There is just over one week left until entries close for this year’s The Herald Top Employer Awards which means that this is the last chance for businesses across the country to submit their applications.

The judges hope to hear from companies of all sizes and commercial sectors who are committed to nurturing employees through excellent training, equality of opportunities, flexible working and career development.

The Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, 26 October at Doubletree by Hilton in Glasgow and this year there are 10 separate awards categories, including Scottish Top Employer of the Year, sponsored by Volvo Truck and Bus North and Scotland, each one highlighting a different aspect of good employment practice.

For Lynne McBurney, Arnold Clark Group Head of People, whose company is sponsoring the Best Apprenticeship/Graduate Programme, the awards are a chance to highlight opportunities for new employees.

“We can’t wait to see the diverse range of work being done through apprenticeship and graduate programmes, “ she said.

“At Arnold Clark, we’ve seen the benefits that apprenticeships can bring, not just for our business, but for the industry as a whole, allowing our experienced workforce to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.”

But it is not just new starts who can benefit from investment in their skills. Lee Ann Panglea, Head of the CIPD in Scotland and Northern Ireland, sponsors of the Best Training and Skills Development Initiative award said: “We know from our own research how important it is for employees to be given opportunities to develop their skills and advance their careers. If you’re an employer who invests in training and skills development, I would encourage you to enter the Herald Top Employer Awards, which could help you to retain your best employees and attract great new talent.”

The pandemic has focused attention on how to retain existing staff and the switch to flexible working has made a huge contribution to keeping good people in position.

Nikki Slowey, Director of Flexibility Works, who are sponsoring the Best Flexible Working category, believes that giving employees greater freedom over where and when they work has had multiple benefits.

“Our research has shown that flexible working is a key factor in recruiting new talent and retaining staff for longer. We are really excited to read about the innovative ways that Scottish employers are implementing flexible working across their organisations. Never before has flexible working and work life balance been more in demand. It is not enough to simply say you are flexible you need to be able to demonstrate  it too and investors we would encourage people who are thinking about entering to get their application form in and be one of the leading lights in an ever-changing work landscape.’

Alongside the many large businesses that are responding to the changing nature of the workplace, there are also much smaller concerns that are proving to be innovative in their approach and  Maria Rooney, HR Director at The Glenmorangie Company, sponsor of the Small Employer award, said: “We believe in pushing boundaries to ensure that we create a supportive and inclusive culture.  We pay attention to the needs of our employees, recognising that their needs will change at different stages of their life and their career.  It’s this ethos that is recognised by these awards, celebrating those who believe that by putting people first their businesses will thrive.”

Meanwhile Kirsten O’Neill, People Director, Newton Property Management, sponsors of the Inspiring Employee Culture award said: “This category is an opportunity for companies to showcase the fruits of their labour with regard to employee culture and wellbeing.  The hard work and dedication many employers have put in to establishing a workplace which goes above and beyond for their staff, creating an environment where their employees genuinely look forward to coming to work – this kind of approach should be celebrated.  This category is close to Newton’s heart, and we’re genuinely so excited to see what the entrants have to offer.”

And Fergus McMillan, Head of Equality and Diversity, Skills Development Scotland, sponsors of the Best Diversity and Inclusion Dynamic in the Workplace category said: “We’re proud to celebrate the importance of a diverse workforce.

“Equality, diversity and inclusion is something that we’re extremely ambitious about, and we work closely and tirelessly with partners to help make Scotland a more inclusive place to live and work.

“We would strongly encourage businesses who are leading the way in Scotland to share their experiences and submit their entries, allowing everyone to learn about how a diverse workforce can benefit all organisations, businesses and employees.”

For full details of how to enter this year’s The Herald Top Employer Awards visit www.newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/scotemployer/

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