Norfolk Business Awards: Now’s the time to recognise those who have adapted, innovated and thrived

Jeanette Wheeler (left) from sponsor Birketts and Lynn Walters (second from right) from sponsor Pure

Jeanette Wheeler (left) from sponsor Birketts and Lynn Walters (second from right) from sponsor Pure, with representatives from MHA Larking Gowen, which won the Best Employer award in 2019. Inset, Lynn Walters from Pure (top) and Jeanette Wheeler from Birketts Picture: I DO PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

The Norfolk Business Awards 2020 is officially open for entries! Lynn Walters, executive director at Pure, and Jeanette Wheeler, partner at Birketts, co-sponsors of the Employer of the Year award, tell us why it’s more impotant than ever to recognise businesses that have adapted and innovated with their workforce.

Why have you chosen to support the Norfolk Business Awards?

Pure and Birketts are long-standing supporters of the Norfolk Business Awards and we are proud to continue our support through 2020 in what has been an exceptionally testing year for so many people and organisations.

The Norfolk Business Awards provide an important opportunity to show how businesses are responding, adapting, innovating, surviving and in some cases thriving, under these circumstances.

Lynn Walters, executive director at Pure Picture: David Johnson Photographic

Lynn Walters, executive director at Pure Picture: David Johnson Photographic - Credit:

How important is attracting, developing and supporting top talent in achieving business success?

Even in these uncertain times, as businesses come through the pandemic, having the right, highly-engaged people is essential for organisations to be sustainable and thriving in the future.

Providing opportunities for people to enjoy stimulating and rewarding careers, whilst working differently will continue to be important.

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The working world has changed, and people want to be part of businesses whose success is also measured by its engaging culture and reputation in the market.

Jeanette Wheeler, partner at Birketts Picture: David Johnson Photographic

Jeanette Wheeler, partner at Birketts Picture: David Johnson Photographic - Credit: Archant

Is retention a marker of a good employer?

There are many factors to consider when looking at retention. However, we know that length of service is higher where employees indicate they feel supported, have autonomy in their roles, have training opportunities and receive regular positive feedback from their managers.

There’s a big focus on wellbeing and mental health at the moment, and rightly so – why is it important for employers to support staff in these areas?

It is well-established that supporting employees with health and wellbeing initiatives, and creating an environment of support, reduces stress and improves performance and engagement.

During the pandemic, the importance of people’s mental health has been well documented and with so much change and future uncertainty, this has never been more important.

What advice would you give those who are considering entering?

Whilst this year has provided huge challenges for organisations, some of the new working practices have resulted in increased productivity. We would like to hear how your organisation has adapted and embraced changes and enabled you to engage your staff differently.

This year we are encouraging nominations from employees as well as applications from employers, so if you believe your organisation deserves to be recognised, please let us know and tell us why.

Employer of the Year award criteria

This award recognises the impact COVID-19 has had on workplaces and employees.

We are looking to recognise a business that proves itself to have an outstanding people and culture ethos.

2020 has brought many changes to the working environment and this award is for businesses who have supported, adapted and been innovative with their workforce during this unprecedented time.

Entries are welcomed from businesses but also from employees wishing to nominate their employer.

The judges will be looking at three key areas:


*Employees – inspiring, engaging, challenging and supporting employees

*Stakeholders – supporting, adapting/ listening to customers, communities and the supply chain

*Supporting staff on furlough leave


*Doing things differently

*Supporting the national effort

*Re-deploying staff to where they are needed

*Redirecting resources

Innovative approach



*Developing different solutions and ways of working

*Identifying new opportunities

To enter the Norfolk Business Awards visit