What can you learn from ASOS and other top companies?

According to a new Linkedin study, ASOS is now the most desirable company to work for in the UK. In 2017 they increased their headcount by 30% and their active workforce is now at a huge 4,057. They have implemented “long service awards” to reward employees for how long they are at the company; these include getting a product on the site named after them, a financial reward and extra time off each year.

We wanted to know the pros and cons of working at some of the UK’s most desirable companies and what we could learn from them by finding the most common themes among the reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed.


Fun company culture – This came up a lot! Staff appreciated informal environments, Friday drinks, summer hours, flexitime, good Christmas parties and down to earth, fun management. They like personalities in the workplace where everyone is encouraged to be themselves to makes their workplace unique.

  • ‘Fun’ company cultures also went against many companies in many reviews – sometimes the fun came before business and the carefree nature of management sometimes led to situations not being handled in a professional way. The light-hearted working environment can cause weak members of staff to go unnoticed and unsupported.
  • Tip – Just because you seek to have a fun environment at work, it shouldn’t mean that your work environment lacks structure and professionalism. Always have clear goals and guidance of what is expected of your team members. Check in with them regularly to make sure they are meeting these and always make sure they are realistic otherwise they won’t work.


Staff discount This was a common theme in most reviews. Most employees spend their disposable income on gym memberships, health insurance, clothes, days out – saving on this through company discounts and schemes keeps teams happy!

  • Glassdoor surveys show that 57% of people report benefits and perks being among their top considerations before accepting a job.
  • Tip – If you are not a clothing brand or consumer company where you can offer useful discounts, get creative with your benefits! Ask your team what they would be most interested in and perhaps give them discounts in that area. For example, Skyscanner offer discounts at local pubs and beauty salons. You could see if they would appreciate an extra day off for certain things like Swinton Insurance who offer employees a day off to do their Christmas shopping.


Fast moving environment – A lot of people mentioned ASOS’s high energy nature, the fast-paced working environment and the pace of change. It provided them with a challenging workload which kept their job fresh, exciting and different every day. They like to hit the ground running and be given responsibility early on.

  • Although the challenging workload was praised, there were many who were also unhappy with unrealistic targets, too much overtime and poor pay.
  • Tip – If you notice that lots of people are working overtime every day it’s vital to not make sure they don’t have to do it regularly.
  • If it is continuous this is a red flag that you have a problem with unrealistic workloads. It is time to look at your daily/weekly/monthly targets and start easing them up. If this isn’t possible to meet customer demands then it’s time to start hiring new team members. This may seem expensive at first but is usually more affordable that having to hire and train new staff if you have high turnover!
  • If your staff are happy to work overtime you shouldn’t ignore this, but reward them for their hard work. This can be extra pay, extra hours to work towards a day off, gift rewards etc.


Fast career progression – A lot of employees noted how working in fast-growing companies meant that there were lots of opportunities to learn and they were great for fast career progression.  87% of millennials say that professional development or career growth opportunities are very important to them.

  • It was interesting to also see that many staff members complained about inexperienced leaders in these companies who lacked knowledge and correct training. There was an issue with too much middle management without proper guidance or knowledge of their teams.
  • Tip – To reward your staff for their hard work it doesn’t always have to be a move to a management/leadership role, you can give them more responsibility and more scope within their role. If you have too many managers it creates a very hierarchical environment which can have the negative effect of micro-managing, slow decision-making, low employee engagement and working in accordance to power not intelligence and knowledge.
  • Ensure you have proper training processes in place for staff to meet the next level in their career. If you have a structured way of checking these off it allows you to keep track of who is on track to development in their career and who needs more help.


The sense of belongingA large proportion of ASOS reviews mention great people and how friendly everyone at their workplace is. By making good friends they feel like a big family. Relaxed atmospheres were popular among employees and they link to their ‘sense of belonging’ as it allows everyone to be themselves which creates greater bonds among individuals in the team.

  • Even though a large proportion of reviews mentioned the people as being a great benefit to their company, it is hard to ignore comments that highlighted cliques, office politics and blame cultures within these organisations. This perhaps demonstrates that if you aren’t accepted by the groups within your business then you could be excluded from the ‘family’ and lack a sense of belonging.
  • Tip – Management should not overly compliment staff members in public as this shows favouritism and makes other team members feel inferior if they never receive any.
  • To eliminate a blame culture, make sure everyone is clear about their responsibilities and what they are accountable for. This gets rid of any option to pass the blame onto others.
  • T0 build a non-clique culture, managers must lead by example sharing their vision of inclusion in the workplace. They should always strive to drop into conversation that inclusivity is a number one priority for the company.
  • Management should look out for informal leaders who are showing signs of favouritism and perhaps not taking their role as seriously as they should be.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 27th March 2018