This year, outstanding leadership was characterized by empathy, intentional listening and fostering belonging. In unpredictable times, employees as a whole desired some stability and security within their workplaces. The companies that stood out advocated for a positive impact on their lives via several initiatives, from more innovative cultures and hybrid work environments to solid efforts toward effective DE&I and wellness programs.
While many companies have focused on making it through uncertain economic times, many leaders have taken the time to drive performance within their organizations. One such company, Hootsuite, embraced a distributed workforce model that fostered innovation and social connections, earning it a nomination for HR Leader of the Year. Tara Ataya championed DE&I and mental health initiatives across the organization and ensured they became more representative of the company’s global workforce. As a result of Tara’s efforts, Hootsuite evolved into a workplace where individuals feel a strong sense of belonging and are encouraged to bring their authentic selves to work. The company was able to reimagine its global offices as flexible, collaborative hubs to foster innovation and social connections.
As for Most Committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Audible secured a nomination for its numerous DE&I initiatives, which it applies across three pillars — the employees it nurtures, the communities in which it does business and the content it produces. Audible understands that diversity in its offices, communities or leadership can only increase opportunities to learn from one another and share inspiring stories. To expand the company’s efforts to advance equity, racial justice, and economic empowerment further, it launched the Global Center for Urban Development. The center aims to create jobs, sustain businesses, attract foot traffic and drive increased economic activity in the cities Audible calls home. To date, it’s generated over $775 million in economic activity.
Another company that takes diversity and inclusivity seriously is Sharethrough. The company’s commitment to collaboration and open communication is just one aspect that earned it a nomination for Best Hybrid Work Environment this year. Sharethrough believes that a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds enriches work and leads to more robust outcomes. Additionally, the company has created a work environment that encourages its diverse team to exchange insights and perspectives freely, allowing Sharethrough to tackle challenges collectively and find innovative solutions. The company boasts a robust hybrid work model, including a Work From Anywhere program, parental leave, progressive back-to-work program, volunteer days, three annual self-care days, a monthly stipend to cover phone and internet costs and a yearly wellness budget.
Whalar began as an influencer marketing agency and has since developed into a global creator company. Its commitment to being people-first has earned it a finalist spot in the Best Employer for Remote Employees category. Whalar finds that being in the creator space means it’s practically essential to operate remotely. The company recognizes the capabilities of its team and doesn’t restrain them to a performative office space. Instead, it allows all team members to work comfortably from home with flexible hours. Whalar is acutely aware of burnout and has continuous open conversations about bandwidth to enhance workflows. The company also holds regular in-person get-togethers to strengthen connections and has incorporated a workspace option for employees wishing to book a shared workspace.
Vox Media combined elements of many of these other initiatives to secure a nomination for Best Wellness Program. Vox Media places employee well-being as a top priority, and the wellness programs and other support initiatives it has implemented are inclusive and directly reflect the company’s values and diverse workforce. Vox Media aims to support its employees through programs that address their physical, mental and social health. For example, the company’s medical coverage includes fertility treatments such as egg freezing and artificial insemination without requiring an infertility diagnosis for greater access to this type of care, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. The plan also offers supportive coverage for anyone undergoing a gender transition while working at Vox Media. The company also has a generous leave policy, including paternal leave and leave for pregnancy loss. Also offered are Headspace and DE&I training, and the company partners with several employee resource groups for employees to discuss accessibility needs and their experiences with disabilities.
Overall, those selected by the judges for 2023 demonstrate how companies are committed to implementing DE&I across employees, communities and content, improving employee well-being through comprehensive wellness programs and adopting hybrid work environments that allow for flexibility and inclusivity and prioritize work/life balance.
See the complete list of finalists below.
Best Employer for Parents
Best Employer for Remote Employees
Best Hybrid Work Environment
Best Mentorship Program
Best Multicultural Integration
Best Onboarding Process
Best Rewards & Recognition Program
Best Use of AI in the Workplace
CMI Media Group & Compas
Best Virtual Work Environment
Media Matters Worldwide
Best Wellness Program
Best Workplace for Young Careers
Best Workplace Tech Provider
Employer of the Year
HR Leader of the Year
Amanda Keleher, CPO, Consensys
Anita Grantham, Head of HR at BambooHR
Jeana Munoz, Chief People Officer, Havas Media
Joe Militello, Chief People Officer, PagerDuty
Lisa DuJat, Chief Talent Officer, IPG Health
Tara Ataya, Chief People & Diversity Officer, Hootsuite
HR Team of the Year
Most Collaborative Culture
Most Committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Most Committed to Social Good
Most Committed to Work/Life Balance
Media Matters Worldwide
Most Dedicated to Employee Growth
Most Innovative Culture
Most Passionate Employees
Most Valued Employees