Campaign Best Places to Work 2019: Top 5 small companies

Campaign Best Places to Work 2019: Top 5 small companies

1. ID Comms

Media consultancy, London

UK employees 20

When it comes to creating a contented workforce, ID Comms believes that one size doesn’t fit all of its staff and that not all of them will be motivated by the same incentives. So alongside the offer of flexible working hours, staff-friendly open-plan offices in Shoreditch, minimal amounts of overtime working and unlimited holidays, there’s the PerkBox.

Set up in acknowledgment that staff have varying priorities when it comes to the benefits most suitable for them, PerkBox is an online benefits portal that allows employees to pick the perks they want. These can range from vouchers for high-street stores to travel discounts and professional advice and training.

Last year, the company formalised the establishment of a happy team as the vital element of its core values alongside client obsession, operational excellence and continuous improvement. The obvious implication is that the final three cannot happen without a workforce properly primed and encouraged to deliver.

A number of initiatives are aimed at bringing this about. Staff wanting to gain professional qualifications are given a helping hand by being allowed time off and having their costs covered. At the same time, everybody in the company is encouraged to bring their ideas to the table where they can be shared and the best of them rewarded.

Personal initiative is also recognised in the company’s Employee of the Quarter and Star of the Year programmes, which honour outstanding individual achievements. Meanwhile, the company has been eager to create a working environment in which staff can operate at their best without their performances becoming jaded by fatigue. Hence a commitment to keeping overtime to an absolute minimum, having meetings and staff-only events held only during working hours and two away days a year in which staff are encouraged to have fun and celebrate successes together.

According to ID Comms, the determination to punch above its weight has resulted in a recognisable culture that belies the nine-year-old company’s relative youth. It claims the relentless desire for self-improvement is not something that’s forced from the top down but enthusiastically embraced by a highly motivated staff.

2. Guerillascope

Media agency, London

UK employees 15

Guerillascope’s staffers are well travelled. Not only do they get to celebrate the agency’s birthday with get-togethers in Monaco, Mykonos and Barbados but they have access to a 10-bedroom Shropshire country retreat if they want to get away from it all.

Such perks are great bonding experiences but also do wonders for team morale, the company claims. Extended lunch breaks to allow staff to take advantage of half-price gym memberships and annual training budgets that permit employees to select courses of their choice are also on offer.

3. Manifest

Brand communications agency, London

UK employees 27

Firm in its belief that the best employees are the happiest ones, Manifest has a chief happiness officer who works with senior management to engage with staff, motivate them and, in turn, raise their performance.

Team members get rewarded with credits for each year of service to spend in anything from gallery membership to laundry services. Help with moving home and employee exchange programmes involving offices in London, New York and Stockholm are also on offer.

And, in a bid to promote inclusiveness, there’s the F*ck Off Grant. Those who leave at the end of their probation period get £1,000; those who stay pass the £1,000 to the person who made them feel most at home.

4. December 19

Media agency, London

UK employees 15

Named the top small company last year, December 19 made another really strong showing in this year’s report, still notching up a top-five placing. The agency strove to keep staff welfare at the top of its agenda. Staff got to take their pick from a range of training options. For example, the agency offered help to the office cleaner who wanted to take an accountancy course, buying her the laptop she couldn’t afford.

5. MCM Net

Digital marketing agency, Tonbridge

UK employees 19

MCM Net prides itself on combining a happy working environment for staff (often including free food in the kitchen) with constant opportunities for them to develop and learn more. There’s also a wellbeing committee of staff that acts as a sounding board for new initiatives – be they interior décor changes or team events. Staff loyalty is rewarded with a £10,000 award for 10 years’ service.