Top Employer Awards

Our Top Employer Awards celebrate best practice in smart and family friendly working, gender diversity and older workers.      

The Awards recognise employers both big and small who have embraced the business benefits of flexible working and have been proactive in seeking to recruit and retain talented staff, particularly working parents who want to combine successful careers with being a parent and experienced older workers, a growing demographic who face specific issues, particularly as the state pension age rises.


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Top Employer Awards, flexible working

The 2020 awards will be open for entry in March.

2020 Categories

Overall Top Employer Award

The winners of each category will be put forward for The Overall Top Employer Award, which is for employers who can demonstrate commitment to a range of policies and practices related to family support, women’s career progression and flexible working. More>>

Best for Innovation Award

This award covers innovation in flexible and family friendly working, whether that be an initiative or policy that breaks new ground or provides a different way of supporting flexible working or parents in the workplace. More>>

Career Progression Award – sponsored by Kearney

To be eligible for the career progression award employers should demonstrate initiatives aimed at developing women’s leadership potential, including women’s networks, mentoring initiatives and return to work programmes. More>>

Best for Recruitment & Talent Attraction Award

To be eligible to apply for the Talent Attraction Award, organisations should demonstrate that their recruitment process openly promotes flexible working. More>>

Family Support Award 

To be eligible to apply for the Family Support Award, employers should demonstrate policies and practices which aim to make it easier to balance work and family life. More>>

Best for Returners Award

To be eligible to apply for the Best for returners Award, organisations will need to demonstrate they have stand-out programmes or initiatives aimed at returners – those who have taken a career break and are looking to get back into the workplace. More>>

Best for OIder Workers Award

To be eligible for The Best for Older Workers Award, employers should provide details of what they do and how it helps older workers, including through metrics, how they are monitoring success and individual case studies which show impact. More >>

Best for Dads Award

To be eligible for The Best for Dads Award, employers should demonstrate specific policies targeting dads, such as inclusive parenting networks, publications and outreach targeted around dad’s rights. More >>

SME Award

To be eligible for the SME award, organisations should be able to demonstrate a real commitment to work life balance practices. More>>

The Working Mums Champion Award

This Award is for stand-out men or women whose efforts have made a big difference to working mums in their workplace. More>>

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Enter the 2020 Awards

In order to be considered, all interested employers are required to complete an application covering key areas as outlined in the guidance. It is vital that employers include data that is specific and relevant to the category they choose to enter so that the judges can see why they should be considered for a specific Award. Employers may choose to enter more than one category. Please submit a new form per award category.

Strengthening Your Application

Employers will need to strengthen their application by including case studies and testimonials which are relevant to the category applied for as well as evidence that policies are being monitored and developed, such as statistics on take-up of policies.

If you believe your policies or practices to be innovative, either generally or within your own sector, please provide as much information as you can (why you implemented the initiative/policy, how it is managed, results or predicted result, for example) to ensure your applications stands out from your peers.

The Process

There will be an initial screening by and a shortlist compiled. Shortlisted entrants will then be judged by a panel of judges that will include experts on the issues concerned. The application will be judged purely on the application form and evidence supplied – hence the need for a strong, relevant application.

Please complete the online application form. This includes, 1,000 word maximum citation on why your organisation should be considered for the award, and supporting evidence (unlimited words). If you have documents you would like to include in your supporting evidence, please email One form should be completed per award entry.

The deadline for entries July 24th 2020.

Please note that all submissions are confidential and will only be reviewed within and with our judges.

If you are entering the Working Mums Champion Award, please navigate to the relevant category here and submit your entry. For all other categories, please click the button below and complete the online form.

Submit Entry

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a high priority at Roche and is the engine of our innovation. We think beyond physical characteristics to the qualities that make each person unique. And we are interested in the whole person, not just a professional persona. We’ve created an inclusive workplace where each individual is respected and can contribute their skills, experiences and perspectives fully. And we find that there is a beautiful correlation between innovation through inclusion and happy employees and workplaces.

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Kearney is a leading global management consultancy, helping some of the world’s largest companies to achieve sustainable competitive advantage. For over 90 years, we’ve provided strategic solutions to CEO-level concerns, delivering tangible results through a broad range of experience, but our greatest asset is our people. Kearney is committed to building an inclusive culture, and helping clients achieve long-term growth and performance.

