WM People publishes Best Practice Report 2024

This year’s Best Practice Report celebrates the best in family-friendly, inclusive working and is full of ideas for how to attract and retain the best talent.

Audience at the Top Employer Awards


WMPeople.co.uk has published its 2024 Best Practice Report, which highlights employer best practice in everything from flexible working, family support, age diversity and talent attraction and outreach.

The Report, which begins with an overview of developments in family friendly and inclusive working over the last year, aims to show what the most progressive employers are doing, how they are doing it and what the impact is on their employees and on the business.

The Report includes interviews with all the winners of this year’s Top Employer Awards who talk about what they have done to affect culture change as well as individual employee case studies which demonstrate the difference they make.

The employers represented are ServiceNow, AMS, Murphy, 4PS Construction Solutions Ltd, AtkinsRealis, Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Lloyds Banking Group, Harper James, Phoenix Group, Aviva, Vistry Group and Motel One.

ServiceNow won Overall Top Employer and Best for Diversity and Inclusion as well as sharing the Special Innovation Award with Murphy. It was praised for its innovative approach to diversity and inclusion, including its NextGen programme which aims to equip one million people with tech skills by the end of 2024.

SME winner Harper James was founded by Toby Harper in 2014 as an alternative law firm to the traditional law firm model. His aim was to offer lawyers and others working in a law firm the opportunity to achieve a true work-life balance in an environment without politics and bureaucracy. He also sought to provide start-ups and entrepreneurial businesses with access to affordable and excellent legal advice through unique subscription plans.

Harper says: “It’s inherent in our culture to support and offer flexibility to everyone with a need – and we trust our people to work as flexibly as required, ranging from doing the daily school run to extended periods of leave or schedule adjustments to support family and/or for unforeseen circumstances. We regularly adapt working patterns and responsibilities, temporarily or permanently, as we understand life happens and appreciate that stability and support at work can make all the difference.”

Partner Jas Bhogal is featured in the report and tells how the firm’s family-friendly culture has helped her as a working mums. She says: “I’ve been able to achieve the career I’ve always wanted – I haven’t become stagnant; my career hasn’t stood still. I started at Harper James working as a freelance solicitor for Toby when it was just the two of us, and now I’m a Partner in the firm and I manage a team of amazing junior and senior-level lawyers. It’s been nine years since I got the call from Toby to join Harper James and I haven’t looked back since.”

There were three new categories at the Awards in 2024. Best for Learning and Development won by hotel group Motel One which offers extensive training for all employees, a Special Innovation Award [construction business Murphy shared this with ServiceNow for its innovative approach to hiring people on the autistic spectrum] and Best for Talent Attraction and Outreach won by construction firm Vistry Group which targets young people through a series of different avenues to attract a diverse workforce.

Other categories include Best for Family Support, won by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme who have a comprehensive range of support for families, from 20 days paid dependents’ leave to extensive support for carers; Best for Mental Health, won by 4PS who put workload front and centre of its mental health policies and offer a range of activities which are proven to boost wellbeing, from gardening to creative sessions; Best for Older Workers won by insurance company Phoenix Group for its comprehensive approach to age diversity both internally and externally; Best for Flexible Working won by design, engineering and project management firm AtkinsRéalis which in 2019  brought in a day one right to request flexible working, offers flexible bank holidays and helps to educate its employees about their flexible working rights; and Best for Returners won by Lloyds Banking Group for its forward-thinking approach to normalising the hiring of returners.

Top Employer Awards

The aim of the Report and the Top Employer Awards is to spread employer best practice. The launch of the Report follows the opening of entries to the 2025 Top Employer Awards. There is one new category on age diversity which embraces multigenerational working and the mental health category is extended to cover health and wellbeing to reflect the links between physical and mental health and growing concerns about economic inactivity due to health issues. Find out more here.

The judges of the 2024 Awards were Gillian Nissim, founder of WM People;* Andy Lake, editor of Flexibility.co.uk; Jennifer Liston-Smith, Head of Thought Leadership at Bright Horizons Work + Family Solutions;  Dave Dunbar, Head of Digital Workspace at the Department for Work and Pensions; Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at Cranfield School of Management; Salma Shah, Founder of Mastering Your Power Coach Training; and Kim Chaplain, Associate Director for Work, Centre for Ageing Better.

*To download the Best Practice Report, please click here

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