News & insights

SF Recruitment celebrate a double win at the Working Families Best Practice Awards 2022

By Fiona Frudd

SF Recruitment won in two categories: Best Small Employer and Best for Flexible Working, in recognition of the enormous transformation the business has undertaken over the past two years.

The judges felt SF Recruitment had a genuine dedication to flexible working, tailoring roles around individual need. SF were able to clearly illustrate what a hugely positive difference flexible working has had on reducing turnover rate, and an impressive increase to productivity, which in turn has given growth a real boost.

Saira Demmer, CEO, SF Recruitment comments:
"Over the past 2 years, we’ve transformed from a traditional recruitment firm with traditional ‘rigid’ practices to a people-centric, female-led business that empowers its employees and candidates, and is enabled by a new culture of innovation, autonomy, and flexibility. Post pandemic, we recognised the importance of offering a strong employee value proposition to support our employees’ health and wellbeing and maximising their engagement.  We have pledged a long-lasting commitment to operate a hybrid working model.  Offering our people the autonomy to work in the best way for them and supporting them to build a fulfilling career and personal life creates the best platform for their success. We want to support them to achieve their goals, because the company in turn will achieve its goals. The focus on having a well-rested and engaged workforce gives us a model for long-term sustainable success.  These awards are a great acknowledgement of the changes we’ve made, and we are enormously proud.”


The judges commented that “SF Recruitment is a shining example of how to integrate flexible working into a business model. Led by the CEO, the flexible-first approach has proved fruitful both for employee satisfaction, staff retention, and an impressive growth in profit.”

The quality of entries this year was exceptional, as organisations across sectors and sizes have risen to the challenges of the pandemic. The winners have all gone above and beyond for the parents and carers in their workforce, and demonstrate that from construction to banking, international companies to small businesses, any organisation can build flexibility and family-friendly support into their job roles.

The winning organisations are:   

Best for Mothers – sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada 
WINNER: Macfarlanes LLP 

Best for Fathers  
WINNER: Wates Group 

Best for Carers & Eldercare  
WINNER: Phoenix Group 

Best Family Network    
WINNER: Bank of England  

Best for Mental Health & Wellbeing - sponsored by Investors in People 
WINNER: Santander 

Best for Flexible Working  
WINNER: SF Recruitment  

Best for Flexible Recruitment 
Hill Dickinson LLP 

Best Small Employer  
WINNER: SF Recruitment  

Best for All Families – sponsored by Fastn 
Wates Group 

Guest Award – Best for Supporting Fertility and Pathways to Parenthood – sponsored by Fertifa 
Bank of England
NatWest Group 

 Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive of Working Families said: “Two years on from the pandemic, we are beginning to understand its potential longer-term impact on flexible working practices, and it’s been a joy to see how our award-winning organisations this year are forging innovative ways to support their workforce.

Their commitment to finding flexible solutions and fostering supportive cultures illustrates not only that flexibility can work, but that it’s win-win. The Working Families Best Practice Award winners 2022 are shining examples of implementing policies and practices so that employees enjoy more autonomy whilst businesses get a boost in performance from an engaged and committed workforce.” 

Denise Priest, Executive Director of Work and Family Solutions at Bright Horizons, said: “It has been an immense honour to partner with Working Families at this wonderful event and congratulations to everyone who has been recognised today. The Best Practice Awards are a fantastic platform to celebrate UK employers whose stand-out cultures and practices demonstrate that they understand that all employees perform better if the organisation supports their work-life balance. These awards are deeply connected to what we do as for more than 30 years we have been delivering innovative work and family solutions, helping families and employers look forward to a brighter future. 

Fiona Frudd
Fiona Frudd
Head of Marketing