Every year, hundreds of companies put themselves forward for recognition for their efforts to attract and retain the right staff through their efforts to create a great place to work.
And from the submissions, a team of assessors from the contest’s organisers, consultancy firm Great Place to Work, whittles down the list to a top 50 in three categories, based on company size: small (20 to 49 employees), medium (50 to 499 employees), and large (500 or more employees).
The finalists in each of these three categories for the 2016 awards come from a variety of sectors, but both recruitment firms and IT consultancies featured heavily in the top 20 of small workplaces, with a number of small manufacturers making it into the medium-sized firms list, with IT, recruitment and not-for-profit/charity organisations also well represented.
At the top end size-wise, familiar names making their mark on the list included McDonald’s Restaurants, pet supplies retailer Pets at Home – based, like us at Perpetual, in Cheshire – and food and confectionery manufacturer Mars UK.
Great Places To Work rounded up views from employees working at 100 of the top-ranked companies across all three categories, and from among those it received the following feedback:
- “Everyone helps out everyone. It’s an amazing store to be working in. It’s practically my dream job”
- “We are encouraged to step out of our comfort zones and take on new things, but always in a safe environment which accepts mistakes as opportunities”
- “I joined the apprenticeship scheme after leaving school and have worked in different hotels and cities. There are so many opportunities here.”
- “The diverse, thoughtful and talented team make it a pleasure to come to work and help us deliver outstanding work every day.”
- “My colleagues are empowered to constantly come up with new ways to make work fun and inspiring and to create a truly great place to work.”
- “The company really does create opportunities for employees to have a work-life balance by hosting events and activities for us to get involved in.”
- “I look forward to coming in to work and collaborating with down-to-earth, witty, intelligent people. We’re a small team but together we pack a big punch.”
- “The levels of trust and autonomy given to employees [are] unique; this is a supportive and progressive workplace.”
- “[The company] has strong values that everyone lives by. I love that the company cares about me, my family and my personal and professional growth.”Right at the top of the tree, as the best big company to work for is Softcat, a software developer, which has a strong track record of success in similar polls throughout most of its 20-year history.
Its founder, Peter Kelly, wanted to create a company which broke away from the mass of “run-of-the-mill, soulless and anonymous corporates”. In this respect, he says, he has removed responsibility for overall staff welfare from a dedicated HR department, and instead invested all of his employees with the responsibility of making their colleagues feel valued.
As is common with many modern businesses, Softcat doesn’t manufacture or sell any products of its own – instead, it re-sells third party IT solutions. This, said Mr Kelly, means the business has to differentiate itself through “the attitude of our employees and quality and enthusiasm of the customer service we offer.”
Staff are asked every year for their input into a satisfaction survey, and the boss sets aside a week to pore over the submissions. Ensuring that “staff feel they have a stake in the direction of the company” is high on his priority list, and that applies even though most of its staff are at relatively early stages in their careers.
Meanwhile, the smallest company to take a top spot at the awards, Foundation SP, is also in the tech sector, and develops technology and software solutions for other firms and organisations.
It was also praised for its dedication to ensuring that family life was given a high priority among its staff, ranking equally in importance alongside personal and professional development.
Creating Great Culture
To that end, its CEO, Simon Grosse, introduced a company mantra, which he has called ‘how it feels’, aimed at ensuring that this aspect of the company and its work is always being looked at, from the point of view of both employees and clients.
“Our values focus on creating a great culture in which employees and clients feel engaged, rewarded and happy,” he said.
The result, Mr Grosse added, was “a shared purpose, shared vision and a collective team spirit”. This has even extended to half of the company’s strategic goals being determined as a result of round-table staff meetings.
Lots of the principles applied by the businesses quoted in this article can also be adapted to help other companies make themselves more attractive to their current staff and potential new recruits.
But what sets the companies in the higher reaches of the Best Workplaces rankings apart from most of their contemporaries is that they score consistently far higher in the eyes of their staff in five key criteria:
- Recognition given to staff
- Rewards given to staff (not just in a financial sense)
- Talent management
- Values and ethics, and
- Trust in the leadership.
So any business which wants to mark itself out as a great employer, and following on from that, attract the right staff to help it grow and prosper, should check out Greatplacetowork.co.uk, for plenty of help and advice, as well as the lowdown on the firms you’ll be competing with to attract, and keep hold of, ‘la creme de la creme’.
To get advice to help you in your business’s growth and development plans, and how to get the right staff to drive them forward, contact Perpetual Partnerships today.