WM People publishes 2023 Best Practice Report

WM People has published its 2023 Best Practice Report, highlighting the best in family friendly and flexible working and age diversity.

Top Employer Awards, flexible working


WMPeople.co.uk has launched its 2023 Best Practice Report, which aims to highlight employer best practice in everything from flexible working and age diversity to family support.

The Report, which begins with an overview of the developments in flexible working and diversity and inclusion aims to show what the most progressive employers are doing, how they are doing it and what the impact is.

The Report includes interviews with all the winners of this year’s Top Employer Awards who talk about the implementation of policies, initiatives and general culture change as well as individual employee case studies which demonstrate the difference they make.

The employers represented are Lloyds Banking Group, ServiceNow, Vistry Group, EssenceMediacom, birdie, HTG, Paddle, Unilever and J Murphy & Sons Ltd.

Lloyds Banking Group, which won the Best for Flexible Working Award and the Best for Older Workers Award plus Overall Top Employer, talks about its agile working policy, including its flexible working hub where different ideas can come together and where there is a focus on the bigger picture, including the environment and mental wellbeing and its focus on job design, flexible career progression and line manager support. Also recognised were its Your Future Your Way initiative which recognises the fact that many people are living longer which means the traditional stages of education, work and retirement will no longer exist and people will want to try different careers, take breaks and have multistage lives.

Nicky Elford, Agile Working and Life Stages Lead, says that Lloyds Banking Group has used Covid to learn where it should go next. “We are putting the building blocks in place for Flexible Working 2.0,” she says. “We still have a way to go, but we are listening to our colleagues and customers and thinking about how we keep evolving in order to become a progressive employer where people love to work.”

Lloyds’ case studies include Ruth Astle, who is a professional athlete alongside her flexible day job, and a job share partnership between Theresa Clark, an older worker approaching retirement, and Ryan O’Shea who wants more time to spend with his partner. Theresa says the job share has given her the time she needs while allowing her to continue to earn. She had always thought of job shares as being for mums looking to progress their careers. She states: “I hope we have broken the mould and portrayed different opportunities for job shares.”

Other employers featured include J Murphy & Sons Ltd which describes its groundbreaking returner programme for ex-offenders, whose Employment Advisory Board ‘culture of employment’ model has now been rolled out nationwide. ServiceNow talks about its winning diversity and inclusion policies and practice; Vistry Group describes its efforts to tackle the high male suicide rate in the construction sector; EssenceMediacom outlines its work on women’s career progression including a “life-changing” initiative on addressing menopause symptoms at work; and Unilever talks about its comprehensive family support culture.  Paddle spoke about its flexible culture, including practical support for people working from abroad and HTG outlined its supportive culture. Both were commended in the Awards.

EssenceMediacom won the award for Best for Women’s Career Progression. It has experimented in recent months with a menopause pilot which looks to help women leaders not only speak openly about their symptoms, but address some of the effects at work in order to develop practical solutions. Nicola Marsh, Managing Director of EssenceMediacom North Group and MD of Google Practice UK, who took part in the pilot, says: “I cannot speak highly enough of the coaching and the positive impact it has had. It made me see that you can view menopause as a negative or a positive thing. For me, it has been a chance to re-evaluate and get ready for the next part of my life. It’s about embracing change in you as a person and how you take that with you. That was huge for me.”

SME winner birdie outlines its flexible culture which is centred on wellbeing. It offers everything from a £180 wellbeing benefit every quarter which can be used on anything from childcare to counselling to a one to one session with a financial adviser so people can plan ahead.  Jason Matthews, Senior Technical Talent Partner at the agetech company, says: “Being in recruitment I know a lot of companies sound good on their website. Then you get there and you realise it was more of a sales pitch than them living what they say. That’s not the case with birdie though. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by how they have delivered on their promise.”

Top employer awards

The aim of the Report and the Top Employer Awards is to spread employer best practice. The launch of the Report coincides with the opening of entries to the 2024 Top Employer Awards.

Next year’s Awards, sponsored by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, will be held in person on 6th February 2024. 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; Salma Shah, Founder of Mastering Your Power Coach Training; and Kim Chaplain, Associate Director for Work, Centre for Ageing Better.

The deadline for entries is 27th October 2023. There are three new categories: Best for Learning and Development, Best for Talent Attraction and Outreach and the Special Innovation Award.

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

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