How to Be the UK’s Best Place to Work

lots of people are playing in a park showing a great place to work

How to Be the UK’s Best Place to Work

We all want to work somewhere that makes us feel great, which means it’s no surprise that any list shouting about the UK’s best places to work, makes waves. Everyone wants to know who is doing company culture ‘right’. 

From Glassdoors’ annual Best Places to Work List to The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies in the UK, there are now many lists providing us with an insight into the culture and work-life of some of the biggest companies in the UK. 

But what makes them so important?

A position on any of the UK’s best places to work list can provide a business with an incredible amount of press coverage. Marketing and advertising exposure that can bring a wealth of interest. But setting the ego polishing aside for one minute – it also makes business sense. 

With the title of ‘UK’s best place to work’, not only does it become easier to recruit and retain talent, saving your business an average of £60,000 per year according to Indeed. But it makes your team more engaged and productive, enhancing the overall efficiency of your business. 

Happier people equals a happier business. It’s basic math. 

And furthermore, people use these lists to decide who they want to work for. Remember, in today’s world of work, it’s a candidate’s market, and they can pick and choose where they want to work. If your business isn’t taking culture seriously, you’re not going to get the people you really want in your business.

player icons showing a difference

Which list is best?

As with any awards or titles, not all are made equal. 

While some of the UK’s best places to work lists are judged on particular attributes of the business, and it’s company culture, others are judged anonymously by employees. 

This means that the difference, or should we say quality, in lists varies greatly, and what they mean can become confusing. Is this an ego boost, or does this mean you’re actually doing great things for your people? 

I’ve known many businesses to ‘earn’ an award, but not be audited or judged by the very people who are working in the business. But isn’t that what it’s really about? 

It’s safe to say, that while some are vanity plaques, others are strong indications of the lengths companies will go to build and create a truly great place to work. 

Now that the best places to work lists of 2020 are being actioned, I felt it was time to reveal what it takes to not just get on the list but build a culture that helps your business make a real impact. 

In this year’s list, among the tech giants gaining top spots, there are also some big-name brands on the list. It can often seem that smaller businesses are left in the shadows.

So, as a small company, how can you make the same big impression on your team and your customers when it comes to your great workplace culture? 

man and woman planning company culture

Be Mission Led

When was the last time you looked at your mission and values? 

A business that is living and breathing their mission is clear to see. It has direction, energy, and everyone in the company knows and understands what that mission is. Many of the companies on the ‘best place to work lists’ have this sense of direction. 

Being mission-led helps your team make better decisions because they are making decisions based on the ultimate outcome. 

Consider whether your company culture has fully embraced its mission.

Build a Unique Culture

Aside from having an existing company culture, all the businesses featured on these lists have done something unique with their culture. You can step into any of their workspaces and know where you are. They’ve worked hard to create something that sets them apart, not just in their sector, but also in the world of work. 

By creating a unique culture, you also help to attract like-minded people who understand your company culture. The way your business behaves and your expectations set a path for your people. You will either find people that love this about your company or dislike it. That’s where the difference lies in finding the right people for your business and avoiding the wrong people.

Focus on Your People

Every business that has made it on a ‘best places to work’ list has given the power to their people to make realistic and valuable changes in the company culture. 

Not only do these companies listen to what their people need, but they also take action and encourage feedback. 

The most significant lists are those who make the employee’s voice heard because these are the people working in the day-to-day, seeing and breathing the business in a way that senior leaders are often disconnected from. This means they have a unique insight into the operations and their fellow colleagues. Your people have knowledgeable insight and ideas that can massively improve the business and the company culture. 

Gain Support

Changing or improving your company culture to gain recognition shouldn’t be your only motive to improve the workplace – you should have a deep desire to create a place where your people can be happy and fulfilled in their work. It’s not just the best thing to do; it’s the right thing to do. 

If you’re new to tackling the challenge of company culture, sometimes getting outside support can help guide you in making improvements. After all, when you’re so involved in the company already, it can be difficult to have that outside perspective. 

Unconsciously, you will already have a bias of your company culture, which means it’s important that you gain third party support to ensure the audit and strategy of your culture remains unbias. 

As a small business, you can be one of the UK’s best places to work. But as there’s no benchmark for these lists, and each uses their own algorithm and formula, it’s important to ask yourself why you want to be on this list in the first place? 

My Company Culture Accreditation is designed for businesses who want to create a great place to work and be recognised for that. It’s about conscious action that makes a difference to both people and business. 


Never miss a post.

Get instant updates on my latest culture insights, as well as exclusive invitations to webinars and events (no spam here, pinky promise)

    About The Author

    Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.