The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For awards provide Britain's most revealing guide to the firms where people go to work with a spring in their step.
For the 2004 list we captured the opinions of 58,000 employees, and the resulting database is the gold standard in mass human resources research. That database holds the secret of a happy working life - one that is rich in challenge and encouragement.
Judith Leary-Joyce has identified the value of the project and used the research to discover precisely how senior managers create environments in which staff can flourish. One of the key factors is trust. It is a credit to the faith of all those chief executives who take part in Best Companies surveys that they allow their staff to express themselves so freely to a third-party research organisation, especially when there are so many competitive pressures.
It is abundantly clear that best companies to work for do not happen by accident. They are created by managers who follow through their decision with a strategy that permeates every part of their organisation. We have much to learn from them. In these pages you will discover some of the secrets of that best practice.
Richard Caseby, Managing Editor, the Sunday Times