A group of Cornish Bakery staff in navy t-shirts and beige aprons behind a counter of baked goods

Source: Cornish Bakery

Cornish Bakery and Gail’s Bakery have been recognised as among the top UK companies to work for in 2023 by employee engagement specialist Best Companies.

Gail’s was listed as number 22 of the UK’s 25 Best Big Companies to work for (which covers firms with more than 2,000 employees) while independent chain Cornish Bakery came in at number 101 on the large companies list (covering firms with 200 to 1,999 employees).

The Best Companies to Work For Lists and Best Companies Accreditation have been running for over 20 years and are recognised as the standard in workplace engagement. The results, gathered through annual engagement surveys with staff, recognise those in the small, mid-size, large, and big categories on a national level, with recent expansion seeing Best Companies adding additional categories by region and sector.

Rise with Gail’s

A man in a baseball cap and glasses shaping dough at Gail's Bakery

Source: Gail’s Bakery

Gail’s said its focus on people has been a key driver for its growth over the last two years, with the firm now boasting 125 locations and 2,300 employees.

The bakery invests over £2.5m for training annually and delivers over 70 training and apprenticeship programmes across the business. These courses turn a job into a career by training core competencies and skills such as leadership, people management and business acumen, it said. Courses include Top Crust, a fast-track leadership and management programme which over 150 people have completed since its inception in 2020.

Gail’s also prides itself on the training and development of its bakers and baristas. In 2022 alone it trained nearly 200 of them into craft positions.

“It all starts with good people,” said group people director Miranda Burgum. “As a neighbourhood bakery, our place in the community goes beyond serving world-class craft baking and coffee. The ethos of care behind our craft extends into our people philosophy. Offering great jobs, opportunities to ‘Rise with Gail’s,’ developing our people, and meaningful perks and benefits are core to who we are.”

The Cornish way

Cornish Bakery founder Steve Grocutt described the firm’s employees as the “jewel in the crown”. The business has 450 employees across its 55 sites.

Outside a Cornish Bakery shop

Source: Cornish Bakery

“Happy teams = happy customers = great results,” he said. “And the results are already off the charts. ‘Aim Higher’ is one of Cornish Bakery’s core values, and we just keep going higher and higher, because we are nourishing our people and driving our values out across the company.”

This was the first time Cornish Bakery entered the awards. Best Companies founder Jonathan Austin noted that it had “particularly excelled” in the ‘My Team’ workplace factor with 89% of employees agreeing that the team is fun to work with.

“Growth and recognition are essential in creating a culture at an organisation that people want to be a part of. We know from our data that if you are in a situation where you’re not growing and developing your people – firstly, the organisation can’t grow and develop, and secondly, you’re not going to keep your people. This clearly is not the case at Cornish Bakery and it’s great to see,” Austin added.