It’s been a long time coming and we hugely appreciate your continued patience as we’ve postponed the winner announcements due to rail strikes time and again. We’re not keeping you waiting any longer!

The 2022 winners for our Wellbeing, Inclusion, Learning and Brand categories are revealed below. A huge congratulations to those who made the top spots – you demonstrated perseverance, courage and artistry in your mission to deliver progressive change and we commend you.

A huge thank you and heartfelt congratulations to our shortlist as well – the decision was tough with such high-quality submissions for our judges to choose from and your achievements did not go unnoticed. 

Wellbeing category winner

Progeny

Launched in 2016, Progeny is the only UK firm to cover independent financial planning, asset management, tax, HR and private and corporate legal services. To support its rapid growth, CEO Neil Moles set out with the people team to make a positive impact on both team members and clients.

Progeny placed its people at its core, embedding wellbeing into all aspects of the business.

Progeny has made its wellbeing strategy a long-term investment.”

https://theprogenygroup.com/
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Wellbeing Champions facilitate company-wide wellbeing activities and initiatives, engage proactively with team members across the business, capture the employee voice and ensure the support Progeny offers reflects the wellbeing needs.

Progeny’s leading EAP provides a 24/7/365 confidential helpline, counselling sessions and critical incident and trauma support – and new Leave of Absence Guidance provides team members extra time off work when needed.

In addition to a tailored wellbeing policy, paid annual wellbeing day and dedicated intranet, Progeny held a week-long wellbeing festival for employees, including therapy dogs, coaching, pensions education and a GP session. 

A welfare grant was also set up for team members in need of financial support and the business also provides private medical insurance.

Welcoming feedback from the wellbeing festival secured an enhanced wellbeing budget for 2022, increasing holiday allowance to 30 days a year for all team members and adding a paid volunteering day.

Independent feedback and an engagement survey via Best Companies rated Progeny ‘Outstanding’ as a company in the 2* category. 80% of team members felt a strong sense of family in their team and 83% said that their team is fun to work with. 

What did our judges think?

“Progeny has made its wellbeing strategy a long-term investment and not just a response to the pandemic. It has demonstrated a commitment to more time away from work for those who need it, and as a result has maintained low turnover and absence while other organisations have struggled. For all these reasons and more, we awarded Progeny with the Wellbeing Award trophy – and it’s great to see they are reaping the financial rewards of putting their people first.”

Gethin Nadin
Culture Pioneers judge and award-winning psychologist

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Learning category winner

Bright Horizons

Having entered in 2021 and not quite made the shortlist, Bright Horizons Family Solutions took on board our feedback and created a 2022 entry that wowed our judges.

The child-care and pre-school service provider Bright Horizons is dedicated to the learning journeys of all its 7,500 employees – from nursery apprentices to those in the support office to the senior leadership team.

Competition was high in this tough category but Bright Horizons stood out because of their holistic talent strategy”

https://www.brighthorizons.com/
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Learning starts with a comprehensive induction programme that is split into three parts: My Bright Arrival (the first three days), My Bright Journey (the following five months up to probation ending), and My Bright Future (month six).

“The purpose of our induction programme is to ignite and excite a passion for learning and personal growth in our colleagues,” states Louisa Davenport, Former Professional Development Talent Manager.

The talent team created a Calendar of Talent Conversations to bring more structure and regularity to development discussions, as well as a leadership competency framework that was used by 711 leaders (at the time of entering) to help improve their skills.

Bright Horizon employees now all have access to a dedicated learning portal, plus opportunities to knowledge share through various talent programmes, as well as access to an in-house career coach.

Between 2021 and 2022, the company increased its retention rate by nearly 10% and its overall employee satisfaction rate by 2%.

In terms of growth and development, there has been a 5% increase in employees stating that their career goals are met at Bright Horizons.

What did our judges think?

"Competition was high in this tough category but Bright Horizons stood out because of their holistic talent strategy that models what learning means to the organisation from the moment that individuals walked through the door. This team of Culture Pioneers demonstrated what it means to continually learn. As a result they have delivered smart, integrated interventions that have built a commitment to learning across the whole business and positively impacted everyone working here."