The 2020 Keynote Speaker will be announced soon.

Previous years’ Keynote speakers include:

  • 2019 – Caroline Waters OBE FRSA CiPD(Hons)
  • 2018  – Gavin Shuker MP
  • 2017 – Anne Francke – CEO at CMI
  • 2016 – Flick Drummond (MP for Portsmouth South) & Jess Phillips (MP for Birmingham Yardley) co-chairs of the all-party parliamentary group on women and work
  • 2015 – Eva Tutchell & John Redmond, Authors of ‘Man-Made: why so few women are in positions of power’
  • 2014 – Wendy Hallett, MBE, founder and managing director of Hallett Retail and a member of the Women’s Business Council
  • 2013 – Jo Swinson, former Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs and former Minister for Women and Equalities.

Gillian Nissim


Gillian NissimA former Senior Communications Executive, Gillian has worked at a number of different organisations with very different cultures and attitudes towards family friendly working policies. After the birth of her second child she decided to set up her own company to cater for the businesses who did appreciate the vast experience and high calibre of professionals who had become mums, and wanted to find challenging and interesting jobs that offered more flexibility than traditional office-based, Monday – Friday, 9:00 – 5:00 jobs.

A graduate of Birmingham University, Gillian launched in 2006, which is now the number one job and community site for professional working mothers.

Andy Lake


Andy Lake is a specialist in Smart and Flexible Working, and has worked on dozens of implementations and evaluations across the private and public sectors. He is the author of Smart Flexibility (Routledge) and numerous other publications. Andy has worked with the Cabinet Office in this field and wrote the guidelines for the Civil Service, The Way We Work: A Guide to Smart Working in Government.



Jennifer Liston-Smith

Head of Coaching, Consultancy & Thought Leadership at Bright Horizons Work+Family Solutions 

Jennifer is a sought-after consultant on employer family-friendly strategies, speaker, writer, leadership coach and coaching supervisor.

As an established pioneer and innovator in the field of coaching for both leadership and parents at work, and with many years’ experience working with large employers, Jennifer joined My Family Care in 2010 to build and lead the Coaching and Consultancy side of the business.

Jennifer’s team has coached thousands of working parents, carers and their line managers at many of the world’s leading employer organisations, and advised on best practice from family-friendly to flexible working, gender pay gap to shared parental leave. In February 2019, My Family Care was acquired by Bright Horizons, forming Bright Horizons Work+Family Solutions. The company provides a wide range of services to employers from consultancy and coaching, online portals and toolkits through to Backup Care and Workplace Nurseries.

Jennifer has several qualifications in coaching psychology including a Post-Graduate Certificate in Coaching Supervision, Principal Practitioner status with the Association for Business Psychology and a Masters in Experimental Psychology, as well as an Oxford University law degree. Jennifer is a mother of two teenage boys and understands the challenges of combining a demanding senior role with family life.


David Dunbar

Head of Digital Workspace at the Department of Work and Pensions 

David former roles include heading BT’s Flexible Working Services division, which offered a range of managed services around agile working, as well as owning BT’s own internal flexible working programme across 22 countries. He was also Head of Digital Workplace at Nationwide Building Society,  responsible for introducing innovative environments and culture change, by bringing together HR, Property and IT to drive change across the organisation. In addition he has delivered consultancy around Digital Workplace, Dynamic Working and Workplace Transformation to public and private sector organisations of all shapes and size.
He is currently the Head of Digital Workspace at the Department of Work and Pensions, the UK’s largest public sector department, where he is responsible for the infrastructure to support new ways of working, for modernising the tools, desktop, and mobile solutions used by around 90,000 employees, and for delivering new office and hub space to support collaborative and agile working.


Dr Clare Kelliher

Professor of Work & Organisation, Cranfield University

Clare Kelliher, BSc, MA, PhD is Professor of Work and Organisation at Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University. Clare holds a PhD in Organisational Behaviour from London Business School, an MA in Industrial Relations from the University of Warwick and a first degree in management from the University of Surrey.

Her research interests centre around the organisation of work and the management of the employment relationship. She has a long-standing interest in flexible working and recently directed a major project concerned with examining the impact of flexible working on performance, sponsored by seven companies. She has also recently completed a project looking at employee engagement in multi-national organisations, funded by the US Society for HRM Foundation.

