Most common traits of the best employers in the UK

1. They understand that people have lives outside of work – There is nothing worse than an employer who thinks their staff live to work. This is naive and incredibly outdated. The reality is that people should enjoy work but it shouldn’t be their whole life. Once you start accepting this you will immediately boost staff morale, which will positively impact productivity, mood and quality of work.

Offer flexible working patterns, allowing people to make their schedules work for them. If staff need time off then encourage them to ask and let them make up the time later. Tesco started a just ask campaign because staff were taking sick days for reasons other than illness — like religious holidays, study or childcare. They reassured staff that it was OK to “just ask” for time off, which they can make up later. Tesco has seen its absence rate drop dramatically from 7% to 4% in the space of just one year.


2. They are trusting – They trust that staff are capable of getting the job done and give them space to take ownership of their role. When you do this you allow staff to flourish and become invested in their position within the company. A study by the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, has been conducted involving 88 retail stores. They found that in stores where employees felt trusted, they were more likely to rise to managers’ expectations and perform better in terms of sales and customer service.

To show trust for employees, give them a lot of space and freedom at work and never micromanage. When you give them a task don’t keep constantly checking in on them, allow them to think for themselves and figure out problems. This will give them more ownership of their role.


3. They coach, instead of manage – A top employer will understand that coaching staff to be the best they can be is the key to business success and employee happiness. Google did their own research and found that the most important attribute of a good manager was that they had to be a good coach and empower their team.

If you want to know how to be a coach, rather than a manager, and achieve the best business results then read “Why Google are so good at ‘managing’ their staff.” We tell you the difference between a manager and a people developer, plus what it takes to be a good coach.


4. They pay well – Above all, employees come to work to trade their skills and earn a wage. If you aren’t fairly rewarding them for the work that they put in for you, then you can’t be considered the best employer. A good pay shows you appreciate your staff for their hard work and time. It doesn’t have to be considerably above average but it has to be fair for the work that they put in. If the company is doing exceedingly well then you should offer bonuses to show that you value the extra efforts of your staff in helping the company excel.


5. They listen – They work from the bottom up, letting ideas from staff shape the organisation. They realise that staff are their most important asset, who have first-hand experience of customers and clients every day, so they know best. They don’t just listen to staff but they implement actions and change as well. It is about listening to and understanding what will engage employees and help them do their jobs better.

Monthly one to ones, employees surveys, technology to encourage suggestions, and more visits from head office are all ways to receive employee feedback and improve your staff’s working environment.


6. They offer great benefits – The top employers do more than just give the average benefits. They go beyond the standard, healthcare, pension, and paid holidays, and give extra perks that attract top talent and make staff feel appreciated.

These perks could be anything from; saving hours to earn extra days off, days off for birthdays, birthday presents, free food, paid company holidays, discounts, an extra day off for Christmas shopping, or wellness budgets to spend on things that help them for work.


7. They develop their staff – They see their staff as individuals, not just a number, and make it their mission to carve a career development path for their staff. They have processes in place to ensure they are reaching their goals and achieving all that they are capable of. They are supportive and are constantly checking in to ensure that they are learning and growing as an employee.

Regular catch ups are the best way to listen to and develop your employees. These should have actions at the end which ensure that changes are made e.g. goals or targets which staff should reach before their next meeting, which will ensure that they are always developing.

Allow for training and conferences to make sure they are always learning and bettering themselves in their career.


8. They foster a relaxed but efficient work culture  They have an open door policy and staff feel like they can talk to more senior members of the team whenever and about whatever they want. They have a working environment where staff are left to their own devices to get on with work. However, they have processes in place to ensure that they are always meeting their requirements and still getting the job done, such as daily and weekly meetings, targets, and digitally logged task trackers e.g. Oplift Engage’s checklist feature.

To be more relaxed with staff get rid of the ‘manager facade’ and start being more down to earth and personable. If your staff are meeting their goals and requirements, then there is no need to make your workplace a stressful working environment. If certain people do need disciplinaries, then do this out of the way of other employees to avoid spreading anxiety and tension.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 23rd April 2018