Top Employers Awards 2022 launched

WM People has launched its Top Employer Awards for 2022, which aim to promote best practice in family friendly and flexible working.

Paternity Leave and flexible working opportunities


WM People is launching the 12th Top Employer Awards to celebrate best practice in family friendly and flexible employment as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.  

This year’s categories are:

Best for Mental Health – sponsored by Kearney – for employers who demonstrate strong initiatives aimed at protecting their employees’ mental health.

Best for Diversity & Inclusion – for employers who can demonstrate how their actions ensure equality of opportunity for all

Best for Older Workers – for employers who recognise the needs of older workers and ensure that they feel equally valued and supported

Best for Flexible Working – for employers who can demonstrate how they promote and manage flexible workers and encourage a flexible culture in their organisation from day one.

Best for Returners Award – for employers with stand-out programmes or initiatives aimed at returners – those who have taken a career break and are looking to get back into the workplace.

Best for Career Progression for Women – for employers who demonstrate initiatives aimed at developing women’s leadership potential, including women’s networks, mentoring initiatives, outreach, training and return to work programmes.

Best for Family Support – for employers who can demonstrate how they support parents and carers and embrace different forms of family set-up.

SME Award – for employers who can demonstrate a real commitment to work life balance practices. This award is split into two by company size.

An Overall Top Employer Award will be chosen from the winners of the other categories.

The closing date for entries is 20th October. More details can be found here.

Best Practice Report 2021

The launch comes as our sister site publishes its Best Practice Report, based on findings from the winners of the 2021 Top Employer Awards. They cover a range of sectors, from teaching, hospitality and finance to technology and gaming, and some of the biggest challenges that employers have faced during the pandemic, from wellbeing to employee engagement and diversity and inclusion.

The introduction to the report covers the main events of 2020 and early 2021 as well as the work of and its fellow WM People sites, and, over the year.

That includes roundtables, Facebook Lives, reports and surveys. A survey, for instance, showed overwhelming support for flexible working, with four in five saying they are now more likely to request flexible or remote working. 68% were working from home, but over three quarters of these had either never worked from home or did so only occasionally before the pandemic struck. Three quarters said they were doing more childcare than they were at the start of 2020.  Interestingly, they were much more likely than mums to say the childcare was shared – 46% said they split things equally.

The Best Practice Report provides concrete examples of how employers have sought to address some of these challenges and have adapted to the different phases of the pandemic.

Top Employer Award winners featured in the Best Practice Report

McDonald’s – which won Overall Top Employer and Best for Mental Health for the broad and inclusive range of support it offered in such a very challenging environment for retail and the way the company went out of its way to support staff and franchisees and to make sure they felt safe.

IBM UK which won the Best for Diversity & Inclusion Award and outlines its wide-ranging focus on diversity and inclusion, including hidden disabilities and neurodiversity, the way it monitored progress and how the company recognised the importance of the #MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter with its comprehensive training and support on both topics provided with the IBM Emb(race) pledge.

PwC which won the Best for Flexible Working Award and speaks about how it introduced a time off for dependents time code to recognise that parents in particular were balancing other issues during lockdown, about its innovative Virtual Park to support remote onboarding and its ongoing commitment to flexibility.

Teach First which won the Best for Family Support Award and talks about its open embrace of a diverse range of families and its wide range of policies to support them, from premature birth policies and paid carers’ leave to compassionate leave policies and a fully flexible approach.

Sky Betting & Gaming which won the Best for Employee Engagement Award and outlines its positive, holistic and proactive approach to employee engagement, based on its three pillars of physical and mental well being and good vibes based on positive, interactive engagement.

And UBS, which won the Best for Line Manager Support Award and talks about the range of support it offers for line managers across mental well being, flexible working and diversity and inclusion and why this is crucial to setting the culture of the organisation.

The Best Practice Report is sponsored by construction firm Morgan Sindall Infrastructure. HR Director Katie Smith said: “It’s been a tough year, but in the face of adversity, there have been some remarkable success stories that we are excited to celebrate. I have no doubt that mental wellbeing, employee engagement and inclusion and diversity will continue to be a key focus for many organisations, whatever this coming year holds.  This best practice report highlights some fantastic case studies that we can all benefit from and use in our workplaces to support our colleagues and organisations to continue to succeed.”

Gillian Nissim, founder of WM People, the umbrella group for, and, said: ”The Best Practice Report traces developments over this last hugely difficult year. We hope it will promote discussion, inspire other employers and provide ideas about how to make more adaptable, flexible and resilient organisations that can withstand the kind of disruption that we are likely to face for some time to come.”

*The 2021 Best Practice Report can be accessed free here.

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