The best places to work in the UK: why?


Capital One

The Best Workplaces Awards for 2013 have been handed out by the Great Place To Work organisation. So who takes the top five? Are they flashy companies, thrilling jobs, and high-paid environments? Not entirely, they include one credit card company, an insurance company, a software company which hasn't always garnered an awful lot of love, and the employer who gave the world the McJob.

So who made the list, and what makes them such great places to work?

The winners

The awards look at a number of things, including the leadership, people management and work culture. Two thirds of the score comes from surveying staff, so the awards really reflect what it's like to work in these places.

1. The best large employer to work for was named as Capital One.
Staff interviews showed people have pride in the business and enjoy the culture. The company works hard to build this sort of thing, with an annual employee day out and Visionfest, a festival where staff get the chance to perform. The offices are also a big draw, with a fully equipped music room and a free on site gym. It was also marked highly for the fact that staff are encouraged to volunteer for local charities.

2. Second on the list was Admiral, based in Wales.
This is a long-term resident in the top 20, and came top last year, which is an impressive feat at a time when the industry is facing headwinds. The company's investment in training and caring for its staff was credited with a large part of its success. There is a huge training programme, and a raft of rewards including bonuses and shares. One unusual benefit is the company's Inspire Choir - made up of call centre staff. After a one-day team building event, the choir then had regular rehearsals in the lead up to a public performance.

3. Microsoft was next.
It may have its detractors outside the firm, but staff are very happy. New technology is employed in order to make life easier, so 90% of staff work flexibly with access to free home broadband, laptops and Windows mobile devices. It means that staff are given the freedom to do their best without being micromanaged. There are also good perks - including the chance to do community volunteer work, and it can't hurt that staff are relatively well-paid.

4. Rackspace was fourth.
The cloud computing firm has a real work hard/play card attitude that fosters incredible team spirit. Among the perks on offer is the chance to volunteer for community projects in work time, as well as generous shares in the firm.

5. Fifth was McDonalds
It has worked hard to shake off the old image of the McJob. It has set up an 'Employee Value Proposition' which is about training staff and offering qualifications, rather than just sticking stars on a badge on their uniform. The company also enables committed staff to progress quickly through the firm, and offers flexible working for those for whom it really is more of a job than a career.

Best Workplaces 2013

1. Capital One
2. Admiral Group
3. Microsoft
4. Rackspace
5. McDonalds

1. Impact International
2. National Instruments
3. baringa partners
4. softcat
5. ukfast

1. Propellernet
2. Liquid personnel
3. centor insurance and risk management
4. cosatto
5. fleet alliance