Centrica, RBS and PWC awarded for work-life balance practices

Centrica, Royal Bank of Scotland and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been recognised for their work-life balance  practices by winning Top Employers for Working Families 2010 awards.

Twelve organisations were winners with a further 30 recognised for demonstrating outstanding work-life balance practices.

The winner for best flexible working was Centrica, with American Express coming in second place. the Royal Bank of Scotland Group won the award for best emergency childcare, while the best implementation of a childcare voucher scheme went to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

A winner for each sector in terms of overall work-life balance was also selected. The best small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) was Chwarae Teg; the best financial services firm was Deutsche Bank; the best professional services organisation was PricewaterhouseCoopers; and best in the public sector was the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The awards, organised by work-life charity Working Families, were validated by independent human resource centre, the Institute for Employment Studies which created a rigorous assessment process.

To ensure the highest degree of integrity and professionalism, the awards were also judged anonymously by a panel of judges comprising Professor Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School; Craig Jones, global head of diversity at Barclays Wealth; Mary Mercer, principal consultant at the Institute for Employment Studies; and Sarah Jackson chief executive at Working Families.

Jackson said: “To win an award or be included on the list requires a huge amount of dedication, forward thinking and creativity to find solutions that really make a difference to the working lives of parents, carers and their families.

“This year we were pleased to see real commitment and innovation in industries which traditionally have a large male workforce. This also carried through to a focus on fathers and paternity – something that is crucial as we move towards balance and flexibility for all.

“Huge congratulations to everyone who has been recognised as a ‘top employer for working families’. However, we hope the awards will go beyond simply congratulating this year’s recipients: by raising the profile of these issues, we aim to encourage other companies to review their practices and raise the standards of family-friendly working policy across the UK.

“This is also about what is good for business too: organisations that recognise their employees’ outside of work commitments, can see improved performance as staff feel better valued and engaged, and therefore make a greater contribution.”

“Finally, in the current economic climate, receiving a very public accolade for family-friendly working practices should not be overlooked. With salaries, bonuses and benefits all under review, an organisation that is shown to understand its employees’ personal responsibilities has a very powerful differentiator for recruitment and retention of the best talent.”

A benchmarking report Top Employers for Working Families has also been released to assist organisations in reviewing and improving their practices. The report was analysed and compiled by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and Working Families.

IES’ Mercer said: “Organisations of every size and from every sector have grappled with work-life initiatives for a number of years.

“This benchmark offers an opportunity for them to see what works well, and what areas they have for further improvement. The overall results show that how policy is implemented on the ground is key and the part played by line managers is crucial.

“Options for flexible working are not the same thing as opportunities to work flexibly. We know flexible working can bring significant business benefits. Few organisations are currently measuring what these are or understanding what they might be in the future. This is a crucial area for development.”

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