We’re looking for the top 25 culture leaders in the UK – is your business one of them?

4 min read  |   5 May, 2021   By Nick Hardy

The yellow logo for "The Culture Leaders List" of 2021. This was a list to celebrate and recognise businesses across the UK who have put their people first and maintained a strong company culture during the challenges of the pandemic.

Celebrating the UK SMEs which put their people first

We are very pleased to announce that Breathe’s 2021 Culture Leaders List Awards is now open for entries. If your business has put people first and maintained strong cultural values throughout the pandemic, we’d love to hear and help tell your story.

Helping vulnerable people and providing support to employees as they have faced challenges in a time like no other has been an incredible challenge for business leaders, many of whom have had to balance revenue generation and retention with the need to keep people motivated and engaged.

With the UK’s 5.9 million SMEs already forming the backbone of the UK’s economy before the crisis took hold, their resurgence will be key to the country’s economic recovery.

We want to celebrate the achievements of those businesses who demonstrate how they have supported their employees and made their wellbeing a priority. We first ran the Culture Leaders List award in 2019 but last year we decided to put it on ice while business leaders focused on supporting their companies and people.

How to nominate a business for our awards

Now we are beginning to emerge from the crisis, we think it's the ideal time to recognise the achievements of SMEs and name those who made outstanding contributions to nurturing company cultures.

Entering is easy. All you need to do is tell us why you deserve to be recognised as a top culture leader. We’re looking examples of company culture in action and the steps businesses have taken to help their people adapt and thrive.

There are no categories or barriers to entering our awards. SMEs of any type and from any industry are welcome to enter. All we and our panel of judges are looking for, is strong evidence of company culture excellence and a clear demonstration of steps taken to put people first.

You are also very welcome to nominate other businesses who you think deserve recognition for their achievements in terms of putting their people first.

There are no entry fees to pay and no expensive award dinners to attend to find out if you have made the list.

Nominate now

The deadline for award entry nominations is midnight on 4th June 2021. 

So, what’s in it for you and your business?

Here are 5 great reasons to enter:

  • Celebrate and recognise the achievements of your company culture
  • Receive free publicity through our PR, blogging and social media
  • Share your ideas and experiences with other business leaders
  • The over all winner will receive a 25 Culture Leader trophy and certificate
  • Plus, a special prize to enjoy with your team.

87% of SMEs say their teams have remained productiveOur award judges – meet the panel

To help evaluate our award entries, we’ve put together a panel of SME business leaders, culture experts and people professionals, several of whom have recently told their own remarkable stories in our 2021 edition of Breathe’s Culture Economy Report.

Jonathan Richards, CEO and co-founder, Breathe

Jonathan is the CEO of Breathe, a multi award-winning provider of cloud-based HR software company that helps small businesses unlock productivity and grow. Founded in 2012 Breathe’s software is now used by more than 9,000 UK SMEs to manage employee related administration.

In May 2019, Breathe won the Best Tech Place to Work category of the prestigious National Technology Awards, underlining Jonathan’s success in developing a highly positive workplace culture for his people. In June 2019 Jonathan was named SME Director of the Year in the Institute of Directors London and South awards. 

Steve Stark, Director, Then Somehow

Steve started out as a jelly-bean machine salesman and was running radio stations by the time he was 21. He branched out with a music festival, a production company, internet radio station and helped set up charity for homeless people as well as a number of digital businesses that went nowhere.

Steve founded Then Somehow in 2014 to create tools to help organisations with the messy stuff. He works with universities, local government and technology businesses, co-designing programmes to change behaviours and building apps to support teams to have better conversations.

Jane van Zyl, CEO, Working Families

Working Families is the national charity that works to remove the barriers that people with caring responsibilities face in the workplace. Jane has held the position of CEO since 2018. The charity drives positive change by supporting and advocating for working parents and carers, collaborating with employers of all sizes to build flexible and family-friendly cultures, and influencing government policy. Jane has 12 years’ experience working in the third sector and has held senior leadership positions at a number of UK charities.

Jane is a passionate advocate of equal opportunity for all.

Rebecca Woolmington, CEO, HRCentral

A CIPD qualified and accomplished HR Consultant with over 25 years’ experience, over the last 15 years, Rebecca has successfully managed and grown HRCentral. Her experienced and talented generalist team fully support HRCentral’s SME clients with outsourced HR and recruitment services.

Prior to setting up HRCentral, Rebecca’s last employed position was as Senior HR Business Partner in a large Engineering contractor, with 3500 employees this was a busy role encompassing operational and strategic initiatives in the industrial relations and learning development arena.

Lizzie Benton, founder, people and culture specialist, Liberty Mind UK

Lizzie Benton is a people culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a purpose-driven company culture and more autonomous teams. Through Liberty Mind, Lizzie’s mission is to build purpose-driven company cultures where human potential can thrive.

Lizzie has been recognised as one of the top 30 millennials changing the world of work and has been featured in the Metro, Huffington Post, Forbes and the Financial Times. Lizzie is best known for her honest approach to company culture and believes in building more organisations that support our human potential.

Kamran Saleem, MD, MotorServ UK

Kamran is an automotive expert with 15 years in the industry. After studying Business Management at Aston University, he established the current brand for the Business seven years ago and has ambitiously increased its annual revenue from £400k to now over £6m.

Kamran’s innovative customer offers like ‘No pass no fee MOT’ have earned Motorserv UK national recognition and awards, including ‘UK Garage of the Year’ and ‘Large Garage of the Year’.

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Author: Nick Hardy

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