INTERNET search provider Google Asia Pacific emerged as one of the biggest winners at the annual HRM Awards last night.

More than 800 business and human resources (HR) leaders at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore were on hand as the company picked up three of the most coveted gongs in what is considered the "Oscars" of the local HR industry.

Google scooped the STJobs Award for Best Employer Branding and the Hays Award for Employer of Choice, and its director and head of people technology and operations, Mr D. N. Prasad, was named Best HR Leader.

The other STJobs Award for Best Recruitment Strategies went to the Ministry of Education, while the prize for Best Performance and Productivity Practices was picked up by Philips Singapore.

Three new categories were introduced this year. The Capita Award for Best Engagement Strategies was won by Fuji Xerox Singapore, while the award for Best Use of Social Media went to Dell Singapore. Keppel Offshore and Marine snagged the award for Best Graduate Development.

The award recipients touched upon various strategies that have made their HR programmes successful.

Ms Cheryl Tang, Google's staffing programmes specialist, picked up the Best Employer Branding award on behalf of the company.

She said the company's brand is meant to be "true, unique and compelling". Its staff also act as ambassadors for the brand, creating a consistent image both within the company and outside, so that expectations are met.

"We remind our staff of why they want to work for Google and why they do," she added.

"We are not a conventional company, and we don't want to be one. We want people who are passionate and who want to make a positive impact."

Ms Jenny Lee, Philips' senior HR manager for the Asia-Pacific, picked up the award for Best Performance and Productivity Practices.

She said the company had introduced smart key performance indicators about five to six years ago that allow staff to better gauge their performance.

For instance, rather than just asking the marketing team to execute their strategy in broad terms, it offers specific targets, such as market share and milestones that should be met across a certain timeframe, she said.

Philips has also put in place staff wellness programmes such as weekly dance and yoga programmes. It also installed a gym in the office about two years back.

Other award winners included Resorts World Sentosa Singapore, UBS Singapore, Unilever Asia, the Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore General Hospital.

There were about 84 finalist organisations competing for 23 awards, including American Express, Deutsche Bank, Scoot and Facebook.