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Chris Overend, HR director at Finnebrogue, with the prize

Winner: Finnebrogue

County Down-based meat supplier Finnebrogue has grown by over 250% and recruited more than 900 new employees in the last five years. But the quest for top-tier talent is fierce in its neck of the woods, with no ready-made pool of skilled talent (as there is in mid-Ulster), low unemployment rates and Belfast a 30-minute drive away.

So Finnebrogue meticulously crafted a new people strategy last year. It included a returners programme, an ability programme, a mental health programme, a Wellbeing Hub, a Finnebrogue Forum, improved leave policies and two pay rises.

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It also set up unique collaborations with Queen’s University Belfast and other professional bodies to develop academic qualifications for new managers and existing staff.

The results speak volumes: staff turnover down 22%, absenteeism down 43% and job applications up 31%.


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