Now in its fifth consecutive year, the Best Workplaces for Women accolade is a prestigious recognition. Women from eight organisations tell us why their company is a great place to work …
Great Place to Work is delighted to announce the 2023 Best Workplaces for Women. Underpinned by a global methodology, this recognition awards organisations who are both creating a Great Place to Work For All, and for women in particular.
Recognising 30 organisations and representing the lived experience of over 16,000 women, the Best Workplaces for Women recognition allows Great Place to Work to commend those organisations who have committed to maintaining an inclusive workplace culture and creating supportive workplaces for women in particular. 94% of women in these organisations feel that they are treated fairly in their workplace, regardless of their gender, showcasing how these many organisations strive to bring a balanced workplace and a positive experience for all.
This recognition showcases organisations who go above and beyond to build an inclusive workplace culture for all and is an amazing opportunity to shine a spotlight on the many women who make such a difference to our workforce every day. These organisations are committed to maintaining a high standard of workplace culture despite the challenges that have arisen over the past few years.
This year, Great Place to Work is particularly excited about the partnership with The Menopause Hub, which will begin to pave the way for more menopause-friendly workplaces.
Head of Employee Experience, CluneTech
CluneTech is a suite of companies that provide solutions to simplify global business. I joined after college and have been here for four and a half years now.
It was clear to me from the outset that it doesn’t matter whether you’re male, female, nonbinary, 20 or 60, it is very much an organisation where everyone is given the opportunity to succeed.
As a young woman entering into the fintech space, I didn’t know what to expect. But within weeks I had the opportunity to work with Terry Clune, our group CEO and founder, and the senior management team.
With female CEOs and many women at senior management level, the group is visibly female forward. Sinead Fitzmaurice, CEO of TransferMate, the first female CEO of an Irish tech unicorn, started her journey with CluneTech as an accountant and progressed through the ranks.
Because it is a group, you don’t feel trapped or confined to the role, team or company you’re in and there are always opportunities to upskill as we want to retain talent.
There is a strong human element to the company which I experienced first hand when I lost one of my best friends to suicide a couple of years ago. It was such a dark time but having an organisation, a manager, a team who supported me through it was a huge help.
At the time we didn’t have any remote working capability, so I was not only given compassionate leave, but also the opportunity to ease myself back in by working from home. The day I did go back to the office I had people coming up to my desk, giving me hugs and chocolate. I’ve genuinely never met a group of people as compassionate and supportive, yet also fun, light-hearted and all round great craic!
Last year I returned to education to do a Masters of Science in Digital Marketing and had a lot of support for that too, including being given six hours every Thursday to attend lectures. I was trusted not to let my work suffer.
Weeks after I joined, Terry said to me, ‘If you’ve a problem with the taste of the tap water in our office, I want to know about it’. This is evident and we have a clear ‘you spoke, we listened’ culture where changes are implemented because of employee feedback. Many affect women particularly. One is fully flexible working, which allows us not only to retain but also to attract staff. Our offices are now not just a place of work, but a place of collaboration.
Flexible working is not just about people with families. I have no kids, but I can prioritise my health and well-being. I’m not driving up and down the M9 to Kilkenny every day. I can go for a swim at lunchtime, meet my family, take my dogs for a walk, or go to the gym. We have summer flex hours so you work five days across four and a half, and a half day every quarter for getting ‘life work’ done.
As well as maternity leave we have IVF, pregnancy assistance and miscarriage leave. We support our employees through the nice times in life, but are there for them during the difficult times too.
I love what I do, the people I work with and the company I work for and am proud to work for such a progressive organisation.
Junior Product Manager, Distilled
I work in the product team at Distilled, the parent company of Daft.ie, DoneDeal, Adverts.ie and Gumtree. My role is to look at new and innovative products and features that will make buying and selling better for everyone in Ireland.
I have been at Distilled for four years and in my current role for four months. I joined as a customer support specialist on Daft.ie when we were building out our new website and worked closely with our designers and product managers. It sparked an interest and last year I started a UX Design Masters.
