Readers of Building that are eligible to enter Building’s other “Top” tables, such as consultants, contractors, and housebuilders, and other industry firms were invited to take part in the selection process for the Good Employer Guide 2014, through a call for entries published in print and online. Each interested firm was sent a link to an online staff survey to send to all employees, which had to be filled in anonymously by a minimum of 33% of total staff, excluding those who worked in purely support functions such as HR. This survey gauged strength of feeling on the company’s performance in eight key areas: leadership, corporate social responsibility, employees’ opportunity to contribute, working atmosphere, opportunities for smarter working, career progression, the company’s response to current market conditions, and the promotion of mental wellbeing. Staff were also given the opportunity to provide additional information. Survey responses were sent direct to Building magazine, and not seen by the company in question.
Separately, each interested firm was asked to complete an entry form giving the following information:
- Number of full-time equivalent UK employees
- Number of female non-administrative staff
- Annual staff turnover for 2012 and 2013
- Percentage of staff from a non-white ethnic background
- Average number of training hours per employee per year
- Maximum number of paid days holiday available to staff per year
- Private healthcare provision
- Maternity benefits offered
- Paternity benefits offered
- Opportunities offered for flexible working
- Opportunities offered to work abroad
- Opportunities offered for sabbaticals and career breaks
- Details of pension scheme offered
Companies were also asked to provide a 500-word statement in support of their entry, addressing the following areas: stand-out benefits; how the company has adapted to current market conditions; leadership and development; employee engagement; staff wellbeing and the “feelgood factor”; mental wellbeing; diversity and inclusion; and corporate social responsibility, including attitude towards sustainability.
Companies were also invited to submit supplementary information, in the form of case studies or testimonials, to support their entry.
The entries were assessed by a judging panel comprising: Graham Watts, chief executive of the Construction Industry Council, Graham Paul, partner at CMS, Sean Nesbitt, head of specialist advisory services at Taylor Wessing, Sarah Richardson, editor of Building magazine and Chloë McCulloch, brand production manager and former legal editor of Building magazine.
The top five firms were identified from a shortlist selected in the first judging round by a weighting system that rewarded firms for the benefits offered under the various entry headings and the strength of endorsement from staff gathered through responses to the survey. The weighting system was adjusted to take account of company demographics – for example, the size of the firm was taken into account when assessing the range of benefits offered, as was the sector in which the company worked. So, for example, a small regional contractor would not be penalised for not offering staff the opportunity to work abroad. The final top five were selected by amalgamating individual scores awarded to firms on this shortlist by each of our final round judges.
Beyond the top five, the firms selected for this year’s guide have been listed in alphabetical order. The guide contains the top 50 companies from the entries received. Almost 200 companies registered to be considered for the guide.