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Welsh companies putting a smile on faces of employees.

Byline: By David Williamson Western Mail

Four Welsh small companies have made it into a list of the top 100 companies to work for in Britain. Cardiff-based design and build specialist Castleoak Care Partnerships comes in at number 22 in the Sunday Times-compiled rankings.

It is followed at 30 by the Thomas Carroll Group insurance brokers, by St David's Foundation Hospice Care at 83 and the Swansea Housing Association at 100.

Castleoak specialises in the development of care homes and other forms of supported housing accommodation for older people. It employs 91 staff from its headquarters at Cardiff Gate Business Park.

Mel Knight, executive chairman of the family-owned business, said, 'We are delighted to have made it into this latest Top 100 listing, having appeared previously in 2005.

'Making Castleoak a great place to work has been a driving force for the leadership team and we always try to put people first. I believe we have created a culture where teamwork, trust and respect really count.'

It has designed and constructed more than 6,000 bed spaces throughout the UK.

Mr Knight has been at the helm of the company for 14 years. His wife Amanda is head of human resources and his brother Colwyn is MD.

Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) of staff felt pride in their work, and 89% were confident the business was run on sound moral principles.

The Thomas Carroll Group has a staff turnover of just 1%. Its 66 employees enjoy the free use of a network of holiday homes in West Wales and France.

Eighty-seven percent said they were inspired by the way chairman John Moore and senior managers 'live the values' of the business.

The group annually invests pounds 300 for every member of staff in a wellness programme, and they have the use of a local gym which they are allowed to visit during office hours.

St David's Foundation Hospice Care had the fifth highest ranking for the proportion of staff who feel they make a difference to the world (88.7%).

Staff feel free to ring chief executive Emma Saysell at home to discuss issues, and eight out of 10 feel able to talk openly.

A sense of pride about their work (87%) encourages employees, as does the fun they feel as part of a team (79%).

Swansea Housing Association's 93 staff are driven by the goal of providing homes where their own families would be happy to live. They benefit from flexible working and have the option to take up subsidised yoga.

Most (86%) said they would recommend it to others, and almost as many (81%) believed it was run on a good moral basis.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 5, 2007
Words:446
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