Every year the Times, Guardian and Glassdoor to name a few, publish lists of 'the best companies' to work for. The top-rated companies celebrate and use the ranking in their marketing. But, in my view, this is flawed.
We are all different, which means we will all be seeking different things when we are looking for our next job.
Flashy central London offices with 24/7 catering, dealing with large sums of money, travelling the world, getting paid a high salary and even higher annual bonuses, may be important for some, at some stage(s) of their lives.
For others, flexible working patterns, paternity leave, healthcare cover, pension contributions, and work stability may be more important, at some stage of their lives. Similarly, working locally or from home, may be the number one criteria for others.
Looking at the scoring used by the Times, they have scored each company across eight categories;
- Leadership: How employees feel about the head of the company and its senior managers
- Wellbeing: How staff feel about the stress, pressure and the balance between their work and home duties
- Giving something back: How much companies are thought by their staff to put back into society generally and the local community
- Fair deal: How happy the workforce is with their pay and benefits
- Personal growth: To what extent staff feel they are stretched and challenged by their job
- My manager: How staff feel towards their immediate boss and day-to-day managers
- My company: Feelings about the company people work for as opposed to the people they work with
- My team: How staff feel about their immediate colleagues
But, and there is a big but here for me, even if all of the above was scored, analysed and presented, I still don't think the focus on which company is best to work for, is that important, or even the right measure!
For me, the people I work with and the projects I am involved in, are more important than the company. I'd rather work with an inspiring team doing 'non-sexy stuff' and getting paid less, than leading, or being part of, a self-centred team working for one of the 'top companies'.
The challenge is how do you measure this?
Unfortunately, this is an impossible measure to score objectively; as we are all different. Also, the team I love working with, would probably be someone else's nightmare.
This is probably why the newspapers focus on 'the best company' to work for, as they can present a method for the scoring and present the results in a structured and logical way. This in turn attract lots of readers. If they are really lucky 'the best companies' will refer to the scoring on their websites and i recruitment materials.