Opinion

5 surefire ways to find out if a company is good to work for

Are you looking for an inspiring new job at the moment? Are you busy speaking to recruitment agencies in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Norwich or Ipswich? Maybe you already have an interview in the pipeline? Well done, you! But the job’s responsibilities shouldn’t be the only things you should be looking at.

Recruitment experts are increasingly extolling the benefits of working for a company that puts its employees’ wellbeing at the heart of its operations. Bosses might want to look after staff partly because it’s good for business, but wouldn’t you want to spend five days a week somewhere where you know your manager will take your opinions seriously, where you can give something back to society and where staff benefits aren’t limited to free tea bags and cartons of semi-skimmed?

When you’re at interview stage take a little extra time to investigate the companies’ corporate culture and ask yourself: “Will I be happy there?” The more comfortable you are in your workplace, the better you’ll be at your job - you’ll probably stay longer and you’ll be happier in your personal life. The reasons for looking beyond the job description numerous, so we’ve given you some pointers to get your super-sleuthing underway…

1.    Check out the top 100

A great place to start is the Sunday Times’ annual Best 100 Companies survey. It’s a highly reputable database that gathers the latest information about organisations (including small and large firms and not-for-profits) that claim to be great employers. Even if the company you’re looking into isn’t on the list, it’s a very good guide to your research. You can filter the list according to how good a company is at maintaining staff wellbeing, its support of local communities and charities, staff development and even how staff feel about their managers and salaries.

 2.    Best employer survey for East of England

Pure Resourcing Solutions (Pure) runs its own regional ‘Best Employer’ survey every other year, so check out the category winners for ‘Employee Values’ to see if your target company is on the hot list! If not, why not give us a call? Our consultants have an excellent knowledge of local businesses and our seminars are a magnet for firms that want to develop their status as a good employer.

 3.    Will you get a fair salary?

Go to Google to research average salaries for the role you’ve applied for. You can often find recent surveys conducted by professional associations and trade publications such as Marketing Week for salaries across an industry. If you find that the role you may apply offers a wage that is under the average in your region, be cautious. If the company underpays its staff but still expects amazing results do you want to work for them? Of course there may be a reasonable explanation – it could be a charity or a start-up without a big budget. Nonetheless this is an important issue that impacts long term job satisfaction.

 4.    Benefits package

We all like staff perks such as a free cappuccino machine, a Christmas party and dress-down Friday, but what about employee benefits that can really make a difference to your life? Look at the company’s website for details of their benefit package: do they offer medical or dental cover? What support do they provide for new parents? Is flexible working available? What kind of pension contributions does the company make? If this information isn’t publically available, you always call their HR team or ask in an interview.

 5.    Get the inside scoop

Finally, you can’t beat getting the low-down straight from the horse’s mouth. Ask friends and family see if anyone already works for the company. Ask them if colleagues get frequent training and subsequently take on new responsibilities? Can staff implement their own ideas in the workplace? What’s the staff turnover like? If it’s high, be warned - there may be a lack of professional development opportunities so workers need to leave in order to continue building their career.

Of course, you don’t need to do all of the above. But by using two or three of these techniques you can easily figure out if a company is a good to work for – and whether it’s the right employer for you!