Latest BCI Score
PETS AT HOME shows its pedigree by being voted top dog in our Best Big Company to Work For competition, moving up from second place last year. No organisation on our list scores better for questions about their managers and colleagues, how they feel about the company, the opportunities for personal growth and the firm’s approach to giving something back.
Ranking second in our other three categories (Fair Deal, Wellbeing and Leadership), the specialist petcare retailer records 48 top-two scores in our 70-point questionnaire, more than double its tally last year and three times that of its closest rival, Iceland.
Employees have more fun with colleagues than those at any other big company on the list, returning a positive score of 85%, and they believe the Cheshire-based business, which rehoused 57,000 animals last year, makes a real difference to the world (78%, also first on our list).
“I absolutely love my job,” says Claire Nixon, 34, manager of the Groom Room at the store at Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh, where dog pampering includes facials. “It is not like work. It is the best job in the world.”
If salon staff need help with a large newfoundland or any jittery four-legged client, their colleagues on the shop floor are happy to lend a hand.
“We help each other out,” says store boss Annie Campbell, who recently won Retail Week’s Scotland and Ireland store manager of the year award. “You can’t do it on your own.”
Employees are excited about where the organisation is going (78%) and believe they can make a valuable contribution to the success (83%) of Pets at Home, which in 21 years has grown to become the country’s largest petcare specialist with more than 330 stores, 5,930 staff and a 14% slice of a market worth £3.5bn.
All staff, 92% of whom own pets, get training in petcare, products and the pets they sell, which can range from pink-tongued skinks to rabbits, fish, snakes and tarantulas, and it’s a benefit to them personally (79%).
“I have learnt a lot,” says animal-lover Kieran Lambert, who joined a year-and-a-half ago after working in a curtain shop. “You get invaluable information,” says the 27-year-old, who finds the experience he gains beneficial for his future, a view shared across the company (79%).
Staff earn as they learn under the firm’s development programme, which links pay to levels of knowledge, and they can gain a range of skills from qualifying to sell restricted medicines to being trained to microchip animals. The policy of promoting internally has seen more than 90% of assistant store managers and area managers rising through the ranks.
Louise Barden, 25, assistant manager at the Fort Kinnaird store, started part-time in Darlington nine years ago. “It was a weekend job to bring in a little bit of money to go on holiday with my friends and afford nice things,” says Barden, who transferred to Edinburgh when she was studying for a degree in dance.
“The development of people is a fundamental part of a successful business,” says new chief executive Nick Wood, who joined last June. Previously the boss at American Golf, and the owner of two bichon frise dogs, he adds: “It can’t be a successful business without great colleagues.
“The bit that is so fascinating around the business is the culture. I always think of the CEO at the bottom because the people who are the most important are the people who interact with the customer and clients.”
Wood runs the firm on sound moral principles (77%), say staff.
Almost two-thirds of employees earn £15,000 or less, reflecting the fact that more than half work part-time, and while it is not a fortune, staff at only one other firm are more content with their pay and benefits (70%).
The organisation also encourages charitable activities (91%) at work. Last year it raised more than £1.6m for its Support Adoption for Pets charity, which also distributes cash to other animal charities.
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships
10% of staff undertake charitable activities during business hours
On-site nursery or vouchers
Companies offering a final salary or non-contributory pension scheme
At least 10 weeks' leave on full pay
Dental insurance offer to all employees
Male : Female: