Britain’s Top Employers: KFC and Rider Levett Bucknall take the top spots

David Woods, 23 Mar 2012

Some of the country’s top employers are forecasting slower growth for the next year and responding to the continued economic uncertainty by offering more flexible benefits, segmented employee offerings and improved career development programmes.

These are some of the latest findings from the 2012 Britain’s Top Employers research. The CRF Institute, the company behind this annual project, last night announced the 12th annual list of companies to be certified as Britain’s Top Employers, based upon research into their HR practices and employee offerings.

These companies were awarded their certification at an awards dinner on 22 March 2012 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Top scoring large organisations are:


2. PepsiCo

3. Whitbread

4. Vauxhall Motors

5. Technip

Top scoring mid-sized (up to 499 employees)

1. Rider Levett Bucknall

2. McCann Manchester

3. Sacker & Partners

The top scoring IT organisation was RM Education and top scoring law firm was Weightmans.

James Watts, VP HR, KFC UK & Ireland, said: “This award is a ringing endorsement of the work we’re doing with our people. In the past twelve months we’ve expanded our apprenticeship scheme and launched an employee wellbeing programme, and now we’re in the process of turning all of our stores into training restaurants with e-learning centres. We have a vision to become the best company in the UK for training and development, and this award will spur us on to do all we can to achieve that goal.”

The organisations examined were assessed based on the following criteria: Primary Benefits, Secondary Benefits & Working Conditions, Training & Development, Career Development, and Company Culture Management.

The research is audited by a third party, Grant Thornton, and only those organisations that met the stringent research criteria received the Top Employers certification.

Eleanor Nickerson, country manager, Britain’s Top Employers, said: “This year we’re proud to certify our strongest group of Top Employers to date. We’re seeing creative, intelligent and sustainable HR practices and employee offerings that ensure the working experience is positive, and that employee groups get what they want from their employment. Employee engagement is still the top overall HR priority for organisations and we’re seeing a heavy emphasis on flexible benefits, on segmented employee offerings and on career development that ensures employee growth and successful succession planning.”

The CRF Institute, a specialist in the field of international research into HR management and working conditions, has just completed the research behind Britain’s Top Employers, which focuses on the HR practices and employee offerings of a large number of employers in the UK.

Nickerson added: “We’ve seen the trends that emerged in 2011 continue to steadily grow in the 2012 research. Employers are still investing heavily in career development, with the overall scoring in this area increasing for most organisations. Whereas the HR priorities for the majority of our Top Employers are still employee engagement, talent management and leadership development, with the economic uncertainty we’ve also seen more companies forecasting workforce shrinkage, and as a result recruitment & staffing as a function have risen back up into the top 5 HR priorities.

CRF has recently commissioned market research across Europe into the value and impact of a Top Employer certification on young professionals. Respondents favoured job descriptions and job advertisements that included an accolade of the company as a good employer, and indicated that their impressions of companies that carried such seals were more positive.

The full list of companies (in alphabetical order) that are being certified this year is below.

Large Organisations

ARM Ltd Avanade UK Limited

Bentley Motors Limited

British American Tobacco

Cable&Wireless Worldwide

Camelot Group of Companies

Capital One Group

Chiesi Limited


The DHL Express

East Coast Mainline

Estée Lauder

Everything Everywhere Ltd

FedEx Express




HCL Technologies

Heineken UK


Homes for Haringey

IG Group


J D Wetherspoon plc

John Lewis Partnership



Lloyd’s Register

Lonza Biologics plc



PepsiCo UK & Ireland


Phoenix Group

Quest Diagnostics

Reliance Security Group


Saffery Champness

Santander S

apient Ltd

Sharp Electronics UK

Sigma-Aldrich (UK)



Tata Consultancy Services

Tate & Lyle Sugars Limited

Technip UK Ltd

Travis Perkins plc

Tribal Group

UniCredit Bank AG

UNITE Group plc

The Vauxhall Motors Virtusa UK Ltd


Weightmans LLP

Whitbread PLC

Wood Group

Mid-sized Organisations


AmicusHorizon Limited

Grey London

Hydrogen Group plc

Leaseplan UK Limited

McCann Manchester

Meltwater Group

Rider Levett Bucknall UK

Sacker & Partners LLP

ZenithOptimedia UK Group

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

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