The Best Companies Housing List 2017

Best Companies surveys thousands of workers each year to discover which not-for-profit organisations in the UK have the most engaged staff. Housing associations and ALMOs always feature highly on the list of the best not for profits, leading the way when it comes to factors such as leadership, charitable giving and the environment.


The workplace engagement specialists at Best Companies have created a list of the 25 best housing sector organisations to work for based on the views of 6,997 survey respondents.

Organisations are assessed across eight key factors, identified by Best Companies as integral to employee engagement: My Company, Leadership, My Manager, My Team, Wellbeing, Personal Growth, Fair Deal (pay and benefits) and how much they feel the association is ‘Giving Something Back’ to their local community, environment or the wider world.

Respondents are asked to rank a number of statements which cover these eight factors on a seven-point scale from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’.

From these, eight factor-scores are calculated and combined to create an overall score, which is adjusted by company size to compensate for the advantage smaller firms tend to have.

Jonathan Austin, chief executive of Best Companies, said: “We’ve seen a growing number of housing organisations on our lists over the last 10 years.

“It’s wonderful to see them recognised and rewarded for the inspiring work they do in communities around the country. The list shows that through being better employers and making a real difference to peoples’ lives, there are no limits to what they can do.”

Below is the full list.

1 Small SLH Group

  1. SLH Group

Liverpool’s SLH Group has topped the list of the UK’s best housing associations to work for, for the fourth year running. It’s no surprise its 95 staff are proud to be part of the organisation (95%), which improves the lives of residents in one of the country’s most deprived areas by tackling anti-social behaviour, building skills and creating opportunities. With the group’s aspirational culture, staff are challenged to reach their potential through critically reflective learning – but it’s not all work and no play – SLH Group is proud of their workforce’s ‘wicked’ sense of humour and ability to let their hair down with ‘amazing’ parties.

2 Mid Wales & West Housing

  1. Wales & West Housing

Established over 50 years ago, Wales & West Housing has more than 11,500 properties in 15 local authority areas across Wales, and earns the number two spot on the 2017 list. Staff are encouraged to provide feedback, share ideas and suggest improvements. The organisation’s 357 employees believe they make a valuable contribution to its success (85%), and that senior managers are visible and approachable (81%). With a vision to achieve strong, sustainable growth to make a difference to people’s lives, homes and communities, Wales & West Housing has high expectations of its staff and only employs the best people for the job.


  1. Adactus Housing Group

Adactus Housing Group has a mission to provide quality homes for those in need, and the Leigh-based organisation takes the number three spot this year. Employees agree the organisation encourages charitable activities (88%), but there’s plenty in it for the staff themselves too. Staff agree their job is good for their personal growth (76%) and that their colleagues will go out of their way to help them (83%). Christmas bonuses and parties, away days and access to gym facilities are just some of the perks enjoyed by Adactus staff, who are encouraged to work hard and enjoy time with their ‘work family’.

3 Community Gateway Association

  1. Community Gateway Association

Community Gateway Association’s vision to inspire people and communities has helped the organisation to fourth place on the 2017 best housing associations to work for list. The organisation’s 234 Preston-based staff have a great deal of faith in its leader (88%), and believe that managers in the organisation talk openly and honestly (85%). Senior managers support staff with regular one-to-one meetings, and staff believe they’re able to make valuable contributions to the success of the organisation (86%). A busy calendar of employee forums, AGMs, tenant roadshows and other community, work and social events shows what kind of workplace Community Gateway Association is.


  1. Greenfields Community Housing

Improving the lives of its residents, employees and volunteers has helped to earn Greenfields Community Housing the number five spot. The Braintree-based housing association and its 261 staff look after more than 8,000 homes with a vision to “work together to provide the best homes and services”. With a strong culture of support among employees (‘I feel a strong sense of family in my team’, 76%) and confidence in its leadership (‘I have a great deal of faith in the person leading this organisation’, 81%), Greenfields is a strongly united team, with more than 50% of staff having served for more than five years.


  1. Yarlington Housing Group

With an emphasis on passion, collaboration, dedication and innovation, Yeovil’s Yarlington Housing Group takes the number six spot. Formed in 1999, the housing association manages more than 10,000 properties across the South West of England. Staff are encouraged to give feedback, and participate in strategy workshops to help shape the future of the organisation. As a result, its 335 employees believe they can make a valuable contribution to the success of the group (85%). And thanks, in part, to social enterprise schemes that help people into work and onto the property ladder, 82% feel proud to work for the group.

6 Weaver Vale Housing Trust

  1. Weaver Vale Housing Trust

A focus on its employees’ health has paid dividends for Weaver Vale Housing Trust, which this year takes the number seven position on the list. Employees take advantage of an annual Wellbeing & Personal Development fund of £67 to do things like joining the National Trust. They also have access to a fund for medical investigations for quick diagnosis of health issues. It’s no surprise that the 316 Northwich staff say their manager takes an active interest in their wellbeing (81%). Providing more than 6,000 homes in West Cheshire, the trust has a culture of openness, and encourages a can-do attitude among its employees.

