Great Places to Work are All Round Winners

“Best Workplaces” are sought after by the most talented employees. They are valued more highly by investors, customers, governance and partners. They financially outperform their competitors by 2-3% per year [1]. When the impact on engagement, talent acquisition and retention, and organisational performance is clearly demonstrable, the journey to become an Employer of Choice has now become a much easier business case for HR leaders to make and for the rest of the leadership team to back.
Great Place to Work assesses and ranks the most desirable workplaces globally, publishing in the US under the banner Fortune Best Companies, and in the UK and Europe with selected media partners, including the Sunday Telegraph. 

2015 UK Best Places to Work

These UK large companies, with 500+ employees, are recognised as the current trailblazers in terms of engagement, culture and leadership, and the influence on their employees, potential employees and all their other stakeholders is massive.

1st Best Workplace: What Do Capital One Do That’s Different? 

capital oneDespite the financial services industry receiving a battering in recent years, Capital One, the credit card company, has scooped the top award for three years running. Turning a lack of trust in financial providers into a positive advantage, it adopted the mission “Change Banking for Good”. As Karen Bowes, VP International HR and Sustainability, explains: “Capital One is a place where employees feel empowered to make a difference, whether that’s taking immediate action on a customer call, or looking more widely at processes. For a company of over 1,000 people, we still manage to feel like a family, with many of our employees choosing to socialise together outside of work. That has partly been achieved by maintaining and fostering excellent levels of communication which is one of the biggest HR challenges for any large organisation.”  Central to being a Best Workplace is improving some of the key themes that emerge here: Trust, Empowering Employees, Teamwork & “Family”, and Communication. 

2nd Best Workplace: What Has Helped Softcat Achieve and Maintain This Ranking?

Softcat, an IT infrastructure provider, has won 2nd place for the past 2 years. Colin Brown, Softcat’s managing director, talks first and foremost about the importance of having a great workplace culture. Approachability and 2-way communication with Managers and Directors is actively encouraged and leaders sit amongst their teams 100% of the time. He adds that they have a clear recruitment and talent management strategy “We tend to promote people internally rather than hire from outside the company, which enables managers to relate well to their team, and it also inspires employees to work hard and move on up.” Softcat were the only large employer to receive a second accolade, for “Delivering Excellence in Leadership”. This award recognises the crucial role an organisation’s leaders play in creating and maintaining a high trust, high engagement culture. 

10 Ways to Check Your Commitment to being a Great Place to Work

 Consider this checklist as a sense-check of your organisation’s commitment to being a top-ranked Employer of Choice. Do you want to:
  • Be loved by your People
  • Be first with your Customers
  • Be valued highly by your Investors
  • Communicate Purpose & Goals brilliantly to your employees
  • Empower your staff to make small, Continuous Improvements
  • Make the creation of a winning culture one of your Strategic Priorities
  • Maintain a great Culture through the upheaval of Organisational Change
  • Deliver the behaviours and actions that engender high degrees of Trust
  • Invest time and energy into driving your Engagement agenda
  • Maximise Productivity and Performance through all of the above, and commercially Outperform your competitors!
If you have ticked all or many of these, then congratulations! You know what it takes to be one of the best places to work.
We’d love to hear more about your ambitions and unique challenges, so please contact us.
[1] 4 year academic study of Fortune Best Companies by Professor Alex Edmans at London Business School.
© Cath Longfield, Starboard, 2016