launches Best Practice Report 2021 has launched its Best Practice Report which shares what the winners of its Top Employer Awards have done to address the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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HR teams have faced huge challenges in the last year to address the issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

A new report highlights those efforts and the best practice that has emerged as a result in areas ranging from mental health to diversity & inclusion.

The employers represented in Best Practice Report 2021 are winners of the’s 11th Top Employer Awards. They cover a range of sectors, from teaching, hospitality and finance to technology and gaming.

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. The surveys chart how the pandemic progressed, from a May 2020 one which showed early evidence of the fact women were shouldering most of the childcare and homeschooling during lockdown.

A survey in November focused on the longer-term impact of the pandemic, with a quarter of mums who had lost their jobs since the Covid-19 pandemic began saying it was due to childcare issues.

A third survey on the second lockdown showed parental exhaustion and wellbeing to be the big issues. A survey showed support for flexible working with four in five saying they were now more likely to request flexible or remote working.

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.

The employers featured are:

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.”

Top Employer Awards open for entries

The WM People 2022 Top Employer Awards are now open for entries. This year’s categories are:

  • Best for Mental Health
  • Best for Diversity & Inclusion
  • Best for Older Workers
  • Best for Flexible Working
  • Best for Returners
  • Best for Career Progression for Women
  • Best for Family Support
  • SME Award

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

The closing date for entries is 20th October 2021. More details here.

*The 2021 Best Practice Report can be accessed free by filling in the form below.

Best Practice Report

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