COOK
This article reveals key insights from the 2016 survey.

Bosses who trust make the difference

Special awards recognise this year's outstanding innovators, who bring the best out of their staff, writes Charlotte Wigram-Evans

Sky Betting & Gaming

Learning & Development

Presented by Best Companies Ltd

Best for Learning & Development

Want a grand to spend on gaming? Take up a digital role at online bookmaker Sky Betting and you’ll be privy to the “tech ninja fund” — £1,000 a year to spend on improving your technological prowess whether that be on courses, educational games or hardware. Even for the 40% of people whose roles lie outside this sphere, there is no lack of opportunity (a 65% positive score). One management course combines study with “action learning sets” where staff put their new skills into practice in the workplace. A mentoring scheme allows employees to develop outside the classroom, too. It runs for 12 weeks and employees find the experience good for growth (80%).

Best for Innovation in Engagement Practice

Skyscanner

Innovation in Engagement Practice

Presented by Best Companies

Asked to imagine their dream job, there are few of us who wouldn’t sigh and say, “the chance to travel”. For years, Skyscanner has offered employees who are away from their native country the opportunity to work “at home” for three weeks a year. It has been so well received that the travel comparison site wanted to make the option of working abroad available to everyone. The “Skyscanner explorer experience” was launched last September, giving hard workers the opportunity to go to one of the firm’s 10 global offices for a month every couple of years. No justification needs to be given for the trip, and with a fivefold increase in the firm’s foreign sites in three years, the list of exotic destinations is likely to lengthen. It is a reason why people are excited about the firm’s future (90% positive) as well as their own (82%).

Childbase Partnership

Giving Something Back

Presented by Best Companies Ltd

Best for Giving Something Back

It is future generations that will bear the brunt of climate change, and Childbase Partnership ensures that even babies can contribute to the fight against it. Through the waste collection service Green Bottoms, the nursery chain recycled almost 2m nappies last year, diverting hundreds of tonnes of waste from landfill sites. The company is set on saving the planet from the bottom up (literally) and received a 79% positive score for caring about the world around us. While children tend to the vegetable gardens, chief executive Mike Thompson is busy organising the installation of solar panels and insulation in nurseries. He sets great store by the Native American proverb, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children,” so the company is powered by a mix of wind, solar and wave power from a green-energy provider.

Best for Discovering Potential

COOK

Discovering Potential

Presented by Department for Work and Pensions

Chef's hats off to frozen meals provider COOK, which surpassed its own target to employ 2% of its workforce from local disadvantaged groups last year. Two of the 20 new recruits were hired through the charity Caring Hands in the Community. One new staffer, who had been struggling to find work, says of the scheme: “It has given me my self-esteem back. I have since got married and moved into a new home. If I was not employed by COOK it would not have happened.” The company has a strong social conscience (an 84% positive score) and donates its surplus food to Caring Hands.

MEC UK

Wellbeing

Presented by Best Companies Ltd

Best for Wellbeing

With 3.15pm Friday finishes from July to September, even the rainiest of British summers are unlikely to dampen the spirits of the MEC UK teams in London and Manchester. And it’s not just Friday afternoons that may see an empty office. Last year, the media communications agency trialled a remote-working initiative. Almost three-quarters of staff have already sampled it . Bosses look out for people’s wellbeing (a 77% positive score), staff get £200 a year to spend on self development and , after two years, everyone’s holiday allowance goes up to 27 days. If offered another job tomorrow, the MEC team say they would turn it down (70%).

Best Leader

Simply Business

Best Leader

Presented by Best Companies

Jason Stockwood, chief executive of this online insurer, rejects the theory that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Nor does he believe that experience is all. “The old model was that the more senior people there were, the better they were. The idea that [they] would be the most technically competent is ridiculous,” he says. His philosophy makes for a company that is truly equal (87%) and where opportunities for growth are plentiful (92%, both No 1 rankings). His workforce has voted Stockwood first for every leadership question and, just as the team has faith in him (94%), he in turn trusts them. “We are succeeding because we set the vision and strategy for the business, but then people define how they do it .” Company growth has increased year on year and there are two offices, in London and Northampton.

Stephens Scown

Most Improved

Presented by Best Companies Ltd

Most Improved

Staff at this law firm really are singing from the same hymn sheet this year. Rankings have improved dramatically in almost every factor but the biggest leap has been in the My Team section of our survey, going from 45th to seventh on the list. Perhaps it is the two new in-house choirs, open to everyone, that have meant employees have more fun together (a ranking change of 59th to 16th). The My Company category also saw a big jump, from 36th place to 11th.

 

What our clients say

Liz Pillans

Kenwood and Delonghi


Opening Quotemarks

The partnership that we've had with Best Companies has had a massive impact on the culture of the organisation and I think we have really safeguarded our future. We can also see that there are lots of other areas we could improve in and I think with the help of Best Companies supporting us with the feedback that we get, it's really going to reinforce what we're doing and help us in achieving the goals that we need to achieve as a business.

Closing Quotemarks

Eamon Fitzgerald

Naked Wines


Opening Quotemarks

What differentiates Best Companies is the reputation and trust. It's the number one employee engagement survey

Closing Quotemarks

Will Leonelli

Flight Centre


Opening Quotemarks

We believe participation in the programme helps us to attract quality staff who are looking for a long, progressive career rather than just a job, as well as attract suppliers who want to work with us and customers who want to buy from us. Our employees feel engaged and inspired by what they do and the Best Companies programme is pivotal in enabling us to celebrate our successes whilst also recognising tangible goals for the future so that we can continue to be one of the UK’s best places to work.

Closing Quotemarks

Matthew Sanders

Brookfield Rose


Opening Quotemarks

Brookfield Rose has worked with Best Companies for five consecutive years. We believe happy employees make for happy clients, and Best Companies provides both a measure and guidance, in order for us to continuously improve our service offering, and look after our people.

Closing Quotemarks

Twitter talk

34% of all employees who took part in the 2016 survey are excited about where their organisation is going #research #bestcompanies

14 hours ago

@localcareforce sounds both intriguing and exciting - we can't wait to see what you have planned. Keep us updated #BestCompaniesDay

17 hours ago

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