20 of the Best Companies to Work For (and What We Can Learn From Them)

20 of the Best Companies to Work For (and What We Can Learn From Them)

20 of the Best Companies to Work For (and What We Can Learn From Them)The Sunday Times have announced this year’s top 100 companies to work for!

If you made the cut… then a huge well done to you!

To honour the occasion, I thought we could take a more in-depth look at some of the brands that made the list and what we can learn from them in terms of HR, employee engagement and leadership.

How do you make the list?

The companies who make it onto the list are those that have the highest “Best Companies Index Score” on a survey filled out by their employees.

Employees are asked to give a rating on 70 different questions and 1000 is the maximum score a company can achieve. They get asked about:

  • Salary.
  • Benefits.
  • Wellbeing.
  • Personal growth.
  • Leadership.
  • Culture.

And more.

And scores are calculated using an “8 factor model.”

It’s all anonymous so you should get a real insight into how your employees really (really) feel.

Why should you care?

In general, employee satisfaction surveys are a great tool because…

  • They help you to understand how your employees are feeling.
  • They give you a heads-up if there are potential issues in the workplace.
  • They encourage your staff members to be honest.
  • They help to make your employees feel valued.

All of that means you can improve your company culture, wellbeing, employee engagement, your team’s productivity and staff retention rates in the process. Worth it, right?

Making it onto a public list like this one is even better because…

  • It’s pretty great PR (you can certainly shout about it).
  • It’s fantastic for your employer brand.
  • It’s great for your brand too.

That’s all pretty compelling.

So what are these companies doing that is so bloomin’ special?

There are four ‘best companies to work for’ lists in total, including small (50 – 250 employees), mid-sized (250 – 3000 employees), big (3000+ employees) and Not-for-Profit (50+ employees).

Now that’s a lot of businesses, so today I’m just going to cover the top 5 in each category. If you’d like to see the full list and find out more details click here.

The 5 Best Big Companies

(3000+ employees).

1. Sytner Group

Industry:                             Automotive

Score:                                   752.4

Staff Turnover:                  15%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?sytner-group-53825

Important Bits:

  • Great training opportunities and career progression.
  • The team are incredibly proud to work there.
  • “It’s like one big family.”

2. Admiral Group plc

Industry:                            Insurance

Score:                                  749.8

Staff Turnover:                13%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?admiral-group-plc-47426

Important Bits:

  • A strong emphasis on FUN! Including events like sheep herding and circus skills.
  • Share incentive scheme.
  • Newbies get a warm welcome and there’s a great induction programme.

3. EE

Industry:                             Telecommunications

Score:                                   741.3

Staff Turnover:                 18%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?ee-55478

Important Bits:

  • Employees feel valued by their managers.
  • Great discounts (friends and family included) on EE products.
  • Giving back is encouraged and actioned through the company. As a business, they raised £192,700 for Unicef alone last year. They also care for the environment.

4. Markerstudy Group

Industry:                             Insurance

Score:                                   738.2

Staff Turnover:                 10%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?markerstudy-group-90135

Important Bits:

  • They are very charitable. Employees get 5 days off a year for volunteering and as a business, they donated £228,000 to charities last year.
  • A really fun place to work.
  • With a strong focus on wellbeing, including healthcare benefits, healthy eatin advice and fitness challenges.

5. Bourne Leisure

Industry:                             Leisure

Score:                                   737.4

Staff Turnover:                 30%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?bourne-leisure-ltd-49906

Important Bits:

  • A firm with a family-feel.
  • Great systems for employee feedback. Suggestions are actually listened to and acted upon.
  • Personal growth is encouraged, through training, mentoring, secondments and paid days away.

The 5 Best Mid-Sized Companies

(250 – 3000 employees).

1. 4Com plc

Industry:                             Telecommunications

Score:                                   864.8

Staff Turnover:                 18%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?4com-plc-85520

Important Bits:

  • There’s a real sense of family.
  • After 5 years, employees have access to a share scheme.
  • Quirky perks like music and disco lights in the office, to keep morale high.

2. Chess

Industry:                             IT and Communications

Score:                                   856

Staff Turnover:                 37%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?chessict-48037

Important Bits:

  • The Chief Executive hosts “life-changing” Happiness Training sessions.
  • Health and wellbeing are very important and employees are provided with free breakfasts, massages, dental and optical plans and private medical insurance.
  • Lots of team sporting events and staff are encouraged to raise money for charities, which the company will match.

3. Charter Court Financial Services

Industry:                             Financial Services

Score:                                   809.8

Staff Turnover:                 9%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?charter-court-financial-services-98135

Important Bits:

  • Managers are accessible and work in the office with other staff members.
  • Company values of respect, excellence, attention, challenge and honesty are adhered to.
  • Charitable activities are encouraged.

