Top Employer Award Categories

We are looking for organisations who understood the benefits, and see the positive business results, of responding to the needs of their employees around these issues. Research shows, for instance, that around 80% of employees will at some time in their working lives become parents.

The awards are free to enter. The aim is to celebrate and reward good practice and share it with others. A representative of each short-listed firm will be invited to the Awards presentation and networking event in November. Additional tickets can be purchased, but space is limited.


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Top employer awards 2017

Award Categories

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.

Entrants for each category who wish to be considered for The Overall Award are therefore advised to include an executive summary of their work in these areas if they have not already covered them in their submission.

To be eligible to apply for the Best for Recruitment and Talent Attraction Award, organisations should demonstrate that they have a recruitment process that aims to widen the talent pool and which addresses issues which have tended to exclude working mums. It should include issues such as outreach, advertising of job vacancies and the shortlisting and interview process as well as whether it is made clear that flexible working is possible

Research shows that few employers advertise openly that new jobs can be done flexibly, putting the onus on potential recruits to know when to raise the issue at interview. Current legislation means that you cannot apply for flexible working until you have been in a job for six months.

Nominees for this category should be able to demonstrate the diversity of their recruitment policies and how they are striving to address issues that act as a barrier to the recruitment of working mums. Issues that will be considered include:

  • Outreach work eg with schools to build the talent pipeline
  • Promotion of positive role models
  • Working with recruitment agencies to secure a more diverse talent pool
  • Unconscious bias training of hiring managers
  • Advertising flexible vacancies openly for all levels of the organisation
  • Positioning of the employer brand to target a diverse candidate base
  • Action on the wording & targeting of job adverts to increase diversity
  • Considerations about the make-up of hiring panels
  • Tackling unconscious bias over cv selection and shortlisting
  • Monitoring for bias and to check the effectiveness of policies

Submissions should be backed up by supporting evidence, where possible, such as case studies, examples of job adverts and training around interviewing.

Submit your entry

To be eligible for the Innovation Award, employers should demonstrate policies which are innovative and break new ground.

Employers should be able to demonstrate:

  • Policies and practices which are truly innovative in a particular sector or initiatives which break new ground.
  • What prompted the policies and any changes in practice, for instance, employee surveys, business and commercial reasons.
  • How they came to put the policy into effect.
  • Take-up and evaluation of the policies.
  • The business benefits of flexible working to the organisation and how these are measured.

Innovation can cover areas ranging from new forms of flexible working and making flexible working available and promoting it to all staff, including senior managers, to efforts to promote career progression for employees who work flexibly. Relevant case studies will strengthen applications.

Submit your entry


This award is sponsored by:


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.

Employers should demonstrate specific policies targeting dads, such as inclusive parenting networks, publications and outreach targeted around dad’s rights, shared parenting initiatives, innovative policies on parental and paternity leave which go beyond what current legislation stipulates and activities which support all parents.

They should show how these policies and practices are being communicated and monitored and include case studies.

Submit your entry

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.

These could include:

  • Emergency childcare provision.
  • Creche facilities.
  • Support for employees looking after elderly parents or relatives.
  • Family outings or activities that include the family.
  • Provision of term-time working, annualised hours or other innovative working policies which help with holiday childcare.
  • Support with finding or paying for childcare.

Case studies would strengthen the application.

Submit your entry

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.

Employers should demonstrate a commitment to and strategy for enabling women at all levels to progress in their careers, from returning to work after a career break to advancing through the ranks.

Organisations should be able to demonstrate, through case studies and publications/web material, organisation-wide attempts to encourage women’s advancement, for instance, through women’s networks, return to work networks or initiatives, women’s leadership programmes and mentoring initiatives and how these have impacted on the position of women in the organisation, including those who work flexibly.

Submit your entry


This award is sponsored by:

A T Kearney Top Employer

To be eligible to apply for the Best for returners Award, organisations 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.

Entrants should demonstrate:

  • The thinking process behind their returner initiative
  • Challenges they have overcome or restructuring of initiatives in response to feedback
  • How they monitor impact [for instance, through tracking returners]
  • Evidence of impact
  • Any additional support they offer after the initiative has taken place
  • How they are looking to change ideas about returners in their organisation or more broadly in their sector.

Submit your entry


This award is sponsored by:


Split into two categories 1-25 employees, and 26-250 employees.

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

Entrants should demonstrate a real commitment to work life balance practices which specifically help working parents. Possible areas, if relevant, you MAY include in your submission are:

  • Information on how flexible working works in your organisation and why what you offer is outside of standard practice
  • The range of working patterns available; term-time working, annualised hours, part time vacancies and take-up
  • How you support women’s return to work after maternity leave
  • How you support those returning from career breaks
  • Outline of any career development programmes for women
  • Do you use flexible working as a talent attraction tool, i.e. do you use it on recruitment adverts?
  • Initiatives to encourage the wellbeing of your staff
  • Good practice around family support – such as caring for sick children or elderly relatives
  • Initiatives that help dads at work

NB These are just suggestions and there may be other aspects relating to gender equality at work and family friendly working that you might like to highlight.

You should back your application up with case studies/testimonials from staff and data showing how these practices are being monitored and developed.

Providing Evidence

Only those entries that provide evidence of the impact of their practices will be considered.

Statistics you may include are:

  • % of women recruited in the last year and any data on recruitment to non-traditional roles for females
  • % of employees who work flexibly, whether formally or informally, including a male/female breakdown where possible
  • % of women in senior and middle management positions
  • % of women at board level
  • Retention rates after maternity/paternity leave

Case studies

For those areas where it is hard to quantify, please use case studies of employees who are benefiting from your practices. This is a great way to show how your way of working is having a positive impact e.g.

You could also consider testimonials from staff, but they should contain enough information to show impact on the employee’s ability to work, progress, on their well being or some other important personal factor.

Please ensure case studies and evidence is relevant to your application.

Submit your entry

The Working Mums Champion Award is for stand-out men or women whose efforts have made a big difference to working mums in the workplace.

Potential recipients of this Award would include:

– individuals or organisations who have come up with innovative ideas to help women overcome potential barriers to career progression

– senior or middle managers who have set up a parent support forum, put forward innovative proposals for areas such as maternity leave and return to work or introduced mentoring schemes for women.

– individuals who have championed the recruitment and retention of working mums through specific initiatives or in public forums.

These should be backed up by evidence of the impact of their actions and/or testimonies from some of those who have benefited as a result.

Submit your entry

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