Officially a Very Good
Company to Work For

Officially a Very Good
Company to Work For

Officially an Outstanding
Company to Work For

Officially an Outstanding
Company to Work For

Officially a World Class
Company to Work For

Officially a World Class
Company to Work For

Officially a Good
Company to Work For

Officially a Good
Company to Work For

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4
Best Company to work for in the UK
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Best Company
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CREATED 14 YEARS ago following a £1 bet between friends, Appliances Online (now ao.com) has grown into the UK's largest online kitchen-appliance retailer, supplying more than 4.5m customers, and household names such as B&Q, Boots and House of Fraser. Employees at the firm, which saw staff numbers rise by almost 60% in just one year, are more excited about where the organisation is heading and have more fun with their colleagues than workers at all but one other company on the list, winning positive scores of 92% and 90% respectively. The philosophy at ao.com is: “If you love what you do, you'll keep doing it the very best way you can.” So the firm, which runs three sites in the northwest, throws everything but the kitchen sink at ensuring the 688 staff feel happy. In addition to gratis crisps and chocolate, £2-a-month gym membership at the local leisure centre and staff discounts, there is a dedicated team organising a calendar of free staff events, from extravagant Christmas parties to summer barbecues. Ao.com will also stump up half the cost of any social activity, from guitar lessons to scuba-diving, as long as it develops workers' skills and is taken up by more than four people. Employees, who have access to courses on subjects from confidence to computer skills, love their job (85%). People go out of their way to help each other (86%, the second-highest score) and chief executive and founder, John Roberts, in whom they have a great deal of faith (90%, also ranking second) runs the business on sound moral principles (88%). Roberts has recently set up a Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme for young stars of the business, enabling them to develop their own skills while giving back to the local community. The firm, based in Horwich, Lancashire, has a strong social conscience (90%) and encourages charitable activities (95%, the highest score) from monthly dress-down weeks to voluntary work, which staff are given two paid days off a year to do. Last year ao.com donated £100,000 to support a 3,000-mile sponsored row across the Atlantic involving a member of staff. Job prospects are good, with 95% of senior managers promoted from within, and employees, 70% of whom earn £25,000 or less a year, are happy with their pay and benefits (78%). www.appliancesonline.co.uk

Featured Workplace Factors

Giving Something Back

98% of staff agreed

My organisation encourages charitable activities

Having been dedicated supporters of Bolton Lads and Girls Club since 2006, ao.com constantly think up new, innovative ways to do their bit for the local childrens' charity. ao.com recently became a sponsor for the Bolton Atlantic Challenge. Four Bolton businessmen will row 3000 miles across the Atlantic in a bid to raise £250,000 for Bolton Lads and Girls Club's Junior Mentoring Project. Alongside fellow Bolton-based businesses, ao.com have donated £100,000 to become a sponsor of the challenge, which is even more close to their hearts with a member of their very own team on board. Marketing Executive Finn Christo has spent the past two years training for the event which will begin on 2nd December, with the full support of his colleagues and the Senior Team here at ao.com. His dedication to the event made it an easy decision to become a sponsor in order to give back to an extremely worthy local children's charity and back a member of our team all the way.

My Team

97% of staff agreed

My team is fun to work with

Having been dedicated supporters of Bolton Lads and Girls Club since 2006, ao.com constantly think up new, innovative ways to do their bit for the local childrens' charity. ao.com recently became a sponsor for the Bolton Atlantic Challenge. Four Bolton businessmen will row 3000 miles across the Atlantic in a bid to raise £250,000 for Bolton Lads and Girls Club's Junior Mentoring Project. Alongside fellow Bolton-based businesses, ao.com have donated £100,000 to become a sponsor of the challenge, which is even more close to their hearts with a member of their very own team on board. Marketing Executive Finn Christo has spent the past two years training for the event which will begin on 2nd December, with the full support of his colleagues and the Senior Team here at ao.com. His dedication to the event made it an easy decision to become a sponsor in order to give back to an extremely worthy local children's charity and back a member of our team all the way.

My Company

95% of staff agreed

I believe I can make a valuable contribution to the success of this organisation

Despite the rapid growth of ao.com's business and the ever-developing range of products, services and partners, CEO John still manages to remain as close to the business as possible and always makes time to interact with his teams. A passionate charity fundraiser, John set up and continues to drive the brand new Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme for young stars of the business. This ensures the teams have the opportunity to develop their own skills whilst giving back to the local community and beyond. At the end of their first residential, every member of the Duke of Edinburgh programme presented back to John, who provided feedback in order to aid in their personal and professional development. ao.com currently have two groups within the business completing their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. Due to their success John now wants to open this up to employee family members. These initiatives are all funded by the business and John continually drives the success of the programme from within.

Benefits

Holidays

Companies offering a minimum of 26 days annual leave to all employees.

Pensions

Companies offering a final salary scheme to all employees, or one in which the employer's contribution is at least 5%.

List Positions

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Best Big Companies to work for in the UK
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Best NFP Organisations to work for in the UK
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