The SHRM-Atlanta IMPACT Awards

Innovation ● Motivation Performance 
Achievement ● Creativity ● Transformation


The annual SHRM-Atlanta IMPACT Awards recognize individuals or teams in the profession of Human Resources whose actions or initiatives have demonstrated outstanding impact and benefit – above and beyond normal expectations – to their business or the community. Nominees and their initiatives should reflect significant contributions through IMPACT: Innovation, Motivation, Performance, Achievement, Creativity or Transformation in the work being recognized. 


Nominations for the 2019 IMPACT Awards are now open! Nominate your HR team or individual today through January 15, 2019.   Finalists will be notified by February 28, 2019. Good luck!


Click here to submit your nomination



IMPACT Award winners receive recognition in front of a large audience of HR professionals at during SOAHR 2019: SHRM-Atlanta's Annual HR Conference. All winners will be featured on the SHRM-Atlanta website and submitted for recognition to local news agencies.


Applications will be evaluated by a panel of volunteer judges. The panel will evaluate submissions in respect to the values of IMPACT: Innovation, Motivation, Performance, Achievement, Creativity and Transformation and look for the following initiatives:

  • Leadership
  • Community Involvement
  • Project Management
  • Organizational Change

2018 IMPACT Award Winners

Fulton County Department of Human Resources Management

The Business Challenge they were addressing:  Fulton County’s HR department was tasked with creating a new competitive compensation plan to help motivate over 5,000 employees to consistently provide 5 STAR Customer Care to all customers, and the plan needed to be able to gain approval and support during a time when government agencies were facing potential budget cuts.

The Solution: After the HR Department performed a yearlong extensive research campaign that included both governmental and highly respected private sector companies, they took a creative approach to a customized Bonus program consistent with the County’s evolving organizational culture and strategic priorities.  The resulting Bonus Program tied all bonuses directly to the achievement of an external customer service rating. Each Department was allocated a proportionate amount of bonus funds, and it was departmental performance relative to meeting or exceeding KPIs – not individual performance – that determined the percentage of bonus funds distributed, with each employee within a department receiving the same bonus payout.

The IMPACT this initiative had on the business: By placing a county-wide emphasis on customer satisfaction and reinforcing the achievement of departmental commitment with incentive bonuses, this approach fostered teamwork, which improved individual and organizational performance and efficiency.  Based on the approval of the Fulton County Bonus Program and other HR initiatives, employee engagement increased by 44.4% from 2016 to 2017, which in turn significantly reduced absenteeism, turnover and rework. With the significant reduction in absenteeism and turnover in 2017, the HR department was able to redirect a portion of the $13.2M the County expended in 2016 due to employee absenteeism and turnover – in essence, they were able to highlight the value of investing in employees to increase their level of engagement, rather than paying for the lack of employee engagement.  And finally, with the launch of the new Bonus Program – the first performance-based incentive compensation plan for Fulton County, they increased their attractiveness as a ‘Best Place to Work, thus enabling the County to attract higher quality job applicants and retain valued employees.

City of Douglasville Human Resources Department

The Business Challenge they were addressing: For the City of Douglasville, which currently employs 280 full-time, part-time and temporary employees, healthcare plan costs were significantly increasing year over year – they increased over 50% from 2016 to 2017 – with no end in sight. Additionally, the cumulative loss ratio calculated by their current healthcare provider – which averaged over 107% - made it impossible to find a more competitive rate. In fact, the City had consistently received “decline to quote” responses from other insurance providers since 2013.

The Solution:  The new HR Director and his team decided to tackle the underlying problem head-on, focusing less on competitive health insurance bids and more on the health and wellness of their employees.  They created a new “D-Fit” Wellness Program for employees beginning in 2016 aimed at supporting employee health, as well as a new staff position for a Safety Coordinator to focus on safety initiatives.  In partnership with their health care provider, they created a Wellness Team in 2016 for strategic planning, along with both a Wellness Committee and Safety Committee, which meet quarterly and are comprised of employees in all departments.  From 2016 to 2017, the teams increased the number of wellness initiatives from 30 to 43, as well as implemented 19 safety initiatives.

