The Sunday Times released its “100 Best Companies to Work for 2016” last week, and there was a new name at the top of the list.
London-based online insurance retailer, Simply Business, beat the competition to top the main list this year. Not only has the business never been in the top spot before, it was a completely new entry for 2016.
The retailer beat telecoms reseller, Chess (up one place to second, from third in 2015), and Red Carnation Hotels (first in 2015, but third this year), into first place.
How To Be ‘The Best’
The Sunday Times has been running their Best Companies survey since the year 2000, attracting the big names in UK business, all trying to make one of the high-profile lists – Best Companies; Best Small Companies; Best Not-for-Profit Organisations.
The organisations register themselves to take part – 925 did so this year – but it’s their employees who decide if and where they make the list. This year, over 240,000 employees completed anonymous surveys about their employers, rating that on the following categories:
- Leadership – the head of the company and senior leaders
- Wellbeing – stress, pressure and work-life balance
- Giving Something Back – if companies are putting back into the local community and society in general
- Personal Growth – whether staff feel stretched and challenged by their job
- My Manager – how they feel about immediate and day-to-day managers
- My Company – how they feel about the company, rather than the people
- My Team – how they feel about their colleagues
- Fair Deal – how happy they are with pay and benefits
It’s not a one-time thing either. Firms choose to enter on a year by year basis, and it’s clear that they need to keep engaging with employees and working hard to stay on the list. There were 79 new entrants in the three lists for 2016, meaning some companies will have to work hard to regain their place next year.
Secret to Success
Analysing the survey results this year, The Times has highlighted team spirit as one of the key factors in enabling companies to succeed. Although many of the survey participants said their workplace stress was increasing, this was frequently outweighed by the benefits of a strong staff identity.
Jason Stockwood, CEO of Simply Business, also highlights employee empowerment as part of his business’ success. Since taking over as CEO in 2010, Stockwood has worked to build an engaged workforce, aimed at bringing benefits to all business stakeholders.
He says, “It’s a fact of modern business that by investing in a happy, engaged workforce you’re also investing in your customers. Getting it right internally is good for everybody, including the SMEs buying our products.
“Six years on we have grown from 130,000 to 350,000 small business customers and the workforce has doubled in size. This has only been possible by making every single member of the team feel empowered to achieve their full potential.”
Not All About Rewards
And working towards being one of the best companies doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money. In fact, strong leadership, a focus on employee engagement for all employees, and ensuring a good work-life balance were all seen as more important factors for the top companies this year.
It was also found that small companies were out-performing their larger counterparts across all the categories this year. According to Dr Ian Dennis, Best Companies’ Director of Research, the teamwork found across the small organisations that is making the difference.
The Table Toppers
It was all change at the top of the Best Small Companies list, while two of the top three from 2015 were up at the top again in the Best Not-for-Profit Organisations.
Best Small Companies to Work for 2016
- Paragon Interiors Group (New Entrant)
- Phaidon International (23rd in 2015)
- Educ8 (New Entrant)
Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work for 2016
- SLH Group (1st in 2015)
- Wales & West Housing (3rd in 2015)
- B3Living (7th in 2015)
To see the full “Best Companies to Work for” lists, and get more information on all the companies involved, visit The Sunday Times.