A Guide to the PMAP Employer of the Year Award Criteria | Inquirer Business

A Guide to the PMAP Employer of the Year Award Criteria

(First of 2 parts)

The objective of this article is to provide guidelines to PMAP members, assessors and judges of PMAP’s “Employer of the Year” Award (EOY) on how to respond to the Award’s criteria requirements.

While the PMAP EOY criteria was initially drawn from internationally recognized frameworks such as the Malcolm Baldrige Excellence Criteria and the Investor in People Standard, an in-depth analysis based on the practices of past EOY awardees prompted the author to develop the HRM Excellence Framework. The framework, intended as a conceptual map to facilitate understanding of the EOY criteria was formally accepted by the 2016 PMAP Awards Committee and approved by the 2016 PMAP Board of Trustees as the official criteria of the EOY Award.


The Employer of the Year Award Program of PMAP



The Employer of the Year Award represents a standard for excellence in people management. The award was intended to recognize and honor organizations that have achieved excellence and distinction in the field of people management. This objective directly supports PMAP’s charter of “promoting the continuing advancement of the HRM profession and widen its professional practice for the benefit of both employers and employees, as well as of society as a whole”.


In the past 40 years, organizations recognized as “Employers of the Year” served as exemplars of excellence in people management. A rationale underlying the awards is to stimulate other Philippine organizations to be aware of the power of sound people practices and how these contribute to sustainable business results.

Sound HR practices engender a culture that supports high performance. The

HR Excellence Framework which translates the EOY Criteria into an operational and transparent guide, intends to provide a roadmap for organizations to adopt models of best practices.

The HRM Excellence Framework

The HRM Excellence Framework, drawn from an in-depth analysis of practices and characteristics of past EOY awardees, is illustrated in Figure 1 below:

The six attributes of high performing and people-focused organizations are discussed as follow:

  1. The driving attribute is the active involvement of line leaders, all the way from the top group to the floor level leaders, in strong partnership with the HR practitioner on people management issues.
  2. The second attribute is an intense focus on performance, driven by a philosophy of meeting customer needs and expectations.
  3. The third attribute is a set of leadership approaches which are systematic and integrated to support and sustain the objectives of the organization.
  4. The fourth attribute is a palpable passion for engaging every employee.
  5. The fifth attribute, common to high performing and people-focused organizations, is a concern for the well-being of its external stakeholders, particularly the communities they are operating in.
  6. And, the sixth attribute is the demonstrated competency of the HR function. The HR leader is seen as credible and competent by the management team and the workforce as a whole.

Operating definition and guidelines

The following section details and elaborates on each of the attribute:

  1. Line Management & HR Partnership (25%)

Attribute Description: The driving attribute of a high performing-people focused organization is the partnership between HR and the line management. Senior leaders clearly articulate their belief that people is a key factor for business success and visibly demonstrate valuing people through the HR programs of the company.   HR is considered a strategic player and is credible to the operating managers, who champion HR programs and take the lead in engaging their people

Excellence Indicators:

“HR is considered as a member of the strategic and operating management teams and is proactively involved in the strategic planning process

“Top management articulates valuing people as a key success factor for the business and visibly supports HR programs

“The HR structure is embedded in line operations and is highly regarded by operating managers who consider them as business partners

“Line mangers champion HR programs and consider people management as a line responsibility

  1. Performance Focus (25%)

Attribute Description: A key success factor among high performing organizations is their sharp focus on performance and results. In the private sector, profitability and business growth are key indicators of results. In the public sector, efficient and responsive service delivery to the citizenry are the targeted results. Clear directions, strategies and values send strong signals for performance and help create a results-oriented culture. Plans and programs are well deployed throughout the organization; are systematically tracked at unit and individual levels and are continuously improved.

Excellence Indicators:

Vision, mission and values are well articulated, shared with all stakeholders and serve as focal and integrating mechanisms for all HR plans and programs

Expectations and requirements of key customers and stakeholders guide all HR programs and initiatives

A systematic performance management system which integrates planning and regular monitoring is evident

The organization has key indicators looking at people results and these results exceed targets and are high relative to competitors or industry standards

Employee performance is aligned with organizational goals and is regularly monitored

The organization demonstrates best-in-class performance in major areas of importance (ROI, market leadership and business growth in the private sector; improvements in the delivery of services in the public sector).

  1. Leadership Approaches (20%)

Attribute Description: Excellent organizations institute and adopt programs and initiatives characterized as transformative, innovative and systemic. They are constantly trying to adapt to the changing challenges of their external environments, hence the presence of an open, change friendly and continuous improvement mindset. The leadership style of leaders at all levels of the organization can be described as coaching, inspiring and people engaging.

Excellence Indicators:

A successful transformation story driven by the need to respond to challenges in the external environment

Major change programs are typically anchored on culture building and alignment

An integrated mix of HR programs characterized as responsive and innovative (stands out as an exemplar)

A systems approach is evident, in other words, HR programs are linked and complement each other and are aligned with overall business goals and strategies

Approaches have built-in metrics and these are monitored and tracked

Leaders at all levels are regarded as competent as well as concerned with employees’ well-being and satisfaction. Their actions are seen as engaging and inspiring.

Leaders are guided by an articulated Leadership Brand (expectations of leadership behaviors).

  1. People Engagement (20%)

Attribute Description: High performing and people-focused organizations tap the full potential of their workforce. They have multiple programs of eliciting employee participation and engagement; attend to their training and development needs and systematically pay attention to their engagement levels and well-being needs.