Distilled has a great culture. Everybody is made to feel like they belong from Day One. You see it in how we work day-to-day. In the time I’ve been here I’ve never heard anyone say, “That’s not part of my role”. If we can help one another to achieve something, we jump in.
During Covid people were constantly switching between different projects, using skills they mightn’t have shown before, aiming to keep our users happy. We became a stronger company because of it.
I have had great support within Distilled in terms of figuring out my personal career goals. I never would have thought I would be in the role I’m in now as I would have doubted myself and thought it would be too technical for me, however with the support of Distilled I realised my potential and that it was just all these preconceptions I had that were holding me back. I think women sometimes see a job spec’s checklist and if we don’t tick every box, we don’t apply. To be encouraged and hear someone say, “I see you, do apply” is something for which I’m grateful.
Something I find helpful are the career maps we have. At any time, you can visit the site and see the requirements and expectations of your current role and any other role within the company. If you’re thinking about moving up a level in seniority or want to go down a management path, you can see what’s required of you and set goals. And if you’re looking to make a lateral change and go into a different area, you can see if there are any courses you should do.
From the day you join the company you become part of the Distilled Women’s Network. We have a Slack channel and we do in-person events, including a day-long women’s development programme.
We have a great work-life balance which starts from the top down. You’ll often hear people in our leadership teams talking about what they’re doing in the evening or saying they’re coming in a bit later because they’re dropping the kids to school. We can work from home or the office or a mix of the two, and there are no set days. We get every Friday off in August.
We have mental health “first aiders’’ and access to a counsellor under the employee assistance program. On Slack you can put up an emoji of a battery running low, so if you’re not feeling great it lets everybody know you might not be 100% responsive for whatever reason. It’s not something you’d be worried about using, people understand and accept it.
All of these things really add to the great culture we have here in Distilled and it’s really no wonder we are a Best Workplace for Women and Ireland’s Number 1 Medium Great Place to Work in 2023.
Rooms Division Manager, Midlands Park Hotel
As the Rooms Division Manager and a Senior member of the Management team, I oversee all aspects of the Rooms Division including the front desk, accommodation, the maintenance team, the leisure centre, revenue, and reservations. I started working in the hotel over eleven years ago as a waitress in the Italian restaurant. I’d been a stay at home mum but wanted to step back into the workforce and the restaurant hours could accommodate my family commitments.
The managers and owners have encouraged me and supported me in a career that I probably didn’t see myself in when I started off. Now I have the confidence, I know I can progress further.
When I became front office manager I did a leadership and development course to learn the skills to be able to help my team out. Some of them are still here, and progressing in their different career paths, which is very rewarding for me.
I’ve gone back to college again in the last couple of years to study Strategic Management and Leadership and Development in Carlow SETU. It’s given me confidence in my role, and I’m delighted to be part of the decision-making process to deliver positive outcomes for the hotel and all its customers.
I was also fortunate to complete an emotional intelligence course too. Learning to perceive, use, understand one’s own emotions and to manage them is a very important skill, but so is learning to understand other people’s emotions and how you react to them. This creates better working relationships and positive working environments.
Last year my dad had cancer and I was travelling up and down to his appointments in Dublin, often at short notice. My colleagues and hotel management were amazing, the empathy and the support that I got was extraordinary. They said, ‘Whatever you need to do, just do it’.
We’ve incorporated hybrid working and flexible hours, and it’s like having the best of both worlds. The teams make it work for themselves and we have also introduced a wellbeing week each year where we have motivational speakers, relaxation and stress management techniques. We are very aware of creating great work-life balance for our teams and making sure that everyone is taking care of themselves.
We have a widely diverse range of employees, and we’re very conscious of investing in our young people as they are the industry’s future. We want them to see that there can be a long term career in the industry as opposed to part time work in our restaurants or bars. And it’s important for me personally to show that it’s possible to balance work life with family life. It can be challenging, because hospitality isn’t a 9-5 job, but it’s so rewarding and every day is completely different and you get to meet so many incredible people.
