TODAY marks the launch of The Herald Top Employer Awards – an opportunity to celebrate those forward-thinking employers who put employees, their training, progression and welfare, at the heart of everything that they do and who are committed to the long-term support of their staff.

There is clear evidence that an enlightened approach is good for people and good for business and in the midst of a recruitment crisis, it also provides a clear advantage in efforts to secure the best available skills and talent.

The Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, 6 October at Doubletree by Hilton in Glasgow and this year there are ten separate awards categories – each one highlighting a different aspect of good employment practice and open to entries from all sectors of Scottish business. Categories include awards for small, medium and large employers; for the best apprenticeship or graduate programme and for the best use of digital technologies.

One category set to produce interesting results in the Best Flexible Working category, which is sponsored by Flexibility Works, a social business founded by working mothers Lisa Gallagher and Nikki Slowey, as a way of supporting organisations to implement flexible working practices.

Nikki Slowey says: “We hope that this award highlights many examples of organisations who are championing flexible working because we know that when you offer flexibility, it’s good for people and it’s good for business.

“The pandemic has seen an acceleration in the use of flexible working. It is now sought after by over 80% of people in Scotland; by people at all ages and stages of life and for different reasons. And when you get flexible working right, you are much more likely to have an engaged, more productive, happier and healthier workforce.”

The awards for Best Training and Skills Development Initiative is being sponsored by CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development),  and Lee Ann Panglea, Head of the CIPD in Scotland and Northern Ireland says: “Helping organisations to address skills and labour shortages is a key focus for the CIPD in Scotland. We’re delighted to sponsor the Best Training and Skills Development Initiative award, celebrating organisations in Scotland who are helping to ensure that their employees have the skills they need for now and for the future.”

Other sponsors include Skills Development Scotland, who are sponsoring the Best Diversity and Inclusion Dynamic in the Workplace category and Fergus McMilllan, SDS Head of Equality, says: “This award celebrates the importance of equality in the workplace and the benefits that a diverse workforce can bring to an organisation, business and its employees. Having a range of people and perspectives builds stronger organisations, forges a far better understanding of markets and helps bridge skills gaps.

“I would actively encourage organisations to submit their entries and showcase their efforts towards greater inclusivity and eliminating inequalities while revitalising Scotland’s economy.”

Meanwhile, The Glenmorangie Company is sponsoring the Small Employer of the Year category; the Scottish Top Employer Award is sponsored by Volvo Truck and Bus North and Scotland and Newton Property Management are sponsors of the Inspiring Employee Culture Award.

Kirsten O’Neill, People Director, Newton Property Management, said: “Our industry can be tough, that’s why we focus so much on internal culture and wellbeing – ensuring balance, support, transparency and most importantly, fun, amongst colleagues.  Through a wealth of employee benefits and perks, we like to reward our staff for simply doing what they do, so we are looking for entrants who demonstrate consistent brand values, a focus on staff well-being and knowledge of what it takes to create an employee-driven business.”

Sponsoring the Best Apprenticeship/Graduate Programme category, Arnold Clark Group’s Head of People Lynne McBurney said: “We’re delighted to support the Herald Top Employer Awards, particularly recognising how businesses help those at the beginning of their careers taking on apprenticeships and graduate programmes. At Arnold Clark, we welcome new talent in a range of roles from technicians to accounts, parts to admin, and we provide opportunities to develop careers and make a real impact within the business and across the industry. Transitioning from education to employment can be challenging and the best employers nurture new talent, ensuring they find their place and voice.”

The closing date for entries for this year’s The Herald Top Employer Awards is Thursday, 8 September and a list of all categories, along with full details of how to enter is available from the event website.