Recognising and showcasing those that have excelled in the area of Leadership
The Best Companies ‘Special Award’ for Best Leader is presented to the leader who, according to their people, sets the best example, embodies the organisation’s moral values and inspires people with positive energy.
The winner of the Best Leader award is determined by averaging the scores from questions in the b-Heard survey that relate to leadership, with the person with the highest overall score from all participating organisations throughout the year in each size category receiving the accolade.
The winner is revealed during an annual ceremony each November, in conjunction with the publication of the final League Table of the Best Companies to Work For.
The 2021 Winners
Small Companies Jay Neale Best Leader Special Award Winner
Mid-Sized Companies Dan Craddock Best Leader Special Award Winner
Large Companies Hugh Griffiths Best Leader Special Award Winner
Big Companies Mike Thompson Best Leader Special Award Winner
The 2021 winners in focus...
The most recent recipients of the Best Leader Award were all united in their belief that successful leadership in times of great uncertainty depends on a people-first plan.
Jay Neale, CEO at cloudThing and winner of the Special Award in the small category, has a people-centric leadership style that focuses on open and transparent communication with employees. His policy of engaging with staff through a direct line where anything personal or business-related could be discussed ensured he was understanding the needs and wants of everyone.
In the mid-sized category, winner Dan Craddock, CEO at plan.com, believes it is important that leaders can be looked to for guidance, particularly in challenging times. By finding out what was important to staff when the pandemic hit and ensuring that a plan was implemented accordingly, a sense of reassurance was created within the organisation. Messages were regularly communicated, and key updates were made a priority, switching from monthly to weekly bulletins.
For Hugh Griffiths, CEO of Inzpire and winner in the large category, his caring leadership style has never been more important than when faced with the changes of the last year. Describing leadership as a deeply personal and emotional thing, he focuses on connecting with people in an authentic way. Not only did this allow the facilitation of reassuring conversations when the pandemic hit, but it formed the basis of regular, open communication about the situation.
At Childbase Partnership, where Chairman, Mike Thompson, was named Best Leader in the ‘Big’ size category, leaders and managers being present and available is a key priority. Thompson ensures regular communications with staff take place, with frequent reminders about company services such as round-the-clock access to external counselling services, business performance updates, clarity of role and business recovery plans, and updates on pay and benefits. Ultimately, he believes trusting staff is the way to allow them to flourish.
In good company...
Previous winners of the Best Leader Award include David Stevens (2019), who at the time was CEO of insurance provider, Admiral. His support of a culture where open and honest communication is priority saw him film regular company updates, hold ‘Ask David’ Q&A forums to give employees a say, and participate in online chats to answer questions about anything in the business.
In 2020 Beaverbrooks MD, Anna Blackburn’s, people-focused leadership style and firm belief in a collaborative and inclusive culture saw her win the accolade of Best Leader. She operates an open-door policy and hosts 12 Focus Groups each year – bringing together groups of colleagues from across the business to discuss issues covering topics including employee satisfaction and anything that impacts on making Beaverbrooks an exceptional place to work.
Benefits of a Special Award...
Being awarded the Special Award for Best Leader is an accolade like no other – not least because it is awarded directly from the scores given by the people on the receiving end of that leadership.
The title of Best Leader shows that you truly care about your employees – both their happiness and their careers. It also demonstrates a commitment to the values and principles of the organisation and a willingness to lead by example.
The winners of the 2021 Best Leader Special Award were invited to discuss the initiatives that earned them the accolade during the first ever edition of Best Companies Live. Click to watch the video of the highlights:
Some recent Special Award winners include...
Do you have what it takes to become a 2022 Special Award winner?
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Other special awards
Want to find out more about our other Special Awards, the winners and what goes into winning them...