SME takes top flexibility accolade


A small business has won the overall Working Mums Top Employer Award for the first time in the scheme’s five-year history.

McMillan Williams Solicitors was last night praised by the judges for the support it offers working parents and the broad range of case studies it submitted. They said the company is an inspiring example for the legal sector and beyond.

“We are delighted that this year’s winner is an SME and in a sector renowned for a traditionally male-dominated, long hours culture,” said Gillian Nissim, founder of “This shows that all businesses can benefit from a more family friendly approach which values the contribution of all employees.”

Other winners of the Awards, sponsored by McDonald’s Restaurants, were:

Innovation in flexible working – BAE Systems Maritime Naval Ships. The company was praised for taking action on flexible working in a very traditional, male-dominated sector.

Career progression – AT Kearney. Its Success with Flex programme acknowledges there is no one-size-fits-all career path and it works with staff on tailored career solutions that allow them to balance work with other commitments.

Best for dads – London School of Economics and Political Science. The judges felt that the winner was committed to innovating in this area and had clearly grasped the wider benefits of doing so. Its research leave policy enables academic staff members to re-establish their research trajectory following a long period of absence.

Talent Attraction – Reality HR. Making an impact externally as well as internally through the encouragement it gives to its clients to consider flexible workers.

Family Support – Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The company provides a comprehensive package of support, including back-up care, maternity coaching, quarterly webinars and a programme for dads.

SMEs with 1-25 employees – Hireserve. A strong entry which showed how it had grown the business using a flexible model. Hireserve has previously won a Top Employer Award and has continued to build on a deeply ingrained flexible model.

SMEs with over 26-250 employees – McMillan Williams Solicitors. The judges praised the winner’s strong diversity record which was clearly supported by the senior management team. They were impressed to see a law firm and SME of this size offering such care and support to its staff and recognising the sound business reasons for doing so.

The Working Mums Champion Award – Adeline Ginn of Women in Rail. Ginn’s work in a sector where there were significant challenges for flexible working and female career progression stood out. She is not only doing her day job, but attempting to change an entire industry, said the judges.

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