What springs to mind when you think of the best places to work? If we remain in the real world and dismiss Willy Wonka’s saccharine HQ and the laugh-a-minute Dunder Mifflin, your mind will probably go to high-tech workplaces like Google, where stories of arcade games, nap rooms, and bubblegum machines abound.
But according to Great Place to Work, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is one of the best places to work in the United Kingdom.
Imagine telling someone that you’re an IT Infrastructure Technician at the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and then insisting it’s a fun place to work. No one would believe you. It’s hard to even say that job title without feeling like you need a nap (apologies to anyone who actually has that title but come on…you get it).
So, what makes this workplace so special?
Is the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) the Best Place to Work?
Great Place to Work evaluated hundreds of workplaces before creating its list, and it included the UKGC on that list. It’s not number one, but it did make it into the top 100 among similar-sized workplaces.
To even qualify for consideration, companies must pass a certification process that includes employee surveys and culture audits.
In other words, they don’t care how many chocolate rivers you have running through your rec room or whether you have a pizza vending machine. It’s all about the workplace culture and employee happiness, and that’s ultimately what matters the most.
What’s surprising about the UKGC is that you’d expect it to be a stuffy, high-stress, high-pressure environment. After all, it’s the organisation responsible for regulating the UK’s gambling industry at a time when laws are tightening and fines are increasing.
You probably picture a scene from 1984, with neatly ordered desks, grumpy employees, and a towering clock that watches over them like the judging stare of Big Brother.
But apparently, that’s not the case.
What Makes the UKGC Special?
Great Place to Work praised the UKGC for its unique approach to hybrid working, as well as its ability to implement modern technologies and digital initiatives. It seemingly has a knack for bringing staff together (through streamlined and open working environments, as well as work events) and employees seem happy.
Andrew Rhodes, the chief executive of the UKGC, expressed delight at the award and noted that the company was dedicated to “putting people first” and “doing the right thing”. Of course, all companies say that, and it doesn’t usually mean anything, but this is one of the rare exceptions.
The UKGC finished 76th on the UK’s Best Workplaces (“Large” category) for 2023. Number 1 on that list was NVIDIA. Numerous other tech companies occupy the list, and it also includes Lindt, Hello Fresh, Laithwaites, L’Occitane, and General Mills.
The highest-ranked companies for the “Super Large” category were Cisco and Hilton.
It sounds a little less impressive in this context, but it’s still a big win for the UKGC and it is proof that working for a regulator is not as boring and stuffy as you might have thought (and as we definitely thought).