Becoming a ‘best company to work for’

10 March 2010 at 9:01 am Leave a comment

The Futures Company has made it onto the Sunday Times list of ‘100 best small companies to work for’ at the first attempt. We asked our Human Resources manager, Liz Walkling, who steered us through the assessment process, to explain more.

Liz Walkling writes

Why did we decide to do it? Several reasons. We’ve always prided ourselves on ‘unlocking futures’, not just for clients, but for everyone who works here. We felt we’d built up a strong culture of openness, and developed an environment that supports learning and development. We thought we had something different to offer.

So entering the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For award seemed an ideal opportunity. Every employer should aspire to be seen as an employer of choice, and be recognised for it within their industry. The Best 100 Companies allowed us to test ourselves against some external benchmarks. Assessment categories such as Leadership, My Company, Personal Growth, and Fair Deal resonated within the business.  For the first time, our size (53 staff in the UK) allowed us to enter the Small Company category, which starts at 50 employees; the rigorous assessment process allowed us to challenge our assumptions.

And the assessment process involves quite a lot of learning. The Best Companies team provide plenty of support along the way, with guidance on the categories, criteria, and the outcomes. The process is also thorough; it requires commitment from senior management, and investigates environmental polices, social commitment, as well as an anonymous employee survey (the level of response is one of the assessment criteria).

Six weeks later we got a call to say we’d been awarded Best Company status. Lots of hullabaloo in the office that day! Our exact ‘star rating’ came a few weeks later – 2 stars for Outstanding (against a top 3-star rating for for Extraordinary). Our rating, and our 56th position (along with the comment that it was unusual to achieve a place on the listing at the first application) places us amongst the best of small companies. Whilst we’re proud of the achievement, it’s  a process, not an outcome, and there’s a lot to keep working on to make sure we stay on the list – and more importantly, to carry on delivering a top-class working environment. The real work starts here.

Entry filed under: The Futures Company.

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The Futures Company blog

The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

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