7 Newydd Housing Association

  1. Newydd Housing Association

Newydd Housing Association puts its vision of providing affordable, sustainable homes with at the forefront of everything it does, this year taking the number eight place on the list. Employees enjoy flexible working, pension provision and training and development opportunities. Staff feel their manager takes an active interest in their wellbeing (80%) and are happy with the balance between their work and home lives (75%). With a direct line to its chief executive for questions, comments, complaints and suggestions in the form of its Pester Paul box, staff are able to raise the things that matter to them at the highest level with optional anonymity.

9 Calico

  1. The Calico Group

Named after the fabric made in East Lancashire’s historic mills, The Calico Group prides itself on its heritage of bringing people together for the good of its community and places ninth on the list. Its 521 employees say work is an important part of their lives (83%), feel a strong sense of family in their teams (78%) and have fun at work (81%). Staff are rewarded for sharing their suggestions with The Calico Group’s chief executive via the Ask Anthony scheme, the success of which is reflected in the fact that staff feel they can make valuable contributions to the organisation (84%).


  1. Regenda

Having ‘a business mind and a social heart’ has helped the Bolton-based Regenda into the top 10 organisations on this year’s list. It’s an attitude that resonates with its employees, as its 267 staff say they have faith in their leader’s plan (80%), and are excited about the direction of the organisation (79%). Regenda offers its workforce opportunities to grow and make a real difference in the communities it serves in the North West, which includes looking after roughly 13,000 properties across the region. The organisation’s VIBE employee forum and quarterly CEO briefings offer staff the chance to give direct feedback to its leaders.

18 Two Rivers Housing

  1. Two Rivers Housing

Working hard, recognising hard work and having fun has helped Gloucestershire’s Two Rivers Housing onto the 2017 list, taking the number 11 spot. Two Rivers Housing is proud to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people by providing quality, low-cost homes. In fact, many of Two Rivers Housing’s 139 employees say they’re proud to work for the organisation (83%). Employees throughout the organisation are supported and encouraged to develop their skills to reach their potential through external learning and in-house opportunities. The workforce agrees that people are given the resources they need to do their jobs (81%).


  1. Curo

Bath’s Curo manages nearly 13,000 homes with an ethos of inspiring and empowering people to succeed, and places 12th on this year’s list. The organisation’s rewarding work with young people and teenage parents, older and disabled people, people at risk of homelessness and people affected by memory loss sees its 459 employees agree that work is an important part of their lives (79%). Culture is an important part of Curo’s success. Staff believe they can make valuable contributions to Curo’s success (83%) and have a great deal of faith in the person leading the organisation (77%).

14 Salvation Army Housing Association

  1. Salvation Army Housing Association

Improving on its performance in the 2016 list of the best housing associations to work for, the Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) this year takes the number 13 spot. SAHA has 133 staff and a mission to create opportunities and transform the lives of their residents to live independently. Its workers say they feel proud to work for the organisation (86%). Staff say their job is good for their personal growth (78%) and feel their managers regularly show their appreciation for good work (82%). Managers at the housing association score highly, with 83% of staff agreeing that managers talk openly and honestly with them.

16 New Charter Group

  1. New Charter Group

“An overwhelming sense of togetherness” has brought New Charter Group through tough times and helps the organisation take the number 14 spot. Managing 19,500 homes throughout Greater Manchester and the East Midlands, New Charter Group boasts one of the highest customer satisfaction rates in the country. Its 894-strong workforce say their managers take an interest in their wellbeing (74%), feel they’re able to make valuable contributions to the success of New Charter Group (81%). Staff enjoy generous salary and pension provision, training and career development, flexible working and an award-winning approach to work-life balance.


  1. Swan Housing Group

Swan has been providing high quality, affordable homes in Essex and East London for more than two decades, and is this year named the UK’s 15th best housing association to work for. Swan’s intranet is a platform for staff blogs, giving people the chance to share ideas and get feedback, while the newly-launched Swan TV and the recently refreshed employee representative committee ensure that employees’ voices are heard. Swan’s 393 staff say they feel a strong sense of family within their teams (72%) and feel managers offer the resources they need to do a good job (76%).

 20 Melin Homes

  1. Melin Homes

Melin Homes improves on its 2016 performance, jumping up the list by four places this year. The ‘Melin Mindset’ shapes the way Melin Homes recruits, inducts, appraises and rewards its employees.  The mindset includes things like: a can-do attitude, taking responsibility and having fun. Staff feel proud to work for the organisation (81%) and think Melin Homes makes a positive difference to the world (83%). An award-winning health and wellbeing initiative – Zest – means there’s plenty in it for the staff themselves, and the organisation is committed to encouraging people to think about their work-life balance to make sure mental health is as much a priority as physical health.

