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The top initiatives companies are taking to be an employer of choice

Being a top employer has many benefits, but it takes time, commitment and investment to make it work.

According to EY, the company received a 75% increase in graduate applications when it was named in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies list. In addition to ensuring you get a larger choice of recruits, it will also boost retention. After all, nobody wants to leave a company that’s treating them well.

But how do these top companies make themselves stand out from the crowd?

Personalised benefits

A solid benefits package is crucial for your staff, but it’s no longer a one size fits all approach. A study of more than 2000 people showed that almost 50% feel their benefits package was lacking. While some wanted greater support with childcare costs or transport, others would have opted for more holiday, better pensions or longer maternity leave. Due to differing priorities, many top companies are utilising a ‘personalised system’, where employees can select the benefits that matter most to them. This not only makes your staff feel more valued, but it also means you won’t be paying through the nose for benefits that staff don’t want.

Interactive learning and development

Some 96% of managers believe reskilling is important for employees, but not everyone has the tools in place to put it into action. The companies who rank highly value their employees and offer them the learning and development options they need. From gamification tools to interactive learning activities, the best employers are the ones that realise development is continuous. No matter what stage of the ladder you’re on, it’s always important to have the right growth opportunities available. It’s also crucial to bring employees onboard with your values from the very first dy, through an efficient and high-quality orientation programme.


According to a recent poll by YouGov, only 6% of employees are working the traditional 9-5 hours, and only 14% would opt for them. While some prefer to work earlier, others would rather work evenings or even weekends, meaning the trend towards flexi-time is on the rise. By allowing people to work at times that best suit them, companies are likely to see greater productivity and drive. It’s an initiative many top companies have already adopted and is a popular policy among employees. With around 70% of the working population saying they’d like to work more flexibly, especially as hours get longer, flexi-time should be a consideration for all brands.

Brand values

Maintaining brand values is extremely important, and can help to boost the image of a company not only in the eyes of the public but also its employees. Some 78% of millennials want to work for a company whose values matches their own, so it’s time to practice what you preach. Some companies are ensuring that their benefits and opportunities reflect this to help them stand out from the crowd. For example, while Airbnb offers a travel budget, The Body Shop provides its employees with paid volunteering days every year.

Perks backed with high-quality benefits

Additional perks are a great part of any job, which is evident from the reviews on Glassdoor and the Sunday Times. Many of the top companies to work forgo the extra mile for staff, with birthday bonus days, mental health awareness, wellness initiatives, free fruit, healthy canteens and regular socials. While these are fantastic initiatives, the best companies back them up with a solid benefits package including generous holiday entitlement, parental leave, learning and development and a fair pay structure which allows employees to progress.

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