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Britain’s top employers – review


Title: Britains top employers: a guide to the best companies to work for
Editor: Michael Hardwidge
Publisher: Harper Collins Business, 2001, London
Format: 556 pages, paperback
ISBN: 0002570688

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In this text 94 companies of varying sizes and values are profiled. They are scored by stars in 5 categories, 5 being best.

These are: Remuneration and benefits; Progressive attitude; Opportunity for promotion; Training, development and education; Working atmosphere and environment. Biggest plus and minus are added. A brief business description and
culture and style round off the profile.

Examples of the companies include, Nestle 4 stars for 4 categories with a 3 in Progressive attitude. MBNA 5 stars for 4 categories with 4 for pay. Marks & Spencer 4 stars for 4 categories and 5 in Education. IBM has 5 stars for 3 categories and 4 stars for Attitude and Atmosphere. It employs 19,000 in the UK at 43 sites.

Only Cisco and Reuters received a score of 5 stars in all 5 categories. 4 stars out of 5 categories were given to ipc medici, Inland Revenue, United Brands and Sainsbury.

Deloitte & Touche received 5 for 4 with 4 for Attitude and it has 8,000 staff in the UK, and operates in 130 countries.

Question. Do I want to travel internationally? Do I want a small 3,000 staff to work with, or a large one like a Cisco with 43,000 employees across 55 countries? What is the difference between staff and employees?

What industry are you interested in? Recently I coached someone who had experience across multiple industries. As a top human recourse executive they had worked for banking, advertising, and pharmaceutical companies. They did not know which industry was the best fit for them. No matter, the text is not laid out by industry. It’s alphabetical. If you do know which industry you fit you have to look through the list to locate the possibilities.

Thumbnail profiles of the companies and categories are inconsistent. As you read new tidbits of information pop up.

Christian Salvesen, a new company, de-merged a high-growth power generation business in 1997 and relocated its corporate headquarters to Northampton, ‘the logistics capital of the UK’. A good place to look for work. Their client list includes: Marks & Spencer, Unilever, GM, House of Fraser, Carrefour, Sainsbury, British Airways and Ford. They look for key growth in Europe. They have 5 stars in 4 categories, with 4 stars in Progressive attitude. What does that mean? Further on we read they have “moved from a confrontational to a partnership environment. Also they have a ‘programme to keep everyone informed and involved
through the intranet, a twice yearly published magazine and a monthly newsletter. The company structure is diverse. They have everything from HGV drivers to IT specialists. “In the UK the Industrial division employs 3,500 staff, while the food and consumer divisions employs 7,700 people.

It would be interesting to understand the selection process being used to pick these 94 diverse companies. They are so varied. The book reminds me of an old Almanac. But Almanacs somehow were simpler, had more clarity and were more readable.

Review by Ann Lurie Berlin
Fiddleheads, Ltd.
Business Transformation Coach
[email protected]


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