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HUMAN RESOURCES - HR AWARDS FOR SUCCESS AND INNOVATION

And the Oscar goes to...

EVERY film actor would love to win an Oscar. But in Slovakia that particular honour is also open to human resources specialists. For the past five years the profession has handed out the annual HR Oscar Awards for the best human resources projects.

EVERY film actor would love to win an Oscar. But in Slovakia that particular honour is also open to human resources specialists. For the past five years the profession has handed out the annual HR Oscar Awards for the best human resources projects.

"The idea came about because there were a number of interesting HR projects in Slovak firms but they were not seen outside their companies. Why not share such projects? The aim was for personnel managers to exchange experiences," Lenka Bartová, marketing manager of Trenkwalder Management Partners told The Slovak Spectator.

Trenkwalder instigated the award and it has caught on. It is included in the annual New Trends in Personnel Management conference that Trenkwalder Management Partners has run for the past 11 years.

"We stress objectivity in the assessment process of the HR projects. The Club of Personnel Managers, which brings together personnel managers from all over Slovakia, is a professional guarantor of the award. It is the club that chooses the four finalists from all the projects entered. Those projects are then presented at the conference. The winner is chosen by conference participants who vote in a secret ballot," said Jana Mesárová, business developer from Trenkwalder Management Partners.

Every project submitted must already be underway in a company so that it is possible to evaluate its impact on employees. The description of a project cannot be longer than eight pages and must strictly confine itself to the topic of HR.

The club examines the projects, judging if they are innovative and interesting and what impact they have on employees. The club then chooses a shortlist of four.

There are two Oscars awarded each year - the best HR project and the HR Oscar Special. The HR Oscar Special is awarded to the project that contributes most to an increase in employment.

The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family helps select the HR Oscar Special.

Each year the number of projects submitted has grown. This year 11 projects were entered. EuroTel (now T-Mobile) got the winning HR Oscar prize and ISS Facility Service was awarded the HR Oscar Special.

EuroTel won its award for a project in 2004 that aimed to cut the administrative burden for its staff and their managers. Doing this frees up personnel to devote more time and energy to things like professional development and career planning.

Barbora Stejskalová, HR director of T-Mobile said: "Human resources are crucial for the operation of any firm. Therefore it is a must to pay maximum attention to them so that the use of human resources is maximized but at the same time the employees are content. To achieve this it is necessary that all the managerial levels are well prepared to work with subordinates. They must have modern tools that cut down on administrative work and make more room for individual development."

According to Bartová and Mesárová from Trenkwalder Management Partners the professional level of human resources departments in Slovakia is rising.

About 10 years ago, many companies did not have HR departments and they understood HR as part of the administration connected to wages and hiring employees. Currently, HR is more about caring for employees.

"Human resources are important for achieving a good market position. It is always necessary to keep your house in order - to look after your employees. If an employee is content he will work well and it will reflect on the performance of a company," Mesárová said.

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