The 20 best UK companies by workplace culture, as chosen by employees

  • The 20 companies with the best workplace culture and leadership development – as chosen by employees – have been named in new research by professional management body the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and job site Glassdoor
  • Companies were scored through analysis of reviews posted on the Glassdoor website
  • Facebook was the biggest company to make the top 20

The 20 companies with the best workplace culture and leadership development – as chosen by employees – have been named in new research by professional management body the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and job site Glassdoor.

In the first ever Leadership and Culture at Work: the CMI/Glassdoor Top 20 report – which reveals the UK companies with the best management and working cultures – Northern Gas and Power has come out on top. The energy consultant ranked number one thanks to their focus on management behaviour and a track record of promoting and developing its people, which employees said helped boost productivity and morale.

Second was hospitality tech firm, Fourth, which promotes a split leadership structure, clearly distinguishing between two types of manager: the technical specialists and the people specialists.

The third highest-rated company in the study was software consultancy Equal Experts, which aspires to be a ‘company of grown-ups’, where staff are recruited on the premise that they will be able to act autonomously, seeking advice on the decisions they make, rather than adhering to a strict hierarchy.

The firms were scored through analysis of the reviews posted on the Glassdoor website by current and former employees of more than 700,000 companies.

Patrick Woodman, Head of Research and Advocacy at CMI, said:

The CMI/Glassdoor Top 20 highlights the best companies for corporate culture and leadership in the UK. At a time when trust in business is at an all-time low and there are major worries about the UK’s poor productivity, every organisation can learn from these fantastic examples of well-managed businesses. These 20 companies show how quality management and leadership makes a real difference in inspiring and motivating employees.
The companies featured in the Top 20 point towards a new way of defining management. Traditionally, getting on at work meant getting into management and climbing the ladder, but this hasn’t always led to a perfect fit between people’s skills and the demands of the role – especially when employers spend too little on training. Many of the best employers are now changing how they do things to make sure they put people with the right skills in the management roles that are critical to their company’s success.

Also in the top 20 were travel tech firm Skyscanner, international consultancy firm Bain & Company, and social media behemoth Facebook. Managers at Facebook are said to be self-selecting, with the company adopting a ‘very flat’ culture, recognising that not everyone enjoys a purely management role and that becoming a manager is seen as ‘lateral move, not a promotion’.

Joe Wiggins, Head of Communications, Europe at Glassdoor, said:

Today’s employees and job candidates are more informed than ever before thanks to transparency and more company information available online. Organisations that have a strong culture will attract the best people, and in turn this will lead to stronger financial performance. Culture is so important as it is second only to salary in terms of influence on a job candidate’s decision to join an employer.
Rank Company What they do Management and culture ethos
1 Northern Gas and Power Energy management consultants “Nothing is more important here than managerial behaviour”
2 Fourth Hospitality software specialists “If we all live our values every day, we’ll not only achieve our values, but we’ll be doing it with an ethos that sets us apart”
3 Equal Experts Software consultants “When people enjoy what they are doing, they create better work, day in, day out”
4 RHP housing provider RHP has worked hard to create a culture where all staff feel empowered to make decisions, solve problems and take risks
5 Bain & Company Business management consultancy “Leaders at Bain are honest – they use direct language, and the ‘one team’ attitude is crucial”
6 HomeServe UK Home assistance provider “If you put your people first, they will look after your customers and the rest will take care of itself.”
7 Lookers Car dealership “It’s all about making our people feel appreciated”
8 Rentokil Initial Pest control business “Our core management approach is one of open, accessible, responsible leadership”
9 Auto Trader Automotive marketplace “An important part of our culture is to address negative behaviour in a timely manner, so all managers take responsibility for this”
10 Epos Now Software provider “Work hard, play hard”
11 Facebook Social media platform “Nothing at Facebook is somebody else's problem”
12 First Utility Energy supplier “Naming and acclaiming has the effect of keeping the values front of mind and enforcing them – after all, who doesn’t want a bit of praise and recognition?”
13 VistaBee Video and photography platform VistaBee CEO Steve Reilly leads by giving employees “as much autonomy as possible.”
14 Skyscanner Tech travel company “There’s freedom in how work is executed, with less bureaucracy, and productivity is high”
15 MediaMath Advertising service “The structure can sometimes slow down decision-making, but we believe collaboration enables us to create better outcomes for our people and clients”
16 Badoo Dating app “We allow our employees the autonomy to see projects right through to fruition, without handholding or micromanagement”
17 Baringa Partners Business management consultancy “Our partners have gained the trust and respect of our employees because they care”
18 Peninsula HR and safety specialists Peninsula focuses on creating a ‘welcoming and success-driven environment’.
19 Cloudreach Computing consultancy At Cloudreach, managers “lead rather than manage. The difference for us is that a leader truly inspires and engages those who follow them”.
20 Thomas International Psychometric test specialist The company uses its own Engage software tool annually to assess seven aspects of workplace engagement: voice, togetherness, challenge, freedom, clarity, recognition and growth.

The full Leadership and Culture at Work: the CMI/Glassdoor Top 20 report appears in the autumn issue of CMI’s Professional Manager magazine, out now.

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About CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leaderships, dedicated to improving managers' skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalents, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earning potential and improves workplace performance. We have been registered as an apprentice assessment organisation by the Skills Funding Agency.

CMI has led the way in developing a suite of trailblazing management apprenticeships with a 40-strong group of employers. These start from Level 3 (team leader) and Level 5 (operations manager) through to Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. The Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship gives employers the option to upskill up to executive and C-suite level. CMI is a Skills Funding Agency-registered apprentice assessment organisation.

We provide employers and individual managers with access to the latest management thinking and with practical online support that helps them to embrace change, create high-performing teams and keep ahead of the curve.

With a member community of more than 157,000 managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers to build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.

About Glassdoor

Glassdoor is one the fastest growing jobs and recruiting sites.

Glassdoor holds a growing database of millions of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more. Unlike other jobs sites, all of this information is entirely shared by those who know a company best — the employees. Add to that millions of the latest jobs — no other site allows you to see which employers are hiring, what it's really like to work or interview there according to employees, and how much you could earn. Glassdoor is also available via its mobile app on iOS and Android platforms.

For employers, Glassdoor offers effective recruiting and employer branding solutions via Glassdoor for Employers. We help thousands of clients and partners promote their employer brand to candidates researching them and advertise their jobs to ideal candidates who may not be aware of them. What differentiates Glassdoor from other recruiting channels is the quality of job candidates we deliver and our influence on candidates' decisions as they research jobs and companies.


Glassdoor hosts around 33 million reviews of 700,000 companies by current and former employees. Staff and recruitment agencies were excluded from the analysis.

To be included, companies must have had:

  • At least 50 culture ratings.
  • At least 50 senior management ratings
  • A culture score of at least 4.1
  • A senior management score of at least 4.1
  • At least one review from a UK-based employee showing on the company profile between 1 January and 30 June 2017

A bespoke algorithm was then created to produce a ranking. The algorithm was ((x+y)*z)/2=C, where: x is the ‘culture and values’ rating; y is the ‘senior management’ rating; z is the ‘recommend to a friend’ rating; C is the final score.