The UK publishes various annual company / corporate lists. Companies entering these competitions submit robust and thorough entries that provide significant evidence and examples of their market-leading performance. Many of the organisations acknowledge and promote their success in press releases, on their own sites and anywhere that the award has relevance.
The TOP 50 places Where Women Want to Work, now in its 4th year is compiled by Aurora, a recruitment marketing company that has an impressive record in helping organizations recruit, retain and develop female talent - founded by Glenda Stone. Entry to this competition is limited to large corporates with at least 1000 UK employees or a global brand. The company submits an extensive entry answering several questions and criteria showing why they are progressive employers, and what sets them apart in their approach to the gender issue. The competition is run through April - August, judged in September and published in October. Entry of course is free, and the robust judging process is impartial.
Aurora who conceptualized and owns the TOP50 Where Women Want to Work concept is a London-based company but has international presence due to its client base, international work teams, and online capability. The company was founded by Dr Glenda Stone and provides an impressive model of outsourced supplier models to give it greater scalability and reach. Aurora's revenue stream predominantly comes from its online recruitment site, wheretowork.com, career events and consultancy. The wheretowork site offers recruitment advertising & employer branding to its clients. Aurora's clients purchase an annual licence that provides unlimited job posting, employer content and branding, and extensive market intelligence data - all for one cost-effective licence fee per annum. To appear on wheretowork, there are certain criteria, for example the organisations have to be large corporate organizations, many with at least 1000 UK employees. As wheretowork.com is a branding exercise, as well as a recruitment tool, it attracts many market-leading organisations that are also recognized by numerous industry awards and successful lists, such as the TOP 50. Aurora's TOP 50 is independent, and regardless of whether an organization is a client or not of Aurora, entry is open to all. Many entries are received each year, and successful organizations are applauded and unsuccessful entrants are often encouraged to consider entry in subsequent years. The unsuccessful entrants over the years, both Aurora clients and non clients, have found the entry process very rewarding and useful. Many organizations have found the support and guidance fomr Aurora's founder Glenda Stone to be very helpful. Where sub-standard or less successful entries have been submitted, feedback has been offered and provided over the years. Again feedback is provided equally for unsuccessful entrants, whether an Aurora client entrant or a non Aurora client entrant. While Aurora's clients predominantly tend to be market leaders and recipients of numerous industry awards regarding their gender achievements and members of various gender-related organizations and charities, this is no guarantee of their success in the TOP 50 - and over the years Aurora clients have entered but where the entry has not been adequately robust they have not been successful in the TOP 50 list (i.e. Aurora's clients entering the impartial competition do not score a 100% success rate). Aurora CEO Glenda Stone ensures the process is as robust and rigorous as possible.
You can find out more about Aurora here: http://www.wheretowork.com
The TOP 50 criteria are developed each year to reflect current market gender priorities, and are discussed in terms of suitability with some organizations for feedback. A very robust and independent process is adhered to for the award and many organization entrants have commented on the slick and professional manner in which the TOP 50 process is conducted, and have specifically valued the support of Aurora CEO Glenda Stone. Aurora provides a unique and informative opportunity for organizations to educate and inspire women, and the TOP 50 supplement contains engaging content for women to make their own choices about employers and where to work. Some organizations purchase advertising space in the TOP 50 supplement, and come October 50 successful are honored for their success in supporting women's advancement. Dr Glenda Stone has commented that organizations that are effective in attracting, retaining and developing female talent are more likely to attract best talent.
Successful TOP 50 organizations have included market leading companies like Dell, McKinsey, Google, HP ...
All entries are confidential to Aurora, with many organizations requiring written confidentiality statements from Aurora that their competitive entries and information will be held in the strictest of confidence. Clearly with many of their direct competitors also entering the TOP 50, these organizations (both clients and non clients of Aurora) are granted strictest confidence.
Judging occurs in early September, with the clear and outright high performing organizations easily identified fairly rapidly and swiftly following full due diligence based on the specific and detailed criteria. Should there be any borderline performing organizations being deliberated upon at length, these entries are decided mid-September after further due diligence has occurred. All organizations are informed of their outcome on the same day by Glenda Stone and, in the four years that the TOP 50 has been run, there has only been one exception of this when one organization (for reasons regarding the global CEO's diary), instigated a special consideration request to be advised by Glenda Stone of their outcome a few days prior to the planned notification date. As judging of the successful entrants had largely been completed apart from deliberation on approximately 2-3 entrants, this special request was accommodated as a once off. The company had been successful in the TOP 50 for many years and a slightly earlier notification by a few days did not constitute any special advantage, conflict of interest or demonstrate any preferential treatment in response to their request.
Aurora markets the TOP 50 extensively to its clients, many of the organizations within Aurora's reach are, as stated, market leaders regarding gender and women's equality. Newspaper adverts are also run in the lead up to the TOP 50 to increase its visibility and awareness across industry. Aurora's support service throughout the whole TOP 50 entry process is outstanding. Organizations are sent regular follow up reminders should they have registered their interest to participate. A public teleconference, chaired by Glenda Stone, is held where all entrants are invited to participate, and the recording is made available for any entrants unable to participate. The criteria are discussed and clarified at length by Glenda Stone, entrants can ask questions, share feedback - and value-add comments regarding gender-related industry observations are also shared by Aurora's Glenda Stone with participants (again these are clients and non clients of Aurora). Many entrants have commented on the enormous value and insight gained from the TOP 50 teleconferences held annually.
While many awards regularly extend their entry deadlines and this is generally observed as industry standard practice, this has not been necessary for the TOP 50. Entrants are generally quite reliable at ensuring all necessary documentation is submitted within the required timeframe.
As mentioned, entry is open to large organizations in the UK with 1,000+ employees or a global brand. The TOP 50 is not intended to be targeted at small organizations but rather the larger volume recruiters for whom employer brand and industry recognition is a paramount element of their competitive strategy.
Aurora is proud of the success of the TOP 50. It is well participated in by industry, serves as a useful source of reference for discerning professional women, and it helps drive momentum for women's advancement and equality in the workplace.