‘Organisations need to work harder and smarter to attract and retain the best talent’

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The Employer of the Year category looks for evidence of recognition, innovation, and progressive people strategies - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Employer of the Year category at the Suffolk Business Awards aims to recognise organisations that have adopted a people-centric ethos. Here we speak to Jodie Woodrow, business director at Pure Executive, and Catherine Johnson, partner at Birketts, about their roles as the judges of this category. 

Why is it so important to recognise an Employer of the Year?  

Catherine: This is a competitive category and is the one that business leaders want to win. Being recognised as Employer of the Year, is a true reflection of a progressive organisation as it’s all about their people.  

Having a strong brand reputation as a high-quality employer, sets organisations apart in the eyes of future employees, investors, and customers alike.  

Catherine Johnson, partner at Birketts Picture: Birketts

Catherine Johnson, partner at Birketts - Credit: Birketts

Why were you keen to get involved in the Suffolk Business Awards?  

Jodie: The Suffolk Business Awards is an opportunity for us to come together as a business community to celebrate and showcase many vibrant, inspiring, and progressive organisations in the region who are committed to employee engagement.    

Together, Pure and Birketts have been judging these awards for 10 years. We are trusted advisors in the business community and are committed to honouring the business who can genuinely attribute their success and growth to putting their people, values, and culture at the heart of everything they do.  

Jodie Woodrow, business director at Pure Executive Picture: David Johnson Photographic

Jodie Woodrow, business director at Pure Executive - Credit: davidjohnsonphotographic.co.uk

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What will you be looking for in the winner?  

Catherine: A progressive, authentic, brave organisation that listens to its people, and positively contributes to the community and environment.  

The winning and shortlisted organisations will be those who took the time to explain and evidence how they have evolved their culture throughout the pandemic and how they are creating workplaces of the future that focus on the engagement of their employees.  

What do you bring to the judging process?  

Jodie: With Pure Executive’s recruitment and search expertise combined with Birketts’ corporate and employment law knowledge, we meet hundreds of organisations every year, supporting them to create highly engaged, productive and successful environments. 

Having judged the business awards for 10 years and founding Best Employers Eastern Region, we know what it takes to develop a great culture and be a place that inspires employees, where people want to work.  

What advice would you give to a business that’s considering entering?  

Catherine: This is a competitive category, so answer all the questions in detail and take time to thoroughly complete the application.  

The application can only be judged on the information you provide. Involve and get support from your leadership team. Keep your application succinct and relevant.  Tailor your application to this award entry.   
What can the prestige of winning this award do for a business’ reputation?  

Jodie: There is something special about this award that is equally important to leaders and employees. With recruitment and retention being fiercely competitive, it sets this organisation apart as being a great place to work and belong.


This award recognises the evolution of employee engagement and its impact on the workplace. It looks to showcase organisations that have evolved a culture and ethos that is people centric. The judges are looking for evidence in three areas of recognition, innovation, and progressive people strategies.

The closing date for entries is August 15. To enter, go to www.suffolkbusinessawards.co.uk

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