Care is one of our values – caring for our guests and for each other is at the heart of everything we do. Many years ago when we were talking about our purpose, our mission and our values, the owner kept coming back to the idea of care. He truly believes in this, because he invested the money and resources into our training and development. And now we are doing that in turn with our young leaders and it follows through into the guest experience. If we are happy within our workplace, if we’re supported and encouraged and empowered, that shows in the service and the guest experience. That’s what hospitality is all about.
Test Lead and Women in Tech Group Lead, Version 1
I’ve been with Version 1, the IT service provider and consultancy, for five years. I look after the software testing for one of our clients, HM Courts and Tribunal Service. I make sure my team is motivated, happy and have everything they need to be able to do their job and succeed.
I stumbled into testing. I’m from a finance background, with a BSc in Accounting and an MBA in finance. I started in the banking and finance industry before moving to tech. I never imagined I’d have a technical role, so defining my career is one of the things Version 1 has helped me with.
I love supporting people. When I see people growing and owning things, it gives me inner joy, especially when I’ve been part of their journey.
We have a brilliant career development programme, where you state what you like as part of your career journey – in my case people management and software testing – and you are encouraged to follow those different paths through guidance on skills to develop to succeed. My role combines my two passions.
I’m a mother of two boys and I have the flexibility to be able to go and pick them up or do whatever it is I need to do. Just as long as you can deliver and manage your workload, that’s all that matters. The fact that I’m not being micromanaged gives me the opportunity to flourish and have a work-life balance.
Helping and empowering women is a passion of mine, because there are not a lot of us in the tech industry. In 2019 we started Version 1’s Women in Tech group. Through that lens, I’ll look at a job ad and think, ‘OK, if a woman reads this, is it something she would want to apply for?’.
When you empower people, they empower others and then your task becomes lighter. As a leader, you hope at some point they will take over your role and you can go on and do greater things.
Version 1 is strong on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. We are striving to ensure that every single strategy, process and policy always has a DIB lens across it. I was very proud to win the Employee of the Year Award for Version 1 at the Ireland National Diversity and Inclusion Awards 2023.
Version 1 has an open-door policy. There’s nobody I can’t talk to and the feeling of belonging, the sense of family, is strong. The company listens to its employees through its Trust and Empowerment survey and acts on what emerges from that. It’s not just a tick box exercise.
There’s a healthy working environment – I have breakfast in the office and twice a week I go to the gym in the office. I’m like, ‘Honey-Bell, you don’t have an excuse, this has been provided for you’.
There’s also a gaming section, so if ever I have to bring the boys in while I grab something, they have something to do.
All these things – some of them tiny – show me the company has thought about my life as an employee in terms of what is important to me: my family, my kids, my work and my health.
Chief People and Culture Officer, CoolPlanet
CoolPlanet is a global leader in industrial scale decarbonisation. I joined the company at the very beginning as Head of Operations. Fourteen years later I am Chief People and Culture Officer.
I am very passionate about coaching, strategy, building resilient and sustainable organisational culture, and improving global employee experience, so I enjoy my role immensely.
From the outset we wanted to build a profitable business with purpose. We were all at different stages of careers and life, but we shared a dream of building a company that would be a beacon for how businesses should be.
We look after people, the planet and profit in that order. Basic respect and appreciation at a human level is at the core of everything we do. Our people are motivated to grow and learn – everyone is part of the solution, everyone acts like an owner. This brings a greater capacity to innovate, and is a good base for growth mindset. Open communication, clarity of direction, a no-blame culture and career opportunities at every level are key for us.
Within our organisation we have everything from Gen Z to Gen X, and because we’re spread globally you have cultures within cultures. We have many different types of customers operating in a range of industry sectors, so irrespective of your age, experience, background, and career aspirations, you can build a fantastic career at CoolPlanet.
When I joined the company I was balancing a young family and strong career aspirations, and the company was there to support me in every possible way. We had hybrid working and flexible hours back then, which made the balancing act much more achievable.
As an employer, we hone in on the different requirements of people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. We create bespoke solutions for each individual. At a particular point in your life, mortgages, finance, childcare and parent teacher meetings are important to you. Then it’s pensions, healthcare, ageing parents and wills. We have an amazing wellness programme, and mentors and coaches for all the younger staff coming through.
