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Workingmums.co.uk announces the winners of its Top Employer Awards 2012

Workingmums.co.uk has announced the winners of its third annual Top Employer Awards, celebrating the leading companies in family friendly working.

The Awards, sponsored by KFC, were presented at a ceremony at London's Soho Hotel on 8 November where the keynote speaker was Lynne Berry OBE.

Winner of the Overall Top Employer award was Unilever. It was praised by judges for its agile working and the fact that their entry embraced what they were doing on a global scale. They showed clear demonstrable results of policies to encourage female career progression and how flexible working had impacted positively on the business. Carole Donaldson, Resourcing Manager of last year's winner John Lewis, took part in a panel discussion with guests at the event.

Awards were presented for eight other categories. Two of the categories, Family Support and Best for Dads Awards, were revised to reflect changing government policy initiatives and social trends:

Top Employers Award for Innovation in Flexible Working - sponsored by Mama Baby Bliss - went to Unilever. The judges felt Unilever's anywhere any time working policy and the extent of adoption of agile working at the company were impressive and that its strong business case for the policy was backed by measurable results.

The Top Employers Award for Employee Engagement - sponsored by last year's winner Prudential - went to The Royal Bank of Scotland. The judges felt the winner had a broad range of measures for engaging with employees and showed commitment from senior management level down.

The Top Employers Award for Best for Dads went to the London School of Economics and Political Science. The judges felt the winner really believed in the benefits of what it was offering dads and gave real recognition to dads' parenting responsibilities.

The Top Employers Award for Talent Attraction went to CA Technologies. The judges felt the winner had made a good business case for actively recruiting flexible workers.

Winner of the Top Employers Award for Family Support - sponsored by HSBC - went to Barclays. The judges felt the winner of this award had an impressive and innovative range of ways for tackling family support.

The Top Employers Award for SMEs with 1-25 employees - sponsored by RBS Group - went to Martin Carty Gardening. The judges praised the winner for its innovation and for a flexible working approach which was thought through and consultative.

Top Employers Award for SMEs with over 26-250 employees - sponsored by RBS Group - went to Cool2Care CIC. The judges praised the winner's creative approach and felt the organisation represented an interesting virtual business model.

The Working Mums Champion Award - sponsored by CA Technologies - went to Natalie Bickford of Sodexo. The judges felt the winner stood out for her personal style and commitment to championing working mums and for going above and beyond her remit and had steered innovative policies which were having real results.

The Award judges were: Gillian Nissim, Founder of Workingmums.co.uk; Andy Lake, Editor of Flexibility.co.uk; Jennifer Liston-Smith, Director of Coaching & Consultancy at My Family Care; David Dunbar, Head of BT Flexible Working Services; and Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at Cranfield University.

The judges took part in a lively Q & A Panel, which was sponsored by Carlisle Managed Solutions. There was also a networking session, sponsored by Unilever and Co-operative Employee Benefits, where winners and shortlisted entrants were able to swap ideas.

Gillian Nissim, Founder of Workingmums.co.uk, said: “Entries for this year's Awards were very impressive and the judges had long debates over several of the categories. It is wonderful to see that employers are still forging forward with innovative policy and practice despite the tough economic times and that they completely grasp the business benefits of doing so. We hope the Awards will inspire other employers to follow their lead.”

* Shortlisted for the awards were:

Innovation in flexible working – Martin Carty Gardening; Clink Limited; Sodexo Motivation Solutions; The Royal Bank of Scotland; Informa Plc; Loop Customer Management; John Lewis Partnership; Unilever

Employee Engagement - Royal Mail Group; CEVA Logistics; The Royal Bank of Scotland; Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs; HSBC

Best for Dads - The London School of Economics and Political Science; Accenture

Talent Attraction – The Royal Bank of Scotland; CA Technologies

Family Support - John Lewis Partnership; The Royal Bank of Scotland; IG Group Holdings plc; Loop Customer Management; Barclays Bank plc; Cool2Care CIC

SME 1-25 employees - Martin Carty Gardening; Clink Limited; Darlings of Chelsea; HR180 Ltd; HR Dept (Bristol) Ltd; Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs

SME 26-250 employees - Cool2Care CIC; Traidcraft

Working Mums Champion – Martin Carty at Martin Carty Gardening; James Phipson at Clink Limited; Cheryl MacDonald at YogaBellies; John Darling of Darlings of Chelsea; Claire Morley-Jones at HR180 Ltd; Natalie Bickford of Sodexo; Amanda Sourry of Unilever; Michelle Fullerton at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The Awards media partners were The FIRM and Anywhere Working.

For more information, contact Mandy Garner on 07789 106435 or Sharmee Mavadia at press@workingmums.co.uk.