Search is on for region’s finest business leaders

David Spicer (centre) of Bradford University School of Management, with fellow Excellence in Business Awards  judges Juliette Healey of the Bank of England  and Jonathan Procter of DLA  Picture by Simon Hulme
David Spicer (centre) of Bradford University School of Management, with fellow Excellence in Business Awards judges Juliette Healey of the Bank of England and Jonathan Procter of DLA Picture by Simon Hulme
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IF you want to stay ahead of the game in a fast-paced corporate environment, you really need to make your employees feel valued.

For almost a decade, the team at Bradford University School of Management has been running the rule over Yorkshire’s leading companies to find the top employer.

The school, which helps to nurture the next generation of business talent, has supported The Yorkshire Post’s Excellence in Business awards since their formation in 2006.

This year, they are continuing with their sponsorship of the Outstanding Employer category, and the judges are looking forward to sifting through some high quality entries.

But what sort of qualities does an outstanding employer possess?

“It’s about authenticity, which is hard to define but you know it when you see it,’’ said Dave Spicer, the senior lecturer in organisational change at the school of management. “You can see people who are genuinely engaged. We’re looking for a responsible approach to management.

“It’s a business that takes relationships with employees seriously. It’s got to be sustainable for the people and the organisation. Part of it is about strategic logic.

“Lots of businesses are doing great things, but this is about doing great things purposefully,’’ he added.

Mr Spicer cited the phone and broadband provider PlusNet, a former winner and finalist at the awards, as an example of an employer with strong values.

He added: “That ties into the strategy and how Plusnet defines themselves. There are massive levels of employee engagement and we know that people go the extra mile for that.

“There’s also that ‘can do’ element of Yorkshireness, a grit and determination to get the job done. That directness and honesty makes for a good employer.”

Companies have until July 11 to submit their entries for this year’s awards. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu is the headline speaker. He will speak about responsibility in business in his address at the ceremony.

Justin Webb, the presenter of the BBC Today programme, will reprise his star turn as master of ceremonies at the awards dinner which is being held on October 14. DLA Piper, PwC and Yorkshire Bank are the main sponsors of the awards; Bradford University School of Management, Drax Group, QBE Insurance and thebigword are associate sponsors.

Here are the full award categories: Young Entrepreneur of the Year (aged up to 35); Young Business of the Year; Exporter of the Year, sponsored by thebigword; Innovation of the Year, sponsored by Drax Group; Community Award, sponsored by QBE Insurance; Outstanding Employer, sponsored by Bradford University School of Management; Companies with a turnover up to £10m, sponsored by Yorkshire Bank; Companies with a turnover between £10m and £50m, sponsored by PwC; Companies with a turnover above £50m, sponsored by DLA Piper.

To enter the awards, visit

Established in 1963, Bradford University School of Management is one of the oldest university-based business schools. In 1967, The University of Bradford acquired its historic self-contained park land campus. The Heaton Mount building, a former wool manufacturer’s mansion, is now home to the school’s centre for executive education and development. The second historic building, on Emm Lane, was built as the Congregationalist Airedale College in the 19th century.

Delroy Beverley, the chairman of the school of management’s advisory board, was honoured at the recent Institute of Directors’ Yorkshire and Humber regional director of the year awards. He will compete against the best of Britain at the IoD’s national director of the year awards, which are due to be held in London later this year.