Top Employer Awards

The Top Employer Awards celebrate the very best companies for diversity & inclusion, flexible working, career progression for women, mental health and family support.

Enter the Top Employer Awards

Deadline for entries: 22nd October 2021

As we emerge from lockdown, the 2022 Top Employer Awards will take a look at the lessons learned from a hugely challenging time and how companies are building on them to become more responsive and adaptable to the inevitable changes ahead. The aim is to identify those organisations who have put their employees at the fore.

Ceremony date: 25th January 2021, 9.30am until 11.30am. If you would like to attend the online ceremony and live interactive Q&A, please complete the form below.

2022 Award Categories

Best for Mental Health

Sponsored by Kearney 

To be eligible for the Best for Mental Well Health Award employers should demonstrate initiatives aimed at protecting their employees mental health. Read more >>

Best for Diversity & Inclusion

To be eligible for the Best for D&I award employers should demonstrate actions taken to ensure equality of opportunity for all. Read more >>

Best for Flexible Working

To be eligible for the Best for Flexible Working Award employers should demonstrate how they promote and manage flexible working and encourage a flexible culture in their organisation. Read more >>

Best for Family Support 

To be eligible for the Family Support Award employers should demonstrate how their policies and practice support working families and carers. Read more >>

Best for Career Progression for Women

To be eligible employers should demonstrate initiatives aimed at developing women’s leadership potential, including women’s networks, mentoring initiatives, outreach, training and return to work programmes. Read more >>

Best for Older Workers

Sponsored by FSCS

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. Read more >>

Best for Returners

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. Read more >>

SME Award

To be eligible for the SME award, organisations should be able to demonstrate a real commitment to work life balance practices. This award is split into two by company size. Read more >>

Submit your entry

Supported by

fscs logo

Live Q&A

Following the presentation of the Top Employer Awards each year, we bring together a range of D&I experts, who are leading practical, on-the-ground initiatives, to discuss how organisations can make D&I a priority long-term and embed it in the workplace.

Find out more

Gillian Nissim

Founder, WM People 

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 parents, 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, followed by in 2018 and in 2019.

Jennifer Liston-Smith

Head of Thought Leadership for Bright Horizons Work+Family Solutions.

For over 20 years, Jennifer has advised employers in banking, professional services, STEM and wider sectors on programmes to improve flexible working, wellbeing, inclusion, family-friendly programmes and gender parity. She is a sought-after speaker, writer, conference moderator and consultant on these topics and more.

Jennifer set-up, and for a decade led, the Coaching & Consultancy side of what became Bright Horizons Work+Family Solutions, defining best practice and ‘next practice’, designing interventions and evaluating their impact and ROI, developing coaches and coaching capability, originating and lead authoring the online Parental Leave Toolkit and Parental Leave Toolkit for Managers.

She now focuses on identifying overarching trends through research, through advising employers and translating these insights into solutions and practical actions. An Oxford graduate, Jennifer holds Masters degrees in both Law and Experimental Psychology and several qualifications and accreditations in coaching psychology and coaching supervision.

Andy Lake


Andy Lake is a specialist in Smart Working, and has worked on dozens of implementations and evaluations across the private, public and voluntary sectors. He is the author of Smart Flexibility management book and numerous other publications researching and providing guidance on Smart Working and on the future of work. Andy has worked as an advisor with the UK Cabinet Office and the European Commission. He is the author of the British Standards PAS3000: Code of Practice for Smart Working, which all UK central government departments and agencies have to follow as they modernise working practices. Andy also runs the Smart Work Network (, a peer collaboration network for people implementing Smart Working in their organisations, and in October 2020 launched a European counterpart to this, Smart Work Europe.

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.

Bukola Adisa

Founder at Career Masterclass

Bukola Adisa

Bukola is the Founder/CEO of Career Masterclass which is a leading online career development platform focused on enabling the career growth of ambitious professionals by teaching the practical skills that they can use to build and enjoy a successful career.

Bukola is also a Risk and Controls executive who has held senior roles at some of the world’s largest financial services organisations such as HSBC, JP Morgan, NatWest and Deloitte. In her last role, she was a Managing Director and Head of Framework, Design and Execution within the Barclays Chief Controls Office. In this role, Bukola was responsible for the enterprise wide design and execution of the Risk and Controls Assessment process, ensuring that Barclays operates a very robust controls environment.

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.

Patrick Thomson

Senior Programme Manager – Fulfilling work, Centre for Ageing Better

Patrick is the lead on our Age-friendly employers programme.

Patrick works closely with employers, recruiters, and intermediaries to bring about behaviour change within organisations to maximise the benefits of the ageing workforce.

Patrick has experience of communications, policy, community relations and stakeholder engagement across a range of programmes for central government, major infrastructure projects, SMEs and FTSE 100 companies.

As a former member of the Government Social Research Unit he commissioned and managed projects for the Department for Work and Pensions’ ageing society strategy, leading to the evidence base for the removal of the Default Retirement Age.

Patrick previously managed wide-scale recruitment and workforce programmes for the London 2012 Organising Committee.

He joined Ageing Better in August 2015.

2021 Awards

This year was a special awards focused celebrating best practice adopted during the coronavirus pandemic, and the categories are considered key areas for success during the pandemic.

Best for D&I – sponsored by PwC

Winner: IBM UK Ltd.

Best for Mental Health – sponsored by Kearney

Winner: McDonald’s Restaurants Limited

Best for Line Manager Support – sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank

Winner: UBS

Best for Family Support – sponsored by McDonald’s

Winner: Teach First

Best for Flexible Working 

Winner: PwC

Best for Employee Engagement

Winner: Sky Betting & Gaming

Overall Top Employer Award

Winner: McDonald’s Restaurants Limited

With thanks to our 2021 Awards Sponsors



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

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

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