I had the pleasure of attending the Best Companies Accreditation 2008 event this week, at the prestigious Cumberland Hotel in London.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Best Companies, it is an organisation that identifies workplace performance and best practice through the results of an employee survey and company questionnaire, to determine critical factors in workplace engagement. According to its website, Best Companies is the “name behind the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For”.

The organisations are awarded either one star (first class); two star (outstanding); or three star (extraordinary) status. This year, 653 companies applied and over 140,000 employees from these organisations were surveyed.

In total, 307 organisations achieved star status, 48 of which achieved ‘three star’. At the event, I spoke to Sue Compston, who is the head of HR at Swedish bank Handelsbanken. The organisation achieved three star status this year, so I asked her what this accreditation meant to the company.

“It has meant a lot to prospective employees, knowing that we achieved three star status,” she said. “It gives prospective candidates confidence in the fact that what we are telling them about the company is true.”

I have to say, it really was a great event, not to mention glamorous! The Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch is quite spectacular and what made it so good was that we were all there to celebrate the inspiring achievement of many organisations in their efforts to make their workplaces engaging for their staff.

A better workplace

The CEO and founder of Best Companies, Jonathan Austin, also gave an interesting presentation, saying that, eight years ago, he had a vision to create a standard of workplace engagement in the UK, and, he remarked, that dream has now become a reality. He also said that the Best Companies mission is to help “make the world a better workplace”. All good stuff.

But perhaps I have saved the best until last – well, the tastiest bit, in any case. Attached to the Cumberland Hotel is a restaurant called ‘Rhodes W1’, owned by Michelin-star chef Gary Rhodes, of course.

Following all the presentations, none other than Gary Rhodes himself hopped up onto the stage and proceeded to tell us about the five-course tasting menu that he and his team of chefs were about to cook for us! I was getting really hungry by this point and the 20 minutes or so that he took to explain each and every delicious ingredient that was going into the amazing feast, just made my stomach grumble and my mouth salivate even more!

So we then made our way to the restaurant and happily tucked into five delectable courses – each with a glass of wine to match – that included ham and cep veloute, tuna carpaccio, smoked duck breast, roast lamb and a delicious pecan pie to finish.

I am already looking forward to next year’s event!

For more information, please visit the Best Companies website.

Kind regards,

Lucie Benson