What makes a good employer?


Understanding what employers want, and what candidates need, comes second nature to the team at Ann Pettengell, but they’ve stopped to reflect – what does it really take to be a good employer?

They write:

In decades gone by, the promise of a job for life and a solid salary were fundamentals for employees. But as the work environment has changed in recent years, employee wellbeing has become the focal point in building the vision and values of many organisations. It’s no longer just about the 9-5, but the flexibility and support that companies can offer their staff. At Ann Pettengell, we’re always working with clients and candidates to ensure perfect pairings – matching the right people with the right roles.

Higher Expectations

There’s no denying that modern life is faster, busier, more expensive, and filled with expectation and aspirations. The culture of the workplace has had to adapt, as the lines between life and work have blurred. Expectations are high on both sides; employers are looking for loyalty, creativity, adaptability and dependability, whilst employees are increasingly looking to their employers for help in achieving a balance of good physical and mental health both inside and outside the workplace.

Finding Flexibility for Modern Living

There has been a palpable trend in candidates asking more of their employers in terms of autonomy, flexibility and purpose. In response, employers have to work harder to gain loyalty, and put policies in place that facilitate a healthy work-life balance.

In a survey recently conducted amongst some of our clients, we asked what their employees believed were good qualities for an employer to possess. Flexibility featured in the top five, with employees looking for opportunities for part-time working, remote working, and flexible hours that could fit in with their lifestyles and commitments.

Empowering Employees

With social media giving everybody the opportunity to have their say, employees are used to having a platform to express their views, and now really value being able to have a voice within their organisations. A good employer will not only have a solid vision of their brand and values, but also make room for two-way conversation too, empowering employees, offering greater autonomy, and making them feel included whatever their business function or position.

Whilst clear structure and accountability is important in the workplace, our survey revealed that the soft skills of approachability, listening, empathy, and effective communication are sought after by candidates and employees alike.

Reward & Recognition

Another top scorer in our survey was rewards and recognition. Financial rewards are always a great motivator for employees, but these days, rewards and recognition come in many guises. Whether it’s ongoing professional development opportunities, personalised career progression paths or dedicated team building days, it’s not just about the perks – it’s more about investment in the person, and the feel-good factor. Nurturing a workforce that takes pride in its company’s values and feels rewarded for its loyalty often results in greater passion, determination, and a positive work ethic.

Collaborative Workspaces

If the results of our research are anything to go by, the days of the bullpen office layout are fast becoming a relic of the past. When asked about the most important features of the workplace, collaborative, flexible and relaxed workspaces frequently came top of the list.

As the look and feel of office spaces have a significant impact on the general working environment and culture, it follows that people are highly motivated by their surroundings. Forget pretentious playgrounds and faddy office features; it’s all about workspaces that enable team working, a sense of wellbeing, and the removal of barriers to collaborative interactions.

Just Being Human

It all boils down to being human. Every person is a human first, employee second, and it’s about reflecting this in the workplace too. It’s time to recognise employees as individuals and give them a platform to springboard forward into their careers, whilst providing the opportunity for them to have a voice within the business along the way. It’s time to drive profitability and productivity through a focus on purpose, values and, primarily, people.

Ann Pettengell sponsors the Employer of the Year award at the SME Cambridgeshire Business Awards, and understands the importance of celebrating the qualities of truly great employers. 



We have been one of the leading independent recruitment businesses operating in and around Cambridge for over 30 years. We have a proud association with the region and continue to provide businesses in the area with quality candidates for permanent and temporary roles.

Ann Pettengell Limited