Campaign Best Places to Work 2021: Top 5 small companies

Making its debut on the list, Kyan has not only topped this category but also been ranked as the Best Place to Work overall.

Kyan
Kyan

1. Kyan

Technology agency, Guildford 
UK employees: 43 | Female: 13 | Male: 30 
Most popular benefit: Healthcare, plus 30 days’ holiday

A new entrant to Campaign’s Best Places to Work list, Kyan has gone straight in at the top, both for small companies and overall, on the strength of its three core values: “geekiness, generosity and drive”. 

During the pandemic, it supported its team with access to mental health first-aiders, as well as mental health advice and support, along with a self-directed training budget, flexible hours and a WFH cash allowance for enhancing workspaces. 

The agency encourages its people to pursue their passions and has provided financial support to help employees set up side-businesses and realise their ambitions, which have ranged from singing and podcasts to film-making.  

2. Truant London

Ad agency, London 
UK employees: 25 | Female: 16 | Male: 9 
Most popular benefit: At least five weeks’ holiday, with no upper limit

Hyper-conscious of “the always-on nature of many agencies”, Truant says it wants to ensure that its staff are taking enough time out to recharge and live their lives, hence the rule that everyone must take at least five weeks’ holiday, and there is no maximum. 

As a result of the pandemic it has given staff a WFH set-up allowance, as well as a monthly, free take-away dinner, and co-working memberships to Soho Works (when open) for those who find WFH untenable.

All employees that have been with the agency for a year automatically become part of its “Truant Tenpercenters” share scheme, under which 10% of the agency’s profit is handed over to staff.

3. Guerillascope

Media agency, London 
UK employees: 15 | Female: 9 | Male: 6 
Most popular benefit: Annual company conference

It is no surprise that the Guerillascope annual company conference, which has taken place in Barbados, Morocco and Monaco, is its most popular benefit. In the wake of Covid, it remains to be seen where the next jaunt will be, but Guerillascope employees can still take advantage of the agency’s UK countryside retreat, which is open for staff bookings as per Covid rules. 

Regular wellness workshops, seminars and yoga sessions have helped the team stay mentally fresh during the pandemic and, to help boost morale, the agency sends individually tailored gifts to staff, such as a hamper or a book. Two members of the team trained as mental health first-aiders and now run a weekly surgery. 

Every year on the anniversary of each employee’s starting date, they receive a loyalty bonus, increasing with each year of service.

4. Manifest

Brand communications agency, London 
UK employees: 34 | Female: 20 | Male: 14 
Most popular benefit: Unlimited holiday (minimum 28 days)

Manifest employs a “Happiness Officer” and runs a “Happiness Fund” – focused on improving employee wellbeing, rather than just perks. Its benefits package, which has been reorganised around the pandemic, is delivered according to a points system and includes subs to Headspace or Calm, or OddBox fruit and veg deliveries. 

Between 12pm-1pm and 5pm-6pm the agency not only bans meetings but also holds a comms blackout, so employees get the chance for heads-down work, or to go outside. 

Manifest encourages frequent breaks across the year, and offers unlimited holiday to enable this. It also hands out “Shit-Hot Work Awards”, a £100 peer-to-peer nominated reward, and “Happiness Dividends”, a profit-share scheme where 10% of profit is split equally across all employees.

5. Crunch Digital media

Media agency, Ystradgynlais 
UK employees: 20 | Female: 14 | Male: 6 
Most popular benefit: Financial incentives for training

In the unusual times of the past year, Crunch has tried to ensure its people “continue to bond as a team and look after each other”. It has sought to do this  through virtual staff parties, pub-quiz-style games, fancy-dress days, lunchtime yoga sessions and team activities, such as a speed-paint-along with Bob Ross. 

It also issued employees with Just Eat vouchers as a gesture to recognise hard work in a challenging climate and has allowed staff to carry over 10 days of holiday into the following year. 

During lockdown, employees have worked solely from home, but when measures are eased, there will be no obligation to get back to the office: WFH or a blended approach is optional.

Campaign Best Places to Work 2021 full list | Top 5 large companies | Top 5 medium companies