The tech industry has traditionally been male dominated so it is encouraging to see the number of female engineers and IT specialists coming through. We are currently at 65% male and 35% female in employment.
One thing that we have consciously worked on is having female role models at all leadership levels. We hold workshops for our female employees to advance female participation and they cover topics such as personal branding, self promotion, stepping forward into leadership, goal setting, and resilience.
We provide individual career development programmes for senior and emerging leaders. Each programme is tailored to the individual and combines career strategy with internal and external mentorship support.
Understanding the requirement for diversity of thinking is key. The insights and ideas of any employee can help make the business better and, when every employee believes their role is important, and each person is valued, we all take our job more seriously. This gives a huge amount of freedom which allows people to be innovative, creative and do things differently.
Our company cares about its people in a real and authentic way. Our number one priority is to create an environment where we can not only thrive, but flourish and in doing so everyone – customers, employees, partners, family and friends – wins.
Associate Director of Shared Services, Cpl
I’ve been working with Cpl for eight and a half years, I started as a payroll administrator and over the years have worked in many different roles in the payroll function. Last year I was promoted to Associate Director of Shared Services. It’s quite a busy environment because we run multiple weekly, fortnightly and monthly payrolls for our clients. In addition, I work alongside all our Operations/Divisional heads in supporting our clients as well as our candidates. I am also very much involved with our PMO (project management office) and IT Operations team, as we have a culture of continuous improvement at Cpl and we all work very closely to ensure we adopt the best Lean practices and always deliver to our clients.
I love the culture of Cpl and its commitment to diversity and inclusion; they accommodate everybody. Cpl has never made me want to change who I am; in fact the organisation encourages you to be who you are.
My father died the week before Christmas and everyone at Cpl was so kind to me, showing me support on a daily basis. I really felt the love and I will never forget it. There was no, ‘You have to be back in work after three days’, nothing like that.
I have always been encouraged to progress by managers, especially women, within Cpl. They saw the capabilities I had. I’ve had four promotions over the time I’ve been here. At the beginning I wouldn’t have had the confidence to apply – I probably would have been happy enough to just saunter along – but I’m so glad I did.
I report directly to our CFO, Seána Leech. She’s mentored me and given me confidence. I’m constantly learning from her. And our CEO is Lorna Conn. You can only aspire to be better when you see young women in such senior roles.
We have our own intranet page called Workvivo which has a lot of resources with advice for working parents and working carers, and to support women on issues such as menopause, so people can share tips and connect with people who have stories to tell. And the Employee Assistance Programme helps with counselling services if you have any kind of mental health issue.
We have some flexibility and we always finish at 2 o’clock on the Friday before a bank holiday. If people have stuff they need to do such as bring their child to an appointment, or get their car fixed, it’s not a problem.
I’m always saying to my family and friends that Cpl is a great place to work. It can get very busy but we also have a bit of craic so it balances out.
When I left school I didn’t go to college, I worked in a factory. I was 23 when I got pregnant with my first child. I did a few courses at night so I could try to get into an office space. My children are in their twenties now so I have a bit more time to focus on work and I’m happy to do so. I never would’ve imagined where I’d be now. The confidence does grow with time and experience, and not being micromanaged. And confidence is key to being able to deliver in your role. Because Cpl has empowered me so much, my confidence grew without me even knowing it.
Associate Director for Program Management, Toast
I’m Associate Director for Programme Management in Toast, a cloud-based all-in-one digital platform for the restaurant community headquartered in Boston. We provide a single platform of software as a service giving restaurants everything they need to run their business. I’ve been with the company for three years. We’ve just over 200 employees in Ireland.
One thing that really makes me proud to work at Toast is how customer focused we are. Toast’s mission is to help restaurants do what they love and thrive. The restaurant customer and guest always come first. Two-thirds of Toast employees have worked in hospitality and that informs our culture. My parents had a restaurant-bar, catering business, and music venue in Dundalk, so I’m close to the industry; I grew up in it.
I find Toast very supportive as an organisation; there’s a sense of a one-team culture and a focus on helping employees thrive. One way we do that is with great mentorship programmes.
