After success in Best Employers 2016, Allia didn't want to become complacent. Read more about their 2018 employee engagement journey

Allia Ltd, based in Cambridge, Peterborough and London, won the Best Employers Eastern Region 2018 Best Not-For-Profit Award and also achieved Gold Accreditation. Read how Best Employers has helped the organisation monitor its employee engagement through a period of significant growth and helped retain talented people by ensuring they enjoy coming to work and playing a part in Allia’s success.


Allia is a growing not-for-profit organisation which supports entrepreneurs and businesses that aim to make positive changes for people, planet and place. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019, Allia has helped over 1,650 small businesses and impact ventures to start up, develop and grow, leading to the creation of more than 4,640 jobs. It has also issued £333 million in bonds, providing a social finance solution to help numerous charitable organisations with development projects and activities.

Why did Allia take part in Best Employers 2018?

We first took part in Best Employers Eastern Region in 2016 because the employee survey focussed on culture, values and engagement - all the areas we really wanted to look at. We were extremely proud to win the ‘Best Small Employer for Employee Engagement’ award that year and to have stood out against some other fantastic organisations. However, we didn’t want to become complacent, so we took part again in 2018 to monitor our engagement journey.

How did Best Employers help Allia with employee engagement and frame its strategies for the future?

The feedback from both the 2016 and 2018 surveys has been the driving force behind our continued commitment to maintaining and strengthening our internal communication. Because Allia has changed and grown significantly over the last two years, including the appointment of our new CEO, employee communication has remained vital to retaining our culture, values and teamwork across multiple sites. We have launched quarterly Town Hall meetings to share plans, successes and priorities with all our employees, helping them to feel engaged in the wider business and not restricted to their location or role. We have looked at more ways to bring people together and to keep them updated including team events, the implementation of our staff intranet and the introduction of a quarterly newsletter. And to thank all our employees for the role they have played in our success, we are bringing everyone together for a celebration event to mark our 20th anniversary.

What were the benefits of taking part?

Both recruiting and retaining talented employees is vital for our success. Taking part in Best Employers shows our employees that we are proud of our culture and values, that we take employee engagement seriously and that we genuinely want to listen to the views of our staff and that what they think remains fundamental to our whole performance. It has enabled us to share that we are an award-winning, great employer with our current and future employees, helping us to raise our brand and expand our network within the community.

What the judges said …

"Allia is a really good employer which has worked on and delivered on all aspects of employee engagement with a particular emphasis on inclusion and creating a really good working environment. It is evident that employees believe in the organisation’s purpose of making a better place and share its vision and values and work together as a team to deliver results.

The inclusive culture has been developed through embracing diversity and creating flexible working opportunities which give employees the chance to do their job in the hours which suit them. The view is that as long as jobs are getting done as needed, the when or the where doesn’t matter. Staff retention and a commitment to growing its own talent pipeline has been instrumental to the growth and success of the organisation. Employees are supported in their career development and those who originally started in junior roles are now in senior positions including centre management, finance and HR.

The team focussed culture has been reinforced through a new online HR system which enables all staff to recognise and praise colleagues. Employees come together to recognise birthdays and special life events and to celebrate award wins and the completion of large projects. Staff wellbeing is a priority and the supportive working environment created by Allia has helped to successfully phase members of staff with long term mental health issues back to work. Employees are also rewarded with a benefits portfolio widely acknowledged as being highly competitive in the third sector and as well as working for an organisation which delivers social purpose, employees are encouraged to support community and social issues important to them through paid time for voluntary work and company-wide fundraising."

What the client said …

We were delighted to win the Best Not-For-Profit Award. It means so much to us having already won the Best Small Business award two years ago. Since then, our organisation has grown and we’ve welcomed new employees, but we have continued to work hard to ensure that our values and brand are embedded.

How has Best Employers made a difference to Allia?

Our current team is over 50 strong and based across our three Future Business Centres in Cambridge, Peterborough and London. The great work Allia delivers only happens because of our people. We want them to love what they do, so they are committed to achieving the outcomes needed. Winning a second award and achieving Gold accreditation shows our ongoing commitment to employee engagement. We have been able to communicate our Best Employers award triumphs to help attract new talent and also use the survey feedback to retain our talented people and ensure they enjoy coming to work and playing a part in our success.


As a professional recruitment consultancy, Pure supports businesses in the Eastern region with talent recruitment, retention and succession planning. It recognises the significant impact employee engagement and workplace culture has on an organisation’s employer brand and its ability to attract and retain the high-calibre employees needed to achieve business growth and success. For more information on how Pure can support your business with unrivalled local recruitment expertise, talent development and employer brand, contact your local office.

Find out more about Best Employers Eastern Region 2020 here >>

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