2022 Best Practice Report launched

WMPeople.co.uk has launched its Best Practice Report 2022 and is opening entries for its 2023 Top Employer Awards, which includes a Best for Older Workers Award.

Group of varying age women sitting chatting and smiling


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WMPeople.co.uk* has launched its 2022 Best Practice Report, which highlights employer best practice in everything from flexible working to recruiting, retaining and managing older workers.

QA won the Best for Older Workers Award and speaks about the work it does to recruit and retain older workers through monitoring for age bias, training line managers to manage multigenerational teams and promoting lifelong learning as well as targeting tech events specifically at older workers. Talent Management Consultant Ben Dixon says: “We want older workers not to feel their options are limited. We want them to feel they can start new careers, change jobs and access lifelong learning. We want to show that we care and that older workers and the experience they bring is valued.”

Jo Saunders, a senior delivery manager, speaks of her work on QA’s menopause policy and an education programme for menopause mentors. She says the experience of talking to others about the menopause has helped calm the anxiety she had about the perimenopause and has given her new energy. “QA has always been very supportive and inclusive, which is why I have been here for 16 years, but this has given me a way to help others and to make it an even better place to work,” she says.

Other employers also speak about their work on menopause issues. Aggregate Industries, which won the Best for Mental Health Award for its work addressing stigma in the construction industry, has launched policies and support networks to help older women in the workplace negotiate the menopause and perimenopause. Luan Isaac, PA to the Chief Information Officer and Admin Supervisor, and the Women Empowered Affinity Network played a key role in leading this.

Hazel Mooney, Senior HR Business Partner and EDI Lead, adds: “Having Luan and the network raise this topic has enabled us to put a spotlight on an important matter and work together to create a policy that not only supports both menopausal colleagues but also enables managers to positively support, signpost and have conversations which they may have avoided.”

Other winners highlighted in the Best Practice Report include McDonald’s who won the Best for career progression for women award also scooped the overall award.  McDonald’s spoke about how it has boosted the number of women at all levels of the company.  Last year’s gender pay audit figures showed McDonald’s had achieved a zero percent gender pay gap across restaurants and head office. Of its 140K+ employees, 49.5% were male at the end of 2021 and 50.5% were female. The move towards gender balance is part of a major push by McDonald’s on women’s career development since 2005 when just 5% of senior leaders were female. That has included active membership of Inclusive Employers and the Business in the community Gender Campaign. By 2018 a third of the senior leadership team were women and the company set a 45% target in late 2020 which it exceeded by September 2021. Its goal now is to maintain its 50/50 gender balance by ensuring gender parity at all levels of the talent pipeline.

Tech Returners outlines how it helps women who have taken a career break from the tech industry to return. Shahana Khundmir, now a Software Developer with The Telegraph, went on the programme. Shahana, who had a nearly 20-year career break, says: “I loved my time on the programme. It was a supportive environment that gave me the insight I needed to feel more comfortable moving forward. Recruitment coaching paired with technical upskilling provided the right balance for me to excel. And I simply loved coding again, talking tech with colleagues and learning.” Tech Returners also won the SME award and spoke about its focus on training and hybrid working, including its use of asynchronous communications.

John Lewis Partnership won Best for Family Support and representatives speak about the company’s equal parental leave, the first in the retail sector, and its reproductive health policies as well as its flexible first approach.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme [FSCS] focuses on its work on Diversity and Inclusion. Operational analyst Alethea Beharie-Campbell, who has taken part in the company’s Black Talent sponsorship programme and has worked on a project to increase young people from minority backgrounds’ understanding of financial issues,  says she found the culture at FSCS refreshing and says of a session following George Floyd’s murder: “It felt like a safe place. It’s the first time in my professional career that I have felt that, where I have felt that I could express myself and be listened to and not fear I would be misjudged.”

Roche talks about its How we roll programme which ensures a consistent approach to flexibility across the organisation and also about its location agnostic approach, which enables it to recruit people from any part of the UK. How we roll was the result of extensive consultation and a successful pilot. “We wanted to expand people’s horizons and see that flexible working works both ways and is about more than working from home,” says Sam Eustace-Smith, Employee Experience Partner at Roche. “We wanted to build people’s trust and ensure that flexible working was guilt-free. We knew we had a good culture, but we wanted to look at what else we needed to do and what was missing.”

The Best Practice Report aims to show what the most progressive are doing, how they are doing it and what the impact is

Top Employer Awards 2023

The aim of the Report, sponsored by McDonald’s, and the Top Employer Awards is to spread employer best practice. The launch of the Report coincides with the opening of entries to the 2023 Top Employer Awards.

This year’s Awards, sponsored by NHS Professionals, will be held in person on 7th February 2023. The judges are: 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; and new judge Salma Shah, Founder of Mastering Your Power Coach Training.

The categories are Best for Flexible Working, Best for Returners, Best for Mental Health, Best for Dads, Best for Family Support, Best for SMEs, Best for Diversity & Inclusion, Best for Older Workers and Best for Career Progression for Women.

The ceremony which will take place in London will include a keynote speech from Jane Portas, Co-founder of Insuring Women’s Futures.  The deadline for entries is 28th October 2022.

*WMPeople.co.uk is the umbrella group for workingmums.co.ukworkingdads.co.uk and workingwise.co.uk.

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