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how can you find a truly great place to work?

Updated by Hays UAE. June 2017 

Author: Jenna Alexander, National Head of Internal Recruitment, Hays UK

Everyone wants to get a job at one of those companies who is universally known as a great place to work whether it’s because of their beanbag chairs, the super snazzy coffee machines or their pizza Fridays policy.

These perks are all well and good, but they need to supplement the more meaningful benefits of working for an organisation, from having a CEO who inspires you, to being given the progression opportunities you deserve for putting the work in. In this article, I will talk through the indicators of whether a company truly is, a great place to work, and how you can spot these companies when choosing your next employer.

Assess the company culture

Your alignment to a company’s culture will really determine your sense of belonging to that organisation, and how well you will fit in with the team.

A company’s social media page can usually provide a glimpse into the culture of the organisation, from the tone of voice used in their updates, to the pictures that they upload of team activities and social events. For instance, at Hays, we will upload images to Facebook and Instagram pages. These are often images of company outings, industry awards or team achievements. We like to think this showcases Hays’ motivated and sociable culture.

You should also look at the company website. Often, an organisation will have a page or two, usually under the careers section, which can give you an idea of what it’s like to work at this organisation. They may include their company values and vision here and even some personal anecdotes from existing employees. From what you can see, could you imagine integrating well within this type of environment? An appealing and suitable company culture is what makes an employer go from an ok place to work to a great place to work.

How engaging are the senior management?

The best leaders will know that in order to engage their current and potential employees, they will need to reach out to them personally, rather than hide behind closed doors and remain an enigma.

Look into the leaders of a business. Perhaps they write careers advice blogs online or get involved in industry discussions. Maybe they go to recruitment fairs, industry networking events and so forth. Either way, they have a strong, engaging public presence, and they would be inspiring to people to work for.

Get a feel for the progression opportunities

Would this company allow you to flourish to your full potential? The best places to work will want to help progress their staff and make sure that they are constantly developing.

 Career progression opportunities are often one of the key criteria on many review sites such as Glassdoor, so do some digging around. Some employers will be so enthusiastic about developing their staff, they will engineer a campaign around this, so keep an eye out on social media as well as the company website.

You can also research their existing employees on LinkedIn. How long have they all been with the business, and have they progressed much internally? If so, then that’s another indicator that this organisation will reward your efforts, and be a great place to work.

Look into their CSR strategy

A company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is a reflection of how much they adhere to business and social ethics such as their diversity and inclusion policies, their approach to mental wellbeing in the workplace, as well as charity partnerships.

In my experience, a company with a sincere CSR policy will usually treat their staff well, and provide them with the opportunity to make a difference to society; whether it’s through helping implement a greener workplace initiative, or getting involved in charity activities. Have a look on the company website, social media and press releases for evidence of the kind of activity. Is their CSR strategy in line with your principles and morals? Do you feel like you could give something back if you were to work here?

Think about your work purpose

In a similar vein, during day to day life in this role, would you feel like your job had value? Would you have a reason for being there besides needing to pay the bills? Ultimately, would you feel like you were contributing to something bigger within your professional environment?

Whether it’s their vision, their products and services, or their contributions to the industry as a whole, you want to find a company which sparks your enthusiasm and makes you want to get involved in what they are doing. A truly great company to work for will give you an innate sense of purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.

Evaluate their work/life balance

Lastly, endeavour to find somewhere which provides a work/life balance. An organisation can provide all the freebies and incentives in the world, but if they expect you to stay in the office until 11 pm every night, it’s just not worth it.

Again, review sites such as Glassdoor are a good way to see what current and past employees have to say about working somewhere, and one of the main things they will often give feedback on is work/life balance.

In short, carefully assessing a company’s best attributes beyond the short term novelties is essential to not just your career journey, but also your wellbeing. You want to feel fulfilled, purposeful, and like you are constantly moving towards your goals, and within a culture which is right for you. With this is mind, use the above criteria as a checklist during your job search and don’t settle for anything less than a truly great place to work.

In need of some more job search advice? Visit our dedicated blog page here or click on one of the links below.