Microsoft and Yell in work top 10By Paul Robins
May 29, 2008
Limitless career prospects and a culture of openness has helped make Microsoft the best company to work for in Europe.
The software giant, with its UK headquarters at Thames Valley Park, has come top of the annual hit parade for employers compiled by the Great Place to Work Institute.
Staff beavering away at Yell, which has its UK headquarters in Queens Walk in the town centre, should be all smiles too after the international directories group was named the ninth best workplace in the UK.
The Top 50 UK and European rankings – published in the Financial Times – followed a mammoth survey of workplace opinion encompassing the views of 1.3 million employees at more than 1,250 companies.
Microsoft beat Google to the top spot in Europe after being described as an “open organisation that makes you feel at home” by members of its 7,526 workforce – 3,000 of whom are based in Reading.
Employees spoke about the “loose, informal culture” and the honest two-way communication with their leaders, with 95 per cent describing management as “approachable and easy to talk to”.
Staff also scored the company highly for creating a fun working environment through initiatives such as the ‘Happy Hour,’ held every second Friday of the month to give workers at all levels the chance to eat and drink together.
The Reading office even has a games room and lounge, with theatre equipment where employees can pop in and play on Xbox video consoles.
Dave Gartenberg, HR director of Microsoft UK, said: “For us, this is a recognition of the great opportunities, great leadership and great working environment that we offer. People want to join Microsoft, and want to stay with us, because this is an innovative company with a rich and diverse culture."
Making the welfare of its employees a main priority also helped Yell secure its position among the top 10 UK workplaces (it also came 33rd in the European list).
The Yellow Pages owner was commended for fostering a ‘feelgood’ factor among staff, reflected by the fact that more than half of its 1,350 workers in Queens Walk and Bridge Street Plaza have been with the company for more than five years.
Philip Barr, head of human resources at Yell, said: “To have been ranked in the top 10 is a tremendous endorsement of the overall culture throughout the company and something that everyone at Yell should be proud of."
Yell runs a ‘harmony programme’ to help staff manage commitments through different working options, and recently launched an ‘uncles and aunties’ forum to aid dialogue between sales reps and senior managers.
‘Tell Yell’ satisfaction surveys are regularly circulated internally and the firm even has its own People Advisory Service.
Williams Johnson Mota, business development and sales manager for Great Place to Work Institute, added: “Yell exemplifies what it means to be a great place to work."