Laura Overton
Author, facilitator & award winning analyst | learning changemaker | Cofounder of Emerging Stronger

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Inclusion category winner

WRAP

UK not-for-profit organisation WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) is an NGO working around the globe to tackle the climate crisis and build a world where we all respect our planet and value our natural resources.

The company is also passionate about cultivating a society where people are treated with respect and valued equally, regardless of their race, gender, neurodiversity, ability, beliefs, sexuality or personal preferences.

WRAP has a clear vision of what they want their future to look like.”

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WRAP set out in 2021 to become attractive to a more diverse range of candidates and change the demographic of the organisation where 3% of employees identified as non-white and more than 80% were over 30 years of age.

After partnering with the National Centre for Diversity and adopting their FREDIE (Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity Inclusion and Engagement) principles, WRAP worked to gain the Investors in Diversity accreditation. An equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) budget and sponsorship was secured from CEO Marcus Gover based on ethics over ROI.

A Trustee Governance Framework set EDI expectations, provided inclusive leadership training and directly measured team engagement with EDI.

The recruitment processes were refreshed in line with EDI best practice, and WRAP FREDIE Awards were introduced to recognise and celebrate individuals and teams who have demonstrated the FREDIE principles, internally and externally.

WRAP has achieved Disability Confident ‘committed’ status and at the time of entering was working towards achieving level 2 and becoming a Disability Confident Employer.

Its project scope documents include equality impact assessments to ensure that project actions and solutions will not negatively impact on any protected characteristics and consider those who are neurodiverse.

What did our judges think?

“WRAP has a clear vision of what they want their future to look like for everyone but especially their employees. They bagged the winning position as their inclusion objectives are solid and the strategy towards how they want to innovate and diversify their company culture is motivating and inspiring.” 

Dannique Blake
Culture Pioneer judge and Founder of Cultured Insights

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Brand category winner

CharlieHR Culture Ops Team

The culture-focused HR software company for SMEs, CharlieHR, is on a mission to ‘Make Work Better’ – both for the organisations it serves and its own people. By acting “as a playground” for different policies and processes, the SME is continually evolving its own culture, while also providing authentic guidance to its customers.

Driving this experimental ethos is CharlieHR’s Culture Ops Team, with ‘warts and all’ learnings shared through its Culture Ops podcast and blog.

CharlieHR’s culture naturally flows between and across their business and people.

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One 2022 playground activity was its ‘nine-day fortnight’ – an adapted version of the four-day work week trend. After a nine-month trial, the business saw improvements in productivity and deep work, and 70% of team leads were happy to continue with it. 

Other experiments have included unlimited holiday days (which didn’t work for them), sabbaticals for long-standing team members (which did), and the creation of an open-source transparent career progression framework, which has been downloaded over 4,000 times!

The business has also introduced an enhanced equal parental leave policy, a £30 monthly wellbeing budget and a £550 annual L&D budget – all as part of its quest to Make Work Better.

The team has also set up daily, company-wide, remote ‘huddles’. The chair rotates weekly, giving every employee a voice on topics related to CharlieHR’s High Performance Behaviours such as ‘giving energy’ and ‘getting uncomfortable’.

CharlieHR is seeing solid organisational results that suggest its culture-brand connection is strong. At the time of entering, the company had achieved a 95% probation pass rate, an 87% retention rate, a steady 8/10 engagement score (compared with the market average of 6.4/10) and a 98% customer satisfaction rating.

What did our judges think?

“CharlieHR’s culture naturally flows between and across their business and people, aligning with their objectives. They are challenging norms to trial new things that could make work better, while being transparent when their experimentation fails. The Culture Ops team stood out as a clear winner of the Brand Award for living its mission, ‘Make Work Better’, both internally and in the wider world.”

Debra Corey
Culture Pioneers judge, Chief Pay it Forward Officer, speaker, author and consultant of DebCo HR LTD

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