Within my department, Toast Technology, we have mentorship programmes and Toast Her, our employee resource group for women, also hosts a women-specific mentorship programme. I’ve been both mentor and mentee. It doesn’t matter what level you are, we encourage people to have multiple mentors and mentees across the organisation. I’ve learned a lot from mentoring people, it goes both ways.
We have an excellent internal learning and development team running courses in management and leadership, and a professional development stipend you can spend on things like workshops or training that help advance your career.
There are many female leaders within Toast. Our CTO is female and out of her six VPs, three are female. From the board to graduates straight out of college, we have women throughout the organisation.
Toast is strong on fostering communities. There are communities for whatever helps you identify as your best self. We have global and Irish chapters of Toast Her, Toast Parents, and a thriving community for LGBTQIA+ Toasters called Multigrain, which we call Multigreen in Ireland.
There are communities around areas such as disability, ethnicity and race, including an incredible community called Tapioca for Asian and Pacific Island Toasters, which a couple of people on my team help lead. It’s a great way for them to connect with people they wouldn’t otherwise meet in their day-to-day work. They could be in completely different departments, but they come together in that community. We all want to do our best when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, and the Toast Communities allow us to continue learning together. They run events for everybody in Toast, which allow allies to learn in a welcoming, encouraging way.
I’ve three daughters, and I’ve been working since they were born, so flexibility is huge for me. I love working, but I want to be around for my family. At Toast, there’s no problem with that. Our calendars are visible to each other, and we’re encouraged to take time for what’s important to us outside of the office. We’re given the trust and we repay it by working hard.
As well as a generous six-month, fully paid maternity leave, we have four months’ fully paid parental leave for dads. The great thing is, it’s actually taken. I think it’s transformative. Somebody on my team is off at the moment, it’s fantastic he can support his wife and family with their new baby. Toast really goes above and beyond for both parents, and our policies are so progressive and supportive of the family.
Head of Offshore Wind, Statkraft Ireland
Statkraft is a Norwegian state-owned company. I’ve been with them since 2019 when there were 35 people in Ireland; now we have around 100. We’re the largest producer of renewable energy in Europe, and on a big growth trajectory, but we’ve kept that family feeling even as we’ve grown in numbers.
Our Corporate Management Team is 50:50 female to male, which I think, given the industry we’re in, is a great testament to the company. These women are a brilliant example to the rest of us as it proves that there are no barriers to our ambitions.
I’m from an engineering background and started as a project manager, and then became a senior project manager. I grew into the role of Head of Offshore Wind. Once the company sees your ambition, desire and ability, there are no limits to what you can achieve.
We have great internal training courses and access to external leadership training courses, which I’ve found very helpful. I did a mentoring course with one of my colleagues over in Oslo who doesn’t work in offshore. It’s wonderful to be mentored by somebody in a very different role – I was able to bounce ideas off her and she helped me think more strategically.
Statkraft is flexible in terms of hybrid-working and very family-friendly, which I really appreciate as a working mum. Recently I had parent-teacher meetings, so I left early, and the next day everyone wanted to know how they had gone. As well as maternity leave we have paternity leave, and the men are encouraged to take it.
Last year, Alan Quinlan came in to give a talk on mental health, and afterwards, one of my colleagues stood up and told us about the challenges she faced, what she went through and the great support she got from the organisation. It made me think, ‘This is the kind of place I want to work, where a colleague feels comfortable saying that.’ I feel really lucky to be here.
We have a women’s network too, and one day we brought in our MD and sat him among 30 of us. It was interesting for him to experience what I’ve been through so many times, where I’ve been the only woman in the room.
One of the greatest kicks I get now as I’m getting a little bit older is watching my younger female colleagues progress. It’s a privilege to watch them develop their career paths, and to be able to support that in any way I can, is very rewarding. Women are great supporters of other women.
It’s great fun working at Statkraft, so I look forward to coming to work. The organisation was very supportive when we were in lockdown, which was great, but now people are coming back to the workplace more because it’s such a warm and friendly place to be.
The company doesn’t just get the big things right, it’s the little touches too, like the feminine hygiene products in the bathroom and the great coffee, that make it a nice working environment for all of us.