Clare is the author of many published papers and book chapters and regularly speaks at national and international conferences. Her recent book, New Ways of Organising Work: developments, perspectives and experiences, co-edited with Julia Richardson was published by Routledge. In 2012 she also published a text book on Strategic HRM together with Katie Truss and David Mankin. She has considerable experience running management programmes and advising organisations both in the UK and overseas. She frequently acts as an external examiner for doctoral and Masters degrees at universities in the UK and overseas.

2019 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: Vodafone UK

The Working Mums Champion Award: Carolanne Minashi, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at UBS

The Best For Returners Award: Vodafone UK

The SME Award: Carty Services and Independent Living Fund Scotland

Best for Recruitment & Talent Attraction Award:  Arnold Clark

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: Food Standards Agency

The Career Progression Award: HP Inc UK

The Family Support Award: London Borough of Waltham Forest and Vodafone UK

Best For Dads Award: Aviva

Top Employer Awards

Top Employer Awards

2018 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: FDM Group

The Working Mums Champion Award: Julianne Miles from Women Returners

The Best For Returners Award: UBS

The SME Award: Radioactive PR 

The Talent Attraction Award: Roche

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: Civil Service Human Resources

The Career Progression Award: FDM Group

The Family Support Award: Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure

2017 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: Lloyds Banking Group

The Working Mums Champion Award: Dawn Moore, Director of Human Resources at Morgan Sindall

The SME Award (1-25 employees): Cuttsy & Cuttsy Limited

The SME Award (26-250 employees): Genie Ventures

The Talent Attraction Award: Lloyds Banking Group

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: McDonald’s

The Career Progression Award: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

The Best for Dads Award:  Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

The Family Support Award: M&G Investments

2016 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: Sky

The Working Mums Champion Award: Jane Magill, Macquarie Group

The SME Award (1-25 employees): Cuttsy & Cuttsy

The SME Award (26-250 employees): Madgex

The Talent Attraction Award: Berwin Leighton Paisner

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: Vodafone

The Career Progression Award: Sky

The Best for Dads Award:  Lloyds Banking Group

The Family Support Award: Carillion Plc

2015 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: Cafcass

The Working Mums Champion Award: Natasha Clarke, SThree PLC

The SME Award (1-25 employees): Cariad Marketing

The SME Award (26-250 employees): iCrossing

The Talent Attraction Award: Barclays

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: Cafcass

The Career Progression Award: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

The Best for Dads Award: The London School of Economics and Political Science

The Family Support Award: Centrica plc


2014 Award Winners

Overall Top Employer Award: McMillan Williams Solicitors

Innovation in Flexible Working Award: BAE Systems Maritime Naval Ships

Career Progression Award: A.T. Kearney Ltd

Best for Dads Award: London School Of Economics

Talent Attraction Award: Reality HR Ltd

SME Award (26-250 employees): McMillan Williams Solicitors

SME Award (1-25 employees): Hireserve Ltd

Family Support Award: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

The Working Mums Champion Award: Adeline Ginn of Women in Rail

2013 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: Atkins

The Working Mums Champion Award: Clare Bishop of Addison Lee

The SME Award (1-25 employees): Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd

The SME Award (26-250 employees): Brand Learning

The Talent Attraction Award:  Barclays

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: Atkins

The Best for Dads Award: The London School of Economics & Political Science

The Family Support Award: Danone

Career Progression Award: Royal Mail Group

2012 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: Unilever

The Working Mums Champion Award: Natalie Bickford, Sodexo

The SME Award (1-25 employees): Martin Carty Gardening

The SME Award (26-250 employees): Cool2Care

The Employee Engagement Award: The Royal Bank of Scotland

The Talent Attraction Award: CA Technologies

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: Unilever

The Best for Dads Award: The London School of Economics & Political Science

The Family Support Award: Barclays

2011 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: John Lewis Partnership

The Working Mums Champion Award: Mia Drennan, Square Mile Connections

The SME Award (1-25 employees): Hireserve

The SME Award (26-250 employees): Duo

The Employee Engagement Award: Prudential

The Talent Attraction Award: Virtual Sales Team

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: Accenture

The Childcare Award: John Lewis Partnership

2010 Top Employer Awards

The Overall Top Employer Award: Accenture

The SME Award: hr180

The Employee Engagement Award: John Lewis Partnership

The Innovation In Flexible Working Award: KPMG

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