High-flying Wren is a leading UK employer

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 22 Oct 2018

Northern Lincolnshire kitchen giant Wren has been named as the second best company to work for in the UK.

The Barton-based firm has been ranked just behind global tech leader Apple, based on millions of reviews by employees.

It scored consistently highly for valuing and treating its employees well, with 4,100 now on the books across Britain. 

More than 2,500 work in the Humber region, the majority at The Nest HQ on Falkland Way, with further manufacturing sites in Scunthorpe and Howden. The remainder are in sales, with 72 showrooms nationwide, with five more opening before the year’s out.

Now turning over more than £400 million, with 20 per cent growth in the last year, Wren Kitchens is regarded as the market leader having grown from a standing start in 2009.

Mark Pullan, managing director, said: “Wren is a family business, passionate about giving our customers their dream kitchens. We truly believe in developing our staff to their full potential. 

“We have a fast-paced, hard working culture, and those who put the effort in are rewarded with great earning potential and a fun, fulfilling career.” 

Wren manufacturing sites on the Humber.

Wren Kitchens' Humber manufacturing facilities. Top left, The Nest, Barton, then clockwise, Howden and Scunthorpe, with the sizeable road fleet also part of the vertical integration that takes the company through from concept to completion. 

It is almost five years since it took on the giant 750,000 sq ft facility by the South Humber Bank. As well as huge production suites and administration hubs, it now boasts two state-of-the-art gyms, with all food on site subsidised and tea trolleys providing free hot drinks. Season fun days add to the family feel, with a free ice cream van in summer, and hog roasts and Halloween bashes. 

The company is on track to smash the £500 million mark this year.

“We have been such a fast-growing company it has made it a really exciting place to work,” Mr Pullan continued. “People have seen the expansion, the growth, much of which has been from recommendation and word of mouth. It wasn’t until last year that we did national television advertising. It has been based on amazing products, hard work, great showrooms and enthusiasm. It is a really fast-paced family business, where there is director access, and ability to make changes – where ideas to add value can be rolled out very quickly.  

“There are no shareholders to please, it feels like a small family business on a grand scale.”

The roots can be traced back to the Hygena brand from North Bank entrepreneur Malcolm Healey. He sold that, started again, and now chairs the firm.

Wren Kitchens' Shaker Ermine design. 

And Mr Pullan believes the role that the product plays in people’s lives has also helped the feel-good factor.

“We are vertically integrated, the likes of Brexit isn’t an issue when it is wholly UK manufacturing, and because we make the product it is really easy to be passionate about it. We see it from concept through to the happy customers, and their posting on Instagram. The kitchen is such an important room in the house now. It used to be segregated with a serving hatch, now it is the heart of the home. When family and friends are round, if there’s a party, the fun starts there.” 

Wren is opening in Ayr, Cambridge, Plymouth, Basingstoke and Eastbourne in the next two months, and is recruiting for 143 open vacancies at present.

Praising the efforts, Bill Richards, UK managing director at compiler Indeed, a jobs search engine, said: “The difference between a good job and a great job can vary from person to person, but our ranking shows some common themes shine through. Companies that make their employees feel valued and offer a positive working environment score consistently highly. As we continue to see for many staff, work-life balance, career prospects and a great workplace culture can all mean more than a good salary alone.”

One of the 72 showrooms nationwide.

Praising the efforts, Bill Richards, UK managing director at compiler Indeed, a jobs search engine, said: “The difference between a good job and a great job can vary from person to person, but our ranking shows some common themes shine through. 
“Companies that make their employees feel valued and offer a positive working environment score consistently highly. As we continue to see for many staff, work-life balance, career prospects and a great workplace culture can all mean more than a good salary alone.”

The top 25 employers: 

1: Apple
2: Wren Kitchens
3: GlaxoSmithKline 
4: Homeserve
5: Rolls-Royce 
6: Nando’s 
7: Lush Cosmetics 
8: John Lewis 
9: Unilever 
10: Marks and Spencer 
11: Harrods 
12: BBC  
13: Barclays 
14: Clarks  
15: Pandora 
16: Cargiant 
17: Liverpool FC 
18: Adidas 
19: Thomson Reuters 
20: Estee Lauder 
21: Lloyds Banking Group 
22: The Perfume Shop 
23: Microsoft  
24: Tesco 
25: InterContinental Hotels

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