Excellence Indicators:

Many ways of encouraging employee participation at all levels are evident

Vehicles to promote teamwork and tap on the innovative potential of its employees are in place

The training and development needs of all employees are systematically identified and appropriate systems are in place to respond to these needs

The organization systematically measures employee satisfaction and engagement, gets feedback from employees and acts on key issues from feedback

There is a fair and effective system to measure employee performance

A wide variety of reward and recognition schemes is in place

Major HR processes are regularly evaluated and improved

To be continued..

  1. Social Responsibility (5%)

Attribute Description:   A key responsibility given high importance by excellent organizations is good citizenship, community relations and environmental protection. This attribute also covers business ethics, the protection of public health and safety, the promotion of volunteerism and the sharing of best practices.

Excellence Indicators:

“A well defined policy, goals and programs vis-à-vis its contributions to the community and the environment

“Employees are encouraged to actively volunteer and participate in community service programs

“CSR programs are multi-stakeholder directed, have positive impact on business results and are integral to the nature of the business

“A transparent governance system consistent with statutory and regulatory requirements is in place

  1. HR Competence & Credibility (5%)

Attribute Description:   A pre-condition of the first attribute (line management and HR partnership) is the HR unit’s competence and credibility. Credibility comes from the HR practitioners’ personal values and professional maturity while competence comes from their conceptual, business and HR functional expertise.

Excellence Indicators:

“Leaders and employees speak well about the HR function

“HR programs are seen as responsive; they stand out as innovative, above run-of-the mill HR initiatives

“HR practitioners are admired for their integrity, credibility and professionalism

“HR practitioners demonstrate the following competencies:

o Interpersonal skills

o Good understanding of individual, group and organizational dynamics

o Customer and business orientation

o Tech savvy

o Change management know-how

Scoring Guidelines

The HRM Excellence framework provides a roadmap towards becoming an exemplar employer. A scoring system provides additional clarity and transparency to this roadmap. The scoring is based on two evaluation dimensions: (1) Approach; and (2) Deployment.

Approach refers to how the organization addresses the criteria requirements or the methods used. Factors to evaluate “approach” would include the following:

– the overall effectiveness of use of the methods

– benchmarked against world class standards

– degree of innovativeness in the use of the approach

– degree to which the approach is repeatable and integrated

– the incorporation of learnings from past application

Deployment, the second dimension refers to the extent to which the approach

is implemented by work units in the organization, by function, level and geography.

The following table serves as the scoring guide for the approach and deployment dimensions:


0 – 10pts No systematic approach is evident; information is anecdotal and approach appears to be ad hoc

10-30 pts -The beginning of a systematic approach is evident

-Major gaps exist in deployment that would inhibit progress

-Early stages of a transition from a reactive approach to a general improvement orientation is noted

40-50 pts -An effective, systematic approach is evident

-The approach is deployed, although some areas or work units are in an early stage of deployment

-The beginning of a systematic approach to evaluation and improvement of key processes is evident

60-70 pts -An effective, systematic approach is evident

-The approach is well deployed, although it may vary in some aras or work units

-A fact-based systematic evaluation and improvement process is in place

80 – 90 pts -An effective, systematic approach is evident

-The approach is well deployed, with no significant gaps

-A fact-based, systematic evaluation and improvement process and learning sharing are key management tools

-There is clear evidence of organizational level analysis and sharing

100 pts -An effective, systematic approach is clearly evident

-The approach is fully deployed

– A very strong, fact-based systematic evaluation and improvement process and extensive sharing are key management tools

Assessors and judges should share objective data (from available documents , interviews and observations) and collectively reach judgement based on these data. Rate the applying organization against each attribute using the scoring guide. First decide which scoring range (e.g. 60-70) best fits the organization. Best fit means choosing the scoring range which best describes the organization’s systems and deployment status and would generally meet the qualitative description corresponding to that scoring range. Assigning the actual score within the range requires evaluating whether the response is closer to the statements in the next higher range or next lower range. After giving the appropriate score, factor in the weight to get an overall score for the attribute.

Embarking on the journey to HRM excellence

The six attributes, their corresponding weights and excellence indicators are intended to provide a clearer picture of what it takes to become a high performing and people-focused organization.

Research indicates that excellent organizations employ processes which are systematic, integrated and consistently applied. Systematic refers to the method or order that is put in place in the organization’s approach and deployment. In addition, these processes are innovative and responsive to the needs of the organization. For example, EOY winners have exceptionally well-defined approaches, are novel and innovative and are responsive to the organization’s needs. Another characteristic of excellent organizations is the extent of deployment or application of their HR systems. This includes implementation of these systems or processes in all functional or operational areas and at all levels of the organization. A third characteristic found in past EOY awardees is a clear link between their HR initiatives and business results.

An organization desiring to win the EOY Award could use the framework as a guide in terms of examining their current HR systems and practices against the six attributes and excellence indicators. The same guide could be used by assessors and judges of the EOY Award.

The author:

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Enrique V. Abadesco, DPM is the President of the Philippine Society of Fellows and was 2008 PMAP National President. He is considered a pioneer in the Organization Development (OD) field in the Philippines and is currently the deputy Chair of the Asian Institute of HRM. Ric was an internal assessor of the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria in ExxonMobil Corporation, USA, has trained Philippine Quality Award (the Philippine equivalent of the Malcolm Baldrige Award) assessors under the auspices of the Development Academy of the Philippines and the Department of Trade and for several years, served as a judge in the Philippine Quality Award. He is a Certified Productivity Practitioner, conferred by the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organization.

TAGS: HR, HRM, human resources, pmap, Requirements

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our business news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2023 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.