Top Employers for Working Families – Awards 2015!
Published: 17 Jun 2015
A champagne afternoon tea at the spectacular Vintner’s Hall in London was the scene of the 2015 Top Employers for Working Families awards. Over 100 delegates gathered to find out who had won this year in each of the categories, and to discover what cutting edge best practice looks like in some of the UK’s leading organisations.
Guests mingled over drinks before being invited to take their seats for the awards. Sarah Jackson kicked off the afternoon by welcoming guests and telling them about some of the key themes that they had seen emerging in this year’s awards. She noted that organisations seemed really focussed on sustainability for their work life initiatives, and were working hard to embed them. There was, though, she said, no shortage of innovative and eye catching programmes and the introduction of Shared Parental Leave had injected new impetus and appetite to really push flexibility forwards.
Diversity and Inclusion expert Charlotte Sweeney gave the keynote speech. Drawing on her long experience heading up D&I in the financial sector, she also talked about her experience of working on Fiona Woolf’s Power of Diversity programme over the last 18 months. Whilst celebrating the best practice in evidence in the awards, Charlotte said that a real challenge facing many companies was to make it real for all employees: policies had to come off the paper and come alive in organisations. The good work demonstrated by the award finalists showed that it is possible to create and embed flexible working practices that are meaningful and useful for employees.
On to the awards, and the firsts award was the hotly contested Citymothers best for all stages of motherhood, won by digital company iCrossing and recognized by the judges for their career focused approach to motherhood. Next was the Cityfathers best for all stages of fatherhood, won by the London School of Economics and Political Science, not least for their 26 weeks fully paid leave for fathers. In the category there were also two highly commended entrants: Scottish Parliament and West Dunbartonshire Council. The National Grid & Carers UK best for carers & eldercare award was scooped by Centrica, who the judges felt were really leading the way when it came to carers. The next award was the Centrica best for flexible working award, and here American Express were highly commended whilst CAFCASS took the winning spot with what the judges called a compelling picture of organisational transformation with flexibility at its heart. iCrossing took another winner’s trophy home in the Direct Line Group best for line managers award, where the judges liked their commitment to empowering line managers by making them flexible working experts. The Santander best new flexible working initiatives award was another close fought category, and the winner was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who were rewarded for their well thought out return-to-work program. The DTCC best for innovation award was the final award, and this was shared between two joint winners: Deloitte, for their unique Time Out scheme that allows employees an extra 4 week block or leave each year; and the Ministry of Justice for their commuter hubs remote working innovation.
The afternoon concluded with a celebration of Working Families’ Shared Parental Leave pioneers list. Organisations had submitted a plethora of different SPL ideas for consideration this year, said Sarah Jackson, but with SPL only a few months old choosing one was a nigh on impossible task. Therefore 30 organisations, who are committed to the spirit of making shared leave a reality for their employees, were invited to come up and receive their SPL pioneers certificate. A wonderful afternoon concluded with a toast to the winners and the pioneers, and colleagues sharing their success.
The Top Employers website carries detailed case studies of this year’s winners and finalists.