13 Rooftop Housing Group Limited

  1. Rooftop Housing Group

An employee-driven focus on what makes staff smile and what would improve Rooftop Housing Group has helped the organisation to stay on the list of the UK’s best housing associations to work for. Rooftop Housing Group manages almost 6,500 properties in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, but the organisation’s 147 staff are by no means desk-bound. All staff attended at least one of 15 scheme openings in 2015/16 to see residents moving into their new homes. Staff say they have fun working with their teams (80%) and report a strong sense of family among the people they work with (75%).

25 South Yorkshire Housing Association Limited

  1. South Yorkshire Housing Association

Care, commitment, respect, honesty and integrity are the core values that help South Yorkshire Housing Association to provide care and support for vulnerable people in the Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire regions. Customer-facing staff get the chance to make a real difference to people’s lives, which is perhaps why they say their work is an important part of their own lives (79%), and feel they’re able to make a valuable contribution to the success of the organisation (81%). In return, staff enjoy benefits, including: flexi-leave, generous holidays, pension provision, enhanced sick pay, tax relief on childcare costs and enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay.


  1. Wheatley Housing Group

Wheatley Housing Group provides homes and services to more than 200,000 people across 17 local authority areas in Central Scotland. Its 2,507 staff are proud to work for the organisation (78%), which invests in homes in some of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods, and has awarded bursaries to 441 people living in their properties to go to college or university. Staff are confident in the leadership of the organisation (I have a great deal of faith in the person leading this organisation – 73%, they feel empowered to drive change themselves, agreeing they can make valuable contributions to its success (82%).

22 Southdown Housing Association Ltd

  1. Southdown Housing Association

Staff at Southdown Housing Association say they work harder and happier than they did in previous jobs – a sentiment that the housing association credits to its supportive, respectful and diverse culture. The housing association was established in 1972 and has grown to become one of the largest voluntary sector employers in Sussex. Throughout 2016, employees had a series of meetings with the CEO and deputy CEO to talk honestly about the organisation and suggest ways for it to improve. This communication saw staff agree that senior managers are visible and available (70%) and feel they are able to make a valuable contribution to the success of the association (79%).


  1. Equity Housing Group

Maintaining the number 21 spot for the second consecutive year is Equity Housing Group that started life in North Cheshire back in 1963. The organisation is hard at work to deliver its 2020 vision, and aims to keep its staff motivated with a first class benefits package, including: a choice of pension schemes, regular recognition awards, learning and development opportunities and market rate salaries. Its 124 employees say there’s a strong sense of family at Equity Housing Group (80%), have fun at work (83%) and feel managers care about staff members as individuals (79%).


  1. CityWest Homes

Central London’s CityWest Homes takes care of more than 21,000 homes, with a mission to create places where people are proud to live. It’s an approach that’s won the organisation awards and led to its 383 employees agreeing that work is an important part of their lives (78%). The organisation’s values-led, performance-driven culture encourages staff to really live its values, while its five-year plan, which includes supporting healthy, safe and economically active communities, helps to maintain its focus. The workforce feel they can make valuable contributions to the success of the organisation (84%) and say the job is good for their personal growth (73%).

24 Stockport Homes Ltd

  1. Stockport Homes

It’s service with a SMILE at Stockport Homes, where staff are encouraged to Support, Motivate, Innovate, Learn and Enjoy. The housing association improves on its 2016 list position to take the number 23 spot this year. Employees are involved in key business decisions and its 515 staff say they feel able to make valuable contributions to the success of the organisation (84%). Its mission to ‘transform lives’ is something that resonates with staff. Employees say their work is an important part of their lives (78%) and have a great deal of faith in the leader of the organisation (73%).


  1. livin

Mutual respect, creativity and aspiration help County Durham’s livin to manage around 8,400 properties in the area, and earn the organisation a place on this year’s list. Founded in 2009, livin today provides a range of services to boost communities’ employment prospects, health and wellbeing, financial confidence and digital skills. Through significant financial investment in each employee, livin aspires to continuously improve the business through the involvement of its employees on a regular basis. livin’s 125 staff say they feel their manager values them as an individual (77%) and feel they’re able to make valuable contributions to the success of the organisation (82%).

4 B3Living

  1. B3Living

B3Living’s visitors say there’s a buzz in its offices that feels part of something very special, reflecting an environment that no doubt helped the organisation get on the list once again. The company’s CEO personally responded to people’s self-confessed hopes and fears, and gave staff the chance to get honest answers to any questions they wanted to ask. B3Living puts a big emphasis on empathy, people and the desire to make things better. Staff say their work is an important part of their lives (80%) and feel the experiences they’ve had at the organisation will be valuable in the future (74%).