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How Do You Know if a Company is Good to Work For?

It’s Fairtrade Fortnight so we’ve been thinking about good working practices.

Obviously we have laws and processes protecting us in the UK, but increasingly workplaces are realising something Angel has long known: employees are often one of a business’s most overlooked USPs!

So this Wednesday Q&A we asked our consultants what sets a good company and their employees apart.

1. Why should we be asking if a company is good to work for?

Well, the Sunday Times’s Best 100 Companies to Work For 2016 employee survey found:

“[C]ompanies where employee engagement outclasses the rest are the places where people enjoy the greatest involvement in giving back to society, the highest rate of wellbeing and the strongest leadership.”

2. You mean working for a company that cares is a kind of win-win situation?

Yes. HomeServe, one of the best companies to work for now according to Glassdoor, said:

“[W]e have worked tirelessly to create an exceptional culture, one which is based on a really simple philosophy: you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers and the rest will take care of itself.”

3. So, a good workplace creates a culture where employees want to do well, both for themselves and the company?

Right. Statistics continually show that companies with a highly engaged workforce achieve greater productivity, greater profits, fewer sick days and much lower staff turnover.

4. I guess these companies must be pretty popular with candidates, then?

Yes, Great Place to Work says an engaged workplace has employees who want to ‘go the extra mile’ for the company and their customers.

Those people also set themselves apart by helping out colleagues and having a solution-focused mindset.

5. What, beyond simply a ‘caring’ company motivates those employees?

Well, Great Place to Work says the common factor it’s found is trust.

A great place to work sees employees work together in a culture of trust guided by trusted leaders.

6. So good leadership is key to a good company?

Yep. One of the research directors at Best Companies Ltd, which compiles the Sunday Times list, says:

“Higher purpose seems to drive the companies on our list – profit and budget aren’t the only things that count for these companies – but for this to be the case, senior managers need to create an environment of clarity and communication.”

7. If a ‘higher purpose’ is a key driver should we apply to companies with similar values to our own?

It’s safe to assume that good companies will be keen to ensure candidates are onboard with their way of thinking and working, so values will most probably be a key recruiting factor. [You can watch Angel talk our values in this short clip here].

Good companies set themselves apart by empowering their employees. So, they’ve got to trust those people!

8. How are employees empowered in a good company?

We’ve touched on it already, but sharing ideas and coming up with solutions to problems is encouraged by a trusting and trusted company.

Expedia, who recently topped the Glassdoor good company poll for the second year running said:

“One of the main reasons our employees love working here is they are given a voice to directly shape our path and are invested in our success.”

9. So, top notch soft skills are vital for good company employees?

Yes, you’ll not just be working in team which thrives on creativity and new ideas, but you’ll be expected to participate too.

Your communication skills will need to be great. You must have the confidence to speak up, but also be gracious enough to take on other people’s suggestions.
Gayle Laakmann McDowell, author of The Google Resume says the likes of Google – who are usually pretty high up in good companies polls – wants people who are fearless.

10. Is any particular sector better to work for in this regard?

If you take a look at the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies list it’s a pretty mixed bag.

Simply Business, an online insurance company, comes in top of the list, followed by a hotel chain, contract caterers, care home providers, restaurant chains, IT, legal and financial firms.

I’d say, the guides we’ve mentioned in today’s Q&A give you a good idea of what a good company looks like. But, remember, if you’re with an agency your consultant will be able to give you an insight into the businesses they’re recruiting for.

Now over to you:

Have any thoughts on what you’ve read? Are you searching for a new job? Want to ask about your particular career issues? Got any burning questions we could put to future Q & Angel guests? As ever, we want to hear what you’ve got to say!

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