The 20 best UK companies by workplace culture (chosen by employees)

20 October 2017 -

Workplace culture

Where do employees most like to work? The 20 companies with the best workplace culture and leadership development – as chosen by employees – have been named in new research by CMI and job site Glassdoor

Insights special

The energy consultancy Northern Gas and Power has come out on top 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 was ranked number one thanks to its focus on management behaviour and with a track record of promoting and developing its people, which employees said helped boost productivity and morale.

The new CMI/Glassdoor Top 20 report is published in the autumn 2017 edition of CMI’s Professional Manager magazine, which is out next week.

Second in the new ranking 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 featured in the top 20 are 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.”

The CMI/Glassdoor Top 20: top UK companies by workplace culture



What they do

Management and culture ethos


Northern Gas

and Power

Energy management consultants

“Nothing is more important here than managerial behaviour”



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.”


Equal Experts

Software consultants

“When people enjoy what they are doing, they create better work, day in, day out.”



housing provider

RHP has worked hard to create a culture where all staff feel empowered to make decisions, solve problems and take risks.


Bain & Company

Business management consultancy

“Leaders at Bain are honest – they use direct language, and the ‘one team’ attitude is crucial.”


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.”



Car dealership

“It’s all about making our people feel appreciated.”


Rentokil Initial

Pest control business

“Our core management approach is one of open, accessible, responsible leadership.”


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.”


Epos Now

Software provider

“Work hard, play hard.”



Social media platform

“Nothing at Facebook is somebody else’s problem.”


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?”



Video and photography platform

VistaBee CEO Steve Reilly leads by giving employees “as much autonomy as possible.”



Tech travel company

“There’s freedom in how work is executed, with less bureaucracy, and productivity is high.”



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.”



Dating app

“We allow our employees the autonomy to see projects right through to fruition, without handholding or micromanagement.”


Baringa Partners

Business management consultancy

“Our partners have gained the trust and respect of our employees because they care.”



HR and safety specialists

Peninsula focuses on creating a ‘welcoming and success-driven environment’.



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”.




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 report on Leadership and Culture at Work: the CMI/Glassdoor Top 20 appears in the autumn issue of CMI’s Professional Manager magazine, which is out on 26 October. Read how the Daily Telegraph and the Independent covered the story.

CMI/Glassdoor Top 20: the methodology

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.

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