Darwen firm tops best employer list

The Darwen-based Hakim Group has topped the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list for small businesses.

Hakim Group Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For

The league table, published for the 18th year this weekend, ranks categories including leadership, employee growth, community involvement and pay and benefits.

The group of opticians, which employs 62 around the UK, scored highest in each category for companies employing between 50 and 250.

“Happiness is at the core of what we do,” said founder Imran Hakim, who originally rose to prominence after his iTeddy featured on Dragons Den. “If the team is happy, the patients will be happy, then the business will be happy.”

Preston-based legal firm Harrison Dury placed 98th, making the list for the third consecutive year.

“When any business grows rapidly, the challenge is to keep the culture which made it successful in the first place. "To double staff numbers and still score highly for employee engagement is a huge achievement and is testament to everyone at Harrison Drury who has worked tirelessly to make this possible," said executive chairman John Chesworth.

The 100 Best Companies to Work For in the mid-size category (250 to 3,000 employees) saw Beaverbrooks the Jeweller, of St Annes, rise from 26th in last year's list to 11th in 2018. Todmorden's Robinwood Activity Centre placed 31st. Burnley's Calico Group, the housing association employing 600, ranked 36th on The 100 Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For table.