Gold was won by Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu, with ManpowerGroup Malaysia winning silver, and Media Prima the bronze, for their comprehensive diversity & inclusion strategies.

The awards were given out at the inaugural edition of Asia Recruitment Awards, Malaysia, where each category was judged by practicing HR experts from companies around the region.

The standout initiative by the gold winner was the launch of an in-house Toastmasters Club, with a local branch of the association, the first such programme established by a hotel in Malaysia.

Set up in 2013, the club now has 59 members, who meet bi-weekly for two hours, with heads of deparments encouraged to provide their associates leeway for that time.

The members have not only grown to participate in in a number of local and national competitions, but have also improved vastly in their self-confidence in speaking to guests, through speech projects and other activities.

The yardstick to this improvement is the increased number of associates’ mentions in guest letters, brand website reviews and comments.

Explains Shirley Sim, director of HR, "When we are passionate in doing something, we will be successful."

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In silver spot, ManpowerGroup Malaysia focuses on providing an equal opportunity work environment, measured via three tools - Manpower Training & Development Centre, a 24x7 online portal; Manpower Annual People Survey, an internal “health-screen” on people and culture; and a grievance process.

Each team in the company consists of people of various ages, experience and exposure working as a unit, even as rewards are given to those who reflect the core values of people, knowledge and innovation.

Flexible working hours are available to all full-time employees, including freelancing and work-from-home options where the nature of the job permits, especially in cases of working mothers, retirees or those with physical disability.

Despite the influx of expat talent since 2013, the company has maintained its focus on "being fair" and "treating everyone the same," including appraising everyone on measurable KPIs.

The impact of such programmes reflects in the cultural diversity at the company, with 9 nationalities, aged between 18-71, and 63% of female working population.

Michelle Teoh, the strategic account manager, shares: "We embrace diversity in many aspects, from a 60-40 female-male mix to age distribution; from employment nature to nationality.

"The foundation is to maintain and fortified the equal opportunity work environment that draws talent globally."

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Bronze winner Media Prima, believes that its unity lies in its diversity among 4,178 employees, where the challenge is to ensure that all initiatives "reach and touch" each one.

Based on an engagement survey, it prioritised development opportunities, work-life balance, and family-friendly practices as the top areas to tackle.

Activities were launched covering each aspect, such as a lunch & learn session for those who missed the formal training opportunities, fitness classes for employees to maintain their health, and the academic achievement award by way of cash and plaques for employees' children.

The results spoke for themselves - 11,429 total training man days recorded in 2014, better relations between management and employees after participating in sports activities together, approximately 180 employees benefiting from products and services at booths in the office foyer, to name just a few.

"Media Prima is a melting pot of diverse cultures; from a 170-year-old print legacy to a 30-year-old TV station, a 20-year outdoor company, a 9-year-old radio station, and a 7-year-old digital ‘baby’. With a total staff strength of 4178 employees, our diversity is our unity," announced Dona Siti Zawina Don Najib, who looks after talent development & learning at the firm.

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For the full set of winners and photos, click here