Asda beats big payers to win best UK company to work for


Asda beats big payers to win best UK company to work for

The Sunday Times has just published its second annual survey identifying the best companies to work for in Britain. Asda, Britain's third largest supermarket chain, pipped Microsoft to the top spot. The survey is based on the work of Milton Moskowitz and Robert Levering, authors of Fortune magazine's influential 100 great places to work.

Respect and recognition

Although Asda pays most staff less than £9,000 a year, it was rated the best UK company to work for, despite other companies paying their staff five times more. Staff at Asda have a "generous" share-option scheme, performance bonuses and medical cover but, "more importantly, they feel listened to, respected and recognised," says the Sunday Times.

Benefits are not the big story

So how do companies get listed in the Best 100? For Richard Caseby, managing editor of the Sunday Times, while benefits such as holidays, pensions and share schemes are important, these perks are less of an influence in determining a great place to work than the "overall tone" set by management. Workers were most enthusiastic about openness, friendliness and loyalty. At Asda, 93% of interviewees praised its sense of family.

Says Caseby: "The best companies have stimulating workplaces where their staff feel motivated and valued. But they did not end up this way by accident. Without exception the creation of an outstanding workplace has been a deliberate act by top management."

Employee benefits in Britain's 100 best companies


Incidence of benefits

Workplace nursery or creche and/or financial childcare assistance


16 weeks' maternity leave on full pay and/or at least four weeks' leave above statutory minimum


Minimum of 25 days' leave on joining


Private health insurance


Final salary pension scheme


Source: Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For.

A final word

"The very best staff are always at a premium and the smartest bosses know that it can still be tough to attract, and most important of all, retain talent." - Richard Caseby, managing editor, Sunday Times.

Survey details

Title: 100 best companies to work for , Sunday Times, 24 March 2002.

Methodology: Companies are rated on a 175-point scale. Most of the scoring (125 points) is based on a 58-question employee attitude survey — the Great place to work trust index . The final 50 points are based on an evaluation of a company's policies, programmes and culture.

Survey sample: 21,329 employees completed the questionnaire and 6,748 of them added comments. The 100 best companies represent a cross-section of the UK economy.

Business sectors: Three industries dominate the listing: financial services (20 companies featured), software and computer equipment (15), and professional services (12).

Survey sample: 249 companies competed for a slot this year and 167 went through the full evaluation process.

Availability: For more details of the "100 best" check out the Sunday Times web site . . .

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Posted 15 April 2002