4. MoneyPenny

Industry:                             Professional Services

Score:                                   800.5

Staff Turnover:                 18%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?moneypenny-55087

Important Bits:

  • Quirky perks like an onsite pub.
  • Great team who are always willing to help out and who have fun at work.
  • Charitable activities are encouraged and they have even set up “The MoneyPenny Foundation” to help young, jobless women get into work, education or training.

5. UKFast

Industry:                             Hosting Provider

Score:                                   799.9

Staff Turnover:                 17%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?ukfast-54876 

Important Bits:

  • Emphasis on technology to build a strong team and internal communication strategy.
  • Quirky perks like a gym, crèche, classrooms, Japanese spa garden and sleeping pods.
  • Incentives like holidays, festivals and trips, paid for by the company.

The 5 Best Small Companies

(50 – 250 employees).

1. Talon Outdoor.

Industry:                             Media

Score:                                   825.8

Staff Turnover:                 6%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?talon-outdoor-98214

Noticeable Points:

  • Strong emphasis on “giving something back.” They raised £68,000 last year for charities.
  • A fun office. Employees are certainly not bored; “there is a lot of energy and never a dull day.”
  • An extremely creative team.

2. ThirdWay Interiors.

Industry:                             Interior Design

Score:                                   824.5

Staff Turnover:                 4%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?thirdway-interiors-100427

Noticeable Points:

  • Strong culture of transparency and honesty across the company.
  • Employees feel like they make a real contribution.
  • They have faith in their leaders.

3. Austin Fraser Ltd.

Industry:                             Recruitment

Score:                                   822.5

Staff Turnover:                 25%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?austin-fraser-ltd-90832

Noticeable Points:

  • Emphasis on team-building and socialising with activities such as paintballing.
  • Loads of opportunities for personal development – they invested £2000 in training last year.
  • The team have lots of fun at work.

4. JCW

Industry:                              Recruitment

Score:                                    815.5

Staff Turnover:                  15%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?jcw-99991

Noticeable Points:

  • Strong investment in staff; they hire trainees and develop them into a role.
  • Team-building activities are a-plenty and they also offer free yoga sessions.
  • Employees rate their managers as excellent role models (it’s easy to see why).

5. Equilibrium Asset Management

Industry:                             Wealth Management

Score:                                   813.1

Staff Turnover:                 4%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?equilibrium-asset-management-101258

Noticeable Points:

  • Wellbeing and work-life balance are encouraged, for example, working overtime is banned (the office shuts at 6pm sharp) and staff get at least 33 holidays a year.
  • Quirky perks like a games room and special events like barbecues and quizzes.
  • A strong team culture.

The 5 Best Not-For-Profit Companies

(50+ Employees)

1. SLH Group

Industry:                             Housing Association

Score:                                    838.9

Staff Turnover:                  5%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?slh-group-48388

Noticeable Points:

  • Employees really believe in and trust their leader.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Quirky perks like an office “living room” with darts, table tennis and crafts.

2. The Message Trust

Industry:                             Youth Work

Score:                                   772.1

Staff Turnover:                 22%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?the-message-trust-99576

Noticeable Points:

  • Inspirational leadership.
  • Great opportunities for personal growth.
  • Really strong values.

3. Wales & West Housing

Industry:                             Housing

Score:                                   771.3

Staff Turnover:                 Not stated

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?wales-&-west-housing-48526

Noticeable Points:

  • Fun events.
  • Good for personal growth.
  • Really strong values that the employees are proud of.

4. Treetops Hospice Care

Industry:                             Health and Social Care

Score:                                   758.1

Staff Turnover:                 15%

Company Profile:            http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?treetops-hospice-care-100942

Noticeable Points:

  • Sense of family within the team.
  • Good work-life balance.
  • Really strong values that the employees are proud of.

5. Fair Ways

Industry:                        Children’s services

Score:                              755.8

Staff Turnover:            19%

Company Profile:       http://www.b.co.uk/company-profile/?treetops-hospice-care-100942

Noticeable Points:

  • Teamwork is their greatest strength; staff go out of their way to help each other.
  • Inspiring and supportive leaders.
  • Transparency and honesty across the company.


It’s not easy making it into the top 100. It takes a change a certain kind of attitude and a real commitment to keeping employees happy and engaged.

You have to be in it to win it.

Recruiter Pro Tip

I’m sure you’ve noticed a few themes that crop up time and time again…

  • Encouraging charity work and volunteering. Not all employers do this but it really is a great way to encourage team-building and make employees feel great, whilst giving back to the community.
  • Good perks and rewards. Employees who are rewarded for their hard work feel valued and respected. They’re more like to be happy and more productive.
  • Great and inspiring managers. The best companies have leaders who are actually approachable, who inspire them and who take action when it needs to be taken.

If you have all 3 of the above in place, perhaps it is time to get your name on the list?

Click here to read more about engaging your employees and making them happy!

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More information.

If you’d like to find out more about these lists and who makes them, check out these resources:

Good luck.

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