In a room full of eminent HR practitioners, Unilever Malaysia took the Grand Winner’s prize for excellence in people strategies at the HR Excellence Awards 2016 – Malaysia held on 4 October at Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral.

Unilever Malaysia sealed the top prize with a preceding 10 wins across multiple categories, such as gold wins for excellence in recruitment, employer branding, compensation and benefits strategy, and learning and development, among additional silver and bronze victories.

HR Excellence Awards, held for the fourth consecutive year, are the region’s premier awards to celebrate contributions to the HR profession, through notable individuals, teams and companies, held in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Maybank excelled in a number of categories, winning gold for excellence in diversity and inclusion (where the silver went to Schneider Electric Malaysia); gold for excellence in social media (silver and bronze wins by Manulife Holdings and FOREFRONT International respectively); and gold for excellence in talent management (where the silver was shared by Unilever Malaysia and Axa Affin General Insurance, and bronze won by RHB Banking Group).

[View the full list of winners]

Within the banking sector, CIMB Group was another strong contender, winning gold for excellence in graduate recruitment and development (silver shared by KPMG in Malaysia and Alliance Bank Malaysia); gold for excellence in leadership development (silver went to Unilever Malaysia and bronze to Inti International University & Colleges); among other wins for CSR strategy and learning & development.

Excellence in employee healthcare was a hotly-contested category, with a gold win achieved by Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, followed by a silver win by Prudential Assurance Malaysia, and AIA proving strong with a bronze. Another standout category was excellence in employee development, where DHL beat Unilever Malaysia to claim gold, while British American Tobacco Malaysia snapped up the bronze.

Among the individual recognition, Karen Yap of Manulife Holdings outperformed as HR professional of the year, a feat in which she was joined by Chloe Gan of Arvato Systems Malaysia in silver position, and Chella Pandian of Merck Sharp & Dohme in bronze position.

Joining them on the winning stage were the winners of the young HR talent of the year category, where Vivian Wong of IHS Markit Malaysia won gold. Chan Shu Shean of Arvato Systems Malaysia bagged the silver, while bronze was taken up by Audrey Tong of Leaderonomics.

Alongside Tong's win, Leaderonomics also won silver in the employer of the year category, where it was joined by Arvato Systems Malaysia and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in a shared bronze.

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Some of the other companies that made notable impact on the jury included Sime Darby (gold for excellence in innovative use of HR technology), Hong Leong Islamic Bank (silver for excellence in CSR strategy), Majlis Amanah Rakyat (bronze for excellence in CSR strategy), and People Potential (bronze for excellence in work-life balance).

DHL and Manulife Holdings shared gold for excellence in employee engagement, while Legoland Malaysia Resort got the silver award. Bronze was presented to T-Systems Malaysia.

The jury, comprising 18 HR directors from organisations across Asia, also called out SAP, Siemens Malaysia, AUO SunPower, FedEx Services Malaysia, Coca-Cola Bottles Malaysia, and Human Resources Development Fund for their exemplary contribution in a number of categories.

[Read: Full list of winners]