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.

2023 Awards will be open for entries on the 6th June 2022.

The awards ceremony will take place on the 7th February 2023. The event is for shortlisted companies. The ceremony will celebrate success, share best practice and will give attendees the opportunity to network with pioneering organisations.

2022 Award Categories

As we emerge from lockdown, the 2022 Top Employer Awards, sponsored by NHS Professionals, takes 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.

The winners were announced at a Ceremony on 25th January 2022.The Q&A, sponsored by Roche, focused on the work life cycle: tackling the career pinch-points in a working life.

Read more about the 2022 winners.

Best for Mental Health

Sponsored by Kearney 

Winner: Aggregate Industries

To be eligible for the Best for Mental Well Health Award employers needed to demonstrate initiatives aimed at protecting their employees mental health.

Shortlisted:  Aggregate Industries; Bromley Healthcare CIC; Capco; Inmarsat: Sunbelt Rentals; and The Gym Group

Best for Diversity & Inclusion

Sponsored by Chartered Management Institute 

Winner: Financial Services Compensation Scheme 

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

Shortlisted:  McDonald’s; Financial Services Compensation Scheme; Inmarsat; Amey; Aggregate Industries; and SMS Plc

Best for Flexible Working

Sponsored by McDonald’s Restaurant Ltd

Winner: Roche

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

Shortlisted: Inmarsat; The Gym Group; Vistry Group; Financial Services Compensation Scheme; and Roche

Best for Family Support 

Winner: John Lewis Partnership

To be eligible for the Family Support Award employers needed to show how their policies and practice support working families and carers.

Shortlisted: Inmarsat; John Lewis Partnership; and Monzo Bank

Best for Career Progression for Women

Sponsored by Chartered Management Institute 

Winner: McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd

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

Shortlisted: FDM Group; Financial Services Compensation Scheme; and McDonald’s

Best for Older Workers

Sponsored by FSCS

Winner: QA

To be eligible for The Best for Older Workers Award, employers provided 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.

Shortlisted: FDM Group and QA

Best for Returners

Sponsored by Resource Solutions

Winner: Tech Returners

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

Shortlisted: AWE; Capgemini; FDM Group; and Tech Returners

SME Award

Winner: Tech Returners

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

Shortlisted: Form 3 Financial Cloud and Tech Returners

Headline sponsor 

NHS Professionals logo

Supported by

fscs logo

McDonalds Logo

CMI logo

Live Q&A – The Work life Cycle: Tackling career pinch points

Our interactive Q&A session, sponsored by Roche, which will start at 10.45am, and will focus on the work life cycle: tackling the career pinch points in a working life, from starting a career and parenthood to midlife issues and retirement planning. 


Register for the Top Employer Awards Ceremony and Q&A here

Jennifer Liston-Smith (our Chair)

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.

Nebel Crowhurst

People & Culture Director, Roche

Nebel has a progressive approach to HR with an emphasis on delivering real business value and impact. Having spent a career supporting the people agenda within various organisations including River Island, Virgin and now Roche, Nebel has experienced extensive business change and growth. Using modern HR practices to implement fresh ideas on; performance management, Agile working, using evidence-based practice and Tech led approaches has resulted in achieving multiple HR industry awards. With real success in helping business leaders to understand the benefits of moving away from traditional HR tactics and truly leveraging the most valuable asset of any organisation … it’s talented people.

Bridget Workman

CEO, The Changing Work Company 

Bridget leads The Changing Work Company offering tailored training and consultancy at the intersection of smart working and change management. She is a world expert on smart working and for over 20 years she has been at the forefront of developing smart working principles and practice for the UK Government.

Siran Cao

Co-Founder/CEO, Mirza
Siran is a first-generation immigrant, daughter of a single mother, and the Co-Founder/CEO of Mirza—a first of its kind benefit that integrates family financial planning and childcare funding, so employers can ensure employee financial health and loyalty. Siran graduated with a degree in Gender Studies from Harvard and holds a Master’s from the London School of Economics. Siran was an early member of Uber’s New York City team, where she built driver support and eventually helmed that organization for the Northeast. With Mirza, Siran has gone full circle, bringing together her passions for women’s financial empowerment and technological innovation.

Mel Faxon

COO/Cofounder, Mirza

Mel is the Co-Founder/COO of Mirza—a first of its kind benefit that integrates family financial planning and childcare funding, so employers can ensure employee financial health and loyalty. Mel graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UVA and holds an MBA from London Business School. Mirza is her second company and is the manifestation of her passion for equitable access for all genders and the desire to operate in the social impact space.

David Allison

Co-Founder and CEO of TheTalentPeople & GetMyFirstJob Ltd

Having co-founded TheTalentPeople and the #1 website young people – – in 2011, I now act as the CEO of the business with a focus on helping get more young people into the right Apprenticeship, Job or Training Programme for them.

We also help employers with the challenges surrounding apprenticeship recruitment and the apprenticeship levy, such as identifying and recruiting talent.

Register for the Top Employer Awards Ceremony and Q&A here

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

Policy Institute Director – Shaw Trust

Patrick Thomson has recently joined the Shaw Trust Foundation as its first Policy Institute Director. Shaw Trust is a social enterprise with charitable status challenging inequality for people across the UK through employment and related support. Patrick has a background in the public, private and charitable sectors on policy, research, communications and delivery. He is a former member of the Government Social Research Unit, and was part of the Organising Committee that delivered the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Patrick joined the Shaw Trust from six years at the Centre for Ageing Better where he led their programmes on employer engagement and age-inclusive employment.

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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