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HR, nominate thyself

HRIA’s award dinner in Edmonton raises the question: Why are there so few nominations for HR awards?

By Todd Humber

HR professionals know the value of recognizing staff for a job well done.

HR departments, after all, are the ones who champion recognition programs and who reinforce the importance of line managers saying “thank you” to staff.

So why, when it comes to honouring the best and brightest in the human resources profession, do HR professionals suddenly become shy?

In Edmonton last week, the Human Resources Institute of Alberta honoured the top HR professionals in the province at its annual conference. It held a gala awards dinner, entitled “Celebrating Excellence,” that was attended by hundreds of professionals.

Three awards were to be handed out — Rising Star Award, Award of Excellence and Distinguished Career Award.

Alexis MacDonald took home the Rising Star Award, and Adam Czarnecki was given the Award of Excellence.

But when it came time to hand out the Distinguished Career Award, Charlotte Bouchard, chair of HRIA’s board of directors, told the crowd nobody would be receiving the award this year because there wasn’t a single nomination submitted.

That’s stunning. Alberta is full of HR professionals who have had distinguished careers. I ran into at least half-a-dozen HR professionals at the dinner alone who would have been worthy recipients — including senior professionals who had been on the job for decades at some of the largest corporations in the country.

Alberta is hardly alone on this front — they’re just the most current example. HR associations across the country struggle and scramble to get nominations submitted for awards.

Why? It can’t be HR doesn’t appreciate the value of awards and recognition. (See above. They’re the champions.) That leaves shyness as the only possible conclusion and explanation.

So I’ll be the first to say it: HR, you’re doing a heck of a job. It’s time to step into the limelight and accept your kudos. So the next time you get an email from your HR association seeking nominations, put your thinking cap on and submit the names of colleagues for consideration.

And be sure to attend the awards in person. It’s a great evening of networking and honouring the best in the profession.

Todd Humber is the managing editor of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. He can be reached at

Todd Humber

Todd Humber is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. Follow him on Twitter @ToddHumber
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