UMi named one of the Best Companies to work for

Workforce engagement has been in the spotlight in recent days as business leaders committed to supporting and empowering their teams were celebrated at Best Companies Live 2021.

What does it take for a company to be world class?

Is it about great leadership, giving something back, investing in personal growth, putting wellbeing front and centre, or being a forward-looking organisation?

All of the above have their place, and all have been needed in abundance over the past year, as businesses of all shapes and sizes have grappled with the myriad of financial, operational and human challenges posed by COVID-19.

The pandemic was a central theme of this year’s Best Companies Live, which brought together thousands of the best UK businesses to talk about employee engagement, best practice and the future of the workplace.

Presented by BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker, the virtual event took place on Friday (21 May) and saw the publication of the Best Companies to Work For Lists and the Best Companies Accreditation.

For the second time, UMi was awarded the maximum three-star accreditation, which is reserved only for those employers considered to be ‘world class’.

The employee-owned company, which helps businesses do more and go further by finding the packaging the best information, expertise and finance, also achieved its highest ever placings across the three categories it was shortlisted in.

In the list representing the UK’s 100 Best Mid-Sized Companies, which is for those that employ between 75 and 199 people, UMi ranked 33rd.

The business also achieved a 12th place regional listing and was named 8th in its sector.

Nicki Clark, CEO of UMi, said: "Being included in three Best Companies listings this year and achieving the highest rating of three stars is a great reflection of how hard the UMi team work at making our own business great while also helping others.

“We guide businesses every day to do more and go further, and in a year when we have helped more than ever, it would have been easy for us to forget about ourselves. But each and every one of the team played their part in showing the courage, care and compassion to not only achieve the best results ever for our business but for ourselves as individuals too.

“At a time when there is unprecedented change going on all across the world, as a team we have never been better prepared to navigate unchartered territories, make a difference in the communities where we live and work, and do what others say can’t be done.

“Our Best Companies results this year are phenomenal and I’m so proud of all of our team."

In addition to the main listings of the best companies by size, sector and region, Best Companies Live 2021 included several special awards to celebrate businesses that had excelled in areas such as leadership, learning and development and wellbeing.

These were followed by a series of workshops where business leaders shared some of the policies and procedures behind their success.

Key takeaways from the event included the importance of communication when presented with disruptions to normal business operations, the value of investing in your people and putting them at the centre of everything you do, the benefits of flexible working for future-proofing your business, and the need for a  personal and reassuring approach to leadership by bosses.

Best Companies CEO and founder Jonathan Austin said at the virtual event: “When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in spring 2020, business leaders had to react quickly to ensure their employees remained safe, motivated, and happy, but also to maintain business continuity under circumstances unlike any seen before.

“Those with strong values and principles focused on their people and communities – prioritising staff wellbeing, introducing home working, ensuring clarity of communication, and maintaining connections between teams.

“Now, as we emerge from the first quarter of 2021 and the latest lockdowns have started to lift, one thing is for certain: organisations simply must see beyond COVID-19 and have a robust plan for the weeks, months, and years ahead.”

Responding to UMi's success, Jonathan added: "Congratulations UMi. Earning a place on the UK’s Best Companies to Work For lists is an accolade like no other.

"It recognises your commitment to your employees and demonstrates that you see workplace engagement as a vital part of your organisation’s success - well done indeed.”