The MERITS Awards: Merit Badges for Initiatives in People Leadership
The MERITS Awards: Merit Badges for Initiatives in People Leadership

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the important role of human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) leaders. They had to ensure that their organisations survived. Not only that, they also had to keep employees safe and equipped with up-to-date skills to navigate an increasingly (and often fully) digitised workplace.

As a result, there were some impressive achievements that warrant recognition and publicity. To address this need, MERIT is introducing the MERITS Awards to acknowledge the most noteworthy initiatives in people leadership across the public and private sector and academia. Like Boy Scout merit badges for professionals whose drive for innovation and inventive skills contributed to the wellbeing of their organisations and employees.  

MERIT has decided that the awards would be an apt way to honour the achievements of HR and L&D leaders at this year’s Annual Summit in Lisbon (8-9 September, 2021). Below, you can find the reasons that informed the decision of the MERIT team.

Gain recognition and rally the troops

A recent survey by XpertHR showed that maintaining employee morale was the most difficult Covid-19 issue for HR professionals. More than three-quarters of the 835 people surveyed described the task as somewhat or very challenging. It’s not difficult to think why this was. Employees’ personal and professional lives suddenly came under immense pressure, often forcing them to balance working from home while helping their children attend school online. And all this against the background of constant worry about relatives and friends.

But instead of wallowing in negativity, many of those people actually showed themselves capable of incredible innovation and ingenuity. Instead of depriving them of strength and ability, the crisis brought out the best in them. They deserve to be acknowledged, and that’s exactly the idea behind the MERITS Awards -- recognising the tremendous value these people brought to their work and society in general. You will have the chance to showcase their achievements in an international community of HR/L&D and higher education leaders. Besides, you will be able to enhance their organisations’ profile with free marketing and PR exposure.

Grow your network

I really like this concept of bringing together leaders from education programmes and industry leaders together in an informal setting. It’s a great opportunity to collaborate and network and also learn what other industry leaders are doing,” Jim Fanning, Amazon Web Services, said at the MERIT Summit in Vienna two years ago.

Networking is one of the main features of the Summit, so prepare to broaden your horizons, both socially and intellectually. This year’s Summit in Lisbon can help you grow and excel in your role, discover new partners, and expand your network to HR and corporate leaders in other industries worldwide.

This year, the MERITS Summit & Awards will be more interactive and dynamic than ever. Participants will be able to join masterclasses, collaborative workshops and unconference sessions with peers. In addition, eye-opening keynote speeches and discussions involving corporate leaders, academics from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, the University of St. Gallen and Carnegie Mellon University and experts from People Smart will certainly contribute to an enriching experience.

Make sense of it all with fellow professionals

MERIT’s core idea is simple: bring corporate and higher education leaders together, so they can share insights, challenges and success stories. What better chance to get up to date with the latest research, view a particular topic from many different angles and find new solutions to your challenges? If history is any guide, participants can expect many ‘aha’ moments, a stream of fascinating insights, and plenty of new ideas along the way.   

As the world of work grapples with the demands of ever more rapid change, talking about our experiences, hopes and concerns has become even more important. Workplaces are facing a multitude of challenges and the best way to tackle them is by benchmarking our insights and best practices with those of fellow professionals.

Let’s celebrate

We are yet to fully grasp the implications of the pandemic on the world of work, but this does not mean that we shouldn’t honour our achievements along the way after arguably the darkest and strangest periods of our lives. The MERITS Summit & Awards will provide the perfect setting for that. The two-day event, entitled Leading and Collaborating in the New World, will take place in Lisbon at the amazing campus of the Nova School of Business and Economics located beside the open Atlantic.

There is a saying that you should never waste a good crisis. Let’s celebrate those who didn’t.

Book your seat for the Summit   

Submit your initiative for the MERITS Awards

By Valentin Vassilev