The IMPACT of these initiatives: Prior to the implementation of the Wellness and Safety Committees, the annual Health Fair had less than 50 attendees. For 2016, attendee count soared to over 110 and in 2017 to over 125, indicating that employees were finding more value.  More importantly, the number of insurance claims began trending down significantly, with the current loss ratio now at an all-time low of 67%.  With the improved loss ratio, decrease in claims, and wellness program initiatives, the City was able to get more competitive insurance quotes, with a recent bid from a competing carrier quoting a manageable 1.2% increase over current rates.  In addition, the City of Douglasville was also recognized as a winner of the 2017 Healthiest Employees by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. And finally, the city successfully won a safety grant in the maximum amount of $20,000 from the Local Government and Risk Management Association to further assist their efforts to improve employee safety.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Human Resources

The Business Challenge they were addressing: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is dedicated to offering the highest quality of care to their patients and their families. The challenge leadership faced was how to cost effectively ensure quality staffing during the winter months, when their hospitals are at peak capacity, while at the same time reducing staff during the slower periods, without losing valuable talent.
The Solution:  The Children’s Healthcare HR Team, including Campus HR, Compensation and Recruiting, worked with Operations to develop a unique staffing program they called “Seasonal Staffing”.  Nurses and Respiratory therapists were able to choose to work more seasonally – for three, six, or eight months while earning a seasonal differential – then have a planned “off-season” while still maintaining benefits.    
The IMPACT of this initiative:  The Seasonal Staffing program has been well received by employees, helping them manage their personal lives as they are able to pick up second positions, travel the country, or be home during the summer with their families.  Departments now have access to fully trained staff that can jump in right away to best assist patients and families at Children’s, without the stress of having to call off employees during the slower census periods.  And not insignificantly, the program helped reduce premium staffing expenses by 30%.  The Seasonal Staffing program has been so successful that it almost doubled in year 2, as clinical employees enjoy the added flexibility for maintaining their work/life balance.

The AMB Group Human Resources Department 

The Business Challenge they were addressing: With the Opening Day of AMB Group’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium fast approaching, their Human Resources Team was tasked with hiring over 4,000 stadium associates in a way that preserved Arthur Blank’s two imperatives.  The first was that Arthurs’ six core values, of which all AMB associates live by, had to be palpably felt throughout the hiring, onboarding and training processes. And secondly, the recruiting team had to be sure that Westside RESIDENTS were included in the resulting stadium family, because an overarching goal for the Mercedes-Benz stadium was to be a catalyst for positive, transformational change in Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods.


The Solution: The AMB Group’s HR team went on the offense with their hiring approach, starting with the goal of creating a “family” of team members passionate about service and making a difference in people’s lives. The HR team proactively partnered with various Westside non-profit organizations and opened a Career Action Center in the neighborhood surrounding the stadium to provide hands-on help to Westside residents during the job application process.  They created an interview process that included values-led screening questions asked by Arthur himself, and conducted group interviews in a relaxed and encouraging atmosphere which provided opportunities for candidates to bond with each other. Onboarding processes were designed to welcome and “wow” each candidate, with Coaches, players and executives interacting and participating throughout. Every one of the 4,000+ associates successfully completed an 8-hour custom training experience that brought the core values to life and had a family-forming effect.


The IMPACT of these initiatives on the business: The AMB Group’s HR team successfully hired and onboarded over 4,000 associates during the summer of 2017.  Importantly, of those hired into the stadium family, over 150 were Westside community residents.  The HR team also created the Westside Ambassadors Program – a skills training and job internship program, with over 100 internship positions filled by Westside neighborhood youth. Because of the family and values-based approach to hiring, the customer experience has been exceptional since day one, as evidenced by overwhelmingly positive feedback on the level of hospitality guests have received by each stadium associate. 

Hope Harris, SHRM-CP | Support Branch Manager at Nickell Equipment Rental

The Business Challenge she was addressing: Nickell Equipment Rental, one of the largest independent construction equipment and tool rental companies in the southeast, needed to create an organizational structure to support aggressive growth while also protecting the company’s culture.

The Solution:  Hope joined a young and enthusiastic team back in 2015.  As Manager of the Support Branch team, Hope oversaw the departments of HR, Finance, Insurance and Risk Management Operations.
Nickell Rental has ranked on Inc. 5,000 list as one of the fastest-growing private companies each year, increasing headcount by 30% year over year, since 2015, when Hope joined the team.  To support this phenomenal growth, Hope first aligned each of her departments’ operations to the needs of the Nickell Store in order to better support and drive each store’s business objectives.  Hope then added new programs designed to more effectively onboard new employees, as well as engage and support the development of all employees, including creating comprehensive Manager-in-training and Mechanic-in-training programs.  To further support the business through cost savings, Hope developed new safety initiatives throughout the company aimed at lowering workers comp claims.

The IMPACT these initiatives had on the business: With the increased support and alignment from her departments, store teams were able to focus on sales and profitability, resulting in a 50% increase in gross sales since 2015. Employee onboarding and engagement levels improved so significantly, that Hope has been sought out as a speaker on these topics at both local and national industry events, and Nickell now has a waiting list of applicants in an industry still battling a shortage of skilled workers. And finally, the new safety initiatives resulted in a 50% drop in workers comp claims and significant cost savings – even as employee headcount continued to climb.  



2018 IMPACT Awards sponsored by: