Special Awards 2023
Most Trusted Leader – Mary Ryan, CACI Non-life
Mary Ryan is the Managing Director and Executive Director of the CACI Non-life group in Ireland. Mary leads a 150-strong team that has grown tenfold since 2006. She places trust at the core of her interactions as a leader with all staff and stakeholders. “It is a two-way street; the trust I have in my people and the trust they have in me. I’ve always felt it is the cornerstone of good leadership. I accept this award on behalf of myself but more importantly on behalf of my people who have put their trust in me,” she said.
Great Place to Work Team Award – CluneTech
Kilkenny-based CluneTech has won the GPTW Team Award due to their Great Place to Work Team, which consists of volunteers from all areas across the group. Essentially, they are the voice of the employees, ensuring that their views are brought to management. Their aim is to promote positive change through a happier work environment, both now and in the future.
Great Place to Work Ambassadors – Aisling Murray & Emily McKenzie, Codex
This award recognises individuals who embed the Great Place to Work approach within their organisation to drive sustainable improvement to their culture. Increasingly important in the journey is both the ability to understand data and craft a story in a way that delivers for people and the business. This works best when HR and marketing work in concert with each other. Aisling Murray, HR director and Emily McKenzie, head of marketing do just that. They have both played central roles in codifying, articulating, and branding the culture and employee experience journey in Dublin-based Codex. We at Great Place to Work thank Aisling and Emily for their contribution to the Great Place to Work network and look forward to seeing how they flourish even further in this role.
Storytelling Award – Midlands Park Hotel
Storytelling is a key way to build a brand, improve employee experience, and Midlands Park Hotel has won the Storytelling Award for its innovative and engaging campaigns. The hotel has developed an employee recognition series titled The Joy of Employee, which captures the story of their employees. Besides being a way of recognising employees, it shows internal stories to candidates, including success stories and career paths.
For All Award – Genesys Cloud Services Ireland Ltd.
Inclusion is key to ensuring that a company is a great place to work, and Genesys is committed to providing an inclusive, safe and fun work environment for all employees across the globe, with a goal to become the most inclusive company in the world as they celebrate one another’s experiences and perspectives.
Future of Work Award – B. Braun Medical Limited (Naas Road)
In a “post-Covid” world with fewer social restrictions in place, B Braun wanted to change their practices and make a difference for new starters, especially after the past few years with all the social challenges the pandemic has brought. The company redesigned its onboarding post-Covid, especially the first two weeks, to create that personal connection and a culture of inclusion. The priority is for the new starters to feel part of the company as soon as possible and to feel part of the team as much as someone who has been in the company five or ten years.
Culture Improvement Award – Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU)
Given that rugby is woven into the fabric of Irish culture, it may come as no surprise for the Irish Rugby Football Union to win the Culture Improvement Award. The IRFU have shown a huge commitment to improving their workplace culture, implementing a variety of family-friendly policies like surrogacy leave and first day of school leave. The IRFU understands that employees who feel secure to reach out for support regardless of personal circumstances are overall happier at work and have maintained a commendable commitment to their employees around this.
Special Awards 2022
Most Trusted Leader - Cathal Fay CEO of Prepay Power
Cathal Fay believes it’s simply not possible to grow a business in such a manner without growing a great team around you. The breadth and scope of the activities undertaken by his team has grown too, moving from an early focus on sales and installation management to, today, everything from human resources to energy hedging and trading. For Fay, clarity is a critical element of good leadership. “We’re very much about setting goals and trusting people to deliver them,” he explains.
Annamarie O'Connor is the people and culture director for Tayto Snacks, a much loved Irish brand. Annamarie has played an important role in supporting Tayto's journey over the last number of years towards sustaining a great work culture. Their journey has being underpinned by their three core values thinking responsibly, acting entrepreneurially and growing together. Working on the principle of great cultures are built on doing the core areas well – they focused in on improving communication and involvement, recognition and talent management and development. Annamarie has demonstrated great partnership with the Tayto leadership team and supported them to remain focused on continuously improving their work culture over the last number of years. We at Great Place to Work thank Annamarie for her contribution to the Great Place to Work network and congratulate her on the role she has played within Taytos work culture journey so far.
Employer Brand Storytelling Award - Distilled.
What an achievement! With their new employer brand they initiated an office rebrand, playbook for their employee value proposition along with brand pillars and talent personas.
Hybrid Way of Working Award - ORS
Long before the pandemic ORS began to wonder and imagine about how moving to a more flexible way of working would be better for its people's wellbeing along with enhancing the business performance. They experimented with different ways of working, captured the learnings and experimented again.
Work Culture Improvement Award - PEI
PEI has been a Great Place to Work for a number of years yet still remains focused on using the Great Place to Work data to improve its culture.
They have and continue to show a remarkable commitment to the employee voice and continuous improvement.
Talent Attraction Award - Global Shares
They have recognized the importance of clear and authentic storytelling when it comes to attracting the best talent in a competitive space.
Great Place To Work Team Award - Cpl
The CPL team have played a key role within the organisation over the last number of years in building trust levels within their work culture. The role of the team has being crucial in giving ownership and opportunity to employees of all levels to make a difference by working on culture improvement.
Special Awards 2021
According to Paul Kelly, chief executive of Fáilte Ireland and winner of this year’s Great Place to Work’s Most Trusted Leader award, supported by TU Dublin, his 400-strong team is more fired up than ever. It’s all down to purpose. When Kelly joined Fáilte Ireland in 2017, having worked at Diageo and Procter & Gamble, one of his top priorities was to ensure all staff had a strong sense of purpose. “Fáilte Ireland’s mission is to help tourism survive and recover, to maximise its contribution to Ireland in a way that is economically, environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable,” he explains. “As an organisation we are not here for the sake of visitors, nor even for the tourism sector, but for the sake of everyone in Ireland.” He believes that establishing a clear sense of purpose helps unleash an organisation’s potential. “When people get that sense of purpose, leaders and managers no longer have to motivate people anymore, they motivate themselves,” says Kelly. Leaders need to help their teams understand their purpose in a wider context.
Yvonne Frost is vice-president of employee experience at Populo. Loyalty, honesty and a willingness to share many lessons learned are hallmarks of Yvonne’s style, making her an easy choice as the 2021 Great Place to Work Ambassador. Yvonne joined Poppulo when the team was less than 10 people and has helped build the organisation into a global leader in internal communications. “I have had to juggle having four small children, while working in a challenging senior role. Without the support from Poppulo and our CEO, that may not have been possible,” says Yvonne. “I have partnered with the Great Place to Work team for over seven years and attribute the scaling of Poppulo’s culture and practices to the quality of that partnership.” Over those years Yvonne has demonstrated a sincere willingness to help other organisations evolve high performance cultures that deliver winning results. Building on her experience in customer success, she and her team take great care in mapping out the employee experience journey, which she speaks openly about. Yvonne believes that any problem can be solved, if you have the right people around the table and engage them in the right way. We at Great Place To Work, thank Yvonne for her contribution to the ever expanding Great Place To Work community of practice and wish her every success.
The Great Place to Work HR Rising Star award is designed to recognise an outstanding achiever within one of Ireland’s Best Workplaces. For any organisation to function well, all functions and levels need to work in concert with each other. HR teams conducted crucial work this year, leading the change and working tirelessly to look after the employee experience. Megan Kelly is one such professional, who underpins the ethos of the work outlined above. Her work in Liferay reflects ongoing and exceptional growth in contribution to the profession and increased levels of leadership, responsibility, and sphere of impact.
The CACI Great Place to Work Team have been dedicated to enhancing its internal culture for a number of years now. The passion of this group is evident through its tireless work across a range of operational areas. By combining employee suggestions with their own ingenuity, they have enacted meaningful change across the areas of wellbeing, collating and implementing best practices, CSR engagements and social activities. This year in particular, the CACI Great Place to Work team have been a lifeline for their peers, devising numerous ways to maintain their close-knit culture in a remote environment. Quizzes, games and virtual drinks are but a sample of the events held. However, the benefits provided by the team’s activities can be felt beyond those in the organisation, with the group devising fundraising initiatives for Alone through bake sales, group exercise activities and more.
For most if not all organisations, restrictions around physical proximity resulted in disruptions to the usual ways of working. Communication and development fit this category well, with both traditionally relying on in-person components to yield the most benefits. Kuehne & Nagel, creative to the core, were always unlikely to let anything stand in the way of their commitment to developing their people. Replacing their traditional careers day with an in-house radio show, it covered topics such as career paths, taking control of your development and the future of work. Interspersing career advice with music, games and awards, the daylong show was broadcast to all employees through speakers set up across sites. Not only did Kuehne & Nagel manage to educate through this initiative but entertain in a truly original fashion.
Supporting wellbeing is not as clear cut as we may like; given the multifaceted nature of the topic, it often holds different meanings to each individual. McAfee, being well aware of this, has provided employees with an incredibly varied, comprehensive range of wellness supports this year. Their holistic approach to employee health includes seven dimensions –emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, physical, occupational and social wellness. Encapsulated within these dimensions are a diverse range of practices and resources, from tips on working from home while parenting to managing mental health, they provided their staff with a library of useful resources. McAfee also provided their staff with access to a range of classes and activities aimed at supporting wellbeing. Their methodical, multidimensional approach had something on offer to benefit everyone.
Creating a sense of belonging for all employees, regardless of tenure, age or background is a noble endeavour, more prominent than ever amongst many organisations at present. Reaching that goal requires meaningful practices, which give a voice to all employees. Version 1, never shy of innovating, has done just that with its Shadow Board initiative. The Shadow Board is a forum made up of a diverse group of 13 younger members of the Version 1 team, all under the age of 30. This cross-functional group bridge the generational gap in perspectives within the business while working closely with the senior leadership team. This initiative not only offers diversity of viewpoints but provides an excellent development opportunity for board members, who are supported by mentoring and coaching from senior leadership members.
Special Awards 2020
To be named Most Trusted Leader is a serious accolade, but Declan Ronayne, chief executive of Woodie's, is adamant it isn't just a personal honour. "I have to say that the award for Most Trusted Leader for Woodie's is about more than 200 leaders in our business. It's not just me," he insists. Leadership has been a focus within the DIY giant in recent years, and Ronayne believes the recent award is ample recognition of the work that has gone into the quality of the organisation's leadership. "We are a very firmly embedded Great Place to Work, it's very much a focus for us. Having been there four years in a row, we are by far and away leading retailer, and a lot of that is because we have such good leaders within the organisation," he says.
This award acknowledges an individual who has a deep understanding of the Great Place to Work model and methodology, is a champion in helping his own organisation create and sustain a great workplace, and contributes to the Great Place to Work community. Jarlath Dooley is HR & Integration Director at Version 1 and has been integral in driving a high trust, high performance culture within the organisation. His focus on sustained success and understanding of how to drive data and feedback into action means he plays a key role in ensuring that Version 1 is consistently delivering for employees, customers and as a business overall. Embedding the Great Place to Work model through periods of rapid organisational growth takes commitment, constant communication and authenticity. Jarlath has demonstrated this commitment by acting on feedback and empowering employees to thrive and develop. Jarlath has also been central to establishing Version 1 as a top employer brand within the increasingly competitive Irish talent market. This manifests, among other things, in The DNA of Version 1, with the telling tagline: “A great place to work, not an ‘easy’ place to work.”
Creating a Listening Ecosystem
Over the last number of years, Esri Ireland has established a GPTW Team that have developed a range of practices within the business to drive their internal culture. Based on direct feedback to the team and wider input from the survey, they have set about establishing a number of initiatives from Thank You Days and Suggestion Boxes, to Salary Surveys and additional access to academic and industry research. Not only this, but the GPTW Team also have a dedicated “Great Place to Work Official Celebration Day”. In a fun, relaxed setting, the entire organisation comes together and the Trust Index Survey and Culture Audit results are shared. Updates on the various actions already taken, as well as those planned for the future, are showcased. Finally, feedback is welcomed to ensure that the measures being put in place make sense for employees. Driving trust levels year on year has worked as this strong GPTW Team, senior management, and the organisation overall work in concert with each other.
Increasingly, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices are distinguishing the Best Workplaces from those which have less concern for sustainable practices, employee relations and community engagement. CSR practices that are embedded as a genuine part of a company’s values and operations can help enhance the company’s profile and competitiveness. The Morgan McKinley Million stands out for the way it brings together global and location initiatives, the scope for collective causes and, crucially, at its core is employee-led. Established in 2016, the challenge set by Morgan McKinley as an organisation was to contribute the equivalent of a million euros to charities and worthy causes across their global footprint of offices. In raising money for charities all over the world, big and small, fundraising events have included colleagues, clients and candidates. Employees have donated their time through volunteering and expertise in a number of ways, including helping disadvantaged young people in their careers. Capturing such extensive commitment under one central brand distinguishes the work being done by Morgan McKinley, and the drive by employees to take part with everything from bake sales to marathons underpins the spirit of the campaign overall.
Trends in demographics are changing the workforce as we know it, and the best organisations keep their finger on the pulse as to the makeup of their employees at all times. Over the last year, Regeneron noticed an increasing number of employees starting or adding to their families. While this is not unusual, their response stood out. The team in Regeneron worked with their healthcare provider to offer a series of nurse/midwife-led seminars on the birth process, newborn and infant care for both current and expectant mothers and fathers. In addition to the lecture series, they provided a bespoke midwife service covering home visits, telephone support and early care information offered at the convenience of employees. A midwife meets the expectant parents at the time and location of their choosing, with one visit prior to the birth and two visits provided for antenatal care.
Building and maintaining strong teams within any environment is a challenging task. Supporting cross-team collaboration is critical to this, as uniting experts from a variety of teams and departments leads to fresh perspectives, faster innovation and fosters a learning mindset. Organisations often want to drive team performance, but limit recognition to individual success. In Asana, at their ‘All Hands’ event, they have a simple, yet effective practice to recognise and celebrate team level success. ‘Transfer the Flag’ sees one team hand over the flag to a new team who have displayed great collaboration and contributions to a broader effort. Not only does this bring an innovative aspect to the ‘All Hands’, it is a fun and visible way for teams to rally around each other, celebrating another team outside of their own.
The ‘Future of Work’ appears to have become a catch all phrase for everything from gig working, AI and robots, to business adaptability, organisational agility and individual autonomy. Against this backdrop, organisations are being challenged to keep their work environments apace with this change. This year Stelfox have introduced a number of measures demonstrating a commitment to work-life balance, most notably a move towards a 4-day week. This move is underpinned by ensuring long term, sustained success for employees and the organisation. When employees hit their targets two months in a row and as long as they continue to do so, they can move to a 4-day week. This is also available to support and non-billing staff, whose ability to access a 4-day week is also unlocked based on their performance and objectives. A clear metric and transparency are key to the success of such practices, both of which have been displayed by Stelfox.