'Talent equals success' guests told as 2019 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards are launched

Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards 2019 business partners (from left) Janet Calvert, Public Health Agency; Orlagh O'Neill, Carson McDowell; Stephen Miller, Miller Hospitality; Isabel Jennings, Queen’s University; Noel Doran (Irish News editor); Sam Davidson, Henderson Group; John Hansen, KPMG; Louise McAleer, Progressive Building Society; Laura Cowan, Titanic Belfast; and Gary McDonald (Irish News business editor). Picture by Declan Roughan
Gary McDonald Business Editor

FORMER investment banker turner job-creator Darragh McCarthy says there is a "hugely competitive war for new talent" - and that attracting, retaining and developing the best people is imperative for the success and growth of any business.

The chief executive and founder of financial services group FinTrU - which will soon grow its payroll in Belfast and Derry to 800 people - was speaking at the formal launch the 13th running of the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards, which take place in Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 13.

The Cork-born entrepreneur told invited guests: "If I'm honest, until we entered these awards last year, I didn't appreciate how a big deal they actually are.

"This is undoubtedly one of the pre-eminent awards in Northern Ireland, and I can only encourage every company out there to make the effort to enter, because if you are fortunate enough to be present at the WEAs in the glitz of the Titanic, it is a ringing endorsement of who you are and what you want to be.

"It will help you build your brand, win more business and, in this hugely competitive war for new talent, will set you apart as being more nimble and more agile."

He added: "From FinTrU's perspective, we'll be striving to again get to the top of the pile, because winning a WEA award last year was a massive boost for us. It gives you proud employees for life, staff with a winning mentality.

"As an entrepreneur, you can be either optimistic or pessimistic.

"However, there's a big difference. A pessimist worries about bad things twice - before they happen and when they happen.

"But an optimist worries about those bad things just once - when they happen. Only worry about Brexit and all the bad things when they happen. For now let's get on with nurturing our workplace talent."

The Workplace & Employment Awards launch in Hickson's Point was attended by representatives from many of Northern Ireland's leading business organisations and trade groups, along with past winners and senior managers from the Irish News initiative's eight business partners.

Returning as sponsors for 2019 are Carson McDowell, The Public Health Agency, Henderson Group, Queen's University and venue partner Titanic Belfast, who will join three new business partners in Miller Hospitality, KPMG and Progressive Building Society.

The WEA theme for this year is Talent Equals Success.

"Attracting, recruiting, retaining and developing teams of people who fit your organisational culture and produce results for your organisations is critical for the future of Northern Ireland's economy in an ever-evolving business landscape," Irish News editor Noel Doran said.

"The word 'talent' has Greek and Latin origins, meaning a unit of weight or money. Today’s common definition is a unit of value equal to the value of a talent of gold or silver.

"So remember, your organisation's talent is your gold and silver. Don’t let it tarnish."

This year's WEAs will see the introduction of an overall Employer of the Year award, which the judges will select from all the entries received.

As well as the kudos of being named as overall Employer of the Year, the winner will also receive a special engagement workshop from well-being partner the Ulster Orchestra, which will enable further employee engagement.

"This should be a tremendous additional incentive for companies and organisations to continue to participate in the Workplace & Employment Awards, as they’ve done in their many hundreds since 2007," Mr Doran said.

:: Entries for the 2019 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards will remain open until Friday May 3, with the finalists being announced on Thursday May 16. More details at Follow us on Twitter at @irishnewsWEA

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