Jones MBE and Tom De Vall were deserving winners of the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Learning award. 

Blaire Palmer, Culture Pioneers Judge and CEO of That People Thing, states:

“We were really blown away by this entry, which is why iungo is the winner of this year’s Culture Pioneer of Learning Award. I'm glad Jessica and Tom are sharing what they are doing with the wider world as many will be inspired.”

Wellbeing Award Winner

Jessica Badley, Blood Cancer UK

The wellbeing support programme introduced by Jessica Badley and Blood Cancer UK is a fantastic example of what can be achieved within a large charity, despite having a limited budget.

The judges were impressed with the creativity and hard work shown to overcome the organisation’s lack of resources and provide top-class wellbeing support, and were thrilled to name Jessica Badley the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Wellbeing. As Gethin Nadin, Culture Pioneers Judge and Employee Wellbeing Specialist, highlights:

“Blood Cancer UK is a great example of how to commit to employee wellbeing with limited resources and see huge impact. Their approach hasn't just benefitted the charity, but society as a whole, which is why we selected Jessica Badley as the winner of the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Wellbeing Award.”

Innovation Award Winner

Panorama and RCI

Like many businesses over the past 18 months, the travel industry was hit particularly hard by the pandemic. To survive during this period, Panorama and RCI were forced to rethink their existing model and come up with fresh, creative ideas.

The revamping of an old ideas sharing platform to a company-wide tool to boost innovation received high praise from the judges. Becasue of this, Deryn McIntosh and her team were named the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Innovation winner. 

Culture Pioneers Judge and Founder & Chief Energy Officer of People and Transformational HR Perry Timms highlights:

The entry from Panorama and RCI showed multiple perspectives – product, client and colleague innovation – making this an all-systems pandemic response driven by creativity and activism. We are therefore delighted to name them the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Innovation winner!

Interested in gleaning more insights from our 2021 Culture Pioneers?

You can discover more about our 2021 winners and finalists and watch videos of them sharing their unique culture change journey, by visiting our 2021 hub. We hope these inspirational stories provide you with ideas and insights that can be applied in some form within your own organisation’s culture.

Congratulations once again to our winners and finalists for 2021! And thank you to our sponsor Culture Amp, partners, judges and to everyone who entered.

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