Awards to highlight how firms have adapted to pandemic

The flagship awards scheme run by Deloitte Private and Bank of Ireland is unique in its approach to recognising indigenous companies whose ambition plays such a crucial role in supporting the economy and sustaining employment

21st February, 2021
Frank Ryan, Chair of the Best Managed Companies judging panel and Chair of IDA Ireland

It has been a year like no other for Irish businesses, and the resilience and resourcefulness demonstrated by many will be a key focus for judges in this year’s Best Managed Companies programme.

The flagship awards scheme, run by Deloitte Private in association with Bank of Ireland, is unique in its approach to recognising and supporting indigenous companies whose vision, ambition and ability plays such a crucial role in supporting the economy and sustaining employment.

The existing Best Managed Companies network of 130 businesses in the North and South already generate combined annual revenues of €11.4 billion and export sales in excess of €3 billion.

Drawn from a broad range of sectors, these companies together sustain 42,000 jobs across the island of Ireland.

The 2021 Best Managed Companies awards programme seeks to recognise the ways in which indigenous companies have responded, and adapted, to the seismic events of the past year.

“The pandemic has tested the resilience of companies across the board,” Harry Goddard, chief executive of Deloitte Ireland and a member of this year’s judging panel, said.

“The context many organisations operate in has shifted significantly. These changes have been led by Covid and Brexit, but also by the move to digital.

“This year, we will be looking at how companies have leveraged that resilience into their operations and cultures to help them address the challenges posed by the pandemic and to position them to successfully deal with future disruptions.”

The judging process in the Best Managed Companies awards programme is distinctive, here in Ireland and internationally, for its holistic approach, which takes into account applicants’ management capabilities and practices across all key business functions.

Companies are assessed across four pillars – strategy; capability and innovation; culture and commitment; and governance and financials – each weighted equally in the judging process.

Under this four-pillar framework, applicants to the 2021 programme will be encouraged to share how they have responded to the impact of the pandemic, including examples of how they have protected their people and their communities in a highly challenging and volatile economic period.

It will also be noted that the impact of the pandemic has varied significantly from sector to sector, and business to business.

“Among this year’s applicants, we will be taking into account how the pandemic has impacted some sectors more than others,” Frank Ryan, the chair of this year’s judging panel, and chair of IDA Ireland, said.

“While the Covid-19 challenge has created opportunities for some companies, we are keen to see how companies have made the most of these opportunities,” he said.

“For others, it has presented very difficult challenges and we are equally keen to see how these challenges have been addressed.”

As chair of this year’s Best Managed Companies judging panel, Ryan will lead a distinguished group of judges, including:

Harry Goddard, chief executive, Deloitte Ireland LLP

Nikki Canavan, senior director, Markets and Origination at Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking

Rose Hynes, chairman of the Irish Aviation Authority and Origin Enterprises plc

Feargal Mooney, former chief executive of Hostelworld Group plc

Kate Malone, director of human resources with Irish Management Institute (IMI)

Colm O’Reilly, chief executive at the Business Post

Ryan urged companies in all sectors to apply to this year’s programme, citing among its many unique benefits the tailored coaching offered by both Deloitte and Bank of Ireland.

Available to all applicants, whether a winner or not, the coaching process gives companies independent insight into their strengths and capabilities, helping to validate their strategic direction.

“In addition to the coaching offered through the application process, participants have told us that they really appreciate the tailored feedback offered by the judging panel to all applicants to assist them on their future growth paths,” Goddard said.

“It has been especially heartening to hear how the guidance and direction offered through the programme has helped companies navigate the particular challenges posed by the pandemic over the past year.”

The Best Managed designation itself has become a globally recognised symbol of business success and resilience. The programme is run in 35 countries worldwide.

This designation acts as an important marketing and recruitment tool for companies in the Best Managed network.

In addition to national and peer recognition, winners also get the opportunity to network with other companies in the Best Managed network, along with access to year-round (currently virtual) events, such as industry roundtables and fireside chats with leading business figures.

They received national media exposure through the annual Best Managed Companies awards gala and the programme’s media partner, the Business Post.

Exclusive professional development is provided for management teams at the annual Best Managed Symposium hosted in partnership with the Irish Management Institute, the programme’s academic partner.

This year will also see the introduction of a new award for the Best Managed Family Business, in association with the Family Business Network Ireland.

“Now more than ever is the time to participate in this programme,” Ryan said. “A Best Managed Company Award is an endorsement of the standing of your company on the world stage. It is an award that illuminates for staff that their contribution is valued.

“It yields a great opportunity to communicate to customers and staff alike your firm’s determination to successfully trade through challenging times and to emerge stronger than ever.”

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, indigenous businesses have gone the extra mile, continuing to operate, and manufacture and deliver goods and services in a highly disruptive operational environment, all the while keeping their people’s safety top of mind.

“Among this year’s applicants, I think we’ll clearly see that employee safety and wellbeing remains their first priority and also how they have enabled and embraced a remote and flexible workforce,” Rose Hynes said.

“I am excited to see how they have invested in digitisation, enhanced their customer relationships and connectivity and combined this with new work practices in order to do business.”

The closing date for applications to the 2021 Best Managed Companies awards programme is this Friday, February 26. For more information on the programme, eligibility and to apply, log on to

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