Why these five businesses were crowned best places to work by employees

8 min read

07 December 2016

Glassdoor unveiled the nation's best places to work for – all of which put an emphasis on the need for great company culture.

Company culture and the employee experience are critical considerations for job seekers everywhere. This was the basis behind Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards, which, according to Diarmuid Russell, the firm’s head of international, collates a list of the best places to work “solely determined by the people who work there”.

Further comment was given by Petra Wilton, director of strategy for the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), who claimed the best places to work award not only revealed what made an employer great to work for, but also what makde the business highly productive.

“CMI research shows that high growth is directly linked to high levels of trust in management who operate in open, transparent cultures,” she explained. “Setting the right work/life balance is also crucial – an ‘always-on’ expectation from leaders is a productivity killer. Employers need to invest in developing skilled management teams capable of keeping staff happy, motivated and productive.”

Glassdoor’s top five proved her right. But which five ended up being the best places to work for in the UK – and why?


1) Expedia – 4.3 rating

Expedia is the first company of its size to rank first place for two consecutive years since Glassdoor launched its best place to work ranking, so there has to be a really juicy secret behind its success… right?

Not at all. Johan Svanstrom, president of the and Expedia Affiliate Network brands claimed the company had invested in attracting and retaining a fantastic team of employees from diverse backgrounds.

“They really drive ideation and execution of great services to partners and customers and enable our company to stay ahead in the ever-changing travel tech landscape,” he said. “The combination of our talent with an outspoken culture of fun, openness and true ambition makes Expedia such a great place to work.”

It’s proof that great company culture will drive staff engagement. In this case, Expedia’s test and learn culture was one of the biggest contributors to its success in the awards, with the approach said to empower s to put forward new ideas and directly help shape strategy.


2) ARM Holdings –4.3 rating

This is yet another company to make it onto the list for a second year in a row – though it’s now jumped from seventh spot to second place.

It’s easy to see why though. A quick look through the review section offers quite a selection of glowing words thrown across the page: Collaborative, inventive, positive, interesting, constructive, encouraging, optimistic and motivating.

One employee said the firm offered good work/life balance, adding: “Technically challenging and fascinating work. Innovation and proactivity recognised and rewarded. Very friendly.” It was followed promptly by another positive review, claiming ARM was secretly the best company in the world.

Despite a few suggesting there was significant pressure to deliver, particularly around project deadlines, the firm was cited as being completely employee driven – focused on staff well being, whilst dedicating many of its resources to support staff members.


3) HomeServe UK – 4.3 rating

This home assistance company has long suggested it strived hard to create a fun, happy, collaborative culture – and its efforts have paid off.

Talking about what he thought attributed to the ranking, Greg Reed, chief marketing officer at HomeServe, said: “We believe if you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers and the rest will take care of itself.

“This means creating a culture where people genuinely enjoy coming to work every day because they feel engaged and feel what they do really makes a difference in our customers’ lives.

“Work is such a big part of our lives so, how we feel when we are at work and what we feel about work when we are at home really matters. Our daily working life should have a real purpose and be enjoyable, which means fun should be a seamless part of it. All of this drives our ambition to be one of the best places to work in the UK.”

Read on to see which other two companies made the top five.

Image: Shutterstock


4) Mott MacDonald – 4.3 rating

Engineering firm Mott MacDonald is no stranger to being on a ranking, having continuously placed in the top 15 of the Sunday Times 25 best places to work list, It was cited prominently in the ranking’s giving something back category.

The employee-owned company scored high on leadership and work-life balance – the latter being key to retaining the next generation. It echoes PWC’s findings on how Millenials are reshaping the workplace. They are committed to their personal learning and development and this remains their first choice benefit from employers, it said. In second place they want flexible working hours.

But, of course, company culture still plays a big role, with a graduate from Croydon havng said: “During working hours, the culture of the company is exemplary, with a very ethical approach to their staff; however, aside from good staff social activities, there is definitely a lack of team building opportunities which some of our competitors seem to offer.”


5) Hays PLC – 4.3 rating

Recruitment firm Hays, which took second place, was praised for its “great training” and opportunties for career progression, despite the long hours that staff are required to put in.

And aside from ranking fourth in Glassdoor’s best places to work award, it also hit home in 2015 when it came 15th in Glassdoor’s highest rated CEOs ranking. Furthermore, it’s known for its professional approach to training – a big hitter for many employees.

“Hays is an amazing company to work for,” one happy staff member wrote in a review. “It is a friendly environment, great for progression and opportunities for your career.”


Here are the best places to work from sixth spot to number 20

6. Peninsula
7. Unilever
8. Salesforce
9. Screwfix
10. First Derivatives
11. American Express
12. Grant Thornton UK
13 Google
14. Explore Learning
15. Accenture
16. PageGroup
17. GlaxoSmithKline
18. BBC
19. Centrica
20. Nando’s