Top Employer Awards

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

2023 Awards are open for entries.

The awards ceremony will take place on the 7th February 2023 in London. 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.

Deadline for entries: 28th October 2022

Submit your entry

2023 Award Categories

Best for Mental Health

Sponsored by Kearney 

To be eligible for the Best for Mental Well Health Award employers needed to 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 had to demonstrate actions taken to ensure equality of opportunity for all. Read more >>

Best for Flexible Working

Sponsored by FDM Group

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. Read more >>

Best for Family Support 

Sponsored by FSCS

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

Best for Career Progression for Women

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. Read more >>

Best for 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. Read more >>

Best SME Award

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

Best for Older Workers

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. Read more >>

Best for Dads 

To be eligible for the SME award, employers should demonstrate specific policies targeting dads, such as innovative policies on paternity leave which go beyond current legislation, inclusive parenting networks, practices focusing on male mental health and diversity, publications and outreach targeted around dad’s rights and shared parenting initiatives. Read more >>

Headline sponsor 

NHS Professionals logo

Supported by

fscs logo

FDM Logo


Benchmark your entry 

View 2022 Top Employer Award winners. Download a copy of the Best Practice Report.

Best Practice Report 2022


Our keynote speakers at the 2023 Top Employer Awards will be Jane Portas. 

Jane Portas is a financial expert, public speaker, and author of The Risks in Life Series of award-winning insight reports and financial wellbeing guides.  She is the creator of 6 Moments That Matter, a unique life-stage approach combining money and life wellbeing to help people live a secure financial life, and to enable organisations to improve fair financial futures. Her work, including her authorship of Insuring Women’s Futures’ manifesto, is credited with informing the adoption by the UK Money and Pensions Service of a gendered approach to financial guidance and a focus by financial firms on inclusive customer approaches and closing the gender pension gap.  It has featured in multiple media including the Financial Times, BBC News, and various magazines.

Jane is a Chartered Accountant and former financial services advisory partner of two of the “big four” accounting and professional services firms.  She is a member of Women’s Business Council, an adviser to the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, and a co-founder of Insuring Women’s Futures.



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.

Salma Shah

Writer and Founder of Mastering your Power (

Salma Shah is the Founder and Director of the award-winning Mastering Your Power, a certified coach training and inclusive leadership programme designed with a wider systemic lens of diversity, inclusion, belonging and equity. 
Based in London, UK she works with clients at all levels in public, private and voluntary sectors; supervises and trains other coaches; presents at events both in the UK and internationally.
She has worked with clients across a range of industries, including: Co-op Group, Barclays, John Lewis partnership, Skipton Building Society, O2, British Transport Police and Metropolitan Police. She has also travelled the globe delivering programs for major international organisations including: Oracle, Ernst and Young (Kuwait, Palestine).
Salma is the author of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in coaching which was published by Kogan Page in April 2022. She is also on the Board of Savera UK, a charity tackling culturally-specific ‘honour’- based abuse.​

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.

Kim Chaplain

Associate Director for Work, Centre for Ageing Better 

Kim Chaplain Centre for Ageing BetterKim is Associate Director for Work, supporting one of the Centre for Ageing Better’s priority goals of Fulfilling work.

Kim has over 30 year of experience in the employment and skills sector spanning both operational and policy roles. She specialises in community engagement and regeneration and has extensive experience of fostering partnerships between local authorities and employment services in both the third and public sector.

In particular, she has worked with local partnerships to develop solutions tackling long term worklessness. In her early career, Kim spent time working for The Prince’s Trust as the Northern Director of the Volunteers Programme in some of the most economically deprived areas of the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. She has worked at a national level on a number of central governments training schemes including as the Director of the Job Transition Service at Jobcentre Plus, tackling the impact of significant redundancies.

She was the Director of the East London City Strategy Pathfinder, leading the employment and skills agenda, including  sub regional programmes with combine value of £59m, for the 5 Olympic host boroughs over the period of construction and hosting of London 2012.

Most recently she was the Director of Charitable Activity at the Mayor’s Fund for London, a social mobility  charity launched by Boris Johnson in his first term as Mayor of London.


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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